The Division Is Having A Bad Time

In Tom Clancy's The Division, there's a war on the streets. There's a war on the message boards and in the forums, too. This game is having a tough time all around. The real-world forum war centres around bugs, changes to the endgame economy and a handful of exploits found in the new endgame "Incursion" mission. They're coming in the aftermath of the game's first major, free post-release update, which hit last week. It changed how the endgame worked and added the first and unfortunately disappointing Incursion co-op mission.

Called "Falcon Lost", the Incursion was billed as a raid-like mission intended for squads of max-level players. It would challenge the most powerful players; beating it would require teamwork and tactical play and would reward players with the most powerful gear in the game. As it turns out, Falcon Lost is basically just a 15-wave horde mode constrained to a single room. It requires a team to fight off a bunch of bullet sponge dudes, then repeat the same tactic a few times to blow up a stationary armoured vehicle. If the team gets wiped out at any point, they have to start over again from the beginning. Whee.

The Incursion was disappointing enough, given that lots of players were expecting something more in line with what year-one Destiny players got in the phenomenal Vault of Glass Raid shortly after that game's launch. Even more frustrating, though, was the discovery that Falcon Lost could be easily exploited, which meant that dedicated cheesers could use it to churn out full loadouts of the best gear in the game.

Ubisoft Massive issued a hotfix on Friday to address one of the most popular exploits, along with the bug that had caused some Xbox One players' characters to vanish. Of course, players quickly discovered new ways of getting "outside" the mission, which lets you blow up the target vehicle without having to actually fight through the waves.

On the Division forums, a Ubisoft community manager said they're possibly going to punish those who have beaten the mission with exploits, which would be the first time they have taken such steps. "Obviously it is against our Code of Conduct and the team is looking into what can be done in terms of punishment for those who have exploited," they wrote. They linked to the game's Code of Conduct, which states that "exploitation of any new or known issues or bugs is forbidden and may result in account suspension or revocation".

Like with many loot-centric online games, there have been various farming exploits and cheeses in The Division since it launched. (I sure farmed The Bullet King for a few afternoons.) The difference here is that Falcon Lost is by far the most consistent way to acquire the best new gear in the game, meaning that exploiters have quickly put themselves so far beyond legit players that for the time being, the latter group must either do the exploit or resign themselves to being underpowered.

The imbalance would be frustrating in a mainly PvE game, but it becomes a real problem in The Division's Dark Zone. The Dark Zone is the rough-and-tumble area in the middle of the map where players can go to fight tough bosses and also take on squads of other players. A person who spent a day exploiting Falcon Lost can roll into the Dark Zone with such powerful guns and armour that they're nearly invincible to legit players.

It's pretty easy to tell who's been running the exploit, too. After the update, players now have a "Gear Score" next to their name, similar to gear levels in other MMOs or light levels in Destiny. The highest possible gear score is 240. Given how difficult it is to get GS 200+ items, if a player already has multiple pieces of 240 gear this quickly, something's up. Gear Score has also devalued previously exciting gold High-End (HE) gear, since the majority of HE gear drops with a gear score in the 160-190 range. I was pretty happy with the HE First Wave M1A that dropped for me during a challenge mission a few weeks back, but it turns out its gear score is only 182. My prized gun went from good to lacklustre in a single update. Standard stuff for a level-cap increase, but a bitter pill mere weeks after I got the thing.

It could be that Ubisoft Massive will fix further exploits and roll back cheaters, issuing temporary bans and taking away their ill-gotten gear. They could also go one further and get rid of the mobile cover ability, which can be used to wall-glitch through many of the barriers in the game and thus has been used in many of the most popular exploits and world-hacks.

Even if they do all that, the fact will remain that the Incursion is a dull slog when played properly. It doesn't come close to the sort of fast-thinking, high-level tactical challenge many of us hoped for when we first started playing The Division last month. According to reports from players, plenty of other problems would also remain: cheaters who teleport their way through the Dark Zone, numerous bugs and connectivity issues, disappointing loot drops and the fact that it takes an age and a half to get enough materials to craft anything.

There's also a familiar feeling that there just isn't enough to do. I've been playing very casually over the last few weeks and even I feel like I'm repeating the same missions over and over. I can only clear the same challenge missions so many times, and the beautiful non-Dark Zone open world offers little but underpowered enemies and weak loot. The people having the most fun right now are probably brand-new or slow-paced players who haven't hit the level cap and are still working through the story campaign.

