Average User Score: 6.6Jul 14, 2013I am a huge fan of Firefly from way back, and so am excited about the Defiance TV program. I was also very excited to learn about the Defiance MMO game. While I am not a regular player of MMOs, I have had a long presence as an educator (I teach Chinese language and culture at a major Australian university) and social user in Second Life (I accept any flaming that occurs at this point as inevitable). I have also created a Chinese language task-based learning environment in SL complete with NPCs that can interact in Chinese character text chat, so while I can't make much expert comment on Defiance as an MMO user, I thought I could contribute a couple of initial observations of the virtual world as I have experienced it so far.
The environment world (landscape) from my perspective is very realistic and fantastically detailed. I love that aspect. It is also big and open, and apart from very steep inclines that the physics won't let you go up, you can go just about anywhere. This is a big plus for me as I hate being constrained by game-pathways which prevent you from exploring the environment. The the player avatars and the various different kinds of NPCs are also very high fidelity and movements, albeit it rather limited, are very fluid and realistic. Having a degree of customizability is also a plus, and for me increased customizability would be a huge bonus in the future if it happens. I have only driven one vehicle (the basic quad bike) but it is fun and for a novice like me quite easy to control. Having first person view while on/in a vehicle would be great and make driving feel even more realistic (maybe I have missed this option?).
I initially enjoyed some of the quests challenges, and while I am normally not into shooter type games, I did enjoy picking off the bad guys from a distance and mixing it with the hell bugs close range (not the really big ones though not skillful enough to defeat one on my own). I can see huge potential in this virtual world MMO, but some things are still missing for me. I mostly felt very alone in this post-apocalyptic world. Sometimes it frightened me (especially with the infected zombie crowd) and I wished I had someone covering my back. I really felt/feel the lack of social interaction in the environment. I did try a couple of times to talk to some other players but never got a response. Maybe this is the nature of these kinds of MMOs, which I am not knocking. Its just that coming from SL where activities can be very social it felt extra isolating for me in Defiance. When I first went into SL the thing that struck me was the number of people ready to mentor me on anything I didn't understand. I know I can read the forums on Defiance (I do for extra hints), but I miss that human to human (or Irathient to Irathient) interaction. For me this is the big attraction of the TV program the interaction between the characters in Defiance, and as such was a big disappointment. As a language educator I naively thought I might even be able to learn practice a little of the Irathient language while in the virtual world environment, which I know is not everyone's cup of tea, but for me it would have been fun and much more immersive.
I also miss having a safe location (the city of Defiance for example) where I can take some time off from the constant tension of fighting out in the badlands and simply wander around shops and buy trinkets for my character or items that would be useful for the game, or simply interact with or watch other players interacting with each other, or catch up with online friends. I would also like to be able to interact with artefacts in the environment even more, even something simple like being able to put my gun down and sit on a chair in a bar or on a porch would be fantastic. I guess my view of things is too coloured by my time in SL, although I have heard other MMOs/virtual worlds (like WoW) do have this element.
I guess also as a non-regular MMO player I am expecting too much or expecting things that are different from what other MMO players want. However, I think the combination of great battles combat quests challenges with free-style non-combat exploration and social interaction in safe zones where maybe there is a bit of an economy would be real winner in some circles. A player sandbox for creating things (whether it be weapons or clothing or other items) would also be fantastic, would help support an economy and would take some of the burden off the creators of Defiance in terms of creating new content.
Linden Labs have had a fairly rock road developing SL over the years, but they have stuck to their guns and it is getting better over time (for those of us that enjoy using it). Hopefully Trion will stick with the development of Defiance and we can look forward to even bigger and better things in the future.… Expand