The first thing to understand in Defiance is that there is more than one direction of progression. Progression is broken down into three areas: EGO Rating, EGO Points and Weapon Experience. EGO Rating unlocks new perk slots, dungeons and inventory slots, EGO Points unlocks perk and EGO powers, and Weapon Experience improves your skill with an individual weapon. Each of the three categories are connected in some ways but they do progress individually.
Your EGO Rating is kind of like an achievement score. As you finish the various perks, level up your weapons skills and gain EGO points, your EGO Rating will increase. As your EGO Rating increases you will unlock new perk slots on your character as well as open new matchmaking content. In general your EGO rating will be used as your “level” in Defiance.
New perk slots unlock at the following EGO Ratings: 20, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 (note: this may be tweaked for release). This may seem a bit daunting when you start the game but don’t get discouraged, once you get into finishing pursuits your EGO Rating will really start jumping.
Advancing your EGO Rating has other benefits besides just unlocking perks. As your EGO Rating increases you will unlock new instanced content.
Tip: Be aware of the combat pursuits while progressing through the game. In order to complete all of the combat pursuits you will need to use a variety of different weapons. The combat shotgun, bolt action sniper rifle, assault rifle and light machine gun are all core weapons of the combat pursuits. For each of these weapons you will need to kill 1000 enemies and reach level 10 with each of the four weapon types. While the rocket launcher may be fun it doesn’t help you to unlock any of the combat pursuits.
EGO Points are unlocked through general xp gain and are used to unlock new perk via the EGO grid. Where EGO Rating advances by completing pursuits EGO Points benefit most from completing events. So if you are ever points starved make sure to stay on the lookout for the various events happening throughout the world. Not just Arkfalls but, helping wounded soldiers and clearing roadblocks as well.
The flow of EGO Points stays fairly constant throughout the game. This is a good thing since the EGO grid is fairly large and each perk will take several points to max out and your main skill will take even more points on top of that.
Tip: Don’t be too concerned with getting EGO Points at the start of the game. The points will come over time, it is much more efficient to focus on increasing your EGO Rating and progressing the main storyline.
Weapon experience is specific to each specific weapon type and each individual weapon has an experience cap. Each time you level up a weapon type you gain a new benefit when using that weapon type. Leveling up your weapons give benefits like reduced recoil, reduced reload time, increased damage radius, increased elemental proc, etc. Weapon levels contribute to your EGO Rating so it is advised to make sure you are using an uncapped weapon.
Lets look a little bit closer at individual weapon experience. When any weapon reaches the experience cap you will gain a bonus stat for that weapon. The bonus stat is usually nice but since it prevents you from gaining anymore weapon experience it is advised to get a new weapon, unless of course you have maxed out your level for that particular weapon type.
Vehicle experience is handled in much the same manner as weapon experience. The main difference is that vehicles do not have an individual experience cap. So if you want to level up your vehicles simply head out into the world for a nice leisurely drive. (note: Vehicle levels do not increase your EGO rating)
Tip: There are lots of different weapon types in defiance, some are very similar but be aware of the difference. If you want to skill up your bolt action sniper rifle make sure you don’t have a semi-automatic sniper rifle equipped. The two weapons may seem similar but each has their own category. The same is true for combat shotguns and pump action shotguns.
There is a synergy between the three areas of progression but each area should be considered as its own entity. For the most part all three will increase steadily as you play the game no matter what your playstyle is but, if you really want to get the most out of your Defiance experience, take the time to understand how the three types of progression differ and how you can best optimize your play experience.