Defiance - Cass' truck
You know what? Defiance's PvP is pretty enjoyable. Most of that enjoyment stems from my ability to actually kill people, contrary to typical MMO themeparks where I stand no chance against gear grinders and theorycrafters who have bested me before I even manage to tab target them.

Here you have to aim, dodge, roll, reload, and do all that crazy skill-based stuff that shooters make you do, and while my K/D ratio is reminding me of the fact that I'm getting old and slow, it's still been a blast. Last night I dipped my toes into something called Shadow War, which is Defiance's answer to open world PvP.

Defiance - Shadow War vehicles
Except it's not really open world, seeing as how you have to opt in to it and you can't go around ganking uninterested newbs willy-nilly. It does take place in the open world, though, and while Trion has perhaps overstated how game-changingly awesome this is in its PR videos, it is in fact kinda different and kinda cool.

It's cool because it's more immersive for the shadow warriors and the bystanders and it's cool because said PvE bystanders can stumble across a pitched PvP firefight and either enjoy the show or join in. It's queue-based, and the couple of hours I spent with it involved a traditional series of capture points and plenty of roaming to and fro across the Mount Tam portions of the map. If there's one thing Defiance is really good at, it's immersion, and while the thoughtful PvP implementation doesn't exactly add to that since you'll continually die and respawn with no consequence like every other game, it doesn't actively detract from it like most MMO PvP implementations I've had the misfortune of playing. And that's a crucial step in the right development direction.

In terms of scale and whiz-bang aesthetics, Defiance's PvP pales in comparison to something like PlanetSide 2. That said, it's just fun, whether you're riding shotgun on a Warthog-like vehicle and driving your squadmates to various capture points or swiss-cheesing your enemies with your favorite pulse rifle.

Ultimately I think there's a solid foundation here, and if I end up sticking with the game, I see myself PvPing as much if not more than I PvE (gotta get those spiffy outfit rewards, of course).

Defiance - Shadow War victory
I also spent some time yesterday dabbling in Defiance's crafting mechanics. And actually it's not really crafting so much as it is modding your weapons and recycling the stuff you don't want. It's an interesting but ultimately cumbersome system that took me a bit of trial-and-error to grok.

First of all, open your inventory (the I key if you're a PC player) and take a look at the list of weapons and equipment. You'll see the type, the EGO level required to equip it, and the name. Underneath the level number, you'll see some dashes and boxes, the latter of which correspond to the possible mods that you can put on a piece of gear. These are found in the game world as drops and mission rewards.

Of note is the fact that you can't mod or salvage anything that's currently equipped in any of your loadouts. Also, I couldn't salvage anything until my EGO level reached 100.

Anyway, once you determine what you want to mod or salvage, click the salvage matrix on the top menu bar underneath your character menu and then double-click the item. If it's actionable, you'll see buttons underneath it for breaking it down into resources, attaching mods, or adding mod slots.

Unlocking mod slots works on a timer. My first attempt took 10 minutes of real time, which reminded me of both Star Wars: The Old Republic's and Fallen Earth's crafting-for-people-who-hate-crafting systems, minus the former's companions, of course. Defiance's crafting processes normally cost a handful of arkfall resources (which are obtained via looting and equipment salvaging) and occasionally a bit of scrip.

I can't give you much advice here in terms of what to mod and what to salvage because honestly I'm still something of a newb and this is an impressions piece rather than a guide. I can tell you that Trion has a fun little minigame on its hands, but unfortunately for now it's hampered by a UI that offers next to nothing in the way of explanation.

Defiance - Salvage interface
Massively's not big on scored reviews -- what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That's why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn't our opinions?

This article was originally published on Massively.