This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity.World of Warcraft year. In 2007, when 'The Burning Crusade' came out, the game clicked with me and it became almost the only thing I played for months on end, to the point where I started raiding with an up-and-coming guild. I know many other people who've had that year, with WoW or some other massively multiplayer game, before they lost interest, burnt out, or continued out of habit more than joy. In the last year or so, I've tried several massively-multiplayer role-playing games – Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World – and couldn't find that magic again. I could admire the design, but quickly lost interest in playing them. I was starting to think I'd never really like a massively multiplayer game again – and then, on a whim, I decided to check out Defiance.
Defiance is the main game I've been playing for two weeks now, and this may continue. It's not that it's less flawed than the other MMORPGs, but instead that the parts of the game that it focuses on hold much more appeal to me. To put it another way: Most games within this genre are focused on combat, and Defiance's combat is significantly more fun for me than its competitors'.