Ubisoft have announced a whole range of new stuff for anyone still playing The Division, from gifts and credits to two expansions later in the year. It's all going to be free! And maybe for a reason.
The full range of content is detailed in this Ubisoft blog post, but the gist is that there's a "Year One anniversary celebration" from March 9-16 where there'll be XP bonuses and credits, followed by "two separate expansions planned for release this year".
It's stuff, and it's free, so that's good, I guess, but it's also somehow a bit of a disappointment as well.
Destiny, this game's closest and only real competition, used a big second year expansion to genuinely expand the game, adding a bunch of new content that led to a big spike in player interest.
The Division's Year 2 announcements, on the other hand, are full of vague, broad statements, and make no mention of significant upgrades/additions like new areas of the map or new factions. You know, the kind of things you'd lead with in an announcement post if they were things that would actually be in the expansions.
Nothing here sounds like it will bring lapsed players back to the game, or even bring new, curious onlookers into the fold. It reads like the grudging fulfilment of a contractual obligation, with everything being given away for free because there's nothing worth charging for.
Reaction from fans to the news has understandably been... mixed. Talk of properly implementing loadouts, long a sore point among players, is welcome, but the lack of concrete info or promises of anything majorly worthwhile beyond reshuffles of what they're already playing has people understandably bummed as well.
For the record, The Division's first year included three paid expansions, all of which added new areas and gameplay modes to the game, but which also failed to expand the story, something some hardcore players have complained about repeatedly. With talk in The Division community repeatedly turning to whether the first year of DLC was worth the cost, it makes sense that Ubisoft would emphasise that year two is free. And it makes sense that they may hope to finally get the game humming the way they did the initially underwhelming but regularly updated Rainbow Six Siege. From the plans announced today, it's hard to say if they will.
For the sake of those who have stuck with the game, I hope these expansions give them something (and remember, one of last year's expansions was pretty good!). For the rest of us, we might be better off waiting for The Division 2.