The extensive patch notes for The Division 2‘s big Title Update 6 have been posted by publisher Ubisoft. Overhauls to the game’s loot system are a big part of it, but this is also kind of exciting: “Added the option to add a dye to all armor pieces.” At last! The updates hit the game on Tuesday.
What is enough for a free expansion? We’ll find for The Division 2 this month, as the game’s second expansion, touted by Ubisoft as its “biggest,” starts rolling out this week.
Promised for this addition to Ubisoft’s shooter about taking back a besieged Washington DC are two big new missions, one set in the Pentagon and one in DARPA labs, both expected to extend the game’s story. The two missions added via July’s expansion were superb, as the look and flow of missions in this game have been a strong point.
Here’s an official description of each:
First Main Mission – Pentagon: Agents will discover the location of the perfusion bioreactor inside the Pentagon’s underground research facility. The Black Tusk have already infiltrated the lab and are attempting to extract the reactor.
Second Main Mission – DARPA Research Labs: Players must make their way through the Pentagon and into the DARPA Labs, as the Black Tusk are in the process of transporting the perfusion bioreactor through an abandoned Cold War tunnel network.
The missions will be accessible once players take control of a new safe house being added to the game. Cool, but the game’s map is not being expanded. Rather, these new missions, as with the July ones, will be levels that players load up via an in-game helicopter. There is no expansion to the game’s open world this time.
In addition to those missions, Ubisoft is adding a new specialization character class called the Technician, which will let them use a “multi-missile launcher,” according to the press release: “Agents can lock-on and hit up to six enemies (depending on available ammo). With a simple push of a button, six missiles are unleashed to seek out their targets.”
And there will be a new team elimination PvP mode and a new map.
All of this will go live on October 15 for people who bought the game’s year one pass and will go live on October 22 for those who did not.
Year one pass people get two more Classified Assignments, which have been medium-sized missions set in interesting locations and woven together with short audio-log-based stories. Previous Classified Assignments included missions set in a bank and an aquarium. The new ones will be set in a marina and in the Mexican Embassy. These Classified Assignments don’t get released to all players, at least not in the game’s first year.
A new raid initially slated for this episode has been delayed. According to the release: “The additional time allows the development team to focus on the overall quality of The Division 2, while developing a raid that will better meet the standards of its players.”
This amount of stuff actually measures up pretty closely to the game’s first sprinkling of additional content that followed its March release. Across the first few months, Ubisoft released a new specialization, a raid, three main missions, four classified assignments and a special three-zone challenge mode called the Expedition.
There actually is nothing like the Expeditions mode slated for this new episode, certainly not the addition of a much-requested return of things like the repeatable randomly generated Underground mode or Survival mode, which were added in the first nine months after the release of the first Division. The series’ creative director, Julian Gerighty, said as recently as last week that he wants to bring Survival mode back at some point. But, then again, Division 1 never had any expansions to its story, which the new game keeps getting.
Potentially most impactful of all, though, is all that is coming to The Division 2 on the 15th for all players outside of the Episodic update. There’s an overall game overhaul in terms of loot and balance, which has been detailed in recent State of the Game livestreams and was broken down in today’s press release:
Named Items overhauled
Inventory Management 2.0
Increased stash space
Rebalance of talents and weapons
Dark Zone Server Transfers
Updated Thieves’ Den Vendor
Dark Zone Supply Drops Changes
Occupied Dark Zone Ambushes
Normalization in Dark Zone changes
Conflict: Loadout Selection during map voting
Bonus armor visualization increased
Conflict: End of Match Rewards changes
Those changes are meant to make the general flow of the game more exciting and interesting. Will it work? Are the developers adding the right stuff? We’ll find out as we play it all starting next week.
Ubisoft’s sprawling loot shooter The Division 2 just received its biggest free update since its March launch…except most of it isn’t really free until next week, except for two parts that won’t even be free then, but some of the free stuff won’t be out until the week after next, and one promised part is on ice and…Shall we start this over?
