Nearly two weeks since its launch, I haven’t yet brought myself to write up anything about the MMO/shooter “Defiance” because I simply can’t dredge up the energy to write about such a painfully broken experience. The 360 version, at least, is one long slog through constant patches, disconnections, glitches, and that’s before you even get into the bummer of actually playing the game which is a lackluster shooter set in an blasted-out San Francisco bereft of anything approaching a personality.
Well, Trion Worlds is aware that the launch experience has been less than satisfactory, providing gamers who’ve linked their game profile to with a series of boosts and additional in-game bonuses along with the promise of a major client patch which should hopefully resolve some of the most egregious performance issues with “Defiance.”
First off, if you’ve been unfortunate enough to play “Defiance” at this early, post-launch stage, Trion Worlds is giving you one-week boosts on loot, XP, scrip, and weapon skills as well as the title “Daredevil.” So when you can play the game, leveling up and buying stuff should be somewhat easier.
As for the patch, the developer promises that it’s on the way next week. Trion Worlds built a patch launcher into the game itself on consoles, bypassing the need for certification through Xbox LIVE in this case (a shrewd move, although it’s mildly annoying to have to bring up the patch console every time “Defiance” launches). In a first draft list of patch notes, Trion Worlds promises to improve server and client stability, graphical optimization, bug fixes for individual missions, score adjustments for challenges, matchmaking fixes for multiplayer, and more.
My editor Clint and I were discussing “Defiance’s” launch woes and while we agree that it’s pretty much taken for granted that a massive multiplayer game will get off to a rocky start, we were at a disagreement about to what extent the paying player should have to suffer through it. No dev is trying to foster ill-will with their audience, and to a certain extent, it’s impossible to test for many of the server and network issues without have a server fully populated by gamers doing their thing. But this feels like a horrible case of forcing the players to act as QA, suffering through the more egregious, game-breaking performance issues with a lot of scrambling to make up for it at some point in the future.
Anyway, this would be somewhat bearable if playing “Defiance” wasn’t such a massive disappointment (for a game hinging on its connection to the rich fiction of its tie-in TV show, “Defiance” is remarkably, almost staggering bereft of any sort of weight or dimension, reliant on played-out military jargon, paper-thin characters, and crippled by a lack of mystery or real intrigue.
Play at your own risk.
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