Tom Clancy’s The Division is a third person massively multiplayer online role playing shooter developed by Ubisoft and Red Storm Entertainment.
The game takes place in Manhattan after a virus outbreak. You are a “sleeper agent” activated to assist in emergency situations when one one else can. Parts of the game can be described as single player and others are multiplayer. The game is player-versus-enemy until late game when you unlock the “Dark Zone” which allows player-versus-player.
I’m level 7 and about 4 hours in, I’ve spent the first 5 levels doing the tutorial and the starting area solo and have enjoyed the process. There have been a few cool cutscenes and missions have all had an explanation and some dialogue alongside them. I’ve found the press-a-button cover and jump system a bit disappointing as I’d rather crouch and jump more freely. Also, the cover system doesn’t work all the time as it doesn’t appear to take into account the direction you’re aiming in when deciding which way to fire out of cover from. For example, if i’m behind a car on the right and aim top and left I’d expect him to pop upwards but instead he will pop out to the right which isn’t what I wanted/expected. It’s something you can live with.
I’ve done 5 to 7 in a group with Nik and Darren. Nik, what did you think of grouping up? Voice chat? Etc.
I’m enjoying it so far and can live with the cover system - it makes it very Gears of War-sy. The only gripe I have about it is I sometimes mash the wrong key or push too far in one direction and results in my character moving around a corner exposing herself to fire. The enemies can take quite a few shots to go down - a side effect of the mmo system I guess. I found grouping to be a fun experience and certainly made it more challenging than most of the solo missions I’ve completed so far. The built in voice chat is fine after doing a bit of tinkering with the levels. The game does fall afoul of the usual co-op multiplayer problem though - your team ends up rushing forwards to the next enemy and barely has time to take in the gorgeous scenery and atmosphere. Like in World of Warcraft, I’ll have done a mission/quest and be left wondering what the story was behind it whilst grouped up with friends. When I’ve done the solo missions I’ve tried to take the time to explore the scenery and digest the (admittedly rather sparse) story. The environments are really well crafted, but the missions seem to mostly be go to place A, kill X or more rarely battle to place B, push button Y. I’m hoping there is more variety further into the game. We had a nice little team going with slightly defined roles based on the skills we had available/active, with someone able to heal and drop turrets, whilst another could shoot off sticky grenades and drop barriers to provide cover. Jason, what’s your opinion on the missions and looting system?
I’m level 14 now and as you’ve mentioned, the missions haven’t strayed from “go to place A, kill X or more rarely battle to place B, push button Y”. I’d say the game is quite grindy and needs a greater variety in missions. I’m not finding it annoying or boring just yet though - although I do secretly quite enjoy grinding to an extent.
The game has collectables and I’ve just spent the past hour looting all the ones I could from the zones I’ve completed. Collectibles unlock audio, video and scenes to walk around in, all of which are high quality and well worth the bother of finding. It’s a bit like finding collectables in GTA littered all of the city.
Your main loot are weapons, armour and appearance items (no stats, just look). It works quite well as you can have whatever equipment on that you want but can have a different appearance to everyone else. I’ve found quite a good range of all of the above and you’ll tend to find at least one new worthy-to-equip item per trip. I’m not sure I understand some of the stats as I had an assault rifle that was doing more Damage per Second (DPS) than ones twice its level while the game kept casually hinting it was “out of date”.
One quite cool feature is the “Base of Operations” which is a building personal to you containing wings for medical, technology and security. As you progress in missions you unlock points to improve each wing in turn unlocking mods, perks, etc. for that particular area on your character. For example, I just spent some tech points to improve the tech wing which unlocked three potential improvements to my stickybomb.
Crafting is quite underwhelming so far. It feels more like a “ohhh, it’s a MMO, we need crafting!” add-on rather than a properly implemented feature. There’s nothing special about it.
I enjoyed the journey to level 30, the main missions are quite good, especially fun when playing co-operatively with a group of friends. The end game seems to be a bit sparse - well there isn’t really any end game really. Once you reach the PVE level cap and have completed all of the story missions you get daily missions to complete. Completing these dailies gives better loot but usually just involves playing through the story missions again on a significantly harder difficulty. I guess this is similar to raids in other MMORPGS but it’s a bit underwhelming and disappointing.
The other option available is the entering the dark zone. The dark zone is an area of the city where pvp is enabled - however the main purpose is still killing the pve content for loot. There is a separate dark zone set of experience levels to progress through in order to gain access to the best loot. Then you can either buy more gear or guns or craft them from collectibles that you have grinded.
When you collect loot from bodies in the dark zone you cannot instantly use it. Instead, you must extract it by calling down a helicopter and clearing the area of enemies before sending it off to sit safely in your stash to be used after you managed to exit the dark zone. This is the main reason for PVP and what makes the dark zone compelling - anyone outside of your group can attack you and take your loot - but must still extract it. Furthermore, if you attack another player first, you become “rogue” - rogue players are identified to all other agents (players) and are effectively free game. The challenge comes from trying to stay alive and extract your awesome loots, or stealing loot from others and successfully staying alive long enough to lose your rogue status. I can liken this the most to GTA when you’re trying to evade the police long enough to lose your star criminal rating - except the police are player controlled characters after your own loot.
The main problem with The Division’s pvp seems to be that a) the best loot is gained from the pve daily missions and b) the penalties for going rogue seem too harsh so not many players go rogue unless it is a whole group of high level and geared players picking on a solo player. It is also impossible to assess what kind of gear the other players have or what loot they might have so you have no idea if they will be a challenge or not. The times we did try going rogue on purpose in The Division we generally got steamrolled incredibly quickly so it massively put us off trying it again. As there isn’t much content to consume after hitting the pve level cap unless you want to do the dailies, the dark zone gameplay involves running a route around it and trying to farm the spawning mobs for loot and division tech for better weapons and gear. However, unless you really like the pvp, there isn’t really anything to use the better gear on so I have pretty much lost any enthusiasm in continuing with The Division. The journey to level 30 was great and I still enjoy the odd excursion with Jason and our friend Daz into the dark zone but it feels like we have seen all there is for now.
We both really enjoyed the content from levels 1 to 30, but the content at 30 is a bit on the dull side. Recommended.