On Tuesday, The Division 2’s Title Update 5, which happens to also be considered the game’s first episodic expansion, was added to the game.
There’s a chart for what’s in it:
The update includes two new missions that extend the game’s story, one of which I played last night and liked a lot. That mission, called Manning National Zoo, involves hunting down the leader of the enemy Outcast faction while fighting enemies throughout dilapidated wildlife exhibits. If it seemed like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed artists were showing off with their downloadable content last week, well, check out what their Division 2 artists can do with a mission set in a zoo:
The mission took me about 90 minutes to solo, with a few tricky skirmishes and some time spent just soaking in the sights. It’s a very fun mission with a lot of eye candy as you fight your way through habitats set up for lions, crocodiles, birds and more. There isn’t that much wildlife around, but there are a few neat creature cameos.
Like much of Episode One, the zoo mission is available in The Division 2 now for people who bought the $40 year-one pass. It’ll be available for free for all players on July 30. The idea is that The Division 2’s downloadable content will be available for free, unlike that of its predecessor. The paid approach to DLC backfired in the first Division when Ubisoft tried to charge for new Underground and Survival modes while the base game was essentially on fire with problems and player complaints. By the end of The Division’s second year, Ubisoft was releasing a huge map-expanding expansion for free, a sign of things to come.
Aside from the story missions, the other major new content in the update is the Expedition, a new set of missions being offered in three parts. The first, accessible this week, is fine so far but not great. It’s set in Kenly College’s library and kicks off an overall investigation into the fate of a convoy that went missing nearby. It’s best to think of each part as a medium-sized mission with some goals to complete.
The game’s developers have pitched the Expeditions as more puzzle-based content that will ask players to think through what they’re doing. This first installment in the library isn’t that much of a puzzle. It starts with the discovery of an “echo” hologram that depicts members of the Outcast carting around some improvised explosive devices. The player can activate parts of the hologram to trigger what’s described as investigation. The investigations amount to going to different parts of the library, getting into shootouts with Outcasts, solving some basic puzzles such as activating four power nodes in the correct order, and picking up some audio logs along the way. The gunfights are slightly more intricate than most of the standard story missions, asking players to, say, stay in a specific area while a hack occurs, but they’re not complex. The audio logs are scant but good, as they’re more in the style of the ones from the first Division, telling stories of people in the college from before the societal collapse rather than after.
Missing from the Expedition is something called a Mastery System, which the developers said would incentivize replaying the investigations. Last week, the developers said it was not coming together well enough to release yet. A second Expedition area opens next week for all players (as well as the first one for those who don’t have the year-one pass), with a third to follow presumably a week later. It’s not clear if this three-parter is the only Expedition or if there will be more.
The new update also includes an easier difficulty for the game’s raid. It supports matchmaking and is intended to enable more players to experience its sequence of events, but the new “discovery” difficulty level also limits loot payouts: This version of the raid won’t drop the elite gear that’s obtainable by completing the default version.
Ubisoft’s developers have shown that the update includes a new flashlight pistol mod, answering player complaints that some areas of the game were too dark. It also appears to add a batch of audio logs that provide more information about major characters. It’s accompanied by a timed “apparel event” that rewards players who complete various in-game activities with silly, gaudy summer vacation wear.
Perhaps more important than any of this, though, is that the update is overhauling the game’s gadget-based skill system. While the game’s new content isn’t available to all players yet, these balance changes are. They ratchet up the power of players’ skills, be they shields, drones, turrets, seeker mines, or whatever, while also greatly reducing the cooldown on them. This follows months of frustration from players who said that skills were too weak to build a character around.
I’ve played most of the game solo and from day one have relied on skills such as the assault drone to help me through tough encounters. From the start, I had to manage my approach to in-game combat around long waits while my drone would cool down. I’d activate it, get it to attack some enemies while I focused on others, then wait more than a minute while it stopped working before I could use it again. After the patch, my drone is a near-constant companion. Its cooldown dropped to about 38 seconds, and with some gadget upgrades, I’ve shortened that further. It’s also clearly more powerful and has been effectively perforating enemies. This feels different and, so far, much more satisfying.
