Getting to the Fun of It
I’ve been dabbling in Defiance “The OG” on PC for a week or so, in anticipation of the upcoming Defiance 2050 beta weekend, to get a feel for what the original is like and what I hope the new game improves upon. Not long ago, I gave you my gut-reaction to the 2050 announcement on what I hope we get in the new game. Now that we’ve seen some footage from IGN at GDC, I want to elaborate a bit more.
Namely, I realized just how badly Defiance’s regular ol’ mobs suffer the same fate Destiny 1’s did: they’re bullet spongey as hell. And this, perhaps most importantly, removes the sense of fun from an MMO loot shooter like Defiance. This is a game that has a chance to be really special with its relaunch, and basically one up Bungie and Digital Extremes, and beat Mavericks to the punch with a persistent and truly massive in scale shooter. Dozens, possibly more, of players will gather at public events to tackle arkfalls and the like, something that Warframe and Destiny 2 just can’t do with their tech.
And in those cases, with big bad bosses to off, I don’t mind mobs soaking up damage from tons of players. It’s the smaller mobs, the ones you cut through on your minute-to-minute content that just don’t need the kind of resistance they typically wield in Defiance OG. 2050 needs to think about cutting their health in half, or more, and instead throwing more of them at the player if they want to up the challenge. It shouldn’t take me a full clip to drop a t-shirt wearing mutant while he’s charging at me, where one hit from his cleaver in my armored outfit and I’m down for the count.
And my second big gripe of old Defiance is that blasted UI, obviously designed while trying to please the PC and the console users at the same time. For some instruction on how to do this well, hope Trion is paying attention to the way Destiny 2 adopted its new UI, and how the Ubisoft team has really done well with Assassin’s Creed Origins and Far Cry 5 on PC and console UI sharing.
From the video of IGN running through the mission at GDC, I can tell that the UI is basically the same at this stage, and that worries me. Additionally, mob health seems to be lessened, but that may be me wishfully thinking. The UI needs an overhaul, and especially the inventory management. Cut out the whole-screen menus, and let me play the game, not spend way too much time figuring out what I can or should use from my mountain of loot. Take a page from Borderlands 2, before Borderlands 3 comes out in 2055 and steals your thunder… yes, that’s a joke.
In any case, I’m very hopeful for Defiance 2050. Hopeful for the game to be fully desynced from the show, hopeful for a new bunch of content to play, and hopeful that it won’t just be a visual overhaul, but a gameplay and UI/UX overhaul as well. Make it happen, Trion.