OPINION – The Division has been out since March, and oh boy even though I gave it a glaring review back at the start, my sessions with Division ended with Patch 1.1. Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft is currently handling The Division in a way that reminds me of Destiny. Although here the patches are released quicker, it seems to have a snowball effect. Once a patch is released or fix, it seems to break a few other parts of the game. The Division is massively… heh broken at times, and other times it works pretty well. However, we’re not here to talk about the fixes and glitches. We are here to talk about how 1.1 killed the game for me, and how 1.2 sort of saved it for me.
Update 1.1 introduced Operations aka Incursions, which people thought would be huge raids, but in reality, it is a wave based small map that dropped high-end gear.
Falcon Lost Me
However, there were a few problems with the instance. For one as Massive was not able to balance the loot drops from Dark Zone and a challenge mode to me it felt I was under leveled for the encounter many times. The gear that was dropped was high leveled, but the encounter itself was brutal even on Hard mode. So a great team was needed to finish the play. Unfortunately, the loot design up until 1.2 was infuriating to me personally, as even going into the Dark Zone or completing challenge missions the game would drop nearly useless loot. Even if the armor was great, most of the times I was sadly stuck with subpar weapons after farming the various PVE activities.
The most blood boiling bullshit was that many times (due to RNG, and bad luck) I would get simple mods from named enemies (that were determined to give now gold loot with 1.1). In theory, this sounds great, in practice, it was executed horribly. Bosses dropped gold loot, but as seen on Reddit, most people did not find those too useful. As Massive tried to discourage players to craft items by nerfing the cost of said activity, unfortunately, it was still the best way to get good weapons. The non-dark zone map was also left to starve, as only daily missions, challenge modes, incursion and the dark zone was worth doing.
Update 1.1 lost me in a big way as the loot was too difficult to get, and even if I put too much effort into the session, I would still end up walking away disappointed. It made me drop the game for an entire month.
Clear Sky all over Manhattan
So with a month away from the game I decided to try out Update 1.2 which offered up another Incursion, two new PVE activities (that were outside of the Dark Zone), and loot drop rebalance. My initial response before trying out the game was: „Eh they’ll probably just add 0.1% chance for a gold weapon to drop instead of a Performance Mod”. The reality, however, was mindblowing. It took them two months, but they finally listened to the community (at least what’s left of it), and boosted the loot drops.
In challenge mode bosses can drop more than one gold item at times, all named enemies now drop weapons (mostly, the performance mod drop is finally nerfed to the ground), and PVE is fun again. In the Base of Operations, we have two new vendors that provide us with basically assassination missions. To activate them, though, we need to grind out search and destroy missions.
These are rather easy tasks, and you can do 2-3 in ten minutes to gain the necessary points to activate the High-Value Target missions. Once activated, you’ll have to usually secure the target area, and then kill the boss. There are multiple difficulties to tackle, and some require a group effort. However, in the end, it is worth it, as the boss will drop an item, and the mission completion will also add a sweet loot to our inventory.
The Dark Zone has also gone under a bit of change. If you reach Gear Score 200, you will then be allocated to Dark Zone bracket 201. Which means that every Zone will now have Level 34 enemies walking around. It is insanely difficult, even with a highly geared group, but the loot changes Massive Entertainment made makes it entirely worthwhile.
Now instead of yearning for gear, I actually can plan my character and build type. 1.2 knocked it out of the park with the loot balance changes, and with the High-Value Targets.
The new incursion is also much better compared to Falcon Lost. It is no longer a small room, but instead, it is a rather large open area. Instead of waves we get infinite influx enemies, and a few mortar attacks. The story of the incursion is that the Rikers have access to an Anti-Air site, and are shooting down supply planes. We have to stop them, shutdown the site and kill their leader. Pretty fun, and quick incursion that nets your good loot. A step up from the previous Incursion, and a shorter one but there are still issues.
There are some storm clouds though
With every update, however, there are problems in The Division. Currently, there are multiple bugs, and UI glitches with the game. The audio of certain sound clips loop (sometimes for four times), and when opening the map after joining a group the game lags to oblivion. Also, there is no Matchmaking for High-Value Target Missions, but at least the community agreed just to meet at Camp Hudson for those types of activities. The new incursion while shorter, does feel copy-pasted a bit: it has unlimited waves of enemies, a mortar attack (that gets annoying near the end).
In the end, the 1.2 Update dubbed Conflict fixes most of the loot problem for the game, added new content to have fun with until June (although not that substantial). Plus the High Value Target finally breathed new life to Non-Dark Zone activities, which was severely needed especially for players who did not want to mess around with that PVP element.
So if 1.1 turned you away, hand on back for the game now, as it finally fixed the loot, but there is still a lot of work for Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment. Let us just hope the first true DLC will be similarly good, and not push players away.