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PVP at PAX Prime 2012

William Murphy Posted:
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I’ve been eagerly watching Trion’s Defiance. I know most folks who are shooter fans love them some PVP, but for me I love it when I can mix in both PVE content and competitive shooting. We’ve seen Defiance’s PVE content in action, big open world battles, quests, and events similar to what we’ve grown to love in Rift. But what we saw at PAX Prime was an example of the game’s instanced PVP. I sidled up to one of the PC stations (the game is also launching simultaneously next year on the Xbox 360 and PS3, though each will play separately from the others), and chatted with Bill Trost, Defiance’s Lead Game Designer.

We talked first about how while they’re showing some of the match-made PVP at PAX, there’s going to be a fully-integrated open-world PVP system in the game as well… they’re just not read to talk too much on that subject yet.  There won’t be the typical “Faction” system in place, Bill did tell me, because they always want you to be able to play with your friends, and instead they’re working on something more unique.  You will be get XP in the open PVP, you’ll get to even loot your enemies (though what you take from them won’t be their hard-earned gear, rather it will be similar to how PVP gear-drops work in Guild Wars 2). 

Bill told me that the point of the instanced PVP is more “competitive” in both the gameplay and the lore, in that players (we’ll all be Ark Hunters – Mercenaries hired on by factions) will want to earn Echelon Ranks, which is an elite faction of warriors against the alien forces in Defiance.  Doing so will earn you gear, cosmetic rewards, and so forth.  You’ll get PVP equipment, which can only be earned in PVP, though it will be usable in PVE as well.  Before you worry, Bill told me that the PVP and PVE gear will be comparable; they’ll just be different thematically and graphically. 

Each time I died during the match (which was a lot because I’m terrible), I was able to select a different load-out template for my character.  Load-outs are a combination of guns being used and special skills. For the demo there were assaults, medics, snipers, and so forth. Each had a unique feel based on the weapons available.  My personal favorite was the loud-out with the Incubator Gun: a rifle based on alien tech that lays massive growing boils on the enemy and surroundings and then hatches little aliens that chase and damage your enemy as well. It’s absolutely awesome to lay a bunch of good hits on a guy and watch him collapse as the aliens tear him apart. There’s also a sticky-grenade gun that can be used to lay traps or blow up an enemy with a few well placed shots. Simply reload and all laid grenades explode at once.  You can damage yourself with these, but thankfully not your allies. No friendly fire here.

I also really enjoyed the fact that this “Conflict” map had lots of hiding spots, towers to snipe from, and rooms to seek refuge in. You can recharge shields but not health by taking cover for long enough without being hit, so finding a crate to hide behind will be invaluable. Luckily, the Medic Load-Out will be great to use in Conflict maps if you’re the type of player that likes to support others. The main gun will heal your friends, or quickly deplete the shields of the enemy and in my match it worked really well in tandem with anyone else capable of assaulting.  Can you say dynamic duo?

Overall, Defiance’s controls and visuals seem to be really coming together nicely. I can picture Conflict PVP being a major part of the fun when the game launches next year, but I can’t wait to see how the open world PVP takes shape (as it will also include vehicles and the like), and how the entirety of the game comes together on all three platforms. It’s absolutely playing like a ton of fun, and the fact that you can use base loud-outs or customize your own, tweak your appearance to your specifications, and well… it’s just fun. That’s what counts, right? If the rest of the game plays like this, Trion’s going to have another hit on their hands.


William Murphy

Bill is the former 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.