The Division: Then, Now, & Tomorrow.

TThe Divisionhe Division is a game I’ve had a love/hate relationship with for the last several months. Despite its glaring issues, there’s a certain charm it has managed to maintain. Despite all of the work Massive have done to fix The Division, jumping straight to The Division 2 as soon as the planned DLC is out in the world would be like throwing buckets of money in a shredder.

The World

The Division is without a doubt an absolutely beautiful game as far as aesthetics are concerned. But despite the beautifully crafted, large open world Massive have created – it still feels empty a lot of the time. Now, I understand it’s supposed to be quite empty due to the high death toll of the Dollar Virus, but it just feels like Massive have not yet realised the potential of the city they have built. Or maybe I’m just so used to the feel of bustling cities because of Los Santos and I’m just being picky. I don’t know.

The Content

When The Division released back in March, you had the choice of playing the main story, the DZ, and some challenge missions. But that was it.

Now we have:

  • Incursions
  • Challenge missions
  • Daily/weekly goals
  • The DZ
  • HVT’s
  • The Underground
  • Survival

We’ve even gotten a much improved RNG system with rare weapons and gear pieces to aim for. But despite the ameliorated system mechanics, there are still many bugs and balancing issues. Unfortunately for most of the player base, the repairs and additions to the game came about far too late.

The Dark Zone

The Dark Zone was originally the pride and joy of Massive. It was essentially their attempt at reinventing what a PVP feels likes. However, what we actually got was a bugged, and flawed system which gave cheat exploiters the upper hand. The latter was of course fixed a long time ago. It also managed to bring the inner shithead out of many gamers by promoting arguably the most toxic form of PVP I’ve ever seen. Large groups of people (myself included) would venture around the DZ in search of lone, vulnerable players. They would kill them, steal their loot and ruin that person’s night by making the last hour of their time completely redundant.

Update 1.3

Update 1.3 managed to completely suck what fun was left out of the game for me by turning the game’s AI into men of steal. Alex was able to adsorb hit-points in the millions while also having the ability to completely destroy you with a single shot of a shotgun from what would be about 50-60ft away. The update ended up proving either one of the following:

  • Massive had no idea what they were doing.
  • Massive were not listening to the feedback.

Or maybe it was a combination of both – we’ll never know for sure. Either way, it ruined the game for many players, and the playerbase plummeted.

Update 1.4

Update 1.4 finally showed that Massive had realised their mistakes and were finally ready to listen to the players…or what was left of them. They invited around 10 players from around the world to their offices in Sweden for a three day workshop where the guests were able to air their concerns directly to the developers and even test some ideas already put together prior to their arrival.

the division survival

This ended up resulting in the much needed, and much praised Public Test Server (PTS) where PC players could test proposed changes and give important feedback before the update was released worldwide.

Update 1.4 has been very well received and even brought many players back. Update 1.5 built upon the foundations set by 1.4 and has seemingly gone down very well with the player base.

BUT….

Despite all of the aforementioned improvements , many players still have a very bad taste in their mouth due to the problems which arose during the first few months of the game’s release. Understandably, Massive/Ubisoft have a long way to go to earn back the trust they lost. It was clear the Division simply was not finished and rushed out the door even though it was already behind schedule. The second DLC, Survival just released on Xbox, and PC which means there’s only one more DLC pack left on the agenda.

It would be reasonable to expect the third DLC to release sometime in January or February – but what’s the plan after it releases? Sure they’ll release further patches to ensure the game is supported and is not left as a broken mess?

But with all of the issues The Division has had, would it be wise for Massive to go the Watchdogs route and just release a whole new game, hoping that everybody has forgotten about the first game? Or should they expand on The Division 1, and just release new content akin to Rainbow Six Siege?

Personally, the latter makes the most sense to me. As I already mentioned above, there’s a lot of content in The Division. It’s a huge map. Around three real-life kilometres. But at times it feels barren. It feels like Massive have not yet realised the potential of their creation. The story needs to continue. Lau needs to get out of that dam leg-cast, and actually help out. The DZ needs to expand.

One thing’s for sure, though. I’m hooked on The Division again and I am looking forward to seeing what Massive have planned for 2017. Here’s hoping it’s year two content and not a sequel.

Let me know what you think.

The Division’s second DLC, Survival, is out now.  Check out the trailer below!

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