Here’s why I changed my stance on Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Foreword, this following write up was sent to a content creator on YouTube who shared the same sentiments for the Division 2 as I did once the Private Beta was released. since the release of the gold-production of this game, I’ve since changed my stance and reached out to this content creator to express why my views had changed (just to facilitate discussion on the title itself). the text is as I’ve sent it, only difference is the formatting and redacted content creator names.

What’s up man, just touching bases with you on the Division 2 talks and what not. and I’m not trying to pressure you into picking up the title but I figured because You and I were in agreement initially with dislike of the title, I’ll explain what has changed (in my mind and view) since I picked up the title and put close to a week worth of play into it.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

A. Fun element/aspect missing

Initially the game (during Private Beta) felt very dull. The introduction mission felt as if it was a chore and not a true introduction to the new environment of the game. I also think psychologically some of the audio issues present in the Private Beta added to my dislike. The subsequent first missions you were made to play also felt forced (as it was intended to be what I’m assuming, to give players a quick ