Although it’s only been out for a month, Ubisoft and Massive’s highly anticipated third-person shooter Tom Clancy’s The Division has already received its fair share of controversy. Like Destiny before it, that other super popular looter shooter, gamers have shown their passion both for and against the decisions the developers have made.
Those passions led to numerous discussions online and on social media about the changes players have been hoping to see in the game. Fortunately, many of the requested changes will see the light of day next week when Massive releases the first major update to The Division, patch 1.1, which releases Tuesday, April 12th. But of course, with the wheat comes the chaff, as the update will also introduce a couple changes that have already sparked heated frustration threads across the web.
With so much coming with the update, let’s start with the positive additions and changes coming to The Division. Then we’ll review the controversial changes that have many gamers frustrated.
Incursion: The Division’s First Raid
Players following The Division’s developments closely since its release should be familiar with the biggest addition coming with the 1.1 patch: Incursions. Incursions, in essence, are like the raids gamers played in Destiny. Four players on a team will work together to take on a host of incredibly difficult enemies, all for the goal of acquiring powerful gear and weapons.
The first incursion, known as Falcon Lost, will be released with patch 1.1. Based on comments made from the game’s developers in recent days, chances are good it will take most players numerous tries and multiple hours to complete. Along with this incursion comes three new named weapons, two of which can be acquired with this patch, while the third can be found when patch 1.2 releases sometimes in the future.
Another major addition to The Division is gear sets. These gear sets will be special types of gear that when worn together (four or more pieces from a set), will give a players special skills that will boost a particular play-style. Naturally, these special skills will give said players a leg up on the battlefield, both against AI characters and fellow players. Once the patch drops on Tuesday, these gear sets will be the top prize sought by many players in the game.
The four gear sets and descriptions are:
- “Tactician’s Authority” – enhances electronics and support capabilities
- “Striker’s Battlegear” – provides bonuses for assault capabilities
- “Sentry’s Call” – enhances marksman capabilities
- “Path of the Nomad” – provides bonuses for lone wanderers
Along with gear sets is a new form of leveling called Gear Score. Once players reach the level cap of 30 in the main game, their level will be replaced with a Gear Score. Gear Score is determined by the type and quality of armor a player has. Little is currently known about how Gear Score will be decided, but in a recent State of the Game video, Massive developers revealed that a Gear Score of 160 will require players to have almost all high-end powerful gear. Video footage seems to point to a Gear Score cap of 210, but that won’t be confirmed until the update releases on Tuesday.
The final new activity coming to The Division with patch 1.1 is daily and weekly assignments. These will be separate from the daily missions already a part of the game, and will task players with unique responsibilities from killing particular groups of AI characters to crafting certain weapons or gear. Some assignments can be completed solo, while others will require players to work with other players, and each will provide rewards that will be very useful to players.
Think of these as bounties (another comparison to Destiny) since that’s essentially what they are, with the main user-friendly difference being that they don’t have to be held or acquired like inventory (that’s how they’re handled in Destiny). The assignments reload daily, and the weekly ones reset every Tuesday. They’re treated like transmissions sent to you from the in-game personal computer assistant, hence the labeling of the assignments as Operation ISAC.
Dark Zone Supply Drops
The Division’s PvP arena, known as the Dark Zone, is in for an exciting addition with Dark Zone Drops, where periodic supply drops (every hour) will be made in the Dark Zone carrying highly sought after weapons and gear. And this gear (it includes all types), unlike all other gear loot in the DZ, doesn’t need to be extracted since it’s non-contaminated.
Naturally, this will drive players from all over the map to descend on the spot of the drop and battle it out for the packaged loot. It also can lead to players waiting around for a supply drop only to not get any rewards. While the premise sounds promising, it isn’t hard to recognize the danger in seeking these drops in the Dark Zone. Many players have already discovered that with the right setup they can be nearly indestructible against other players in the Dark Zone. These well-geared players will undoubtedly be among those fighting for the drop loot, which may deter others from seeking the drop for themselves. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out when the patch releases next week.
