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Free-to-play shoot-n'-looter Defiance 2050 launches July

Defying entropy itself

Despite being tied into TV show of questionable quality, MMO shooter Defiance wasn't half bad, offering similar kicks to Borderlands, but with with more solid combat and guns that feel designed by human hands instead of being cobbled together mostly at random. It's relaunching this July 10th (with an open beta scheduled for June 22nd-25th) under name Defiance 2050. Redesigned as free-to-play from the ground up, and leveraging a somewhat beefier engine that's less prone to cropping scenery, enemies and players out of existence.

I got to play a little bit of Defiance 2050 in one of its recent open beta events. Despite claims that it's set several years after the initial release, this is the same game, with exactly the same story-beats, cutscenes and all that jazz, although it does feel a little more polished and plagued by significantly less pop-in. Some of 2050's technical improvements are immediately visible, with an early tutorial mission throwing dozens of enemies at you simultaneously.

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One thing that will be changing is the class system. The original Defiance had a fairly woolly and directionless character progression framework, while 2050 looks to split up the old skill tree (and expand chunks of it) into four distinct classes, which you can see in the dev update below. Rather cheekily, everyone in the new release will start out as an Assault - closest to the original game's progression - but three more specialised classes can be unlocked through grind or real money.

There will apparently be some small perks (including transfer of some account-level upgrades) if you played the original Defiance, but you're going to have to roll a new character when you make the hop. I'm interested to see if they're retained all of the TV show crossover quests - hopefully - or whether they've been excised in favour of further integration of the DLC missions and zones from the original. I'll hopefully be giving this one a quick shakedown when it launches next month.

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Defiance 2050 is out on July 10th, with a three-day head start for those buying one of the Founders packs on Steam here, and an open beta scheduled for June 22nd-25th. The original Defiance is still free-to-play, and there are apparently no plans to shut it down any time soon.

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