Ever since it was revealed by Ubisoft, Tom Clancy’s The Division looked like an ambitious online multiplayer shooter that would also allow lone wolf type players into the mix. A post-apocalyptic New York City serves as a backdrop for a biological disaster, where once ordinary citizens have turned freedom fighters to take back the city. Early experiences with the beta have had fans describe The Division as offering what they hoped Destiny was going to.
The potential for The Division to be played both cooperatively and alone allows it to appeal to an even wider scope of gamer. It’s no surprise that the title quickly became one of the first most eagerly anticipated games of the year after a series of impressive gameplay reveals. Players were able to whet their appetites during the beta sessions, which only added to the excitement. Would Ubisoft be prepared for just how many would be looking forward to playing the game on day one? It seems perhaps not. While many Australian players didn’t seem to suffer any problems, not long after Americans were able to launch the game, the real issues started to surface and no one could play the game.
Players who loaded the game as soon as they could were bitterly disappointed. Ubisoft and The Division had fallen at the first hurdle of always-online games at launch, the servers crashed. Each time a player was unable to establish a connection to the server, they would receive an error code. The most common one eventually earned its own subreddit as well as its hashtag on Twitter. So if you wanted to try and scour social media to see what people’s first impressions of The Division were, you would be confronted by an unexpected phrase – #FuckMike.
Fans were understandably surprised at this kind of day one outage, as it’s not like Ubisoft is a little studio trying to throw a little fish of a game into the big pond. This is a big AAA blockbuster with an equally big marketing budget behind it that’s been tested online on multiple occasions. Alas, it doesn’t seem to matter who you are, nearly every company is vulnerable to technical difficulties and server trouble.
so i heard the guys over at bungie sent an operative named mike to destroy all the servers at ubisoft GG Mike #fuckmike— skuz one (@skuz_one) March 8, 2016
The most infuriating thing for players is the lack of any communication from Ubisoft themselves. Just when American players started to attempt to load up their games for the first time, the PlayStation US Twitter page posted a Q&A with the makers of the game. The responses to the post were quite predictable with many stating that they had their own question, why couldn’t they play the game on launch day? It took two hours before Ubisoft responded to the launch issues which isn’t acceptable. The game’s official Twitter page posted:
2 hours ago, there was a Ubisoft services outage. This issue has now been resolved and players should be able to resume playing the game.— The Division (@TheDivisionGame) March 8, 2016
By that time though, the majority of American players who had been bogged down by the problems likely had to go to bed and missed their opening launch night window.
Unfortunately, this is not the only issue that has bugged The Division’s launch. According to VG247, some PC users who have downloaded the latest Nvidia drivers have reported problems. The drivers are supposed to offer optimizations specifically for The Division and Need For Speed but posts on Reddit and NeoGaf state it is causing blue screens, black screens and in some cases stopping Windows from booting up. Nvidia don’t know why this is happening and advise users to uninstall the drivers in safe mode.
Is this the kind of thing that prevents gaming from entering an always online, digital games only future? Many are surprised a company like Ubisoft could be caught so off guard by this. Maybe no company, regardless of its size is safe from these kind of issues. Are there still substantial limitations in technology that stop a flawless launch of an online game this size?
Ubisoft has now posted on their forum that all issues have been resolved. Here’s hoping so as The Division is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.