Introduction of Player Trading
While not everyone will have success in acquiring goods from the Dark Zone drops, there will be another way for players to get good gear and weapons while playing with friends after the 1.1 patch. Massive is finally introducing a restricted form of loot trading to the game that will allow players to pick items up, then drop them for their friends to grab instead. The system has been received well by players, despite the fact that it will have some limitations, though those limitations will hopefully keep The Division’s economy from going haywire.
When enemies drop gear, players in your group when the enemy was killed can trade amongst themselves. Players can drop any of that loot from their inventory, allowing their pals (again, in the same group at the time of the kill) to pick it up but this can only be done within two hours of that item being acquired.
Dark Zone Player Level Balancing
To make the Dark Zone a better experience for players, Massive is introducing a new bracket format for top level players who enter the Dark Zone. Currently, all players who have reached level 30 can be placed in the same Dark Zone, which is very troublesome for new level 30 players meeting level 30 players with high-end gear and perfected builds.
To help balance max level players, Massive is creating a new bracket breakdown for the Dark Zone PvP area. When the 1.1 update drops there will be two level 30 brackets instead of one, and players will be separated by Gear Score. The lower-end bracket will be for players under 160 Gear Score, while the other will be for those over 160 Gear Score.
In addition to the new activities and features coming with patch 1.1, The Division will also receive various fixes and updates that should make the overall experience better for players. One of the most notable changes is the manner in which players use the game’s various forms of currency for purchasing items. Until now, players were able to use both the regular in-game credits and Dark Zone credits to buy various weapons and gear along their path to endgame.
However, once players reached the level cap, both forms of currency were replaced with a new, harder to acquire currency called Phoenix Credits. Obtaining Phoenix Credits requires a lot of grinding and players were quick to complain about their growing credit and Dark Zone credit accounts, which became virtually useless. When the patch arrives next week, players will once again get to use standard and Dark Zone currencies to buy various high-end gear and weapons, with some of the best loot still requiring Phoenix Credits.
Additionally, players will no longer be required to grind their way to the ever out-of-reach level 50 in the Dark Zone to purchase weapon and gear blueprints from the Dark Zone vendors. Instead, vendor inventory will be locked behind a gradually increasing level requirement. Some Dark Zone vendor items will now be available at Dark Zone level 15, with better gear available at levels 25 and 40. Rumor has it there will be additional high quality gear and blueprints at Dark Zone levels 75 and 90.
- Superior (Purple) items: Rank 15 instead of 30
- High-End (Gold) level 30 (Gear Score 163): Rank 25 instead of 50
- High-End (Gold) level 31 (Gear Score 182): Rank 40 instead of 50
Massive shared another update coming to vendors with the update. Many of the high end weapons, gear, and mods currently tucked away with Dark Zone vendors will be moving to the Base of Operations. Massive hasn’t yet revealed which items will make the shift.
Crafting Improvements & Issues
Another positive comes from the type of materials required to craft the game’s best loot. Currently, most of the best craftable items in The Division require a special material called Division Tech which can only be found in a handful of special boxes in the Dark Zone, restocked every couple hours. With such a specific material in high demand, many players are rushing around the Dark Zone collecting (read: farming) as much Division Tech as they can. This leaves mostly empty boxes for the majority of players and ultimately keeps them from being able to craft the items they want while wasting their time.
On top of that, the game’s RNG (random number generator) system can make it difficult for players to get the exact talents and bonuses they want on a particular weapon or gear item. That means that even when players do acquire the needed Division Tech, there’s no guarantee they’ll get the item they want. Fortunately, the patch will remove the Division Tech requirement from many craftable items in the game. On the flip side, the 1.1 update is making a different, controversial change that may ultimately make crafting high-end items even harder than it is now with the Division Tech drought.
Massive is doubling, and in one case, tripling, the number of materials needed to craft a single piece of upgraded material. This means that although players won’t need Division Tech for crafting, they’ll still have to do a significant amount of farming to gather enough resources to craft their high-end weapons and gear.
