Since its debut at E3 2018, the builders behind the The Division 2 have targeted on the sequel’s endgame. It’s a recurring matter 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 effectively. Players who completed its vanilla marketing campaign inevitably hit a droop, 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 objective. We lately spent a while getting an early have a look at the sport’s upcoming private beta–playable February 7-10–which gives a tease for what’s to return 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. throughout 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 realized from the unique sport and detailed their method within the sequel.
“One of the biggest things for The Division 2 is the importance of the endgame and our focus on it,” stated 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 just a few 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 will even be out there for all gamers at launch, and future DLCs for the primary 12 months will likely be free. This is just not solely to remain in keeping with the present sport’s stream and meta but additionally to make sure that the group would keep engaged.
With the brand new sport, there additionally comes a recent 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 develop the Agency’s attain all through Washington D.C. In order to reassert management over town, you may arrange new settlements and work together with key characters who will help in your rise to energy. Some NPCs are recruitable and may even be dropped at the White House to improve the varied areas–leading to new objects and perks to amass.
Exploring ruined D.C. provided loads of alternatives to fulfill new characters and are available throughout management factors which can be in fixed dispute. Though D.C. does 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 have interaction within the varied side-missions. Much like within the unique, there are ECHOs that will let you play again moments from the lives of supporting characters. While the unique’s take felt one-sided for the reason that characters have been lifeless lengthy earlier than you arrived, a number of of the individuals of curiosity in The Division 2 are alive and fairly effectively, and the ECHOs supply extra particulars about their connections to others all through D.C.
Division 2’s Secret Endgame Faction Is A Tough Challenge
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Things, nonetheless, take a very shocking 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 to be 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 pictures to open up weak factors.
During the endgame, you may 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 seek out higher loot and equipment, you may must sort out missions which can be a number of notches more difficult than the marketing campaign. But as is often the case for endgame content material, you may even be repeating some older missions. The Division 2 does, nonetheless, spice issues up by introducing a brand new tier referred to as Invaded missions. During the endgame, all earlier missions from the marketing campaign could have a brand new problem that replaces the present enemies with the Black Tusk. To minimize down on repetition, the Invaded missions will even randomize every encounter with Black Tusk within the degree, 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 will let you get your ft moist, the endgame will introduce an Occupied Dark Zone. With one Dark Zone beneath occupation by the Black Tusk faction, which cycles to a special location each week, the occupied zones additionally take away sure handicaps from the bottom model of the PvPvE mode, notably level-balancing and pleasant hearth.
The skirmishes with Black Tusk throughout the two missions we performed have been intense and required some stable communication from our workforce to make it by way of. However, the invaded missions additionally felt a bit exhausting as effectively, resulting in some moments the place we have 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 harm the pacing of some in any other case thrilling missions. Granted, we have been simply dropped into these missions for the aim of this demo, which got here after the moderately brisk early sport missions we performed at the start. They might stream higher as soon as you’ve got invested the hours to work your solution to this content material.
However, this additionally jogged my memory of a number of the bigger points I’ve felt from The Division 2, in that it comes off a bit too much like the unique. It strongly emulates a lot of what labored in its predecessor, virtually to a fault. Though a number of the new improvements make for a extra participating and fascinating 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 stated that, I do really feel the brand new method to the endgame, although considerably overwhelming, does supply a extra compelling hook that felt absent from the unique. By tasking you to defend the place you’ve got been actively build up 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 correct 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 energy the collection noticed with its revamped gameplay from the unique. Ubisoft’s method with this personal beta was a neat solution to kick the tires from each ends, and it will be fascinating to see how players–even people who missed out on the revival of the unique game–will take to it. The Division 2 is collection’ second probability, and hopefully it’s going to be capable of make good on it is renewed vigor.