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Defiance Previews: Detailing the Arkbreaker DLC

By William Murphy on November 22, 2013

Yesterday, we had the chance to catch up with Defiance’s Creative Lead Trick Dempsey to get the lowdown on everything the upcoming Arkbreaker DLC will be bringing to the game when it launches on December 10th. There’s a whole slew of new content in this upgrade, but the most important addition is giving fans of the show and game the opportunity to finally crack into fallen arks and loot them of all those interplanetary goodies. Trick let loose on a ton of details about the new weapons, missions, zones, and UI improvements, so read on!

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The goal of Arkbreaker is to deliver on that fantasy of calling down these Arkships to earth, breaking into them, and looting them like any good arkhunter would want to do. The precursor to being able to do so is a brand new six-mission storyline that will lead up to giving players the ability to call down an Arkship left in Earth’s atmosphere after the war ended.  You’ll crack inside, which will be a process that takes a few minutes and a bit of fighting outside the fallen ship. Once you open the doors to the ship, you’ve created a public instance that allows up to 12 people to enter at once.  Once that limit is reached, the next person to go in will open another version of that same ship. 

The doors only stay open for a few minutes, and the fights inside take about 15-20 minutes from start to finish and scale with how many players are in there actively participating.  These calldowns will cost you resources earned from playing the game normally, and only players who have finished the mission line will get the ability to call them down. So that means only players buying the DLC will get the ability to start Arkfalls, but anyone playing the game can take part in them and go inside for the new fights and new loot.

Players with the calldown ability will also be able to choose between minor and major arkfalls.  The major ones will cost considerably more resources, but also have much higher payouts.  The fight inside the major arkfalls will need between 17 and 24 players instead of the minor’s 12 to take on the Warmaster Volge. This guy is a serious badass, completely cased in crystalline armor that has to be shot off before you can actually damage him.  He’ll only stick around for seven minutes, and then he’ll have stored enough energy to escape and live to fight another day.  If you manage to drop the sucker though, you can expect some serious rewards, Trick told us.

The Warmaster Volge is PISSED.

There’s a bunch of new loot being added in this DLC too, including three brand new guns and several new variants on older weapons.  As a part of the game’s focus on using guns to identify your playstyle, one example Trick gave us was the Corpse Infector, which effectively makes you into a sort of necromancer in Defiance. If you kill off enemies with the CI, it’ll let loose a ton more alien bugs.  If you’re smart about who you shoot, taking out lesser enemies will give you an army of bugs to take down the larger baddies.

The three new weapons are all Volge-themed: the Volge Assault, the Volge Sniper, and the Volge Pistol.  The sniper is a charge weapon, the pistol detonates after the shot lands but does far more damage than a regular pistol, and the assault as an AOE effect on its cold damage explosion. All worth additions to the game, giving players the power of the Volge.  And all of this is made even better by the fact that the UI for comparisons between weapons and what they do is far clearer in the recent patches. Bonuses are more obvious, and so is the power level of each weapon.

There are also a host of new Quality of Life improvements in this patch, free to anyone playing Defiance.  The first major one is the addition of new consumables. Spikes will let you slam a rod into the ground that grants one of several buffs to any allies in an area: more armor, more damage, more healing. Trick said these will be absolutely necessary for the Warmaster Volge and they can be bought off of vendors, from the cash shop, or even looted across the game.  They won’t be hard to come by without spending a dime, either. Then there are the stims, which are familiar to Defiance show watchers. Essentially drugs, they’ll heal you, make you stronger, recharge your ego, or make you faster. You can carry stacks of them and use them at will on a slight cooldown.

Lastly, when Arkbreaker launches, grenades will become a consumable that drops, can be bought, and so forth. The reason for this is that Trick and the team thought grenades which recharged like a shield were a bit silly. This way you’ll be incentivized to use them more often, changeup which one you’re using, and in general be more experimental with them.  You can toss all five of a stack out at once, without having to wait on a cooldown.  But since they’re expendable now, you can also run out of them.  So the choice on when to use them becomes more important than ever.

That glowing thing looks important...

The inventory is getting a major addition too in the ability to favorite anything.  Then you can mass breakdown everything that’s not favorited, or mass sell them at a vendor too. It’s a simple but necessary addition to managing a huge and unwieldy system across the consoles and PC. On top of that, the favorited items always rise to the top of the inventory list now, so you don’t have to go searching through hundreds or items at a time to find what you want.

The team is also updating every daily and weekly contract in the game so that they have details on where to go to complete them, and more importantly, they’ll also now show up on your map. Need to head to the Golden Gate bridge area for a contract? The map and contract UI will tell you as much, and chances are this will mean greatly enhanced day-to-day ability to find other players across the game world and actually play with them in the open world. There are also now going to be daily and weekly login rewards now for all players.  You’ll get a Von Bach Industries stipend which gives you spikes, stims, salvage, money at an increasing level each day.  When you’ve logged in for a week straight, you’ll get a much larger package, and those players who buy Arkbreaker will get the resource necessary to call down arkfalls.

And yes, there’s more! Clans are getting the first pass at clan progression in this update, to help entice players to join and use the system more than in previous editions. Your activities will count to your clan’s XP bar, and at each level you’ll get things like more salvage, increased vehicle speed, loot, ark salvage, ark keys, and so forth.  Joining and participating in a clan will now be something that benefits you in more ways than one.

I asked Trick about more off-season show to game crossovers, and he said we can expect more events involving the show early next year.  Though Defiance’s season 2 doesn’t begin on Syfy until June, the show team and the game team have some big plans for events that will take place between now and then. Additionally, Trick told us that in terms of behind the scenes technical changes, San Francisco’s area in the game is now on a completely different server as it’s been opened to players from the beginning of the game now. What this means is that you’ll see much more incentive across all EGO levels to go out there, and that the area itself can hold a lot more players at once. Overall, this should really help alleviate how hard the enemies are in SF, because more players will be able to come and fight the Plague and Volge sieges out there and they’ll be getting directions to do so from the contracts and more.

Arkbreaker launches on December 10th, for around ten bucks, and will add a ton of new content to the game. Is it enough to bring you back? Let us know in the comments.

Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.

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