Ever since its debut at E3 2018, the builders of The Division 2 have centered on the sequel’s endgame. It’s a recurring subject for a lot of on-line looter-shooters equivalent to Destiny and Anthem, because it’s usually seen because the make-or-break level for a sport’s long run success. That’s one thing the builders of the unique Division know all too nicely. Players who completed its vanilla marketing campaign inevitably hit a stoop, resulting in a repetitive cycle. Ubisoft finally overhauled a lot of the sport’s mechanics and added in new encounters–leading to a powerful post-launch life for The Division. However, many gamers nonetheless burned out by the unique launch missed out on the revival as soon as different video games got here round.
With the sequel, Ubisoft is taking steps to make sure that it will not fall into the identical traps as the unique, whereas additionally giving the marketing campaign a higher sense of function. We not too long ago spent a while getting an early have a look at the sport’s upcoming private beta–playable February 7-10–which affords a tease for what’s to come back within the early hours of the marketing campaign and the late-game content material that follows. After you’ve got established your self in The Division 2’s turbulent setting of post-outbreak Washington D.C. through the marketing campaign, issues take a extra chaotic flip after the conclusion, forcing you to defend what you’ve got constructed up within the expanded endgame.
During this occasion, the builders spent a while reflecting on what they discovered from the unique sport and detailed their strategy within the sequel.
“One of the biggest things for The Division 2 is the importance of the endgame and our focus on it,” mentioned artistic director Julian Gerighty. “We launched The Division 1 with very little in terms of endgame content. It was a great campaign, you reached level 30, the endgame started, but it was lacking in activities. We were trying to operate this live game, yet we saw things that weren’t working out for the long term. That’s why a very tough decision was made before patch 1.4, which was to stop the development on all of the planned features and the DLCs to be able to focus on the technological debt and on the improvements to get the game to where we wanted it to be. That all fed into how we’ve set up The Division 2 production-wise, creatively as well.”
The Division 1 is a vastly totally different sport now than it was at launch, and all for the higher. That second wind is one thing that the builders wished to hold over into the sequel, which they did in a couple of necessary methods. For starters, The Division 2 will incorporate a lot of the present sport’s content material from the post-launch updates, which incorporates replace 1.2’s bounties, 1.4’s world tiers, 1.6’s unique weapons, and 1.8’s PvP enviornment. These options may even be obtainable for all gamers at launch, and future DLCs for the primary yr can be free. This shouldn’t be solely to remain per the present sport’s stream and meta but in addition to make sure that the neighborhood would keep engaged.
With the brand new sport, there additionally comes a contemporary begin for all gamers. Whereas the unique was set in Manhattan, Division 2 brings a brand new set of brokers to the nation’s capital, which introduces new techniques and world occasions that happen within the field–presenting extra moments and alternatives to depart a big footprint. At the start of the demo, our first mission was to retake the White House from one of many opposing factions, which turns into your base of operations quickly after.
Over the course of the marketing campaign, the White House will increase in affect and followers the extra you broaden the Agency’s attain all through Washington D.C. In order to reassert management over town, you will arrange new settlements and work together with key characters who will help in your rise to energy. Some NPCs are recruitable and might even be delivered to the White House to improve the assorted areas–leading to new objects and perks to amass.
Exploring ruined D.C. supplied loads of alternatives to satisfy new characters and are available throughout management factors which might be in fixed dispute. Though D.C. would not have practically as sturdy of an environment and eerie vibe as the unique, it does fill that void by presenting extra causes to discover and interact within the numerous side-missions. Much like within the authentic, there are ECHOs that can help you play again moments from the lives of supporting characters. While the unique’s take felt one-sided for the reason that characters had been useless lengthy earlier than you arrived, a number of of the individuals of curiosity in The Division 2 are alive and fairly nicely, and the ECHOs provide extra particulars about their connections to others all through D.C.
