Hands on with Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

So I will be the first to admit that I never made it past the base game in the first Division. I never played the expansions, because by the time they were released my buddies and I had all moved on. The Division was cool, the ideas it introduced were intriguing and the cooperative/PvP hybrid aspects found in the Dark Zone were unique but ultimately frustrating. With the number of games that come out and are worth playing in a given year, it is getting increasingly more difficult to play everything and yet still maintain dominance in one single title. There were a lot of folks out there that made The Division their end all, be all game for a long time. Guys with hundreds or thousands of hours acquiring gear and crafting a build were virtually untouchable. Even with a modest 40-50 hours in the game, if you run into someone like that in the Dark Zone you were just dead. This made the experience less enjoyable, and much less approachable if you were a new or casual player.

The Division 2 aims to fix that complaint, while also catering to the hardcore audience that they built in the original. The Division 2 now includes three completely separate and unique Dark Zones for players to explore. East, South and West, with each offering unique settings, sightlines and preferred styles of play. The big plug here is that now everything is normalized. No matter your level, no matter your play time and no matter your gear, everyone will be on a relatively level playing field. Sure, there will be bonuses and stat differentials, but at the end of the day you will be able to approach the Dark Zone as a newcomer and hold your own against veteran players, making the experience as a whole much more enjoyable for all.

For the hardcore players though, once a week one of the Dark Zones will become ?occupied?. This will be known to all players and made clear before stepping into the Dark Zone. The occupied Dark Zone will NOT be normalized. It will operate in the same way that the old Dark Zone did. This will be where the best of the best loot will be found, and this will be the aspect of the game that offers the most intense challenge.

When it comes to the loot in the Dark Zone, they have changed up the method for extracting that loot. In the first Division, it was pretty much all or nothing. You had to extract your loot and make off with it to keep it, and it was always up for grabs come extraction time. With The Division 2, you actually gather a healthy amount of loot in the Dark Zone that is yours to keep. The top of the line loot however comes across as ?Contaminated?. To keep this loot, it must be extracted. This system again makes the Dark Zone more rewarding for a casual player, while still offering the risk reward system that veteran players loved.

In an effort to draw more players, and keep those players long after launch, The Division 2 is introducing traditional PvP matchmaking modes for players to experience. You get to keep your loadout and gear from the main game during these matchmaking modes, and can tweak your character build accordingly. While at the studio I had a chance to try both the Skirmish mode and the Domination mode. Skirmish is a Team Deathmatch gametype while Domination is your standard Domination game, with three control points that need to be held long enough to gain enough points for a victory. Skirmish plays a lot like Gears of War multiplayer for me. Each team starts with a respawn counter, with the first team to run the other team out being declared the winner. The map that we played on was small, with conflict encouraged throughout the entire game. This is a fast, hectic, yet strategic game mode. Heavy weapon drops and ammo are on timers throughout the map and can give a huge advantage in the right hands. These game modes are really nothing that we haven?t seen before, but are positioned to bring in a new audience who might not have checked The Division 2 out without them.

After our time with The Division 2, I am definitely excited to see what kind of launch they have. The new setting in Washington D.C. brings a new level of diversity to the environments and the area you play in. New York was cool, but pretty similar all the way through. D.C. offers a much richer experience and will definitely surprise players who grew used to New York. It seems like the development team really listened to all of the feedback the community gave and found a good way to balance out what worked, what didn?t and what needed tweaking. With a healthy line up of unannounced launch content and a strong plan to support the game in the years after launch, I think that The Division 2 might end up being a sleeper hit for a lot of people when it releases on March 15, 2019.

See the new trailer below too!

Tom Clancy?s The Division 2 Multiplayer Trailer: Dark Zones & Conflict:

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Multiplayer Trailer: Dark Zones & Conflict | Ubisoft [NA]