Defiance is a multiplatform (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) MMO third person shooter, based in the universe of the SyFy television series of the same name, which is in its first season as of the time of this writing. Invisible Gamer has reviewed the core game and now continues its look at the MMO’s content as it, as designed, evolves to connect with the TV show. (See our coverage of the first, second, and third rounds of such content.) This time, we look at content released to coincide with the show’s fifth episode, The Serpent’s Egg.
After a week in which no new content was released to coincide with its fourth episode, A Well Respected Man – which was a non-event that followed two rounds of “TV tie-ins” that amounted to nothing more than new Pursuits and Emergencies – fans’ patience was wearing thin. Before the show premiered, Episode Missions had done a great job tying the game into the television series for players eager for the show, only for content in the first month of the series to be little more than glorified checklists to tackle and, due to poor planning on Trion Worlds’ part, a great deal of frustration for fans.
Now, as the television series enters its second month on the air, new Episode Missions have appeared to bring meaningful tie-ins between the game and SyFy series.
Television Series Background
In the show’s third episode (The Devil in the Dark), we see the return of Rynn, an Irathient girl who, for personal reasons revealed in the episode, is staging attacks against the population of Defiance (St. Louis) by driving Hellbugs into a killing frenzy with Hellbug pheromones. She finds herself arrested by the end of the episode.
After not showing up for the next episode, Rynn reappeared in the episode that aired the same day this new content went live. In that episode, The Serpent’s Egg, Rynn frees herself amid a tense situation while being taken to Vegas Prison, only to save the day for Lawkeeper Joshua Nolan and Mayor Amanda Rosewater. While they are in no position to stop her from going free after those events, they decide not to pursue her.
Now, Rynn has found her way to the San Francisco Bay area (AKA “Paradise”), the setting of the game, after crossing the Wastes between there and Defiance (and apparently separating from a character who left with her in the episode). She is being hunted by Earth Republic forces, led by Colonel Gretch, who are using Angel Island as a testing facility to develop ways to control Hellbugs for use in warfare. Having heard about Rynn’s use of pheromones to control them – and that she is in the area – the Earth Republic wants her captured.
Six New Episode Missions
Thus begins a series of six Episode Missions, though each is relatively short. In The Vagabond, the player is called upon by Lawkeeper Jon Cooper to check out trouble with a vagabond (Rynn) nearby. After being saved from crazed Hellbugs by the player and Cooper, she impresses Cooper by telling him that Joshua Nolan had let her go (from a certain point of view). He allows her to remain at large “on probation,” and this prompts an investigation into E-Rep’s Project Piper, which is Gretch’s Hellbug-taming operation.
The next four Episode Missions are basically just data recorders to collect, albeit with mission rewards for collecting them, rather than just the data recorder Intel itself. They are entitled Piper Investigation, Parts 1 – 4.
Finally, with enough intelligence to go after the actual E-Rep facility on Angel Island (an underground base on the same island as the Island of Lost Soldiers co-op map), your character joins Rynn and Indogene scientist Eren Niden (encountered in the main story, just like Cooper), in raiding a “dungeon” full of E-Rep soldiers and Hellbugs, finally having to defeat a Hellbug monarch beast. Most interestingly, these Hellbugs are all “mutated,” so they are essentially an acid-based variant of the elemental Hellbug types that were introduced in the last Pursuits update.
Completing the bunker mission, entitled Paying the Piper (as if no one saw that coming), earns the player an Infector Grenade weapon. Moreover, completing these six Episode Missions are the six requirements to complete the new Pursuit Silencing the Piper, which, interestingly, is filed under the Svushinnira Pursuit set, alongside the two added in the previous update (Unconventional Methods and Thinning the Herd). Completing this Pursuit provides a new title: “Paid Piper.”
Impossible, Now Possible
I should also note that the Contract that was previously unavailable due to the Most Wanted contest, entitled Svushinnira: Thinning the Herd (not to be confused with the Pursuits), was made available at the time of the same update that added in these new Rynn-based Episode Missions (March 13, 2013). It makes sense that this was the case, as the Contract requires killing 100 of the special mutated Hellbugs that appear in the Paying the Piper Episode Mission. It had already been removed from the requirements for the Unconventional Methods Pursuit a few days earlier, thus quelling yet another incident of requiring players to do something that was, at the time, literally impossible.
After a month of frustration and disappointment among fans of Defiance in both its incarnations, during which the demand for more Episode Missions turned into an outcry, I am happy to say that this week finally met that demand and provided what fans were hoping for: new Episode Missions in the game that actually felt like they meant something in the context of the show.
Granted, the entire scenario only requires about an hour to complete, and four of the six Episode Missions are glorified data recorder hunts, but an hour of new gameplay to go along with a new hour of the series on SyFy is a welcome addition and a definite step in the right direction for Defiance.
(Heck, we didn’t even end up being asked to do anything impossible this week. I just might faint!)