The game’s changes to skills were trialed on a PC-only public test server earlier this month. Strangely, all of the aforementioned content was as well, meaning that year-one pass owners are actually not the first members of The Division 2 player base to go through Episode One’s new missions. That’s provoked some discussion about what value the year-one pass has. Currently, the pass gives owners a chance to play stuff early while earning loot they can retain in the game.
The year-one pass also gives owners access to a slew of small but enjoyable missions called Classified Assignments, which actually weren’t on the PTS. The two that came out in May were polished and fun, with little audio log narratives threaded throughout. Two more are part of this update for year-one pass owners, with no announcement about when they’ll be available to others. I’ve played one of the two new ones set in an aquarium. It involves rescuing some civilians while fighting Outcast enemies and learning how the people and fish coped during the societal disaster afflicting The Division’s world. I liked it.
There’s no single thing for players to sink their teeth into with this Title Update 5 / Episode One addition to The Division 2, and there’s nothing about it, cool Classified Assignments aside, that makes it easy to recommend the game’s year-one pass. There are, however, myriad interesting things being added to the game via this update, and at least a short burst of fresh adventures to experience. Of course, it’ll take weeks to see how all that’s been added and tweaked shakes out. As a sign of the heft of the game’s free updates, it’s encouraging. As a marker of the developers’ progress with improving the game, it shows the team moving in a good direction.
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.
I don’t play games for rewards. I never minded much that collecting the flags in the first Assassin’s Creed gets you nothing, didn’t mind that grabbing all the stars in Mario 64 lets you talk to Yoshi but not ride him. The journey’s the fun and whatnot.
There was, however, this one mission in The Division 2 that bugged me: the G. Phillips Protocol. I wrote about it in late March, when it was one of the apparent in-game mysteries a community of players was trying to crack. The mission appears only after players complete another called Navy Hill Transmission, which itself is hidden and only accessible if players stumble across a mission-giver in the western part of the game’s recreation of Washington, DC. Something about these missions seemed off.
The Division 2 is mostly a game about shooting enemies and collecting better and better gear and guns, but it also can be played as an exploratory urban hike. It’s full of recreated museums complete with detailed exhibits. It’s stuffed with hidden collectibles, some of which dangle from trees. You can ignore the shooting and looting and enjoy it as a discovery adventure, which makes finding Navy Hill Transmission thrilling. You’re told about confidential government operations: the founding of the CIA or its predecessor organization, the OSS. You wind up in isolated underground rooms full of mysterious maps and files, and you’re teased with the idea that there are hidden locations throughout the country tied to all of this. When Navy Hill ends, you get a marker on your map—a custom icon with a sword and wings—and it’s all very exciting to find out what will happen next.
What originally happened next was that you could go to the location of the winged sword icon, start a mission called G. Phillips Protocol, and just as quickly open a door and be told you completed the mission. No exploration, no combat, no nothing—just a door opening into a hallway and a basement with washing machines, a piano, and some crates of decent loot.
It was terribly anticlimactic, unless it wasn’t really the end. I poked around in that basement for a while and couldn’t find anything. Other players poked more thoroughly, testing patterns of flickering lights, trying to glitch through walls, tracking down a similar room elsewhere in the game and attempting to find a connection, studying real life people named G. Phillips, just doing whatever they could. Somewhere in this two-mission chain, you’d be awarded a custom retro military outfit, but that was it—until the middle of May when the game was patched.
In a PC-only public test server where players could offer feedback on changes, one player eventually noticed that the G. Phillips basement had been tweaked and shared that information on the game’s subreddit. Alongside the existing loot, the developers had added a small box, inside of which was a new reward: a trinket for the player-character’s backpack in the shape of a film reel. Backpack trinkets are offered as relatively rare rewards elsewhere in the game. The thinking was that this was the developers’ way of providing a more clear-cut and satisfying way to end the quest chain.
