While many multiplayer gamers tend to move about in pre-formed groups, there are plenty who prefer to fly solo. Some do it by choice and others have come to accept that their friends simply don’t enjoy the games they do. But whatever the case may be, there are typically solutions, most notably matchmaking, for those solo players to group up and take an extra advantage online.
However, when it comes to Tom Clancy’s The Division, the matchmaking could use some work. While we agree that the game is best experienced in a party, especially the higher level missions and Dark Zone encounters, we’d recommend players exercise caution when matchmaking.
While it’s unclear how the matchmaking in The Division works (the game has only been out for about two days) it appears that it prioritizes connection over anything else. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as many Destiny players can attest, offering a smooth gameplay experience. In our experiences, any match made missions or free roam sessions were virtually lag free.
That being said, those match made missions were not without their problems, namely in the actual players we were teamed up with. See, while The Division does offer matchmaking for its story missions, there is no way to set any parameters for teammates. In essence, when a player activates matchmaking they are tossed into a pool that could include teammates of any level, regardless of the mission they are attempting.
For the normal versions of the story missions this is hardly an issue, outside of a few outliers. Normal missions have their recommended levels and the enemies within those missions are typically no higher than one level above the recommendation.
But when it comes to attempting the hard versions of the story missions we’ve had very few success stories. In fact, the vast majority of our hard story mission encounters (in matchmaking) have resulted in at least one disconnection over the course of the encounter.
Again, we’re not certain how the matchmaking decides who is a proper teammate, but the hard mission matchmaking seems to set a floor at the recommended level for the normal mission and that’s it. So, a player who is level 15 could be teamed up with one who is level 5.
That wouldn’t be an issue if the hard missions didn’t also scale with the highest-level player and thus populated the instance with level 15 enemies, for example. Because they do, however, that level 5 player will have a near-impossible time trying to do damage, let alone surviving for more than a few seconds. And in the end, either that player will end up disconnecting out of frustration or his/her teammates will.
Choosing to deploy matchmaking like this is a strange decision on Ubisoft’s part and one that this writer feels is in need of improvement. In general the hard mission modifier does not seem to have the proper scaling, perhaps because it doesn’t have its own level requirement. Even while playing with friends it’s possible to get caught in a situation where some are under leveled for the enemies presented.
As more people dive into and head towards the level cap in The Division this is sure to be a non-issue, but as it stands the matchmaking in the game could use some work. Obviously, Ubisoft will want to prioritize server stability and eliminating griefing player behavior, but we could see matchmaking getting some love in a future patch as well. If nothing else, if the missions could set a base line level requirement that might help alleviate some of the frustration.
Tom Clancy’s The Division is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.