During a State of the Game livesteam, Massive developers shared a few details about changes coming to the game with the 1.4 update, but will they be enough?
It’s no secret that Tom Clancy’s The Division is currently in dire straights. After a stellar start, the cover-based shooter quickly started hemorrhaging players thanks to a severely broken endgame. Fortunately, Ubisoft Massive is working hard to remedy the situation and is preparing a massive update, set to drop next month, that will overhaul much of The Division’s core features.
Until now, talk of what’s coming with October’s huge 1.4 update have been vague. But thanks to this week’s State of the Game livesteam by Massive, The Division players are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. While the livestream presenters didn’t share everything that’s coming with update 1.4, they hit on a few of the most controversial issues currently plaguing The Division. And so far, the planned updates look good.
Time to Kill
Even the most die hard fans freely admit the enemies in The Division are overpowered bullet-sponges. The time to kill enemies in the endgame are way too long, with enemies running through dozens or hundreds of bullets with nary a mark. On the flip side, players in the endgame die incredibly fast. Sometimes it takes only a single, well-placed shot from an enemy to drop a player for good.
Naturally, the current time to kill, both of players and enemies, isn’t fun, and is a big reason The Division has lost 95 percent of its player base in just six months. What makes this so frustrating is the initial player progression to the max level of 30 is a pleasant experience, but once players hit endgame, the issues become unbearable.
During the livestream, the Massive representatives confirmed they are reworking time to kill in the endgame to better match the experience players had during the leveling process. This change, alone, could be enough to bring players flocking back to The Division. Fortunately, this is only one of many planned updates that should give players a more positive, ongoing experience.
World Level Selection
Another major complaint among The Division players is the abysmal loot system. Loot drops are rare, and when they do happen are so limited by the game’s RNG (random number generator) system that it can take days or weeks for players to find even one loot item they want. For a loot game, this is a serious problem.
Much of the issue with loot revolves around the difficulty system in The Division. The loot players need now is only available in the higher difficulties, but players can’t play those higher difficulties without the loot only available in those difficulties. Players are unable to progress at a consistent rate, so they leave the game.
The World Level selection will aim to correct that. Players will be able to select the difficulty they want for their world, and the activities will match that level. Additionally, players will be able to collect loot in their current level that will help them advance to the next level, ultimately leading them in a smooth progression to the most challenging World Level.
Each of these levels will have its own enemy level. The lowest tier will have level 30 enemies. Tier two will have level 31, tier three will have 32, and tier four will have level 33 bad guys. Massive is completely removing level 34 and 35 enemies.
Gradual Enemy Difficulty
Currently in The Division, players can easily jump from Normal to Hard mode for missions and Incursions as they improve their gear. But the jumps from Hard to Challenging and Challenging to Heroic are so severe that many players are unable to make the move, thus keeping them from advancing their experience in the game.
With the 1.4 update, Massive is scaling back the difficulty of enemies, and changing the way Normal, Hard, Challenging, and Heroic work. Going forward, players will choose their enemy difficulty using the World Level selection. Mission difficulty will be used to determine how much loot drops from enemies. As players progress from Normal to Hard and so on, the enemies will drop more loot for that World Level.
The final result will be allowing players to choose the experience they want, along with what kind and how much loot they want. This should be a good way to help players of all skill levels enjoy the game, and cater to both solo and team players.
Patrolling Bosses Are Coming Back
The last big announcement of note is the return of roaming bosses in the PvE open world. Many players have lamented the wasted space of the open world in The Division once players reach the endgame. After players make their way through the campaign, there are very few activities that utilize the greater part of the map. Right now, players are pushed to do individual activities or enter the Dark Zone, which many players avoid and will avoid until it’s fixed sometime after the 1.4 update.
With the October update, Massive is introducing the roaming enemies and bosses back into the PvE open world. And like other activities, the enemy difficulty and loot drops will be determined by a player’s World Level. These roaming enemies will continue to respawn over time, giving players a constant method of farming loot and fighting enemies outside the missions, incursions, and Dark Zone.
Enough to Bring Players Back?
So, are these changes enough to drive players back into The Division? Obviously, time will tell, but the response so far has been positive from The Division community. And considering these are only a few of the many changes planned for The Division with the 1.4 and future updates, the situation is looking good for Massive and The Division.
Granted, the fact that the 1.4 update is set to drop during the height of the fall game release schedule could keep some players from returning to The Division. But with at least two more expansions scheduled for the game and a multi-year plan established, Massive doesn’t seem ready to throw in the towel yet. And who knows, if the 1.4 update is as successful as many are hoping, The Division could once again become the thriving game and community it once was.
What do you think about the planned changes for The Division? Will the 1.4 update be enough to bring players back or is it too late?
Tom Clancy's The Division is currently available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.