I reached a milestone in Defiance today. I attained a 250 EGO rating. Along with the boost to my RL ego, this opened up the Contract system in the game.
A contract is basically a daily or weekly mission that is tied to a particular corporation. Completion of these contracts award what could be called reputation, but is really just another form of in-game currency. Each of the businesses (factions) has it's own reputation (currency) that can be used to purchase stuff from their store. I don't want to go into the companies here since I really don't know much about them yet, but the bottom line is, you get money for fulfilling the contract.
Since I wasn't too sure about this feature, but wanted to give it a shot, I chose the first contract on the list – Vision for the Future from Von Bach Industries. This turns out to be a collection quest in the Delta Bunker. I did not see such a bunker on the map so I headed to the wiki and discovered this was in a co-op mission. Now things were getting really interesting – I had not participated in a co-op mission yet, so it would be a day of firsts…
I entered the queue for the mission, and after waiting about a minute, I was teleported to the instance. There were 11 steps to the mission, ranging from freeing prisoners to turning off sentry guns, and I ran with 3 other players. There were plenty of ammo crates spread around so no one was worried about running out of bullets and I switched between my LMG and my BMG so I could keep people topped off with shields and health (as usual, I like playing a healer).
A few times it got messy and someone had to be revived, but it was a fun and varied instance – even if it was a bit weird not having much communication with my team mates (the chat system still needs a lot of work). I didn't see any explicit drops of the optical targeting sights, but I did get credit for collecting them.
The final boss fight as with a BioMan named Piercer who was using adrenaline to pump himself up. We had more revives here, but there was no question that the four of us would take him down.
One thing that was confusing after the conclusion of the instance was that I was not removed from the group automatically. Make sure that after you do an instance with random people, you go to the quick menu and leave the group manually.
On the whole, I enjoyed the co-op mission. Like most individual missions I've run across, there is a variety of things that have to be accomplished to reach completion. There may be a sub-quest that asks you to kill ten mutants or something, but it is part of a larger chain and seems relevant to what you are actually doing. This gives me hope that Defiance has learned from the mistakes of other MMOs, but I've only gotten to 250 EGO, so there is a lot of game left.
Edit: As of patch 1.013, only 175 EGO rating is needed to run Contracts.