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The Ups and Downs of Defiance 2050's First Beta

William Murphy Posted:
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Defiance 2050 isn’t a full sequel. I think a lot of people, myself included, expected it to be sort of like Destiny 2. Same sort world, lots of new content and systems changes. That’s not what Defiance 2050 is. Instead, Trion’s essentially giving the game from 2013 a new life on a new console generation, with new visuals, new progression systems, and new tech. It’s up to you, if that’s enough to start over.

For many who never got very far in Defiance’s original launch, this may be enough. But in this first closed beta, there were more than a few folks in zone and area chat that were confused. The trailer made it seem like this would be a new game, on the same engine, with new content. Like, again, Destiny 2.

Instead, Defiance 2050 will have a load of new content, but most of it is at the endgame of the existing content that’s already in Defiance “OG”. So if you’ve played through all that content before on the PC, Xbox 360, or PS3, you’re going to again on 2050, albeit with a load of perks from the game’s original release.

Now, that all out of the way? Yes, Defiance 2050 plays better than Defiance OG. It also looks a lot better in terms of graphical overhauls. But the same awkward running animations persist,and the same obstructing UI clutters the screen any time you want to browse windows. If those two things bothered you a lot in Defiance before, they’ll still bother you here.

What has changed a lot is the progression and inventory systems. Gone is the EGO power rank system, replaced with a straightforward leveling system and four classes each with their own class tree full of powers and perks. It’s not entirely different from the way the EGO grid was before, as some of the powers and perks seem to have just been filed away under class trees. But we only got to try the Assault this weekend, which had the Blur ability (speed boost). I’m told there are several abilities to each class, and that the overall loot and progression systems make a whole lot more sense now.

The most striking difference in the first few hours will be a.) the more dangerous tutorial and b.) the better shaders, lighting, and so forth. Loot drops a plenty, you hoover it up easily, and it’s nice to know that a new level will get you get you new skills and the like.

But if there’s one thing that needs to change between now and launch, it’s that it still takes like 100 bullets to drop a single low level mob. Defiance always had a terrible bullet-sponge problem, and sadly it seems this first beta for Defiance 2050 still has the same issue. I’m literally unloading an SMG into the face of a mutant, it’s just hacking away at me, and soaking up damage like a sponge while my shields are depleted and my health is next to nothing.

Defiance has no problem throwing mobs at you, and it’s genuinely fun to take them down in groups, but when you’re out in the basic world solo-ing content? It becomes a chore and a waste of bullets to take down even the most minion-ish of mutants. I’d advise Trion’s Defiance team to go spend a ton of time playing Borderlands 2 or Destiny 2, and then their own game - and see the difference in fun factor.  Defiance 2050 would be helped so much just by removing this one annoyance.

So, while I went in expecting a whole new story, new content, and new everything that’s just not the case with 2050. Does that mean it’s bad? No. But I’m curious to see how Trion will convince its long-time Defiance players to re-do all that content, or if they just don’t care - hoping instead to get new people on PS4 and XB1, and Steam. For my part, I still have a soft spot for Defiance, but the thing I want changed the most, the TTK of the mobs, needs to change desperately before I give it a good solid try.


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.