Every so often a game comes along that seems to have a fantastic idea, but is very poorly executed due to what can only be described as “developer incompetency”. Massives’ The Division is a great example of this. It started off looking, and feeling like a solid game, but as players began to reach the end game content, and the patches for gear and difficulty started rolling out – it all went awry.
The monthly updates rolled out and suddenly the well balanced NPC’s were all men of steel with super weapons. This was a direct cause of the massive player drop. Across PS4, Xbox, and PC, the number of active players on The Division is estimated at less than 15,000. With two more paid expansions in the works, and an ever decreasing player base, Massive needed to change something – and fast.
So here we are now, discussing The Division’s 1.4 update due to be released next month. In Thursday’s weekly stream, “State of The Game”, the Devs gave us a little information for what to expect:
Release-date is still October, they are not committing to a specific date, because with the feedback from the Elite Task Force, they need time to implement and fine-tune the changes, so that everything is ready.
These are the main-topics they addressed during the State of the Game:
Time to kill:
NPC have insane health-pools and it takes very long to kill them and that is just off.
The balance between RPG and shooter is lost.
They will re-scale the NPCs to get the 1-30 experience back and to get there, they will reduce the health pools by “a lot”. That also means that the gameplay gets easier and that has to be compensated in player-balancing.
There is also a big gap between random gear and optimized gear and that needs to be addressed.
The main goal is, to go back to the experience, where it was fun to play and the player should feel powerful again.
There will also be changes on gear and skills.
To ensure smooth progression and make these steps clear, they need to look at the current scaling and redesign the system, so it feels like a more natural progression in difficulty.
There is a huge gap between hard and challenge content.
This difficulty spike makes the life of solo and casual players very hard and you just can´t progress at some point.
There will also be more granularity how you select the difficulty in the game.
Every activity should give you appropriate reward.
Solo players will have something to do, it may take longer until you get to the goal, but it will be possible.
More and better loot, less weighting, so for example you not only get Lone Star in a specific activity.
There will still be some loot weighting in the game, so when you want to optimize and farm a specific gear set piece, you can still do that.
You will be able to play anything and get loot that gives you progression
It will be a lot easier to get the loot you want.
PVP is not the focus of Update 1.4 and there won´t be specific changes to PVP.
The general changes of 1.4 will affect PVP and the Dark Zone, but there are no specific PVP features or rule changes.
The current meta will be addressed (Sentry and Shotgun for example).
There will be many changes to gear and stats.
Economy and Crafting.
There will be more higher gear score blueprints.
The big changes will come with a later update.
As the game has progressed, some of the core shooter elements have diminished. It’s important that you feel the impact of gun handling and that it’s factored in when you are considering which gun to use. They want to bring back and improve upon the importance of gunplay along with the cover based elements so the experience you have while levelling is consistent throughout the entire game.
Currently there are 13 players at Massive and they have already jumped into their packed schedule. These are some of the activities covered in their agenda:
- Current State of the Game
- Update 1.4 discussions and the rebalancing effort
- Testing and feedback
- Discussion and workshops
While some of these 13 are popular YouTubers, they selected the Elite Task Force members not only based on popularity, but also based on player profile. This gives the group a diversity to get all perspectives on the new content.
The update is expected to drop this coming October for Xbox One, PC, and PS4 and is understandably taking priority over the Survival DLC which was originally scheduled to release this month.