Dark Zone – Gear Score Separation
With the introduction of gear score in Update 1.1 came the separation in the Dark Zone based on your score. There are now two Dark Zone instances; 0-160 gear score and 161+ gear score. This gives players who are still leveling up a better chance at playing with others at their level. The downside is that 161+ gear score covers a very wide range of players. This means that the gear score level ranges from 161-240 for players in this zone. At around gear score 190+, players become exponentially stronger than players with a lower gear score. If separation in the Dark Zone is going to remain in the game, it definitely needs to be fine tuned.
Dark Zone – Item and Supply Drops
Named enemies and Dark Zone chests that require keys always drop high-end gear. This helps players get better gear who have been trying to complete their builds (including me). It has definitely helped my build quite a bit, but the drops soon became saddening. It only took about a day to get the needed items, until the majority of drops became scrap-worthy. It is a very low chance to get items better than players already have, even though high-end drops are found everywhere.
This also made the newly introduced Supply Drops something to pass up. Most of the time, players only get two purple (one tier under high-end) pieces of loot after opening a supply drop. This seems very strange, as supply drops can only be opened once per drop. There is in fact a chance to get a piece of the Path of the Nomad gear set, but the chance seems to be too low to make supply drops worth it. We’d return to their normal farm route to get guaranteed high-end gear. Supply drops should at the least, always drop better high-end gear than normal and have a chance to get a gear set piece. This would definitely make them more sought after.
Dark Zone – Hackers (Cheaters)
There have been a noticeable increase in the amount of hackers being seen all throughout the Dark Zone. This has made the Dark Zone a more worrisome area, but for the wrong reasons. Seeing players teleport from one spot to another and one-shot you and your friends, has turned a number of us away from playing in The Dark Zone. The Division developer Massive Entertainment added a way to report offenders by typing in /report in Update 1.1. but this method has been seemingly ineffective and players aren’t given feedback to know if their report went through. For now, going to the Ubisoft Support page is the only real option to report players.
Dark Zone – Blueprints
The Division’s latest patch notes mentioned that the requirements to buy blueprints will be dropped to DZ level 40 at the maximum. This has proven to be false and there are in fact blueprints for DZ levels 50, 75, and 90 as well. Now it’s time to grind up again to get changes at more and better gear. This can also be difficult seeing as there are more cheaters and people with much better gear. Many others who need to level up may feel the same pain and could come down to more fine tuning in the Dark Zone.
It costs much more to craft since Update 1.1, which is forcing players to rely on drops throughout the game. This was an intended change since crafting was seemingly the only way to actually get good gear. The problem is that more drops does not always equal higher quality drops. There are still players who want to craft items but have troubles with it due to the higher crafting costs. It requires more grinding to get the materials needed just for one attempt. Crafting is very RNG (random number generator) based and the gear is likely to be bad 9 out of 10 tries. With this in mind, just being able to craft an item once or twice is a pretty big gamble. There are more high-end drops to find, namely in the Dark Zone, but that still requires a lot of grinding. Granted, things shouldn’t just be given to the players without any effort put forth, but there should be some extra balance in their coming patch for crafting.
Falcon Lost Incursion
The new Incursion called “Falcon Lost” has gotten a lot of negative feedback for being uneventful and lacking the creativity that players were eager to see. Falcon Lost is based underground and takes place in a large room with an APC in the back. Players have to fend off 15 waves of enemies while placing a bomb on the APC every 5 rounds. That’s the gist of the entire Incursion. Sit in a corner while covering all sides, dodging missiles, defeating enemies, and placing bombs on the APC. It doesn’t offer many other ways to play through the mission. At the least, there should be different ways to fight the APC, different areas to defend, etc. My group found that a corner of the room was the most beneficial to win, where we only left to place the bomb or get ammo. If certain areas of the room became lit on fire or a more hostile environment inhabited by enemies, possibly broken down from environment damage, there would be more strategy required to beat the Incursion. Forcing the players to stay on the move or make the mission more interesting would increase the replay value. If Massive Entertainment went the route of more Destiny-style raids, players could be more interested.
There have been many exploits found over the course of The Division since it launched. The number of exploits found seemed to multiply after Update 1.1. The Incursion was able to be completed with ease and the weekly reward could be earned every time it was completed. There are other exploits found along the way as well. Massive is doing what they can to fix the known exploits, but more are being found. The issue of exploits needs to be a huge focus before any further strides can be made.
Gear score was added to items that are level 30 and up to help show how good or bad an item really is. The problem with this system is that higher gear score doesn’t always mean the item itself is actually better. The stats could have a higher chance of being better when it’s being crafted, but it could most definitely be worse than a piece of gear that has a lower gear score. Gear score should be given to an item after it has been crafted to more accurately show the state of the item itself. Instead of having a set gear score, items could have something like; Gear Score 180-191, then the actual score is given after the item is crafted. Same goes for if an item is picked up instead of crafted.
The Division is in dire need of balancing, changes, fixes, and engaging and strategic content. Given this is Massive Entertainment’s first attempt at a game like this, I’m more inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. It is a learning experience for everyone. If the game is played the way it’s meant to be played, it’s actually still fun! While the Incursion is pretty dull, it was still fun to play with a group of friends. Beating the Incursion (without exploits) and building my character while getting better loot felt so rewarding, fighting without exploiters in the Dark Zone is still very fun, and in general playing with friends is still exhilarating. Give the game a real chance with a clear mind, and you’ll see that The Division is still a fun game and has a lot of potential. Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment, please don’t fail us.
All images taken from Tom Clancy’s The Division are property of Ubisoft.