The short-term balance problems could be addressed in a number of ways, and there's plenty of time for Ubisoft Massive to get the endgame sorted via subsequent updates and, eventually, paid expansions. That's all in the future, though. For now, The Division is in a rough spot.


Comments

    Eh, I'm something like level 15/16 and got bored and stopped playing. The game is just too much rinse and repeat for me and I have plenty of other games to play. If I got to level 30 I seriously doubt I'd bother trying to farm gear...I'd just treat it as a single player game that finished.

    I get gear farming in an MMO (I played WoW for 4 years after all) but the Division simply isn't an MMO. There's no community behind playing it, no tough dungeons that you attempt for months with a group before finally beating it. It's just a watered down imitation and doesn't inspire me to spend my time playing it.

    Might eventually go back at some point to finish the quests and hit max level but it's on the bottom of my "games to play" pile for now.

      Same here.. I think I got to around level 17? Something like that.. it's just so repetitive and boring. I even tried some darkzone stuff and found that just as boring.. I enjoyed the game for the 15-20 hours or whatever I played.. so I got my money's worth, I guess.. but I won't be bothering any more. I uninstalled the game about 3 days ago to install more enjoyable games from almost 10 years ago on my SSD (like Bully Scholarship Edition from 8 years ago..)

    Love the game but due to the hackers and exploiters its just no fun. Will check it out again in 6 months when they have hopefully fixed it.

      In 6 months you'll need to invest in like 2-3 paid DLCs to even play the latest content and get relevant gear, so glad I didn't buy the season pass.

      People trashed Destiny so much, myself included, but it is clearly the better game. What amazes me is how fast the Division is going up in flames.

        When you're comparing TTK to Vanilla The Division, I don't agree at all. It's an unfair comparison. If you're comparing first content expansion then yes, Destiny does.

        Last edited 19/04/16 10:59 am

          No, comparing the vanilla versions of both games gives you the same result as well. Destiny was always a case of unrealistic player expectations combined with willfully ignorant developer communication. There were also the entirely understandable teething problems from trying to create an entirely new console genre that focused on persistent worlds and character progression that married MMO structure with FPS gameplay. It was never a case of the game not being good enough.

          People's main perceived issues with Destiny was mostly a lack of content, not a failure of gameplay. Destiny was "we want more", but the Division is "we want better".

          Last edited 19/04/16 7:06 pm

        From what I remember of destiny early days, it was exactly the same lol Games of this scope will always have holes (especially now days), and there will always be people looking in every crevice to find a way to exploit them. I'm still hopeful Massive will get there game together sooner rather then later :)

        Last edited 19/04/16 11:10 am

          Destiny was exactly the same when it launched! DLC saved Destiny. I believe the same can happen for the Div. Massive is quite active on the subreddit and a bunch of these changes were first suggested on there. I really hope things get better because currently it does have many issues including hackers, balancing, some weapon types being useless compared to an SMG. Fingers crossed

        I was thinking Vanilla Destiny to Vanilla Division. People were devastated about the shitty story in Destiny, but the shooting mechanics were so refined that the pvp alone felt fresh longer than the all of the division did. The raid was just icing on the cake, even though you could cheese it it had minimal impact on the pvp interaction with the only outlier being the Mythoclast.

        I reckon the reason the division is going to hell is that a lot of burnt out destiny players hopped over expecting Massive to learn from Bungie's mistakes. Even the subreddit for the division went feral in record time, the destiny one was civil and mostly positive until Crota.

          For me its that I am not an exploiter and yet most of those I play with do so I feel left behind if I dont as it is hard to keep up with them. Refuse to do it so will play something else. Shame really.

        Hey if Destiny came to pc i would be all over it again.

    The Incursion is a sad sack of shit. 1 room, 15 waves of Shotguns that can kill you behind cover and from 50 feet away, along with focus the snipers and grenadiers at once. Oh and stay out of the bad. Destroy the APC with one mechanic. *Yawn*.

    I had more fun in the Beta. The loot tables are broken. Yellow is the new purple. You still need to craft to get decent gear - even the gear set pieces for crying out loud. Challenge mode is broken. I have 0 regrets for exploiting that Incursion currently.