I’d requested interviews with the game’s developers about this mission a couple of times, but those requests, unlike others, went nowhere. By mid-May when the patch hit, I went to that basement myself. I got the film reel trinket and left, still dissatisfied.
In the weeks since, I’ve noticed players on the main Division 2 secret-sleuthing Discord struggle to discern if there could still be more to it. They’ve looked closely at an in-game map, hoping to find some clues, but it’s clear most have given up. There’s nothing more to it, a lot of them have decided. I agree.
No revised reward for G. Phillips could have satisfied me. This mission, set up with the hint of multiple hidden locations and unearthed U.S. history, ultimately just entailed opening a door and walking into a basement. I can live with, say, getting the same bow and arrow in an Assassin’s Creed expansion three dozen times, if the things I’m doing in a game are interesting. When the journey isn’t as exciting as I’d hoped, that can’t be patched away.
Three days after its release, The Division 2‘s eight-player raid is no longer unbeaten on consoles. The game’s PS4 leaderboards show that two eight-player teams have cleared it, the first clocking in at over 36 hours, the second at nearly 20. The Xbox One leaderboard shows a team clearing it in 17.
A team of PC players first cleared the raid when it launched on Thursday, battling through its four boss-battle encounters inside and outside of a fictional Washington DC airport, in just over five hours. Console leaderboards, however, had been blank for days.
The gap in raid completion across platforms has led to player theories that the raid was accidentally tuned to be too difficult for the technological capabilities of console framerates and controllers. The raid requires a lot of rapid turning and precise shooting during brief moments when enemies are vulnerable.
Zach Caraway, one of the players who first cleared the raid on PS4 in a 36-hour run, however, doesn’t think the console raid is arduous strictly due to technical limitations. He told Kotaku that it’s essential that teams work together.
“I believe on the final boss and the first boss, it’s all about team coordination,” he said. “We always had people up and shooting. Frame rate could be an issue for some on console but the main thing is just getting the right 8 guys/girls and keeping them going. Don’t fight and argue or it will cause disarray from were people need to be focused.”
He added that people shouldn’t overemphasize scoring a headshot. “People on console need to focus on RAW damage,” he said. “Headshots damage won’t help us as much when you miss the head.”
Caraway said his team’s 36-hour run was done with a standard PS4 controller and involved a five-hour break and some interruptions due to “Delta” server errors and bluescreen game crashes, including during the fight against the raid’s final boss, a drone-launching truck called Razornack. “We had to just wipe and give up twice when we had the Razorback to more than half health and then boom…two deltas at the same time,” he said. “We wiped and ran it again.”
The raid allows players to take breaks and resume at checkpoints. Large chunks of the remarkable run by Caraway and his TNT clan have been archived on Twitch.
In response to a user of the game’s subreddit wondering about the best build to use, Caraway confirmed that, like so many others, he’d focused on using AR and LMG machine guns and a DPS, damage-centric build. “[Y]ou guys will get it,” he said, offering encouragement.
It’s been unusually difficult for console players to even get through the raid’s first boss, which the developers said on Thursday would serve as a check of whether players were powerful enough to handle the raid.
While skill could be a factor and while many elite players and the most tight-knit player groups could possibly have gravitated toward PC, the gap between how long it took PC players to beat it and how long it took console players to clear it is unusual. A site that tracks Destiny 2 raids shows that, for the raids released for the game since it was available on console and PC, console players have usually only lagged behind be a matter of hours, not days.
That gap between PC and console completion has fueled theories that the raid’s difficulty on consoles is indeed in part because of consoles’ technical limitations compared to those of the PC.
“It’s the lack of precision and smoothness console players have in comparison to playing on a PC,” a UK-based player named Sang whose team took 10 hours to beat the raid’s first boss, told Kotaku on Saturday. He said he’s played The Division 2 on console and, when it was in beta, on PC. “PC players do have the distinct advantage of a mouse and keyboard where they can land those important accurate headshots. Playing TD2 on consoles are also limited to 30fps (and sometimes lowers with some frame drops) and PC players can enjoy much higher framerates and it makes a world of difference.”
