Why now is the time to revisit The Division.

Rivisiting The Division

Deserting The Division

The Division caused a significant splash upon its release back in March 2016.  It sold incredibly well initially but the player base quickly began to move onto other things.  This happened largely due to the heights of the expectations before launch and numerous bugs.  These bugs put players off playing and as Ubisoft stumbled around trying to patch it the player base had moved on.

I was one of those many players who had fun with The Division at launch but soon fell out of love with it.  Upon its release it was continually compared to Destiny and despite the hype surrounding it the majority of folk on my friends list are seen playing Destiny rather than The Division.

In part due to the hype and in part because of an awesome online offer I found at the time I bought The Division with its Season Pass.  I’ve not bought many Season Passes before but the low cost coaxed me in.  This purchase has proven to be largely a waste of money until the past week.

Revisiting The Division

A few nights ago word caught my ear of The Division’s recent DLC release: Survival.  It reminded me that I owned it and so I reinstalled it ready to hop back into New York.  

I was immediately struck by what a beautiful game The Division is.  The streets of New York stuck in an eternal, Narnia-esque Winter looked just as I had left them.  I spent most of the evening clearing out my inventory and playing about with a few side quests.  I entered the Dark Zone and was destroyed numerous times by (evil) other players.  

 

Despite getting back into The Division because of the rumours of Survival, I regret to say I couldn’t play it, I couldn’t find it!  DLC being added into games has caused me problems like this before.  I went all evening without finding how to access Survival and went to bed happy to be back in The Division but frustrated to have missed out on the new content.  

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The Division: Survival DLC

The following evening I resolved to get into The Division: Survival.  During the afternoon a Google and a few forums later revealed the location of Survival (in The Terminal, an area out the back of the Base of Operations).

Beginning my first round of Survival revealed an entirely new game.  A game familiar yet different.  A game with similar but different goals and a wonderful sense of adventure, fear and exploration.  It was awesome.

Survival sees all players equal.  It doesn’t matter how many hours you’ve already put into The Division, what level you are or what fancy weapon you may use.  Survival strips everyone of everything they have earnt and kicks you out in the cold, literally.

Once you’ve been dropped to a random location in New York you rise and discover you are infected.  You have 1 hour to live, the only way to survive is to make your way to the dark zone and signal for an extraction.  The problem with this is you just have a pistol, minimal armour and thin clothing.  A fierce storm is raging in the city.  Heading outside immediately sees you start to freeze.  The longer you stay out in the open the more your core temperature drops.  After a few minutes this will start to lower your health.  Stay outside for too long and you’ll die.  The only way to survive is to move from heat source to heat source and find better equipment.

This makes for awesome gameplay.  The city has wandering groups of NPCs and at landmarks the best loot can be found.  These encourage players to explore them, bringing them together, but are also well protected.

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What next for The Division?

Outside of Survival The Division has received several significant improvements over the past year.  It is currently version 1.5.  This update has increased maxim enemy level, loot drops, added some special named equipment and altered some talents.  

Survival is still relatively new but player’s eyes now turn to the next piece of DLC, Last Stand.  Many are thinking this is likely to be Dark Zone or at least PVP focused.  Following the massive recent success of Survival a fresh look at the Dark Zone would be very welcome.  Upon release it was one of The Division’s biggest selling points.  Unfortunately it quickly fell out of favour with many players as people discovered ways to cheat their way to victory.

For now I’ve been very, very impressed by the after launch support of The Division.  I hadn’t thought I’d ever be getting back into it but the improvements to the main game and the addition of Survival have made a good game at launch a great game almost a year later.

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