    Their Dev and Community team says two completely different things that contradict eachother. They have a lady that was in charge of Massive's Mobile Games Economy in charge of The Division's Economy currently.

    I went from 'immensely enjoying this game' to 'Still enjoying but going casual and agree with every other criticism that is out there'.

    Last edited 19/04/16 10:59 am

      Yeah, I don't even look at purples anymore. The excitement of seeing a gold drop is totally gone now, although I had my first Gear set drop in the DZ last night, and that was kind of exciting... despite it being a bag of shit (backpack of nomad) lol

        Jeeezzzz that's a tad disappointing! That Nomad set is just utter shit.

          I kept it in hopes that one day they might buff that set lol otherwise its just taking up stash space right now!

    I won't stop playing and I haven't I'm at almost 10 days played time since launch I just can't stand destiny I like this game with friends

    My group ran me through the exploit the other night, and to be honest, its boring as hell. I'd honestly rather do it the hard way! The gear you get out of it, really isn't that good, I got a couple of 240 drops, and I have high ends better then them anyways.

    I'm honestly amazed at the people who find them though, the newest one is so bizarre that I'm not suprised that it got through the bug testing. They should just remove the portable cover all together, I don't think anyone uses it for anything other then glitching anyways lol

    Me and my brother are both around lvl 17, taking it nice and slow and enjoying exploring/collecting.

    Things might change for how we enjoy the game once we hit the level cap, but for now we still enjoy the game.

    I also have an alt that is lvl 14 now.

    Destiny was/is better.

    I started as a day one destiny player and a day one division player. I haven't even played the taken king so I'm not even comparing TTK to the division.

    The strike playlists in destiny were excellent end game content that was available straight away, along with the daily bounties. There was variety in the locations, enemies and weapons. And the raid...so good.

    Unfortunately even though I convinced 3 of my PSN friends to buy the Division, once lvl 30 was hit, they have all walked away so again I'm left trying to stick to a game by myself, this means trawling the DZ just isn't fun. If I run it solo, I struggle to take out the boss area's by myself, and I get shot on sight regularly by groups, if I try to matchmake DZ roaming, I often can't find more than 1 person at a time, and they are all over the place, or just frustrating to deal with. So with no DZ, I log in, do my daily Hards (which I'm going to have to do solo from now on because every time I match make, someone joins with a GS of 200+ and I barely kill anything for the whole mission), the daily challenge and turn it off.
    I've got 1 bit of purple gear left so I will keep doing dailies this week until I have enough Phoenix credits to buy the blueprints for my remaining bit, that should get me a GS of over 170, I'll do the incursion again until it's complete and then to be honest, I'll probably leave the Division until some decent DLC is released. Sure the next free incursion will be released and that has a minimum GS of 220, but I just CBF grinding the incursion or anything to get the 350 odd phoenix credits needed for each bit of green gear.

    I would love for a developer to look at the persistent online shooter genre and stop treating it like a MMORPG. Bullet sponge fights are not fun in a shooter, stop recreating single boss mechanics like WoW or SWTOR instead create encounters that require tactical co-ordination.

    Rescuing hostages, covering multiple points of entry, spread the group of players out so that they can't focus fire a boss down making them a default bullet sponge. Mass Effect 2's multiplayer is probably the closest I've seen a developer come to this idea.

      How good was Mass Effect's multiplayer. It was ME3 though, not 2. It was really surprising how good it was given it seemed like a complete afterthought. Another game that nailed it was Gears Of War 3 Horde mode. It was brutally challenging but in really fun ways that got you moving around, splitting up, helping each other, etc.

      The Division's gameplay is nothing like that. It's dull, because their answer to "how do we increase the challenge?" is just "More health, more damage".

        Christ goes to show my memory's going, yeah you're right it was ME-3. I think I played that more than the actual game.

    I just 100hrs in game, I enjoyed 95% of that time.
    I've now hit a wall and am just running through the daily motions. I'm actually surprised its lasted this long, I was worried I wouldn't even get 30hrs out of the game.

    Damn this game looks good. I've started playing Arkham Knight again, compared to The Division its looks like a blurry mess. Different art style I guess.

