The Division has already been having a rough week, and things just keep getting rougher: A newly found exploit lets players temporarily boost their gun's damage output to game-breaking levels. The exploit requires you to have a specific talent on your gun — the "Competent" talent, which briefly boosts DPS after triggering any ability. There's a high-end AK-74 with the talent for sale at the special gear vendor in the Base of Operations, so everyone with enough phoenix credits can access a gun that will work.
Once you have the right gun, you simply have to equip it, then equip a different gun, then switch back again. Do that a bunch of times (like, for five minutes) and a bug will cause Competent's DPS boost to stack and build up. The next time you trigger an ability you'll get a ridiculous temporary leap in DPS from, say, 115,000 to 1,115,000.
YouTuber Simplified demonstrates the exploit in this video, complete with hilariously massive damage numbers as he shoots a few NPCs:
The possible applications are numerous — who wouldn't want the ability to temporarily turn their gun into a 1,000,000+ DPS murder machine? You could store up the ability before fighting a boss, or take it into the Dark Zone and one-shot anyone who messes with you. (The tests I've seen are all PvE, but I'm assuming this also works in the Dark Zone.) The exploit's presence is likely to keep a lot of people out of the game until it's fixed. Knowing there are people out there who can easily activate this kind of firepower certainly makes me even less interested in heading into the Dark Zone than I already was, at least.
The discovery of the Competent exploit comes at the end of a troubled week for Ubisoft's big shared-world online shooter. Last week's 1.1 update introduced a number of bugs and exploits to the new "Incursion" mission while nerfing the crafting system and economy to greatly increase the endgame grind. More recently, another exploit guide making the rounds shows PC players how to use an outside application to get an endless stream of high-end crafting materials. That exploit is an even clearer cheat, as it requires use of an outside tool, but semantics aside, its mere existence is doing substantial damage to the game's economy and to player morale.
Ubisoft Massive issued one hotfix last Friday and will likely address these latest exploits as well. Ubisoft community manager Natchai Stappers mentioned last week that they were "looking into what can be done in terms of punishment" for exploiters, but no concrete plan has emerged, nor have they spoken about how they might re-balance or roll back the economy to level things out for who have chosen not to exploit.
Today, Stappers elaborated somewhat on the development team's approach to exploits and to dealing with cheaters. "I understand you're all frustrated with it," he wrote of the cheating, "but do understand that we are actively dealing with cheaters, we are banning them, permanently as well, but because so far it's been a decision not to communicate on numbers and the likes, this has gone largely unnoticed and makes it seem like we're not doing anything."
I asked Ubisoft if they could offer more specifics on coming fixes, punishments and possible rollbacks or rebalancing but did not hear back by press time. If the past week is any indication, whatever happens, this game of exploit whac-a-mole will likely continue for some time.