Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Defiance Beginner's Guide - Arkfalls


So once again, granted, this may be a bit late, and most of you folks that stop by probably know everything I'm putting out here already.  But it does seem like more people are purchasing Defiance and checking the game out, so I'm hopeful that at least some of this may be useful.  Arkfalls, unlike the weapon modification system, are actually pretty straightforward.  But there are some finer points to them, and there are certainly plenty of opportunities for confusion when the skies darken, the wind blows, and red icons start popping up across your map, so hopefully this will get you on the right track and have you rackin' up the damage numbers like a pro!  Or, if nothing else, at least allow you to have a good time.


What's an Arkfall
Well in the lore of the game, it's this:  Currently, in orbit about our transformed earth, are the shattered remains and husks of fleets of ships that brought several alien races to our planet some thirty years ago.  These alien races are referred to collectively as the Votanus Collective.  They were, themselves, fleeing there own solar system, where their homeworlds were destroyed by some solar catastrophy, and so their ships were known as Arks.  As the orbits of the remains of these ships decay, entire pieces of them plunge to the earth, and these are referred to as Arkfalls, and represent huge opportunities for scavengers and collectors such as you and I - Ark Hunters, to reap the rewards.

From a game mechanic's standpoint, they represent giant, collective, dynamice PvE experiences where you work with everyone in the zone to defeat the creatures and entities that spring up out of the ground, drawn by the cascading chunks of alien technology crashing into the earth.  If you ever played Rift, ArkFalls are strongly reminiscent of those events, and as it's the same development studio that built both games, it's a good bet they are built upon most of the same underlying technology.

Arkfall spotted!  Moving out!
The first indication that you'll probably see of an arkfall occurring is an arkfall indicator showing up right in your HUD.  You'll want to tap 'M' immediately and bring up your map when you see one of those.  Arkfalls come in two varieties - Minor and Major.  If you only see a single arkfall marker on your map, then it's just a minor fall.  Head on over, they're still great for experience and loot drops.  If you see a giant red circle on your map and a multitude of arkfall markers within it - that's a Major Arkfall.  A Major Arkfall is essentially a collection of minor arkfalls for the first part.  Once all of the minor arkfalls are completed (successfully), a final, grandiose arkfall event will be generated.  More on that in a bit.

Major Arkfall in Mount Tam
Minor Arkfalls
Minor arkfalls come in a couple of different varieties.  As you approach the arkfall, check out the objective at the top - that will tell you how much time is left on that particular arkfall, and what you have to do.  One of the variations is Defeat the Waves of Hellbugs.  That's a pretty straightforward objective and easy one to complete.  Just stand around, and destroy everything that moves.

By far though, the most common minor arkfall you'll encounter in Mount Tam and Madera is the Destroy the Crystal objective.  The objective here, obviously, is to destroy the crystal.

Shoot this thing!
The key here though, is shoot the blisters!  The blisters will appear at the side of the crystal, and only last for a short time.  Circle the crystal, dodge and roll as necessary, and empty your clip into each one of those blisters as they appear.

Don't be one of those guys that just stands back lobbing grenades at the crystal.  First, you'll do far more damage by actually shooting the crystal blisters than hitting it with rockets and sticky bombs.  And second, splash damage from grenades kills the scitterlings, which is the second most important thing to know:

Don't kill the skitterlings!  They bite the crystal and create the blisters.  The more skitterlings, the more blisters, and so the faster the crystal will go down.  So leave 'em alone!  Everywhere else, of course, you should blow them away merrily.

There are other varieties of minor arkfalls as well.  Later on, you'll encounter one that is associated with the raiders.  For that one, you want to gun down the rocket launcher guys.  They will drop their rocket launcher, which you then pick up and use against the crystal for a few shots.  Rinse and repeat until crystal is destroyed.  I'm sure there are even more later on. The key is to find the trick, and use it.

Major Arkfalls
When you enter the area of a major arkfall - you'll know it!  The sky darkens, and hot cinders blow across the sky!  Remember Arkfalls are timed events -  each minor arkfall is timed, as is the major arkfall.  For the major arkfalls, they've fixed the rewards system, so you are pretty much guaranteed a green and a blue weapon at the conclusion of the event.  So besides in general just being a ton of fun, they are worth your while.  When you see one, jump on your vehicle and join the caravan!

Arkfall Convoy!
The final event of a major arkfall is divided into multiple stages.  It essentially goes like this.  During the first stage, the giant, sluglike Hellion erupts out of the ground.  It is ringed by many mouths, and you want to shoot the mouths.  Put away your shotgun, and get out something with some range.

Start by shooting the mouths
During phase 2, a Giant Hellbug Hellion will appear - it's essentially a giant wasp.  You'll want to focus damage on it like crazy.

The Mature Hellion
By now, you've probably noticed that all of the hellbugs have a sweet spot - a crack in their carapace.  In fact, all of the mobs in Defiance that I've encountered so far at least have critical hit areas.  The Hellion is no different, but it can be tricky getting into position to shoot it without getting blasted about by the various other hellbugs, or by the Hellion itself.

Shoot the Hellion in the underside of its tail!
Once you've done enough damage to the Hellion, it retreats back into the Behemoth.  Now you'll need to dps down the various mobs around, and specifically, kill the Monarchs that will appear.  At least one will appear at this time, but there may be more.

Defeat the Monarchs
Once you've defeated the Monarchs, the Hellion will appear one final time.  Again, focus fire on it's tail - use everything you have, and when it goes down, the event is over!

She's gonna blow!
Final Tips
A couple of other tidbits that are good to know for arkfalls, and for that matter the game in general.

Turn on Damage Numbers
If you haven't already, go to your options screen, choose gameplay options, and turn on damage numbers.  Besides the fact that seeing those numbers roll off is just plain more satisfying, the color of the numbers tells you you're hitting the sweet spots of mobs.  Critical hits are in yellow, normal damage in white.  Getting those sweet spots can be tricky if you're at an angle, so you want that feedback.

Get the Hell Out of your Vehicle!
This is probably one of the more noobish things many people do - drive around arkfalls trying to smash bugs or run into crystals with their cars.  It's a bad idea for a variety of reasons.  First, any mobs you kill with the vehicle don't drop loot, and don't give experience - so you're depriving not only yourself, but  everyone else at the arkfall of the opportunity for loot and experience.  Any mob hit by anyone with gunfire has the potential to drop loot for that person - unless the mob is killed by a vehicle.  Furthermore, especially at the minor arkfalls, squashing skitterlings with the vehicles is counter-productive!  You don't want to kill the skitterlings as that's what allows you to down the crystal faster!  And finally, it's just bloody annoying - giant vehicles roaming back and forth blocking everyone's line of site and messing up their shots and aiming.  So don't be that guy (or girl)!  Get out of your vehicle at the events, and start unloading your clips!

And that's pretty much Arkfalls in a nutshell!  Hope it helps, and see you in game!