If you watch Defiance, the Syfy sci-fi show, you might see a wanted poster in the background. If you peer closely, you might see the image of the character model of a player who won a contest in the online game. That’s not really much of a prize. By my count, that contest winner still has 14 minutes and 58 seconds of fame coming to him. If you want that coveted spot in season two, what are you doing reading this post? You’ve got your work cut out for you:
The ten Ark Hunters who complete the most Major Arkfall events between July 8 (10am PDT) and July 30 (10am PDT) will compete for a chance to have their character written onto the show. These ten semifinalists will be fleshed out with a backstory written by the show’s writing staff, which will be featured on Facebook, where Defiance fans will choose their five favorites. From this pool of five finalists, a member of the Defiance team will select the final winner to appear in season two of Defiance.
Never mind that the writers of the show are going to come up with the backstory for someone else’s character, and that it’s going to be consigned to Facebook. And never mind that appearing on a wanted poster is a pretty poor excuse for crossover. I certainly didn’t believe any of the transmedia bill of goods we were sold about the game affecting the show in any meaningful way. That’s just not how TV works.
What bothers me about this whole thing is the actual contest. There is no way on God’s green earth that you or I stand a chance to be among the top ten players who do the most major arkfalls before the end of the month. I simply don’t have that kind of time and I seriously doubt you do either. This contest is only for hardcore fans with hardcore catass levels of commitment. Major arkfalls are time-consuming exercises that involve standing in a mob of swarming players all shooting at a massive bag of hit points until it pops, at which point you get not much of a reward. It’s one of the least interesting ways to play Defiance.
If Trion had instead framed the contest as a drawing among people who completed major arkfalls, I could see myself popping online to do arkfalls a few times in the next month. More importantly, the committed but not quite hardcore enough fans might actually care about the contest, because they would have a chance of winning. There’s a reason people play lotteries, buy raffle tickets, and enter drawings. Whereas the best contests sell hope, Trion simply demands grinding.