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I'm afraid the answer is yes. It's a long process the first time you install the game. Since release, this time has been considerably lessened, but I recommend you have something else to do while it's going.
Don't let this deter you from getting the game, though. It's a blast and there's more content coming in the near future.
This was just posted today, nothing with specific time frames or anything, but it will give you an idea of where Trion stands with the game.
I was actually surprised how fast the patching process went. As of October 3rd, it only took about an hour and 10 min for me to install the game and have it patch fully to play. Also when you install this game, don't do it through the xbox dashboard, go into the game and it will promt you to install. Installing took about 18 mintues if the timer was right. Then the patching took the rest of the time. My average DL speed was prolly around 8-10MBS.
Also, it might have been less then an hour and 10min, I was just watching tv while it patched and at that time I happened to switch over and see how it was going and it was done. The defiance game is showing 6.9 GB total in my xbox storage