Defiance 2050 left me confused. It's not that the game is so complex or opaque that the mechanics left me befuddled, not at all. Rather, I'm confused about the reason for Defiance 2050's existence. I beta tested the original Defiance back in 2013 and played from day one all the way up until the game went free-to-play, and with my several hours with 2050, I've found no changes warranting a separate release.
Now, Defiance 2050 is billed as a sequel taking place following the events of the previous title, with mechanical and technical improvements so drastic that character imports are impossible. However, when booting up the beta for the first time, I had to quit and check whether I didn't accidentally download the old game's client. Defiance 2050, at least upon launch, won't be a sequel. This is a re-release with minimally, and I mean minimally better graphics.
See, the actual content of 2050 is, at least for now, identical to that of Defiance. The game starts on the New Freedom stratocarrier, which crashed near Mount Tam, and you, an Arkhunter, must find your boss Von Braun who's after advanced ark-tech. The progression, the UI, the quests, the gameplay - quite literally everything is identical, 1:1, to Defiance. Graphically speaking, I had to pull up comparison shots to see the difference (though this may be due to me having played the previous title years ago) and even with a side-by-side comparison, the improvement is negligible.
The only noticeable difference 2050 offers so far is a different character creator, which introduces classes. The Castithan race has been added to the Human and Irathient from the previous game, and classes have replaced "origins". In the previous game, everything in the character creator was cosmetic only, and there was only one "class" if you can even call it that. In the beta for Defiance 2050, only one class was available, the Assault, which basically amounts to that one archetype from the previous game, so we haven't exactly gained any insight into how the other classes will differ, if at all.
Beyond this prospect of a meaningful class system, right now Defiance 2050 has nothing to motivate existing players to switch over. Presumably, that 'sequel' content will be coming later on after 2050 launches, but right now with no character transfers, you need to throw away potentially hundreds of hours of progress and buy a new game simply for a barely noticeable graphical upgrade. Having grinded through everything you've already achieved? It isn't an attractive prospect.
What the beta did tell me about Defiance 2050, is that Trion is clearly aiming for new audiences with this part-sequel, part-remaster instead of bringing existing players over to the new title. Defiance 2050 will also be launching on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which could be another reason why Trion decided to make this a separate release instead of an update or expansion for Defiance.
Defiance 2050 launches Summer 2018.