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, third, fourth, and fifth rounds of such content.) This time, we look at content released to coincide with the SyFy channel airing of the episode Good Bye Blue Sky.
Setting the Stage
As noted in our last look at Defiance, an update had been added during the dead weeks between the airing of Brothers in Arms and Good Bye Blue Sky that brought triage areas full of infected humans to several key locations in the San Francisco Bay area. At first, though, the only new content tied into these people and the mysterious Plague they carried was in the form of one Pursuit, Hunting the Cure, which amounted to finding three rather obvious data recorders. Fans had hoped that this was setting up something big in the game world . . .
New Content: The Plague Begins
Fans were not disappointed. A new teaser trailer was produced, revealing zombie-like Afflicted and the idea that a “viral hemorrhagic fever” has broken out (Stage 4 of “the Plague”), which is not only affecting Paradise (the San Francisco setting of the game) but also threatens to spread to Defiance (the St. Louis setting of the television series). This was obviously going to be a major story point for both the game and the show. But what form would that new content take?
New Emergencies: Beware the Afflicted!
Two new Pursuits were added to the Episode: Plague Pursuit caregory, alongside the aforementioned Hunting the Cure. The first, Epidemic, focused on a new enemy type: the Afflicted. The “Afflicted” are the Defiance equivalent of zombies, people in Stage 4 of the Plague that was teased with the previous update’s triage areas. The Pursuit itself called for killing a certain number of Afflicted (as few as 3 and as many as 50, depending on the type of Afflicted) in each of the game’s five major sub-regions (Mt. Tam, Madera, Marin, Sausalito, and San Francisco).
These Afflicted appear in different forms. The Afflicted Flailers are standard zombie types that charge and slash. Afflicted Sickos can spit globs of infected saliva. Tremblers are a much stronger form, akin to Scrapper Omnivolt enemies or mutant minigunners in size and damage. While traveling through the game’s five regions, players would encounter new Emergencies (randomly-spawning situations that, thankfully, spawned pretty frequently this time around, unlike the Pilgrim Emergencies earlier this season). There were several variants of these Emergencies, such as Gridlock (a stalled vehicle full of Afflicted) and Internment Camp (a camp where soldiers hold Afflicted who begin to escape). Fighting is quick and intense (for an Emergency) in these scenarios.
But the zombie (er, excuse me, Afflicted) hordes were just getting warmed up.
Sieges: A Massive New Multiplayer Event
The second new Pursuit in this update, Curing the Masses, was our first introduction to a new massive event type in the Defiance world. Since the game’s launch, random events called Arkfalls would happen in the game world, drawing dozens of players to those events. Major Arkfalls would involve several of those smaller Arkfalls, along with a final event with a giant boss. These events frequently draw 100+ players in each instance. Those, however, have been the only giant community-based battles in the game.
With Curing the Masses, we have a new giant scenario: Sieges. In four areas of the map (for now, at least), a Siege will appear, with about an hour passing between Siege spawns. These Siege events put dozens upon dozens of players into a sort of “horde mode” battle to protect multiple base locations (similar to Capture and Hold bases, though without a requirement to hold them, just great benefits from doing so). Hundreds upon hundreds of Afflicted of all three types swarm these areas, creating a frantic frenzy of carnage that only an MMO shooter like Defiance can provide. It makes for some of the most intense gameplay in the title to date.
Rewards That We Actually Want
Most of the time, completing Episode Pursuits in Defiance net the player a boost to their EGO Rating, possibly (but rarely) a new costume item, or, more often, just a new title to put with their name. While these are nice, they are certainly not “must have” items.
This time, though, new rewards have upped the ante. Completing Sieges at all four possible locations will complete the Curing the Masses Pursuit and provide a new grenade: the Biocharge Ex-12X. While not all that much better than other grenades of its type, it is a pretty good item for lower-level players who take part in the Sieges.
Even better, though, is the reward for killing the requisite numbers of Afflicted to complete the Epidemic Pursuit. Doing so earns the player a unique version of one of the more popular vehicles in the game, the Duni Shetarru. This new variant of the vehicle is the Med Tech Buggy and is colored red and white with an emphasis toward looking like something the Red Cross might use. Given that the cost of vehicles in the game was increased dramatically recently, this is an excellent reward for a single Pursuit.
While zombies seem to be everywhere in fiction these days, including forays into video games where they might not immediately seem appropriate, the Afflicted in Defiance have been mostly well-received thus far, as they provide a new enemy type to deal with that strays from the norm, and the addition of Sieges, whether Afflicted or otherwise in future updates, is a substantial new feature that adds intensity and excitement in battles that anyone, low level or high, can enjoy. (It is just too bad that they will vanish for a while once the Afflicted storyline is concluded.)
Congratulations, Trion Worlds. This is your best Defiance update yet.