Players with a thirst for adversarial combat will be happy to hear that PvP is quite entertaining. There are normal PvP matches that anyone can jump into. These will be comprised of two team deathmatch maps and a capture and hold map. There is a certain amount of technical kung fu going on that will keep players competitive, even if there is a large level gap. “We do have clamps and try to keep people somewhat close,” said Morton.
He then delved into Defiance’s Shadow War.
“The biggest thing we have going for us is Shadow War. Some games have open world PvP, other games have the instanced battled grounds that you’re used to. What we do is layer the open world PvP on top of the world that everybody else is already playing in. So rather than just going out and shooting people in the face, you know, you’ve got NPC’s still rolling around, you’ve got people who aren’t participating in the Shadow War still rolling around doing missions and stuff, so there’s this extremely diverse amount of gameplay that you just can’t get anywhere else.... "
He continued to explain how the game would handle large player counts.
"Another cool thing about Shadow War is that it scales based on the number of people playing, so it will start with as little as 32 (players) and move all the way up to 128, and it will grow with points. So you start with three capture points and then it spawns up to seven points over half a zone, so it’s completely dynamic in how it works. The other joy of it is that the system is random - instead of a whole bunch of predetermined things where it can pick... it can pick a few other locations. So you may play the left half of a... zone one time, you may get the same thing again, but the points are at a different spot, or it may send you to the other end of a zone, with all the different combinations you really don’t know what you’re going to get. The environments change, NPCs change, sometimes there’s an Arkfall going on.”
The Shadow War is a unique take on open world PvP, allowing a massive amount of players to wage a territorial war throughout a region. My cloaked sniping abilities were of little use in the smaller, standard PvP Observatory map, but I was fairly successful in the open world of the Shadow War. Basically I snuck up behind dudes and shot them in the back. If that’s not your thing you can simply observe from a distance, or pass through as a noncombatant in search of more loot.
Defiance has a tried and true colored loot system. My fellow players were eagerly calling out blues and purples. One lucky guy even got an orange. Different loot is dropped for each player, so don’t be afraid to pick up everything. There is a wide variety of modifiable weapons, shields and grenades. There will also be microtransactions, but these should only cover cosmetic items. “We’re not a pay to win game,” said Everett.
Some of you who participated in Defiance’s Advanced Beta Mission 3 event may have had a hard time getting in due to server performance. I know I had my own connection issues. I talked to Chris Lena, a live producer who focuses on, as he puts it, “the running of the (game).” I asked him if he was confident in server performance come launch day:
“Yeah, I’m feeling really good about it. We just finished up the big beta on all three (360, PS3, and PC) over the weekend. We’re all really happy with how things performed. I think from a technical standpoint we’re in good shape.”
Releasing an online game isn’t easy. Releasing an MMO simultaneously across two consoles and PC is unheard of. Trion Worlds is confident everything will be in place when Defiance launches on April 2nd. I hope so. I want to get my cooperative Ark Hunt on.
Thanks to Trion Worlds, Matt Everett, Tony Morton, Chris Arretche, and Chris Lena.