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Defiance is a multi-platform 3D sci-fi MMOTPS that has a tie-in TV series of the same name airing on the SyFy channel. Players take on the role of Ark Hunters who must salvage downed space crafts for valuable treasures while contending with deadly monsters in a post-apocalyptic world.

Publisher: Trion Worlds
Playerbase: Medium
Type: MMOTPS (third person shooter)
Release Date: April 2, 2013 (NA/EU)
PvP: Deathmatch and Open World
Pros: +Large, persistent game world. +Wide variety of skills, weapons, and vehicles.
Cons: -Free players face many restrictions. -Some content requires DLC to access. -Balance issues when players of different levels are nearby.



Defiance Overview

Defiance is an ambitious project in many respects. It launched for consoles (PS3/Xbox 360) along with its PC release, and is part of a tie-in strategy for a SyFy original series of the same name. Defiance was originally a buy-to-play game but went free-to-play on June 4, 2014 though newer content still requires additional DLC purchases.

The game is set in the San Francisco bay area several decades in the future in the aftermath of a harrowing war that has left much of the world destroyed. Players take on a third person shooter perspective in the role of Ark Hunters who must recover valuable resources and technologies from abandoned space crafts that routinely crash onto Earth. Defiance offers an open persistent world to explore either alone or with groups.

Defiance Screenshots

Defiance Featured Video



  • Humans – from planet Earth, the Human race has adapted to survive the harsh conditions of Defiance. Stronger and more durable, Humans make excellent Ark Hunters. They struggle with the new races of Votan, divided on whether they should be friendly or hostile toward them.
  • Irathient – from the distant solar system of Votan, the Irathient are one of the many alien races. They are known to be the most vicious and wild races of Votan.
  • Castithan (DLC required) – from the distant solar system of Votan, the Castithan are a proud and noble race. They have their own caste system, and can be quite arrogant in thinking they are better than those below them.

Origins (aka Classes only affects starting weapons)

  • Machinists – scavengers of alien technology.
  • Survivalists – people just trying to make it in this new world order.
  • Outlaws – lawless people who pillage and steal to survive.
  • Veterans – survivors of the first wars between aliens and humans.

Full Review

Defiance Review

By Dimitri Jordan

Defiance is a 3D science fiction MMORPG developed and published by Trion Worlds that was released on April 2nd, 2013. It features TPS (third person shooter) gameplay, a variety of weapons, and a large skill grid that allows for a simple way to customize characters to fit a particular playstyle. Defiance also ties in with the Syfy Channel show of the same name. For example, some items recovered during story missions during the game are also a part of the TV show’s plot. Defiance is available to download through Glyph, the gaming service developed by Trion Worlds for their other games like Rift and ArcheAge. It is also available through Valve’s popular gaming service, Steam.

Starting Up

When creating a character in Defiance, players have the choice between two races: Humans or Irathients. A third race, Castithans, is included if they have purchased the Castithan Charge Pack DLC. The players also have the choice between four different origins for their character, presented as a paragraph of text. These choices have no impact on their character aside from their beginning primary weapon, which can quickly be replaced after a few missions.

All characters can use all weapons. As players use weapons of a particular type, that weapon type gains experience. Upon leveling up, weapons of that type gain a boost to a particular stat - like firing speed or reload speed. Different weapons types need different amounts of experience in order to gain levels. Because players have access to any gun type, players can either specialize on one type or master them all.

The First Few Levels

After crashing to earth, players become familiar with their EGO implant, which presents itself to players as a holographic woman, through a series of missions. These missions teach the basics of moving, switching equipment and using equipment, and using EGO powers. Players move using the WASD keys, aim with the right mouse button, and shoot with the left mouse button. When gaining their first EGO power, players test each of the four powers in the tutorial area before picking one to start with.


As players do missions and side missions, their EGO rating will increase. This takes the place of traditional leveling. As a player’s EGO rating increases, more of the game is unlocked: additional inventory slots, equipment loadouts, co-op maps, and more.

At certain EGO ratings, players receive EGO points to improve their abilities. The four main EGO powers (Blur, Cloak, Decoy, and Overcharge) can be upgraded to level 5, while the smaller perks that surround the EGO powers on the grid can be upgraded to level 3. By unlocking perks across the board, players are even able to unlock the other EGO powers, and they can learn all four. However, it is recommended to focus on one ability to prevent being underpowered in later missions.

Each EGO power is aimed at different styles of play. Blur provides a speed boost to players, which also increases melee power for those who get close and personally, and is great for those using shotguns or other short range weapons. Cloak renders the player invisible, perfect for snipers. However, players do become uncloaked while shooting. Decoy creates a holographic double that will confuse the enemy, taking some of the fire. And Overcharge boosts a player’s damage for a short period of time. Decoy and Overcharge are particularly handy for those playing solo.


