Ubisoft's latest continuation of the Tom Clancy series comes in the form of online-only shooter The Division. The publisher’s 2016 lineup is not as strong as in previous years; Far Cry Primal, which recently received a story trailer, is the only other game with a confirmed release date. Ubisoft no doubt hopes that The Division’s closed beta last month will have convinced players to jump into the shared world shooter, with its only competition at the moment being Destiny.
The closed beta featured a story quest as well as access to the Dark Zone, The Division’s PvP focused area. Ubisoft extended the closed beta for an additional day due to ‘popular demand’ and the publisher has decided to give players another go before release, in the form of an open beta alongside another trailer.
Taking place from February 18 to 21 on Xbox One, and a day later on PC and PlayStation 4, the open beta will feature another story mission and an in-game reward with the retail release for players who take part. The beta, initially leaked by an Xbox Italy Facebook post, will be available to download on February 16, although players with the closed beta can simply download a patch instead of installing another file. The trailer, titled 'Enemy Factions', showcases the various factions player will encounter in the game: from everyday thugs, to flamethrower-wielding lunatics, and a battalion of officers hellbent on wiping them out - and, of course, 'The Division' faction themselves, whose goal is "to save what's left of our city."
Other additions in the new beta include: lower refresh rates for chests found in the Dark Zone, higher rewards for killing Rogue Agents, and stronger AI enemies. Players will also encounter the ‘Cleaners’ faction and be able to access the Tech wing in the base of operations, as well as unlocking skills like the ability to thrown down a deployable turret. The rest of the patch notes can be seen below:
Dark Zone Updates & Improvements:
-New High End weapons available in the Dark Zone.-Refresh rate on Dark Zone chests has been greatly reduced.-Non-player enemies in the Dark Zone have been significantly increased in number.-Non-player enemies in the Dark Zone have been buffed slightly-The Manhunt Timer now pauses instead of refreshing while in combat as a level 5 Rogue.-The Reward for surviving as a Rogue Agent has been increased to 1.5x the kill bounty.-The Health Bar for Agents in the Dark Zone now only turns red when they actually become Rogue.-A new warning icon has been added to indicate an Agent who has shot another player but has not done enough damage to go Rogue.-Dark Zone experience leveling curve has been adjusted slightly.-Disabled the option to transfer Dark Zone brackets as a Rogue. (This prevents players using Bracket Transfer as a means to escape after becoming Rogue.)-Removed some ropes that allowed players to reach areas that gave them an unfair advantage.
-New Ubisoft Club Action available for participating in the Open Beta unlocking an exclusive reward in-game.-New and improved Tutorial Video.-Tutorial video is now available to view from t he Character Select Screen.-Fixed two bugs that allowed players to become invisible to other players.-Fixed an exploit with Ballistic Shield Skill that allowed players to become invincible.-Cheat Detection and Prevention additions and updates.-Fixed mismatch of stats that occured occasionally between Vendor Inventory and Player Inventory when item purchased.-Adjusted player movement speed while running with a grenade in hand.-Fixed a bug that sometimes caused other player’s name and health bar to not be visible in the Dark Zone.-Fixed some Weapon Mods that resulted in incorrect stat values when equipped.-Fixed some weapons that didn’t appear as Contaminated when obtained in the Dark Zone.-Fixed a bug with the Reward Claims Vendor that caused stacks of consumables to be decreased under specific circumstances.-Fixed a bug with stats display not updating when browsing Vendor Inventories.-Fixed a bug that caused continuous vibration under very specific conditions.-Fixed a very rare bug that prevented players from being able to fire or switch their weapons.-Added mission Dialogue lines in Missing Persons: Heather Lau Side Mission.-Several environment fixes to prevent falling through world issues in specific places.-Multiple stability fixes (23 unique crashes fixed).-Server optimizations and improvements (players will receive less connection errors now).-Multiple localization fixes and improvements.-Additional polish & bug fixes.
The two-beta approach follows in the footsteps of the game's first-person counterpart Destiny, which had both an alpha and a beta prior to release. The comparison between The Division and Destiny will be more evident after Ubisoft's title launches next month, but developer Massive Entertainment will do well not to fall into the same trap Bungie has by over-promising consistent content and then not delivering. The game's season pass has 3 expansions, which should be accompanied by a healthy population for at least a year, but what comes after that is usually the hardest part with online-only games that live and die off the content they offer.
The Division will launch on March 8 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.