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Private Beta Official Trailer
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Things, nonetheless, take a very stunning flip within the endgame. A new risk within the type of Black Tusk emerges, main into the broader endgame that shakes issues up. Similar to the Hunters from The Division’s 1.Eight replace, who solely appeared within the Survival mode and Underground DLC, Black Tusk is a roaming faction that serves because the antithesis of the Division company. Possessing an arsenal of high-tech weapons and devices that match your individual, this new faction invades D.C. and actively tries to retake areas of the city–and even the Dark Zones. In the 2 endgame missions we performed, one within the Air and Space Museum and together with the Federal Emergency Bunker, the Black Tusk proved to be a strong power to be reckoned with. Along with utilizing robots that appear like they arrive proper out of the Boston Dynamics lab–except they really have weapons this time–the endgame faction additionally makes use of mini-drones, and have troopers sporting heavy armor that require strategic photographs to open up weak factors.
During the endgame, you will unlock new specializations that additional improve your character, which additionally open up energy weapons just like the grenade launcher, heavy sniper rifle, and the crossbow. In order to search out higher loot and kit, you will should deal with missions which might be a number of notches more difficult than the marketing campaign. But as is usually the case for endgame content material, you will even be repeating some older missions. The Division 2 does, nonetheless, spice issues up by introducing a brand new tier known as Invaded missions. During the endgame, all earlier missions from the marketing campaign may have a brand new problem that replaces the present enemies with the Black Tusk. To lower down on repetition, the Invaded missions may even randomize every encounter with Black Tusk within the stage, resulting in totally different fights with enemy squads on every playthrough.
This new faction additionally adjustments the dynamic of the Dark Zones within the endgame, which actively occupies one of many areas. As we detailed in another preview, the Dark Zone’s PvPvE (player-versus-player-versus-environment) dynamic has been upgraded for the sequel. In addition to a few separate zones, all of which have story missions that can help you get your toes moist, the endgame will introduce an Occupied Dark Zone. With one Dark Zone underneath occupation by the Black Tusk faction, which cycles to a distinct location each week, the occupied zones additionally take away sure handicaps from the bottom model of the PvPvE mode, significantly level-balancing and pleasant fireplace.
The skirmishes with Black Tusk through the two missions we performed had been intense and required some strong communication from our group to make it by. However, the invaded missions additionally felt a bit exhausting as nicely, resulting in some moments the place we had been trapped in a room for as much as 10 minutes dropping squads of bullet-spongy enemies as they funneled in. Though that is usually the case for endgame content material, it undoubtedly damage the pacing of some in any other case thrilling missions. Granted, we had been simply dropped into these missions for the aim of this demo, which got here after the somewhat brisk early sport missions we performed at the start. They could stream higher as soon as you’ve got invested the hours to work your method to this content material.
However, this additionally jogged my memory of among the bigger points I’ve felt from The Division 2, in that it comes off a bit too just like the unique. It strongly emulates a lot of what labored in its predecessor, virtually to a fault. Though among the new improvements make for a extra partaking and attention-grabbing setting to discover, the final looter-shooter loop itself will be exhausting, and result in these acquainted moments of occasional tedium that slowed down the primary sport. Having mentioned that, I do really feel the brand new strategy to the endgame, although considerably overwhelming, does provide a extra compelling hook that felt absent from the unique. By tasking you to defend the place you’ve got been actively increase and investing your self in all through the campaign–which will be taken by the enemy faction. It creates a higher sense of urgency within the late-game, which was missing from the unique.
Ubisoft appears to be on the proper path for The Division 2. Though it is clearly constructing off of what got here earlier than, the brand new options do appear to be a pure step up that performs to the renewed power the sequence noticed with its revamped gameplay from the unique. Ubisoft’s strategy with this non-public beta was a neat method to kick the tires from each ends, and it will be attention-grabbing to see how players–even people who missed out on the revival of the unique game–will take to it. The Division 2 is sequence’ second likelihood, and hopefully it’s going to have the ability to make good on it is renewed vigor.