About two weeks ago Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment rolled out a massive patch for their looter shooter that people were abandoning en masse. Now players are coming back and newcomers are popping up, so how good is The Division really?
Update 1.8 itself brought a ton of changes, more PvE content, another PvP mode, balance changes and set stage for a new batch of Global Events. For players not willing to dig through patch notes, here is the rundown.
Is it worth returning to the game if you quit it beforehand?
This question, of course, depends on why you quit the game. Some issues got fixed along the way, some didn't.
Let's start with the scripted gameplay video screaming All aboard! for the pre-release hypetrain which probably gets you suckered, like the way it got me into thinking it would be a third person shooter with somewhat realistic combat mechanics. If you quit when you found out people can take 30 headshots and still live, then the answer is no. You're out of luck.This is a looter shooter and as such it will always have bullet sponges, unless some future developer comes up with an even lazier approach to scaling difficulty than RNG and gratuitous amounts of enemy health.
Another reason why you may have quit is because that's what you do when there is no more endgame content, right? Just The Division barely had any endgame content to begin with. In this case you may be in luck, update 1.8 brought a pile of new ways for you to kill time in smallpox-ridden New York. A very welcome clarification of level 256 gear comes with the patch. You were probably aware that not all 256 gear was equally powerful. Now the game will properly show gear levels from 256 to 280. Other than that, new PvE areas were added, giving you additional ways to grind for high end gear, and then there is Resistance. This is the game's horde mode where it will pit you against endless waves of enemies, test your limits and let your rake in loot like there is no tomorrow. It will also test your patience. If this was your reason to quit the game at some point, it may be a good time to re-download and give it another go.
You may also find yourself in crowd of players leaving the game due to lack of PvP content, you were not satisfied with balancing or high RPM weapons ruling PvP. The game received a bit of a stat overhaul with high RPM weapons having their base damage reduced and each point of Stamina now giving you 30HP which is double from the previous amount. Some people are complaining about higher TTK in PvP but it appears they are adjusting to the change and shotguns are receiving a bit of the spotlight. It would also be worth checking out the new Skirmish PvP mode which is basically 4v4 Team Deathmatch. With all the attention PvP got with this update, I would say it is a good time for PvP enthusiasts to hop back in.
Should you have left the game via the ragequit door and decided to never ever instal it again because the game dropped a Delta error on you in the middle of a Legendary run and then didn't let you back in because the servers are a couple of wired together potatoes, then I've good some good news for you. No need to waste your time coming back. The torment is not over. These errors still happen regularly. For St. Peter's sake, it's Ubisoft we're talking about, what were you expecting?
Is this game worth your time if you're a new player?
If you're looking for a looter shooter game that will not treat you like a cash cow hoping you wont notice it dragging your wallet to the slaughterhouse in order to acquire some lootbox progression, then yes, The Division is definitely a game for you. The recent free update is a nice sign of good will, or so it seems at the moment. The new shiny loot looks amazing, and is a decent way to prolong the endgame, so it would seem a good time to venture a look.
This is also a looter shooter game where gunplay feels extremely satisfying but it's not without competition. Most players looking for that quality in this genre are most likely standing at a crossroad - it's either Destiny 2 or The Division. You might argue that Warframe and Borderlands are in the mix but none of them quite hit the spot on the way guns feel like Destiny and Division did. Destiny 2 has a bigger playerbase at the moment than The Division, and it gets funny event-like bugs or imbalances from time to time such as the Prometheus Lens, it is futuristic and spanning over different planets which may appeal to some players over the tactical urban combat in The Division. On the other hand, The Division never attempted to lure you into spending money on progression lootboxes and neither did it secretly gimp players' experience gains, or created other machinations to hamper your progress.
If you are into scenic, eerily silent urban environments, sightseeing in New York, then you should also give the game a try. Ubisoft definitely made the environment put you into a post catastrophe mood with glimmers of hope around one corner and impending doom around the other. It's solid stuff, if that is your jam.
Rumours are circling that this might be the last update before the end because Ubisoft went all out with it, but this may not be the case. Global Event #3 is up and running at the time of writing this article, and the way is paved for the fourth Global Event that is coming in January 2018. Another argument is that the game will be abandoned because The Division 2 may be in development. Massive Entertainment is currently working on an Avatar game and there is no word of a sequel. Some future stream of updates may serve as a bridge to a potential sequel, regardless of when it might arrive.
There is currently no rush if you were thinking about investing some time into The Division. New players can expect about 30 hours out of the experience, and Christmas sales are a good way of making sure you aren't paying full price. Returning players already know what they are getting into, and should have little trouble figuring out whether the changes truly make a difference for them personally.