The Division Design Issues, There is a Lot of Room for Improvement

By   /   Apr 20, 2016
The Division

When Destiny came out in 2014, the game got heavily criticized for its lack of content but it was praised for presentation and solid gameplay mechanics. Sure, there were some class imbalance issues but it wasn’t too much of a problem. The game got interesting with time and Destiny raids served the purpose of player compensation effectively.

Now, in 2016 we have The Division which is similar to Destiny in many ways. Like many of you, I too was excited to get my hands on it. A first couple of hours were great as I adored the beautiful world with good gameplay mechanics.

After Level 15, since i had familiarized myself with the basics of the game, I was now looking forward towards the end game. So I tried to level up my character as fast as possible. It was fun. Then Ubisoft Massive announced the Incursion update as the first end game content.

However, now that I have 150+ hours invested in The Division, I can’t help but think about the common design issues that can alienate the players who have completed all the available content of the game.

MMOs usually offer something to players to make them stick around until the next content update bu The Division has some design issues that can be really annoying both for new players and the old ones. I still like the game, but I thing if Ubisoft addresess the following issues (which also have been pointed out on various social platforms), The Division can be in a much better shape.

1. Gear Score Effectiveness
When they announced the Gear Score system, I was happy as it could improve the matchmaking for the challenging content of the game of for dark zone. However, Gear Score just seems like to be a mere number as players with far more less GS can be more effective in combat than those who have high Gear Score.

Yes, talents play a crucial role but shouldn’t the items with higher GS have better talents than others? My Level 163 Vector 45 ACP deals more damage than 182 one. I have Striker’s gloves of GS 204 with critical damage and critical hit chance but the regular high end gloves (182) I have equipped offer me better attributes. The Gear Score should be more relevant specially when you are teaming up with other agents for the challenging content of the game.

2. Gear Score Requirement
Then there is the Gear Score Requirements to enter the content. That requirements too seem shallow. This is what Ubisoft said about Gear Score for Incursion update:

Improving your gear and increasing your overall Gear Score will grant your agent access to the most dangerous high-end challenges

While it’s true to some extent, Gear Score requirement set by default is also unjustified. For example, for Incursion, one needs to have recommended Gear Score 150. Now since it’s a recommended requirement, the Incursion even on hard will be a long painful experience (challenge is something else) for a group of 4 players with GS around 150. Adjust those values Ubisoft so that new players don’t waste their time in doing the wrong content.

3. Crafting vs Loot Drop and the Dark Zone
With the Incursion Update they promised that high-end loot will be 100% on hard and challenging missions. So to balance things out, they increased the crafting requirements for blueprints to stop the spam re-rolls people were doing. Seemed fair enough!

However, after doing so many challenge missions, the crafting has now become more important than before as the high-end loot we get from challenge missions is usually of 163 level (rarely 182). So the only option you are left with if you want items of level 182 or higher is your craft them.

So the PVE content is going to take you a very long time to get the desired competitive items. What’s the alternative? The Dark Zone. I am fine with the Dark Zone as long as a well geared player (probably have exploited the glitches) doesn’t one shot me while I am looking at the map.

It was good news to me when I read that they are lowering Dark Zone level requirements for the blue print however, they made the level adjustments so that the gear I wanted was still at level 50 or even now (the 204 ones) at level 75. With the current state of Dark Zone (I am currently Level 50), getting to Level 75 can be an unpleasant task for players like me who prefer PVE over forced PVP.

I am not against grinding but when it comes to which part you should grind, there should be some flexibility for the players. Players who don’t like Dark Zone much should be allowed to farm things outside it. They introduced Dark Zone supply drops, it would have been great if there were similar events of challenging nature in the city itself outside the dark zone.

4. Level Cap and the Significance of XP
You must have noticed that many activities still reward you XP even after you have hit the level cap. Although the XP keeps on piling up, it doesn’t really do anything. Yes, the level cap will be increased in the future but what is the purpose now? Many MMOs reward players after hitting the level cap for their extra XP in different ways.

The Division however, for the time being has no such plans and it could be interesting if Ubisoft can do something about it.

5. The Worst Part, The Glitch Agenda
If someone who has played almost same time as you one shots you in Dark Zone, you want answers. When you start looking for answers, you find out that a lot of people have been exploiting glitches to farm fast and there is not way you can compete with them with legit methods.

Although Massive has been fixing the exploits, there have been many new ones and they just don’t stop.

Yes, it’s a design issue as most of these exploits are related to mobile cover that allows players to glitch through walls. That needs to be fixed or those who want to play legit will be left with no option than either to quit or use the glitches themselves. Both of these cases can be harmful for the game and community.

6. The Class Imbalance
In my experience with The Division, 90% of the people I have come across are using “the DPS build”. Electronics and Stamina seem like under-powered against DPS both in PVP and PVE. I tried a tank build 120k health and around 3k armor. I thought I will get my teammates a little sustain against the shotgunners but it was almost the same story and I was down in no time.

Same goes for Electronics build. Very long cooldowns on the abilities can be a nightmare for a techtician and there is no way you can compete with a DPS guy in Dark Zone with electronics build. So yes, this is another quadrant that needs Massive’s attention.

So these are some of the Design issues I believe need Ubisoft’s attention. The game can be in much better shape and we don’t want The Division to end up like The Crew. You must have your own list of issues, right? Do share with us in the comments below.

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