While long a staple of the PC gaming world, MMOs have yet to make serious inroads on the console market. DC Universe Online and Destiny have been successful, and The Elder Scrolls Online will finally hit the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this summer. However, for the most part, it’s still early days for console-based MMOs, as developers struggle to transition MMOs’ complex systems to consoles’ more limited control schemes.
A new player in the MMO space, Ubisoft’s open-world third-person shooter RPG Tom Clancy’s The Division, might have the answer. The Division is set in New York City after a pandemic spread by contaminated bank notes decimated civilizations around the globe. Gamers will take on the role of government agents tasked with trying to restore order to the city, contain the disease, and discover who unleashed the virus. The Division doesn’t have an official release date beyond “2015,” but a new video breakdown provides further insights into how player bases, an MMO staple, will be handled in the game.
Arekkz Gaming dug into Division gamplay footage and found tons of information regarding bases, although there’s still plenty of room for speculation. The Division‘s map of New York City will be divided into districts, and the game will task players with taking control of these sectors and getting infrastructure like police stations and power plants up and running again. It looks like these missions will unlock with each base players retake.
The video, which dissects footage from Microsoft’s 2014 E3 press conference demo, shows gamers capturing a facility called “Midtown south.” Right away, there are clues as to how players will be able to upgrade bases once they’re taken. The interface lists ratings for security, morale, contamination, and progression level. It also shows an armory, medical, and trade station, but in this instance, only the armory is listed as “operational.” That suggests that players will have to work to make the latter two wings operational, presumably via completing related quests.
There is also a “supply line” that is listed as “connected” in the same yellow font as the “operational” text on the armory, so presumably bases won’t have their supply lines connected right out of the gate. Below the supply line heading, category listings include power level, personnel, and travel connections. One type of facility that Division players will be in charge of restoring are power plants, so that process will likely increase power to nearby bases. What that power is used for is currently unknown. Potentially, activating the armory, medical, and trade stations will all require power.
Restored power could also affect the base’s morale rating. If there are civilians living in bases, they’re probably going to be a lot happier if the lights are working and the water is running. Previously, The Division’s developers said that reclaiming a police station would result in cops patrolling that district, so that’s likely what’s informing the security rating, although there could be other factors in play as well.
Contamination seems straightforward: this is a game about a pandemic, so containing and stamping out that disease is no doubt going to be a high priority. The category does suggest interesting gameplay possibilities, however. Infected people are often scared people, so will Division players have to convince sick NPCs to enter quarantine? If they resist, will players have to put them down? There’s certainly the potential for morally complex gameplay, if The Division chooses to explore it. Hopefully, curing the disease won’t just mean shooting a bunch of infected people in the head.
If The Division follows standard operating procedure for MMOs, conquering districts and retaking bases will open up quest chains beyond the ones needed to upgrade the bases. The developers have said that The Division will have social hubs where players can interact with one another.
The armory sounds pretty straightforward, although it’s unclear if players will be able purchase new weapons, upgrade existing ones, restock items, or some combination of all of those. The presence of medical facilities implies several things. Facilities could be used to treat the infected in a district, possibly lowering the contamination rating. Or, medical facilities could tie into player health somehow – Arekkz suggests that players won’t be able to heal back to 100% in the field, and will require a trip to the medic to get back to full strength.
Trading could go a lot of ways. It could be trade between players, like an in-game marketplace, or trade between players and NPCs for supplies, ammo, and other items.
The Division’s developers have stressed that, as with any MMO-style game, endgame content will be a major factor, and retaking and upgrading bases will undoubtedly be a big part of that. A fancy, well-secured base with power and medical facilities is bound to be quite tempting in the dangerous world of The Division, so it seems likely that gamers will have to defend their districts against hostile invaders.
Finally, developers have said that there will be non-combat social hub areas similar to Destiny’s tower. Arekkz’s video speculates that bases might serve this function, although if players need to conquer, upgrade, and possibly defend them, bases don’t really seem to fit that description.
If it lives up to its early promise, The Division could become a popular title among both action gamers and MMO junkies. It will be interesting to see if The Division can succeed beyond the strength of its campaign and keep players invested for the long haul.
The Division is slated to release sometime in 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Source: Arekkz Gaming