Defiance: Changing the Game for the MMO Market

Last year, Syfy Channel announced a bold-new-adventure in the form of a TV series coupled with an MMO—that series and MMO is named Defiance and it’s just now gone through it’s first beta round. As a good reporter for GameOgre, I got myself into the beta, but it’s under an NDA so I cannot release any details of the game itself, but I believe this is a good time to talk about what it represents to us.

The MMOTPS is produced by Trion Worlds—the developer and publisher of the MMORPG Rift: Planes of Telara—and from the videos looks to be a rollicking fun amount to play.

As the TV series advances so shall the RPG elements of the Defiance MMO, which closely follows the plot and environment of the series. According to Trion Worlds and Syfy Channel, the game will also enable players to help decide the direction the TV series will go with each passing season. It’s unknown exactly how much sway players will have over the overall plot—but it’s likely that they will only affect season-to-season decisions because of the nature of TV production (which generally has all the shows shot for most of a season done before it starts running.)

The MMO will be published for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.

The game is a science-fiction MMO shooter, which means that people can expect to be playing with lots of guns. As we generally expect from shooters, we can also expect to have the standard set of guns from pistols, assault-rifles, SMGs, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, and other sundry weapons of warfare. And people will have things to shoot at as well such as bugs and mutants.

Most of the game will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area in a setting changed dramatically by a terraforming accident. This means that you can expect both familiar and alien landscaped mixed together and even potentially places and names you’re already familiar with (especially if you live in California.) The arrival of aliens at Earth has also caused political changes—as well as the advent of war—as well as an odd element of the game called “arks.”

Time to time, bits of these arks will fall from the sky, crashing to earth and bringing with them attention and problems. These will make up dynamic events called “Arkfalls.” An arkfall is a crash-landing of shattered portions of gigantic ships that give players a reason to gather together to do something together. The arkfalls contain remnants of powerful technology and therefore participation in these events can net players rarer-than-normal gear and currency.

According to the details released by Trion Worlds, Defiance will not have character classes but instead work from “origins” which will not affect or reduce player abilities or what direction they can take their characters.

So far, it looks as if it’s going to have a rich story to pull from. It’s being developed by Trion Worlds, which means that the MMO components will be made by a tried-and-true developer/publisher who have kept a working pay-to-play MMO on the market for a long time now.

Buy-to-play MMO market with a hefty price-tag, but same as Guild Wars 2

Defiance will be launching sometime in April and it will be buy-to-play at $59.99. Syfy Channel and Trion Worlds are already offering pre-orders for those interested. Once bought, it will have no subscription cost and the game will support itself with an in game store that will more than likely sell aesthetic costume pieces as well as boosts and other quality-of-life items. No news yet on what the store will contain; but those would be the best guesses we can make.

Adventurous pre-orders could also get the Deluxe version of the game for $99.99. Not a currently a value that looks very good, however, because it’s not giving players anything that unique and it’s thirty dollars more than the normal version. It’s very difficult for an MMO to give away special items or services without drifting into pay-to-win territory—and thirty dollars is larger than normal (other sixty dollar games generally aim for only twenty dollars for their premium additions.)

For those aiming for the console version a $149.99 Ultimate version is also available… Potentially only interesting to collectors and people who really want to support the game.

Meanwhile, there will be two more beta weekend events before the April launch so it’s a good time for people to start signing up if they’d like to see how the game will play. No doubt, there will be a huge in-game event when the TV series launches as well. Sign up for the beta here. Beta is currently only for the PC.

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