On Sunday, Sang said his team had nearly beaten the raid’s final boss twice but that in both instance someone on the team either got a blue-screen game crash or a server disconnect.
PC players, meanwhile, are now romping through the raid. The initial five-hour completion time has long since been shattered. Players on that platform are now clearing it in under 24 minutes.
More than 24 hours since it launched, the Division 2’s raid has only been cleared by people playing the game on PC. Players on Xbox One and PS4 have failed repeatedly, leading to discussions that the raid is far too difficult for those playing on console.
The raid, called Operation Dark Hours, is set in a fictionalized version of Washington DC’s Reagan National Airport and challenges eight players to battle from the entryway to the tarmac, facing four major boss battle encounters along the way.
The first team to complete the raid did so just over five hours after it launched at 5pm ET on Thursday. They were playing on PC, and, within minutes, other PC players followed. Leaderboards for the raid on PS4 remain empty. When we were last able to check the Xbox One’s leaderboards at 3pm ET today, those were empty, too.
“It’s unplayable on console,” one person wrote on Twitter in a reply to an official Tweet this afternoon hyping the raid.
On the game’s subreddit, where player frustration has sprouted rows of threads, popular titles include: “Console Gamers got shafted For the raid?”, “Petition for DEVS to complete raid on CONSOLE!”, and “World’s First on Console Deserves a White House Photo of their own.” That last one is a reference to the in-game accolades being given to the team that first cleared the raid.
Raids are meant to be challenging. They are intended to be some of the most difficult tasks available in an online game. PC players also often have some technological advantages, including higher frame rates and more precise mouse-and-keyboard controls, which can allow players, especially in shooter games like Destiny or The Division, to aim more quickly and more accurately. That’s one of the main issues console players struggling with Operation Dark Hours are citing.
“[T]he raid running at 60 fps is very different than the raid running at 30 fps,” one Reddit user wrote, while assessing why the raid was so much tougher on console than PC. They noted that encounters in the raid seemed to rely on players being able to quickly turn and aim without resorting to taking cover, something that’s much harder to do on consoles. They added: “the slow nature of the animations make it difficult to mow down multiple enemies in a short period of time.”
On forums and social media, console players have been saying that they’re stuck on the very first boss, an extremely tough enemy called Boomer. In a stream on Thursday morning, the game’s developers said that Boomer would serve as a test to ensure players had powerful enough character builds to get through the raid. Beyond that, they said, things would be more a matter of tactical execution than of needing more character potency.
The Boomer encounter requires one player to get the boss’s attention and kit it across the room, wheeling around to shoot at its chestplate to stop it from auto-healing. Other players will simultaneously try to down it while fending off hordes of relatively weaker troops. Later encounters require precise shooting at swarms of small drones in treacherous areas where enemies rush in from all sides. Players need to be able to turn and shoot accurately and quickly.
If Boomer is a power-level check, he’s confirming that console players are in deep trouble. A Redditor who goes by the name bf_pheno reported today that it took their team 10 hours to beat Boomer on PS4. That feat has been received as extraordinary in the game’s community, where there’s little if any discussion of how console players are faring in the encounters that follow. A video of bf_pheno’s team’s ultimately triumphant attempt at Boomer begins with one member of the team ready to give up.
“”I’ll give it three more tries and then I’m done.”
“I’ll give it a little more than that. We can get this done.”
And, finally, they do.
In Reddit comments, bf_pheno indicated that one of his colleagues was drunk and was kicked out in favor of a better player, which did make things easier. “But they need to adjust the difficulty for consoles imo. PC have too much of an advantage,” they added.
Later, they quipped: “Can’t wait to spend a whole day on the last boss :))” It took the PC team who first beat the raid three hours to beat the raid’s final boss, longer than the three earlier ones combined.