    PVP is my ultimate end game, I love it. Though I'm disappointed by the fact that players who have used exploits get to keep their gear ( So far ). For genuine players like myself who spend the time doing everything properly, it's a pretty big kick in the teeth.

    I feel like this game has just been a waste of time and I really wanted it to succeed.

    For now, Dark Soul 3 will keep me entertained :)

    I thought I'd go back for incursions, but it's not grabbing me. I really generally play stuff for the narrative-driven experience, rather than the gear-grind treadmill that I burned out on years ago.

    The next free update ('conflict') looks to be DZ-focused, and another incursion. I don't imagine it'll be much closer to what folks were hoping for, given that they really thought they were on the mark with this month's update, and won't have time to go back to the drawing board.

    The next actual expansions I'm hoping will change things up a bit. Underground, Survival, and Last Stand.

      Yeah, these free updates are kind of just tie-overs until the expansions. I don't mind these updates, but am really looking forward to more story content more then anything. Underground acctually seems to be really interesting!

    Ugh this is really disappointing. Have been swamped with work for the last week or two but was looking forward to getting back into The Division and trying out the Incursion this weekend :(
    Guess I'll just go back to being excited for Uncharted 4 and Overwatch.

    For me starting the incursion mission is a bit of challenge and full of frustration. Either I get kicked out in matchmaking from people cuz I am 162 or mission glitches due to some bug causing it reload again and again or after so many attempts ending up with people who have no mic to communicate, or leave after 2-3 wave because nobody was able to revive them.
    The max I went up to is 5th wave and have wasted so much time. If anyone want to finish this mission on weekend with me on xbox, my gamer tag is Brav3one.

    I am back playing Destiny now and yes there are some idiots in it to but far less than Division.

    Personally I love the fact I got to sit here, watch all of you same people say how great it was and going to be, denying the fact it was just a reskinned Destiny with even less content, now you're all complaining. hahahhaa god damn I love bi polar gamers.

    I see a lot of people claiming to be casual players who aren't

    I've completed just over 24 hours of game time and I religiously exit the game when I've finished with it so that is accurate

    Don't be put off by people saying the end game is shit, I'm no where near that and so far:

    . I can play a fun co-op game with my mates, with good team integration and voice
    . I can wonder off to the PVP area and meet other people and have fun and get raped
    . I feel there is a LOT of great immersive story and fun to be had by casual players

    I play a bit on weekends and have a scheduled meet up with mates for a few hours on a weekenight. If your concern is the critisism that this game is getting from anyone saying they are a casual player and on level 30 then ignore it. They aren't a casual player. They may not be as hardcore as they would like, but they aren't casual

    Fire it up and have so fun yourself. So far, The Division has been awesome (xb1)

    I saw the micro-management of The Division coming from miles away before it even released, which is why I didn't bother submitting myself to be used by Ubisoft in the first place. What Bungie did to Destiny was a clear warning to all that no fun is allowed is big-developer managed online games (and I was already wise enough not to buy that either).

    'Against our code of conduct' is Weak-Speak for 'we made this game in a very lazy way, and anything that anyone does that isn't something we thought of during development, we reserve the right to throw a big gray blanket of playerbase abuse over it and reverse any unforeseen fun that anyone discovered and enjoyed'.

    The patching of an exploit that can top-to-bottom break a whole economy within hours of discovery and use (and heavily invested business models in turn) is of course something players should be fine with - but players beating a game developer at their own game, is fair game - as is the case here, and was in Destiny from what I saw and read.

    needs a shit load more to do, more choice and consequence, much more affecting the world around you instead of follwing a linear narrative.
    Dark Zone needed to be larger and more impactful too instead of just pvp with some meagre pve thrown in.

    The Division is crap - really Watchdogs was more fun the play than division, tediously lengthy and time consuming with no imagination - your character lacks any personality and the game is really flawed
    I want Ubisoft to refund me my money for it, its a pathetic game and even more pathetic is the company Ubisoft threatening people for glitching it with punishment - Based on this game I severely doubt I am going to buy a Ubisoft game anymore - to class this game like Destiny is only done by idiots - 15 waves of bullet sponges isn't really enjoyable, the farming aspects are just crap and the tinkering around with your armour or crafting is just equally boring

    I rate this game out of 10 a negative 4 - you will enjoy it for a few weeks then become really bored with it

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