- Increased costs for converting crafting materials and crafting High-End items:
- 10 Standard (Green) materials instead of 5 to craft 1 Specialized (Blue) material
- 15 Specialized (Blue) materials instead of 5 to craft 1 High-End (Gold) material
- 10 High-End (Gold) materials instead of 8 to craft 1 lvl 31 High-End (Gold) item
- Changed deconstruction yield of Standard (Green) and High-End (Gold) items:
- Deconstructing a Standard (Green) item yields 1 Standard material instead of 2
- Deconstructing a High-End (Gold) item yields 1 High-End material instead of 2
To craft one Specialized (blue) material, they’ll need 10 Standard (green) items instead of the five they need now. And to craft one High-End (gold) material, they’ll need 15 Specialized (blue) materials. So instead of 25 Standard materials making their way to one High-End material, players will now need a whopping 150 Standard materials for one High-End material. That increases the amount of grinding and farming needed to six times the current rate.
At a glance it’s a real bad change which seems partly designed to counteract players exploiting multiple characters to gather low-level materials and upgrade them to High-End materials they can use to craft gear, but after the negative responses from players, Massive revealed (official update here) that the update will also increase the number and quality of High-End item drops from some of The Division’s most challenging enemies. Players will be guaranteed a High-End drop for killing any named enemy, and the quality of that item will be determined by the difficulty rank of the enemy. Bosses come in level 30, 31, and 32, so naturally players will want to focus on taking down level 32 bosses for the best loot.
Below are a list of the specific bug fixes The Division’s 1.1 update will address according to Ubisoft and Massive.
- Fixed a bug that could prevent characters from accessing the game if they had too many items in their inventory
- Fixed a bug where sometimes the weapon talents would not activate if the player has the exact stat requirements
- Fixed a bug where players could exit the Dark Zone on East 43rd street
- Reloading stripper clips is now correctly interrupted by firing the weapon (marksman rifles and shotguns)
- Fixed an issue where buying a weapon with a pre-attached scope using the buy and equip feature sometimes caused the scope to un-equip
- Fixed an exploit where players could shoot through corners of covers
- Fixed a number of locations where NPCs could shoot through walls
- Fixed an exploit where players could ignore the fire rate of certain weapons
- Fixed some locations where players would get stuck in Queen Tunnel Camp mission
- Fixed various prop collisions so that players no longer become stuck
- Fixed a bug where the final cut scenes would unlock before the final missions were completed
- Fixed a bug where the Water Supply side mission would not activate
- Fixed an issue where the Morphine Supply side mission sometimes would not complete
- Players no longer receive too much XP for completing the Morphine Supply side mission
- The buff from Smart Cover no longer stacks if multiple teammates are using it on the same piece of cover
- Fixed some bugs where deployable skills would not activate under certain circumstances
- Fixed a bug where voice chat volume indicators would overlap in the group UI frame
- Fixed a bug where receiving a group invite via Matchmaking would sometimes not show up on the screen
- Fixed a bug where the dead teammate icon would turn into a blue dot instead of a red cross if the players were too far away from each other
- Fixed an issue where a player would be unable to inspect the appearance of his/her character while changing outfits
- Fixed some UI elements for mission overview frame and adjusted some of the misaligned icons
- Corrected the colors for the appearance items in the Mission rewards list
- NPC’s will no longer ignore the player while they are attempting to interact with props (arming/disarming bombs)
- Fixed a bug where a NPC would sometimes not leave its spawn area during the Morphine Supply side mission
- Fixed a bug where NPC’s would sometimes not respawn at one of the landmarks in the Dark Zone
- Several clipping issues have been fixed with various appearance items
- Some tooltips have been updated with more clear information
- And many more
- Added new resolution scaling and lighting options
- Added support for reporting players on PC. Players can now type in chat /report
- Improvements to resolution detection and switching between display modes
- Fixed some issues with camera movement while using Tobii Eye Tracker
- Fixed screen look for minimap when using Tobii Eye Tracker
- Fixed several issues with Logitech peripherals
- Fixed several graphic issues due to dual monitor display
- Fixed an issue where players could move UI elements out of the visible screen area
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