The Division 2's First Raid Won't Have Matchmaking, Even Though Ubisoft Implied It Would

Adopting the approach of its shoot-and-loot rival Destiny, The Division’s first raid, set for release on Thursday, will require that players manually connect with others to attempt the mission. Matchmaking will not be an option, the game’s developers at Ubisoft Massive have confirmed, which has infuriated some players and lit up the game’s social media channels and forums.

In Destiny, raids are intended to be tough challenges filled with battles and puzzles that require communication and teamwork, the kind of stuff that strangers are presumably more likely to fail at.

The Division 2’s raid will follow a similar template; it involves trying to liberate Washington DC’s main airport from an enemy force, and it is also being touted as a complex endeavour requiring lots of teamwork and rewarding victors with exclusive loot.

It’ll require players to have a Gear Score of 490 or higher, ensuring it’ll only be accessible to players who reached the furthest depths of its endgame.

Fans aren’t just upset that they won’t be able to play it if they don’t know seven others players ready to attempt the raid with them. They’re upset because an official promotional image for the game’s online services released earlier this year stated: “matchmaking is provided for every game activity and difficulty level.”

“We do understand people have pulled up things we’ve said in the past about this subject, so here’s where it’s at in front of me right now, verbatim,” Division community developer Hamish Bode said in the franchise’s weekly State of The Game developer stream today, before reading an official statement: “‘We decided to not include matchmaking, as we don’t think this would make a good gameplay experience for random groups. The Raid will test your ability to communicate well, have a good build set up and will require great teamwork to beat encounters.’”

Raids in Bungie’s Destiny games have never supported matchmaking, instead requiring groups of six players to manually find each other and commit to playing.

Destiny 2 introduced a “guided games” feature that lets users sign up to be brought along for a ride through a raid. Most of the game’s other multiplayer modes use matchmaking, as do The Division 2’s, allowing players to simply pick an option, have the game find other players to connect to them and let them proceed with co-op or competitive play.

“We’ve been having a lot of discussions about it,” live content manager Yannick Banchereau said during the stream. “We want to make sure this experience is an experience where you have to prepare for it, where you have to build a team. You have to organise yourself. You have to really try to define the builds that everybody is going to be using, the roles that everybody’s going to be playing. Then you attempt, you potentially fail, then you talk about it, you change your strategy and all of that. So, communication, preparation and organisation are extremely important for us ... For that, we don’t think that matchmaking is a good solution. That would mean there is a risk you would end up in a group that doesn’t talk to each other, doesn’t talk the same language, you didn’t get prepared for it. It’s really not the kind of experience where you matchmake, you DPS [read: damage and defeat enemies] and then you get your loot. It’s something completely difficult.”

Banchereau’s comments did not immediately quell the State of the Game stream’s live chat, which was full of thumbs down emojis and comments such as “you are making a mistake” and “​they’re so proud of this raid that they just allienated [sic] a huge player base from” and “im in a clan of 40 plus but its still a ball ache to get 8 people that are free for a few hours.”

On the game’s subreddit, there were so many threads complaining about the matchmaking decision over the last 12 hours or so that mods made a megathread to capture what has largely been frustration from players who feel misled and worry they’ll miss out on this addition to the game.

On Twitter, fans kept posting the image about the game’s online services that claimed that matchmaking would be available for all activities in the game.

Some fans online did say that they felt matchmaking would lead to poor raid experiences, but that sentiment was often countered by other people saying they’d at least have appreciated the option to matchmake with strangers in lieu of manually assembling a raid crew.

“You might just think it’s lip service, but we definitely do hear a lot of the player’s side of this concern,” Bode said during the stream. “Someone brought up a really good point; it was either on Twitter or Reddit: I don’t really interact with many people in the game, but I really want to be able to play this content’ ... we want you to be able to play it, too.”

“It’s not something we’re taking lightly,” Banchereau said. “It’s been a big discussion internally, as well, and we know some people like that and some don’t like that.”

Banchereau went on to say that things could change. “We’re happy to keep the conversation going and see how it goes and how people like it and whatever, and how important it is, and then depending on how the conversation goes, we will make adaptations.”


