Tom Clancy’s The Division, the newest open world shooter/RPG from Ubisoft, just had it’s Open Beta, and while I had a lot of fun with this upcoming game, I did learn a few tough lessons.
First the positives: the game is beautiful, the gunplay is fun and the weapons feel and sound solid. Some of the movement is a little wonky (my buddy and I got stuck a couple of times), and there are bugs/issues that very well could be because of the game’s current beta status.
That’s all fine. I’m here to talk about The Dark Zone or DZ.
Before I get ahead of myself, let’s touch on the story campaign or the Player vs. Environment (PvE) content. There’s almost none in the Beta, but what is there is all over the place. Some of the story missions are very intriguing. There’s one in particular that involves the search for missing person that was very compelling. You search for clues, you actually get worried and concerned about this stranger you’re looking for, and it’s great. Some of the other missions are disappointingly unimaginative. Go here, kill dudes, get key, release hostage. Ugh, this got old quickly. Surely there’s going to be more content in the full game, and as long as it’s not just Pin the Bullet in the Hostage Taker, then it should be fine.
Now for The Dark Zone, the much touted Player vs. Player (PvP) area. Full of awesome and powerful loots, it’s the place where you make a choice: Will you help your fellow agents in the DZ and fight high-level enemies, or will you be a villain killing other agents and stealing their stuff? I respect the developer for taking a chance and doing something different and interesting with PvP, and initially the DZ was SO fun.
Rolling in to the DZ for the first night of the beta, we consistently had a team of three or four friends. It was awesome! We ran into high level NPC enemies, we ran extractions, and even hunted down a few rogue agents. There were a few tense stand-offs with other groups of players, and that was an amazing experience. I pre-ordered the game the next day. Even into the 2nd night and the 3rd day, when we were rolling with a big group lots of fun was had.
On the 3rd night, the cracks in the DZ fun started to show. That night I loaded up with a friend, and as a duo we ventured into the DZ. We had a mission. Recall that I mentioned that the DZ had all the best loot, and in the best the most powerful gun could be bought in the DZ with the DZ-specific currency. On this 3rd night of the Beta, I had almost enough DZ bucks to get this gun. My partner already had hers and she was happy to help me out. After some lucky scrounging I had the DZ bucks to get my new toy, and we only had to make it to the Safehouse in the DZ to buy it.
On our way to the safehouse, we ran into a group of 3 neutral agents, after passing them on the street, they opened fire and killed us both. Then they camped our respawn and killed us again. This continued for a bit, we’d get caught out, and randomly killed by groups that had more players than us. It ended up costing us a bunch of money and time. Eventually I was able to get the gun, but the pattern we were seeing was disturbing.
It’s no fun to have to hide. To have to run when you encounter a bigger group, because they might just decide to cap you for no reason. This wasn’t the only incident. A few times my partner got caught out and killed by players, and it happened to me when I later tried to enter the DZ on my own. That didn’t even take into account the spawn camping. Even with a big group, there were times when other groups were trying to goad us into becoming rouge by sending a member of their group to walk in front of us while we were shooting. As well when trying to fight mobs of computer controlled enemies, you had to constantly watch your back lest someone come up and try to take advantage of your distraction of actually playing the game. It’s wasn’t fun, and it was a toxic. Ugh.
The DZ is all about projecting power, and when you have a big group you are a larger threat that isn’t to be messed with. I get that the rogue agent mechanic is going to be a thing, and it’s discouraging that there seems to be no effort to combat abuses of that mechanic. I can’t discount the fun I had, so I’m going to play the full game eventually. It just sucks that the game area that has the best stuff isn’t practically accessible by singles or duos.
I’m done with the beta for now. Hopefully the game’s release will spark that magic that made me buy it in the first place. But again, for now. I’m done.
ALSO HI ILU ALL.