Get those guns and stims ready to head back into the Arkfalls. Defiance will be going Free to Play on June 4th for the PC. A little bit later it will be hitting F2P on the PS3 on July 15th, and it’ll also be going F2P on the Xbox 360 at a currently undisclosed date (but soon!). Perhaps this is how Defiance should have launched initially, but that’s neither here nor there.
The new Trion knows the fruits of lowering the barrier to entry on their games, and Defiance is the type of MMO that needs players across the game map to keep things interesting. The Steam Endless Free Trial taught them this sure enough. Adding population to one big megaserver and one large shared landmass only adds to the action title’s fun. To that end, since the studio moved everyone to San Francisco, alongside releasing all of the DLC, they’ve been working on prepping the game for this F2P move to coincide with the launch of Season 2 of the show on SyFy. They’ve worked Rift’s Bill Fisher and team on how best to convert the game and repeat Rift’s success.
But what about players who purchased the game? Or those who bought add-ons from the store, or DLC packs and season passes? There are no tricks, no traps. If you’re an existing player, your Defiance experience will stay the same. If you bought the game, bought DLC, or bought any items from the store it all stays with you when the game goes F2P in June. On top of that, you’ll also be getting the new Patron Pass “subscriber” level free for a month. While Trion isn’t quite ready to share all of the prices on the Patron plan for Defiance, Trick Dempsey (Creative Lead) told us that it will definitely be less than the industry standard of $15 a month. There will also be opt-ins for 15, 30, 60, and 90 day times. Since you can’t buy revolving access on the consoles, you instead buy one time use codes/items in the store that are then applied to your account. Much like Defiance’s existing XP and Script boosters.
The team’s also added in a whole new tier of boosts to the store, including weapon skill boosts, XP boosts that are bigger than before, and higher score boosts for world events. They all basically just let you progress your EGO rating and other ratings faster, and with how progression is mostly lateral in Defiance, this doesn’t give anyone the “upper hand” because skill and gear still matter the most. Paradise Patrons, the equivalent of subscribers, will get a grab bag of stuff every week as well as additional personal boosts for their daily login rewards. Again though, no free gear.
There are some other nice quality of life changes coming with the launch of F2P on the PC, including a quick radial swap for loadouts, more inventory management changes, and an unequip pop-up that will let you salvage and sell gear you have equipped more easily by checking with you if you want to sell any items you have equipped.
But F2P isn’t all that’s on tap over the next month for Defiance. In mid-June, the second season of the show on SyFy will launch, and to help fans gear up the game will be running Pre-Season events beginning in the next couple of weeks. The first of which is called Cradle to the Grave, where you are introduced to the first Human-Irath hybrid which will somehow play part in the SyFy show as well. Then the second crossover preseason episode is called Stahma’s Interests, which of course means everyone’s favorite gorgeous white alien mama is making an appearance in the game. Lastly, just before the premier of season two, Nolan Returns will bring Grant Bowler’s character back to San Francisco for a new mission crossover. None of this will be gated, and it will all be free to players.
I asked if the DLC will still stick to the store, or if Paradise Patrons will have access to the content, and Trick said that for now they’re going to stay purchasable through the store as additional features to purchase. But if you’ve bought them in the past, or had the season pass, you’ll keep your access to them always. They likely won’t be doing any more traditional “DLC” packs either, and instead the team will be taking the Rift approach of big patches with features that players can buy like new Ego Skills, new weapon types, and so forth. They’d much rather give everyone patches for free, and sell things like additional features and new costumes in the store.
Lastly, I asked if the Trion team as a whole is considering some sort of system wide “Trion Pass” that gives Patron Access and bonuses to all of their games. And while it’s certainly not off the table, it’s merely in the discussion status right now to see if it’s something they can make happen. I also asked about moving Defiance to PS4 and Xbox One, and there was little they could say there other than “we’ll see”. Here’s hoping, because I for one would love to see it on my PS Store.
There you have it. Defiance is going fully free to play on the PC in June, with the console version to follow shortly after. The game has come an incredibly long way since it launched last year. Will you be giving it a try again this summer?
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.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.