It’s unclear how much further they’ve gotten in the raid, but the blank PS4 leaderboards indicate that they haven’t finished it.
In an article this morning about console players’ struggles, writer Paul Tassi explained that the situation is made worse by the fact that The Division 2 doesn’t let players hit a higher level than the one needed for the raid:
The current max of all content in The Division 2 is 500 gearscore, the raid drops 500 gearscore gear. So there is no way to “overlevel” for it in time, rather you have to focus on min-maxing your build within the 490-500 GS range, and the raid has made it clear the best and really only path forward is DPS, DPS, DPS, so you might be 498 like me, but unless you’re stacking +30-50% weapon damage, AR damage and damage to elites, you’re not doing enough damage to make meaningful progress in even the first section of the raid. I watched streamer teams yesterday that have gone through some of the hardest content in every game out there, and yet this was such a gear check that they simply had to give up, almost all of them at the very first encounter.
A website called Destiny Raid Report that tracks world records in Destiny 2 raids indicates that, once the game was on PC and consoles, PC players always completed the raids first. Console players have tended to lag behind, but only by hours. In only one instance did console players take a day longer than PC players to first finish the raid.
The game’s developers at Massive have yet to publicly address console players’ struggles, and a rep for the game did not reply to a Kotaku request for comment. There’s a good chance that the weekend will provide players more time to improve their performance in the raid and identify more successful strategies, but if console players keep failing, it’s clear something will need to change.
Citing fan feedback, player data and “intense internal discussions,” the makers of The Division 2 will not be introducing 515-level gear in the game’s big update coming next week. That decision that may seem granular to outsiders but is actually a significant acquiescence by the game’s creators in an ongoing drama around the game that dates back to the first Division.
For the past month, since the developers originally announced they were going to introduce 500+ level gear, fans have fretted that they may have been wasting their time crafting sets of backpacks, chest plates and other gear at the current top item level of 500. These items can all be tailored with specific perks that fit fans’ playing style in the game’s ongoing depiction of a fight to repel enemy factions in post-disaster Washington DC. All that work would have been wasted by the sudden introduction of 515-level gear.
That concern was exacerbated by the fact that the game’s developers had initially only promised that 515-level gear would drop in the Dark Zone, meaning that players would potentially have to go there to get it. The Dark Zone is arguably the most divisive section of both Division games and one that seemed to be struggling to attract players of The Division 2. The rest of the game is set up with a player-vs-environment co-op design, but in the Dark Zones, players can betray each other and turn the action into player-vs-player.
From the start, the developers have been dropping hints that 515-level loot would be available through means other than the Dark Zone. Still, many fans expressed skepticism and occasional fury on the game’s forums and subreddit.
That skepticism was addressed in gentler tones in a post published to the game’s official site and signed by “The Division 2 Dev Team” today. The post acknowledged that “[t]he introduction of 515-level loot “would have created a couple of issues.” For one, suddenly offering higher-level gear would have fed into a constant chase for better-scored gear at the expense of players collecting gear that best suits their preferred playing style. It also would have squandered the time players put into creating their ideal set of 500-level gear and done so right before the planned addition of the series’ first co-op raid.
“We don’t want to invalidate your progression and we heard that feedback loud and clear from our community,” the writers of the post said. “Your gear and your builds are important to you and to us.”
It’s risky for developers to design in reaction to fan rage, but fan argument was on solid ground for this one. Still, the developers made the effort to come off as responding to more than just angry forum posts, saying the decision was made thanks to data from the game’s public test server as well as “a lot of meetings, chats and video calls and many white boards being filled with thoughts, notes and graphs.”
The 515 change would have gone into effect with the game’s Title Update 3, a major patch to the game releasing next week and intended to address a litany of complaints about a game which has transitioned from initial waves of fan praise to a curdling of criticism. Title Update 3 will rebalance a lot of in-game skills, supposedly will make the in-game drones smarter, dumb down some enemies, overhaul how weapons can be recalibrated with less risk of them losing key stat boosts, and more. The introduction of 515 loot threatened to negate any goodwill fans might have felt about the patch’s other more positive changes. Many fans on the game’s forums took the 515 plan and the fact that it was only ever specifically promised for the Dark Zone as a sign that Ubisoft was tweaking their game to drive players into a part of it that many simply didn’t want to use.