Defiance has two modes of PvP, matchmaking multiplayer and Shadow Wars. In the multiplayer mode, players enter a queue by choosing the matchmaking system. Then they wait until enough players are in the queue, and are teleported to one of four multiplayer maps. In these maps, there are two game types, either deathmatch or capture and hold. In deathmatches, two teams seek to kill each other off first, with the last team standing being the winner. In capture and hold, two teams fight over capturing and securing three points of interest around the map. Holding a point of interest raises points for that player’s team, and the first team to get the assigned amount of points wins. While kills will also personally reward players, they do not go toward winning the match in this game type.

The other type of multiplayer is called Shadow Wars. This is also accessed by using the matchmaking system and plays out like the capture and hold game type. However, Shadow Wars are conducted on the Overworld map, so mobs and unaffiliated players will be present. Mobs will attack players as usual, and so may need to be cleared to succeed. Unaffiliated players will show no display bars, cannot be attacked, and cannot attack players. This can lead to some confusion, and seems like an odd oversight by Trion Worlds.


In addition to PvP, Defiance hosts several cooperative modes. These are spread over seven maps, each with their own facet of the story around the Bay Area of San Francisco. Each map has 3 difficulties: players must reach an EGO rating of 1,000 to play standard co-op, 3,000 to play the advanced difficulty, and 5,000 to play the expert difficulty.
Players can group up into a team of four to take on these missions. Each mission has a different objective. In Island of Lost Soldiers, players discover the secret experiment being done on Angel Island, while in Scrapworks Salvage players find and protect a valuable piece of technology at Scrapworks. While the majority of Defiance takes place in a persistent world, the co-op missions and multiplayer matchmaking take place in instanced levels, similar to Guild Wars, or raids from World of Warcraft.


Arkfalls are Defiance’s version of dynamic events, much like the rifts from Trion Worlds other game, Rift. Arkfalls are when pieces of Ark ships, destroyed in space, that fall to Earth, often full of technology and salvage. Arkfalls are split between minor and major Arkfalls.
In a minor Arkfall, a single piece falls, attracting enemies of a specific type. For example, in the minor Arkfall, Hellbug Extermination, Hellbug enemies like Skitterlings, Warriors, and Archers are present. In a minor Arkfall Site, players battle enemies before entering the Ark piece and fighting in instanced combat.
In a major Arkfall, multiple minor Arkfalls appear, and then a larger piece falls, with tougher enemies. For example, in Hellbug Uprising, players first clear out the small Arkfalls of Skitterlings, Warriors, and Archers. Then at the major location, a gigantic Hellbug Hellion appears, and can take the force of dozens of players to defeat.

Cash Shop

The Cash Shop for Defiance sells boosts for gameplay, including experience boosts, money boosts, and reputation boosts. In addition, players can buy small amounts of reputation toward many of the in game factions. Where Defiance’s Cash Shop really shines, however, is with the cosmetic items. Players can buy a wide variety of armors and helmets, as well as different vehicles with many options for their paint jobs. Defiance manages to give players a wide variety in its Cash Shop without allowing for any items that would effectively make the game a pay-to-win scenario.

Final Verdict: Good

Overall, Defiance is an odd game. On paper, there is plenty of customization, things to do, and the nod to its TV show counterpart is novel. However, even with everything to do, it still feels like a sparse, relatively empty world. Further, the game, as a whole, feels more difficult than it should be. Those playing solo are often swamped by mobs during missions, and when players form a party the game adjusts by turning enemies into bullet sponges. Adding how long it takes to kill enemies isn't the same as adding difficulty, and it makes joining a party a bad thing in Defiance, almost discouraging players. These issues aside, it can be entertaining, especially for those who are already fans of the show. In addition, the third-person shooter + RPG elements are a welcome change of pace from the more traditional hack-n-slash style games.


Defiance Videos

System Requirements

Defiance System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP SP 2
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz or AMD equivalent
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT / ATI Radeon HD 2900 / Intel HD 4000 Integrated
Hard Disk Space: 15 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 7 or better
CPU: Intel Core i5 2.4 GHz of better
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GTS 250 / ATI Radeon HD 4750 or better
Hard Disk Space: 15GB


Defiance Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Defiance Additional Information

Developer: Trion Worlds & Human Head Studios
Head Designer(s): Bill Trost
Other Platforms: Windows, Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Closed Beta Date: January 18, 2013
Open Beta Date: March 22, 2013

Foreign Release:

Australia: April 11, 2013

Development History:

Defiance began development in Augfust 2008 as a joint-venture between Trion and Syfy. The plan from the get-go was to make a video game and a tv series that ran side by side. Defiance the television show debuted on Syfy on April 15, 2013. The show has been a success and already has 3+ seasons. Defiance, the game, originally launched as a buy to play title with a subscription on April 2, 2013 but dropped its subscription and went free to play nearly a year later on June 4, 2014. Prior to the game's launch, Trion Worlds raised $150 million in funding and had a dedicated team of 150 employees working on actively developing the game. It's estimated that Trion Worlds spent about ~$70 million developing Defiance. Defiance is one of the few PC/Console MMORPGs available.