Defiance undoubtedly has been living up to its hype; the game is fun, hectic and a constant challenge. Nevertheless, like all MMOs, Defiance poses players with difficulties and time sinks that you sometimes just want to skip over – or at least get through faster. Builds are one area where I’m constantly fretting over the right setup. Another one is advancement – sometimes you just want the points without the repetitive missions. Thus I set out to find some short cuts.
Turns out, I’m not the only one who was looking for a solution to those problems. It only took a few (outdated) forum threads and online recommendations to reach a site that offers to help out with these very problems: Killer Guides. On their website they offer three different guides for Defiance players. A general Defiance Leveling Guide aims to help you progress faster through missions and improves your game when it comes to perks and skills. They also have a PvP and a Scrip guide.
The ‘progression & builds’ take sounded pretty much like what I needed, so I gave the general leveling guide a shot. I bought the guide for $29.99 USD (a bit on the steeper side in today’s world of $9.99 eBooks … though, as it turned out later, it was quite the steal), got my account information instantly and was able to download it right away. The guide is in an PDF format which contains an illustrated cover page that’s followed by one of the most comprehensive game guides I’ve ever come across: Skill builds, rotations, weapon mods, leveling guides – I have no idea how they were able to assemble this kind of information in such a short amount of time, but it looked like the proverbial home-run of leveling know-how.
First things first though. The guide starts out with ‘basics’. That might be a euphemism. Having played Defiance since one of the earliest betas, I didn’t expect to learn anything new here and just read through it for completeness sake at first. Turns out, the author knows his stuff and can even teach an old timer something new when it comes to understanding some of the underlying game mechanics.
Positively surprised at this point already, my expectations for following chapters was definitely raised a notch. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed.
From how to go about modding your weapons in the best possible way to acquiring said mods, the guide did a great job in setting you up flawlessly weapons-wise. Defiance doesn’t exactly go overboard like most MMORPGs when it comes to equipment: You don’t have the usual 7 different earring slots that can drive you crazy in some other games. However, the fewer equipment options there are, tThe more important it is that you get them right. I did a lot of research in the area myself, so most of this wasn’t new to me. Still, it was good to get the confidence that someone who looked into this professionally confirmed my own findings.
Next, EGO skills and perks. This chapter is definitely one of the highlights of the guide. For one, the author explains in detail each EGO and perk available in the game, weighs its pros and cons and shows you the best possible combinations for different play styles, encounters and character setups. Instead of being left to tedious guess work and excel sheets when it comes to what EGO works with which perks best, the author had written down several key combinations that will provide a fit for every kind of player. My spot tests seemed to confirm that they indeed let me increase my ‘shove-enemies-face-in-the-dirt-rate’ by roughly 20-30% (even though I already thought I had maxed out my opportunities in that area). A pleasant surprise.
However, it’s not all game mechanics and optimization. The guide hits home when it comes to battle tactics. Main area of focus is definitely solo performance while trying to level up. However, there’s some real useful in-depth advice available for groups. I’m not sure if it’s pragmatism or simple sheer experience of the writer, but the group chapters not only aim to help coordinated group, but also provide some solid advice on how to handle yourself when being forced to work together with a bunch of people for the first time.
The main reason why I got the guide though, is to get faster through missions. Yes, having a story line is nice, but after playing MMOs for more than 10 years, you pretty much get the gist without having to painfully trod through the path that’s set out for you by the game designers. Thus, saying I was pleasantly surprised when I came across the leveling chapter, was a slight understatement. I’ve leveled a number of characters, but still find some significant short cuts in this chapter – even in areas I had played through multiple times. The leveling part alone is worth the purchase price multiple times in my opinion. Heck, it’ll save you a whole weekend in the first 10 days of playing. I’ve followed the guide beyond any point I’ve achieved before and it’s really impressive as to how it compares to the usual strategy of just following the standard mission path in terms of progression speed.
If it wasn’t obvious already, the PvP chapter really drives home the point that the author knows his stuff. Whether you opt for the Shadow War or a standard battleground, there’s a lot of tactics to Defiance when played right. It’s also one of the hardest parts of the game when faced with opponents who know what they’re doing. While there’s a selection of simple hints to get you started and avoid the worst mistakes, some of the more advanced strategies aren’t exactly something you’ll be able to put into practice within a day. I’d say this chapter is a 50/50 in terms of information targeted at people who just recently got into Defiance and those that already know their stuff and look for an additional edge. The overall writing style is very easy to follow, so even if you’re not quite able yet to pull of some of the more advanced maneuvers, you’ll still know what’s going on. Apparently even this extensive section is just a taste of what people get with their PvP guide. At this point I’m seriously considering upgrading to the full Defiance bundle.
There’s several other well-researched chapters on minor points of the game (IMHO) but the above are definitely the highlights for me. When using the strategies, I felt confident that it saved me several hours that I otherwise would have wasted running around trying to figure things out or just rolling with what I had. The guide isn’t perfect. I definitely would have hoped for some more screen shots and art work, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be a collectors piece but more like a pro-gamer manual. However, when it comes to leveling faster or optimizing your setup, this is pretty much the by far best collection of advice I came across.
The Defiance Guide by Killer Guides is a down-to-earth, no non-sense guide to leveling faster and optimizing your character. Few pictures, but jam-packed with advice that simply works, it’s currently the easiest shortcut to saving time in Defiance. Speed levelers will appreciate the level of detail and analysis the author provides, casual gamers will be happy to just take advantage of the step-by-step instructions that help them keep up with friends in PvE and not stand out in a bad way in groups and PvP. A solid buy recommendation.
Killer Guides also offers a Scrip Guide and PvP Guide. Serious Defiance players can save $30 buy opting for the Defiance Guide Bundle that includes all current Defiance guides, future releases and all future updates (including expansions!). The general level and strategy guide is available here.