Massive Entertainment releases patch notes for The Division Public Test Server 4, which brings back Critical Hit Change to SMGs and normalizes gear in Last Stand.
Over the last couple weeks, Massive Entertainment has been testing its upcoming Update 1.6 for Tom Clancy’s The Division on a public test server (PTS). Every few days, Massive has made alterations to the mechanics and features in the game in an effort to improve the playing experience for both the PvP and PvE activities in the game.
Yesterday, Massive launched its fourth iteration of the current PTS for The Division, dubbed PTS4. The newest update brings a handful of changes that could significantly impact the game, especially the PvP modes, such as the new Last Stand game mode. PTS4 changes a few features within Last Stand along with weapon and combat, and fixes a long list of bugs.
Below is a quick rundown of the most significant changes, which can now be experienced in PTS4 on PC. The PTS is not currently available on console.
Last Stand Changes
Since Massive instituted PTS2 for the current round of testing, players in The Division have been able to test Last Stand, the new objective-based PvP game mode in the cover-based shooter. Over the course of the last couple weeks, Massive has tested numerous changes to Last Stand, including gear normalization, personal score allocation, and team makeup.
For PTS4, Massive is adjusting the way gear normalization works for players. According to the patch notes, gear normalization will now provide max Gear Score 256 stats for gear major/minor bonuses, gear mods, performance mods, weapon mods, major stats, weapon damage, and weapon attributes. This means there are only a few features that will differ between players, which should help make gameplay more equal during Last Stand. The normalization mentioned here won’t apply to the regular Dark Zone, which also offers PvP engagements.
The purpose behind the gear normalization is to allow players to create builds that fit their play style, rather than pushing them to whatever the current gear and weapon meta may be in the game. By normalizing the effectiveness of each build, players can choose a range of options without losing out on a chance to defeat the enemy.
In addition to changes to normalization, Massive is updating the fortifications at objectives to do more damage to players, but also take more damage from players. The developer is also adding a “join on the fly” feature to Last Stand, allowing players to join into games already in progress, rather than waiting for a new game to start. Personal score has also been updated to better reward players for their score and effort in Last Stand, and the Mercy Rule has been altered to give a losing team a better chance to rebound.
Combat and Weapon Changes
Since Update 1.6 is focused heavily on The Division’s PvP offerings, Massive is looking to make additional tweaks to combat in the game. Time to Kill has been altered to give players a better chance to defend themselves against other players and use their skills to survive and fight back against other players. This change is implemented both in Last Stand and the Dark Zone.
Massive is also making two notable changes to weapons in The Division. First, Massive is buffing the Historian, an exotic weapon in the game. The Historian was adjusted going into the PTS, but was quickly found to be overpowered. Due to its incredible power, especially for skill-power builds, Massive nerfed it heavily going into PTS3. For many players, the nerf made the gun nearly worthless both in PvP and PvE, which isn’t something that should happen to an exotic weapon.
In response to the feedback about the Historian, Massive has updated the weapon to give back its base damage (which was removed last week), and alter the explosive damage the bullets do when they’ve hit a target. Now, explosive damage will equal 700% of the user’s Firearms. This means the weapon should do base damage with every shot, and a healthy dose of follow-up explosive damage. Hopefully this change will make the Historian a viable option again.
The other notable change to weapons is SMGs regaining their Critical Hit Chance feature. Earlier this year, Massive removed Critical Hit Chance from SMGs and replaced it with Critical Hit Damage. The change nerfed SMGs to the point that very few players used them since. Going back to Critical Hit Chance should help make SMGs a strong contender among the other weapons again in The Division.
As mentioned above, Massive is also making quite a few bug fixes and updates to The Division with PTS4. Since the game is still in testing, the changes mentioned in the patch notes are subject to change and aren’t final for Last Stand or Update 1.6. However, after four weeks of testing, hopefully Massive is close to a final product it can release to all The Division players.
What do you think about the PTS4 changes for The Division?
Tom Clancy’s The Division is currently available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.