The premiere of Season 2 of Defiance on Syfy heralded the beginning of a rapid content release schedule for the Defiance Team here at Trion Worlds. Our designers are working day and night to get the game’s first map addition, Silicon Valley, ready to launch in the coming weeks. One of the upcoming gameplay mechanics introduced with this major update is encryption, a new approach to upgrading equipment while improving the overall item chase of Defiance.
Weapons and shields that are looted after the Silicon Valley world expansion launches may drop as an encrypted item, a status which buffs damage or capacity while preventing rarity upgrades via the Salvage Matrix. For more details about this new mechanic, Creative Lead Trick Dempsey and Senior Producer Rich “Phantasie” Barnes have addressed core questions about encryption and what it means for Defiance and its community.
What is encryption?
Encryption is a new modifier being added to weapons and shields. Ark hunters will encounter dropped equipment that is marked as “Encrypted” in their details window. These items are advanced to the point that they can no longer be fully upgraded using the Salvage Matrix. Encrypted weapons have a 3% boost to their damage and encrypted shields have a 3% boost to capacity, but they cannot have their rarity increased in the Salvage Matrix. These items have reached the maximum level of technological advancement which the Salvage Matrix can achieve.
A weapon or shield will also become encrypted when its rarity is increased in the Salvage Matrix. When a piece of equipment’s rarity is upgraded in the Salvage Matrix, its rarity is increased by one tier (as players have already experienced in the current version of the game). The equipment also gains the encrypted modifier on its details window. Additionally, while an encrypted item’s EGO rating can still be increased, its rarity tier cannot be increased any further.
Defiance as a game centers on a diverse loot chase, defined as defeating challenging foes and the good feeling of picking up their bigger and better weapons, shields, and other equipment so you can defeat even more challenging foes. The previous incarnation of rarity upgrades via the Salvage Matrix undercut much of that excitement by allowing for any item to essentially become infinitely upgradeable. Encryption helps to restore the thrill of the chase while still providing an impactful benefit for upgrading an item’s rarity.
Who will encryption affect?
Starting with the launch of the Silicon Valley world expansion, new weapons and shields will have a chance to drop as either an encrypted or an unencrypted version. All of your current legendary weapons and shields will become encrypted so you can gain the damage and capacity bonuses, respectively. All of your weapons and shields of epic or lower tiers will be considered unencrypted. We decided against retroactively setting all rarity-upgraded weapons and shields already in the game as encrypted because that measure felt very punitive to us as players and that isn’t the purpose of this new mechanic.
When will encryption be introduced?
Encryption will be added to Defiance with the launch of the Silicon Valley world expansion which we expect to launch in the next few weeks to dovetail with the Season 2 plotline of the Syfy television series. We have also made changes to our Public Test Server that will make major updates like this one easier to deploy earlier in advance of them going live. Look for the full Silicon Valley world expansion, including encryption, on the Public Test Server soon!
In our June 4 update, one the Salvage Matrix functions we added was the ability for players to upgrade an item’s rarity tier by using arkforge. Arkforge can be earned from in-game events and purchased from the Bit Store. After approximately two months of monitoring how the rarity upgrade system was used, we found that the loot chase was largely gone because of infinitely upgradeable equipment and this ease of access to legendary rarity weapons and shields has reduced player engagement.
Our priority is to make Defiance the best game possible, and after reviewing the data we see fewer players purchasing lockboxes with both our in-game currency and Bits. And as we dig through this data from the past 2 months we realize the mistake we made: our introduction of essentially unlimited rarity upgrades removed the item chase from the game for many of our players.
This is change is not solely about revenue – but at same time we make no secret about it: Defiance is a business – and to be a successful business we need to ensure that our gameplay systems are fun and that they encourage long term play and enjoyment. While not all players may agree with this change, we hope you appreciate our transparency in communicating the rationale behind it. You have asked for us to be upfront with you about the reasons for changes; this is an example of us doing so.
Is there an opportunity for community feedback and questions about encryption?
Yes, we’ve moved the livestream planned for this past Friday to Wednesday, July 30 so that we can collect your questions about encryption from the forums and answer them. This change is undoubtedly going to generate feedback and we’re open to hearing it.
It’s been a nonstop month for the team and the Silicon Valley world expansion is nearly ready for public testing. We’ll be sure to announce when it reaches the Public Test Server so that intrepid ark hunters can explore the landmass addition early and provide feedback on the new content and mechanics the update introduces. Looking forward to seeing you in (what remains of) the valley!
The Defiance Team