Can xDefiant Teach An Old Dog New Tricks? – Part 1: The Setup

Can xDefiant Teach An Old Dog New Tricks? - Part 1: The Setup

Multiplayer Shooters and I have a long history, but not much of a recent one. My first experience in the multiplayer realm was eight-player Doom 2 matches on the school network when the teachers thought we were studying. Playing with mates on those old 486 computers was honestly a highlight of my schooling years. From there, tech moved on into the online realm and I followed the humble FPS eagerly. This led to the biggest war in gaming history. Forget Xbox and Playstation or even SEGA and Nintendo. In the late 90s and early 2000s, there was only one video game battleground. That was Quake 3 vs Unreal Tournament and with this war came the true birth of the online shooter. 

Doom 2

I was firmly in the latter camp, the Flak cannon, my weapon of choice. Long afternoons and evenings were spent honing my skills on the Gamespy servers. Being an Aussie I had to fight the 300+ ping as well (hence the Flak cannon) but that didn’t stop me. I loved the hell out of that game. Coincidently enough, It was also the last time I was genuinely good at a competitive FPS. That isn’t to say I didn’t keep playing them. My next love in that space was a game that really introduced the concept to the masses, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Once again, I played a lot of it, but at that stage of my life, the real world had begun to take priority over gaming time so I couldn’t dedicate the time to it like I had with Unreal Tournament. As a result, I was a solid player, not a spectacular one. 

Unreal Tournament

This trend continued for quite some time. I would grab COD, dive into the multiplayer and get to a point where I was a middle-of-the-road player. I wouldn’t win the team the match, but I certainly wouldn’t lose it for them either. On the side, I would dabble in other things like Battlefield or Halo, but generally, COD was my jam. At least until it wasn’t. I am not quite sure when it happened, I feel like it was probably around the same time COD went into the future. But for whatever reason, I just stopped playing multiplayer shooters at that point and took my online time in a more PvE direction. All of a sudden Horde, The Division and Destiny held my attention. Working with other players, not against them was more appealing to me. 

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

That isn’t to say I didn’t try. But without the time and my inevitable slowing reflexes (I am, after all, in my 40s now) I could never fully commit and dive back into the competitive world. That is, until now. As something of an experiment, I have decided to see if this old man can once again climb to competency in the realm of online shooters. To put it in terms that the kids will understand. I am going to see if I can “git gud.” To do that, I am going to jump into Ubisoft’s new F2P shooter, xDefiant. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Why xDefiant? Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, it’s shiny and new, meaning there should be a few more rookies online and the playing field may be a little gentler. The second reason is, I played a bit of it during the beta and found it to be very similar in feel to Call of Duty: Black Ops, something I can certainly appreciate. I also like that xDefiant has no Deathmatch mode and focuses on team objectives, something that will surely help me look better as a player. Finally, I am choosing xDefiant because I can play it across PC and console while keeping my progress. This will allow me to see if my platform of choice has any influence on how I perform. 


So how will this experiment work? Well, I have already set myself a base mark by playing a few matches. Let’s just say it is a very low bar to cross. Of the 5 matches I played, I was dead last on the leaderboard for four of them (though 3/5 I had the highest score for playing the objective, which is interesting.) Essentially, the only way is up, right? So with that in mind, I am going to play for one hour a day, for two weeks and see what improvements have been made. Once my two weeks are up, I will report in and see if it is indeed possible to fight age and slow reflexes to climb the mountain once again. 


So folks, stay tuned and see if this old dog can learn new tricks. If you want to join in on the journey, you can simply download xDefiant and add me (Hewso on Ubisoft Connect) as a friend. Jump in for a match, show me how bad I am or maybe even take on the challenge yourself. Either way, come back in two weeks to see how it all turned out. Will I be a dominant slayer or just another easy kill for younger and more committed players? 

Only time will tell. 

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