When the Division launched back in March, it was to mostly mixed reviews. It currently sits at around 80% on Metacritic and even as low as 6.5/10 on Destructoid. The issue The Division had at launch was that at its core it had fantastic bones but due to a variety of factors like design, bugs, stability and performance issues it didn’t really live up to the promises that the developer had made.
The developers have since then, released 3 updates, with the latest one being update 1.4, released on Tuesday the 25th of October. This is a massive update for the game, and comes in at a 4.77 GB download on PC. The developers have both correctly and courageously made a huge number of changes to the core gameplay mechanics, to the point that this is almost a completely new experience. So, does this mean you should pick up the Division again or if you gave it a miss at launch pick it up now?
“Rather than wait till the end of this article, spoiler alert, the answer is yes. A huge yes.”
If you have found yourself asking what is this game about and what is the point of it, the easiest and simplest way to describe it is that it’s a looting game. Your main objective should be to collect loot so that you can have various builds depending the context and whether you are going into a PvE (Player-versus-Environment) or PvP (Player-versus-Player) match, or a story mission. This game is not like Destiny where you do raids with other players and it’s not like World of Warcraft that can have structured in-game content. This game is a looting game at its most basic description. If this does not appeal to you, then this might not be for you.
There are more detailed points to why people play The Division that I don’t need to go into too much detail about, but very briefly, other aspects of this game are; the Daily and Weekly assignments that provide you with cool weapons, gear, materials and so on. There is also the normal main and side missions that you do to help level up to the all-important level 30, which we will cover in a bit. Incursions can fall under this category too. There have been 3 released to date, so be sure to check them out. They are super hard though so make sure your load outs are planned. High Value Targets are another activity you should do. They are dotted around the map and will net you even more loot and gear and other treats. The Underground is also a really cool DLC (you need to buy it though, around R200). This area is unique because it has procedurally generated PvE encounters and enemies. Last but not least is The Dark Zone. Or as I like to call it, Hillbrow. This area is where you play PvP only, where other players can double-cross and kill you. Do not go into this area thinking you will pick up awesome loot, as you will get busted up by a four-man gang squad quicker than Usain Bolt can run 100m. The PvP experience is unlike most other games and certainly at least worth a look.
Now let’s talk a bit about why it’s worth taking a look with the new update.
In the past, there was no way you could progress playing solo on the harder game settings in order to get the better loot. What Ubisoft Massive have done now is introduce a World Tier system. This basically allows you to still complete in-game missions, but now you can select the difficulty and World Tier and this will in turn affect the value and quantity of the loot dropped. Please note World Tier One only starts at level 30. Loot dropped at this level will start from Gear Score 163. Once you have collected enough items, you will then get invited to join World Tier 2 where the enemies are level 31 and the Gear Score starts from 182. There are 4 World Tiers in all that scale up as you go. At the highest level, enemies will start to drop Gear Sets too. Trust me, you want these.
Most people who played The Division prior to update 1.4 will see the biggest improvement has finally been made. Your time to be killed has been overhauled as has the time to kill enemies. So now rather than you going down from a one-shot, you can take a little more damage and the walking Meat-sack, bullet sponges for enemies now go down a bit easier. This will be the biggest thing to revive this game with players.
“Your time to be killed has been overhauled as has the time to kill enemies.”
The last major improvement is that the entire open world has been adjusted so that enemies will now re-spawn more frequently (every 4 hours) and the AI has also been tweaked a bit. You will now find bosses dotted around the world that you can take out to help grind up your levels and collect higher value loot.
The patch notes are longer than Gandalf’s beard to you can check them out here. This just shows the extent of changes and the amount of work Ubisoft Massive have put back into this game. If you think you knew The Division before update 1.4, there is no way you do now. The weapons have all been tweaked and changed, as well as your skills and perks. There is a lot more balance now and you will find each weapon has its place in the game now, rather than there being a few outstanding weapons of choice. Each weapon class has its own “buff” now too. For example, Assault Rifles give you bonus Amour damage against PvE and LMG’s give more damage to targets out of cover on both PvE and PvP.
“Tom Clancy’s The Division is now the game it should have been at launch. If I had to give this game a score now I would give this a 9/10.”