Early design decisions and tweaks in the first few months of the first Division also seemed tailored to send players to the Dark Zone and similarly riled fans at the time. Lightly populated Dark Zone regions in The Division 2 signaled that that aspect of the game was once again not as popular as the developers wanted it to be, and the 515 plan seemed primed to force the issue. While the game’s creators never said that populating the Dark Zone was their goal, today’s post referred to improvements in the Dark Zone to make “it more fun and rewarding,” which is a clear enough signal about what the 515 plan had been intended to address.
While Title Update 3 won’t add 515 gear, it will guarantee 500-level gear for players who have reached an overall player gear score of 500 and then do any of the following activities: collecting contaminated loot in the Dark Zone (most directly by beating bosses or clearing landmarks in the DZ), defeating bosses in strongholds, defeating bounty bosses, clearing missions on heroic difficulty, opening reward containers after clearing a level four control point or completing specially-designated daily missions at hard or challenging difficulty. All but the first of those options involve activities in the main part of the game, not the Dark Zone.
In a developer livestream today, co-host Hamish Bode looked antsy for that full range of options to be listed and exhaled after the rundown with the comment: “Yay, PVE as well.”
The patch notes for The Division 2’s Title Update 3 are long and not all of them are listed online yet. Some highlights mentioned in the dev stream include:
The developers are removing the in-game commendations that asked players to log into the game for consecutive days. Those commendations could provide cosmetic items as rewards, but developer Yannick Banchereau noted in today’s stream that they could be hard for players to get to if they, say, had a job to deal with or the game was having a server issue. “It’s just not fair of us to ask you to just prioritize the game over anything else,” he said, noting that some new commendations will reward players for cumulative time played.
Players will be able to respawn not just at safehouses or allied control points on the main map but also at the location of civilian patrols and civilian groups attempting to take a control point. That means that if a player is trying to take over one of the many contested control point areas in the game’s DC map and then dies, they no longer have to hoof it back from a safe house to rejoin the fight. This option will be disabled, however, if the control point’s named boss enemy has shown up in the fight. Still, this should make it easier to move around the map more quickly. Computer-controlled control point officers will also revive players if they’re downed during an attempt to take a control point.
The game’s problem with occasionally blurry graphics is being addressed. On the PS4 Pro and possibly on other systems, the game’s incredibly detailed rendition of Washington DC would occasionally be marred by blurry signs, bus ads and other objects that would take a few seconds to show up in their sharpest resolution, especially if a player was running rather than walking through the city. “This isn’t in the notes, but we were outside the elevator with Stephen [Editor’s note: or Steven?], from tech art, earlier today, and he mentioned that there are vast improvements to streaming, especially on console,” Bode said. “People who have experienced things taking a while to load in and being blurry, that’s what we’re talking about. Drastic improvements are coming in TU3.”
The game’s Title Update 3 goes live next week. The new eight-player raid, which was supposed to come out in late April but had been delayed while the team focused on the other overhauls in this update, is said to be coming shortly thereafter and will get a new release date, at least, next week.
The Division 2 is a game filled with some incredible technology. Players can use automated turrets, bullet blocking drones and hyper-advanced weaponry. But currently, a lot of Division 2 players just want a simple flashlight.
Over on The Division 2 subreddit, you can find multiple posts and comments from players about how the game is lacking a flashlight. Sure, players have powerful guns, incredible tech and even full access to the White House, but many players would be happier if they could carry a small flashlight or activate a headlamp.
“Can someone shed some light? It’s completely terrifying in the underground, and I’m scared of the dark,” wrote one player on in a post simply called “Can I Get A Flashlight?” Other players in this post agreed that The Division 2, especially in sewers and buildings, can get really dark. For many, turning up the brightness doesn’t work or makes the game look too foggy or strange.