    I'm in the camp that don't see anything negative if they had match making for the raid. I mean it doesn't stop you from jumping into discord / reddit / wherever and forming a party, it's just an option for those who don't want to use 3rd party resources

    Lazy, and like they've never seen the flak Bungie copped for this shit with Destiny.

      I think it says a lot about the truth of the matter that they decided to go this direction despite seeing what Bungie had to deal with. You can either compromise the experience for the convenience or compromise the convenience for the experience.

        I'd be more inclined to think they saw how people ended up dealing with the shit in Destiny when they had no choice and thought, "They can just sort it out themselves... Saves us having to do the extra work."

        And when you throw that headache on top of the fact that the Division's netcode is average at its absolute best... The idea of trying to endure the bullshit of getting 8 players together without matchmaking seems even less enticing.

        I'd wager a large chunk of the playerbase never sees the inside of the raid due to this... And if their idea was wanting people to have an 'experience', they're going about it in a piss poor way.

          You think that the developers spent three years developing this game on top of the half-decade of initial work the first game took and then were just too lazy to implement matchmaking in raids?

          Have you ever played a Destiny raid matchmade? The closest you can get is Looking For Group sites and even with the added buy-in that requires, people still leave at the drop of a hat, abuse their team, and mess up the complicated requirements of each fight despite having them explicitly explained to them.

          The first time we did the Last Wish raid in Destiny 2, it took us 6 hours to complete the first boss. It required everyone being ready at the same time, carving out that much of their day to try it, and having the patience to fail over and over again and still push through. In what world does that work with matchmaking?

          I'd wager a large chunk of the playerbase never sees the inside of the raid due to this

          That's honestly fine. Destiny 2 was ruined on release because of this mindset that it needed to be all things to all people, an esports contender in PVP, a feel-good exotic reward monsoon in PVE. All of the rough edges and the insurmountable tasks that made its core player-base come back each day were gone and the game was dead in the water for an entire year. There also wasn't enough for casual players to aspire to achieve because the game was handing them the best weapons and armour in the game just for logging on. Everyone hated it.

          Having a raid people might never get to play is better than having a raid that nobody wants to play.

            It's arguably a waste of all those development years you cite to then go and create some fancy 'experience' that only a portion of your players may even see.

            It's pretty much the reason Blizzard started doing their 'easy' version of WoW raids, so more people would experience them, and they would no longer be burning development on major content that only a portion of the player base would even see.

            I don't particularly care personally, if I want to do the raid I'll get a group together as I did with Destiny. But it is a cop-out to not even give people the option of matchmaking or a group finder in game.

              Look I agree that with most things it's not a great idea to spend a bunch of development on something that most of the players won't see. And if the solution was easy I'd say just turn it on.

              But matchmaking would ruin raid experiences, I am sure of that. People will take the path of least resistance and that will mean most of the players having their very first experience with the raid (one of the coolest parts of content drops for games like Destiny) tarnished by joining midway through the raid, getting in a team of children, getting in a team of man-children, having players leave for a "better" group at the smallest sign of difficulty or any other number of experience ruining things.

              It's not the same as WoW either. WoW gameplay happens largely on a two-dimensional plane. Whereas something like Destiny or The Division (but especially Destiny, with the jumping puzzles and FPS) is too mechanically complicated to let the unwashed masses into raids like it's a good idea. WoW raids also have many more players in them most of the time, one weak link won't necessarily kill the experience in the way a tighter experience like Destiny would.

              And don't underestimate the power of wanting what you can't have. Destiny's core appeal were those secrets that not everyone knew or the pinnacle challenges that most didn't even attempt. The value of that development time isn't just restricted to who played the thing.

    They could've certainly given the players the choice themselves, or told the players of this decision a long time ago rather than blindsiding the community a few days before the raid release.

    Such crap. My two mates and I can't even get a fourth player to join our clan to actually activate it, let alone get together 8 people.

    (the clan is Maclarys Dogs on PS4 if anyone wants to join)

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