Making players more frustrated with this admittedly silly situation is that in the world of The Division 2 flashlights exist. According to some folks in the community, they have found in-game backpacks that have flashlights attached to them, though your agent can’t use the flashlight. Even if you equip the bag.
Another player shared a conversation they overheard at a friendly settlement between two AI guards. It was during the night and the player walked by a small group of friendly soldiers when he heard one mention putting away their flashlight. “I just looked at her. Feeling sad knowing that they have flashlights and I do not.” They then ended their post telling asking Massive, developers of the game, to add some flashlights, please.
Some players are figuring out how to better see in the world without a flashlight. Players are suggesting to others to use the chem launcher and equip the variant that lets you create fireballs. Other players are using the simple method of shooting and using the flash of the weapon to see around them in the dark.
One creative player, Reddit user Langy01, came up with a crafty way to illuminate their game without a flashlight. They simply hold and aim a grenade, which creates a bright circle reticule that can be used to add some extra light to a dark tunnel.
The lack of flashlights isn’t seen by the community as a major problem or something that is ruining the game. Like the floating square that blocked some stairs, this is a small issue that players are having fun with. You can even find some humorous posts where players run with the idea that the in-game SHD, the government agency agents are part of, is still trying to research flashlights. Others have joked that flashlights are banned and Division agents aren’t allowed to use or even collect them.
The Division 2 has mostly had a smooth launch, with not many game-breaking bugs. So players in the community have little to complain about and instead, small things, like missing flashlights, have become popular “issues” to talk about. This is in stark contrast to the recent launch of Anthem, which is still filled with problems involving loot and balancing.
So with a lack of serious complaints, players have taken to the internet to have fun. Which is a nice change from what usually happens.
But seriously, they want some flashlights. Or even just a flare gun.
The Division 2 will get its first notable free update on Friday, April 5 with the addition of the Tidal Basin stronghold and an extension of the endgame to “world tier five.” The new stronghold extends the endgame story. WT5 expands the endgame concept of invaded missions by allowing more to be invaded by special enemy forces, tied to a weekly reset. The update will also fix the game’s busted staircase.
The Division 2 is a huge and highly detailed world, filled with museums, parks, historical buildings and even accurate parking lots. Though players exploring the virtual D.C. wasteland have found an element that literally sticks out from all the rest. A set of stairs is currently blocked by a floating piece of untextured geometry.
These blocked stairs are located right near the Ivy Tunnel control point. Players wishing to take the stairs up or down are unable to do so. The stairs are luckily not the only way to get up to that area. Players discovered you can roll off the square to get down the stairs, but rolling won’t get you up. These are one-way stairs at the moment.
Most players assumed their game was broken or not working properly and were surprised to see so many others reporting the same floating block. Even my own boss, Stephen Totilo, was surprised to find out that this was a bug that anyone could find in the world. “I was on that exact staircase yesterday and assumed my game had glitched!!” messaged Totilo after I shared screenshots of the bug and posts on the subreddit.
If you, like me, missed this floating square when you visited this area don’t be alarmed. The square is only visible from the bottom or side. Coming down the stairs, you will see nothing as the top seems to be untextured.
Though, while the blocked stairs are mostly a harmless and weird bug which are not causing anyone a lot of frustration, some players are using the stairs to their benefit, even if by accident.
“This square saved me from my first encounter with the sledgehammer guy. He couldn’t get past it either.” commented mfathrowawaya on the Division subreddit. Unfortunately for another user, this same square trapped them in a similar situation and got them killed. The square giveth and the square taketh.
Many users have already reported the blocked stairs to publisher Ubisoft and The Division 2 developer Massive Entertainment. It most likely will be patched soon, assuming this is a simple thing to fix. Most users believe that the fix will be easy, just delete the box. Though one fan jokingly theorized this might be more important than we realize.
“The entire game is bound to the square. Removing the square would mean a total remake of Div 2. All hail the square.”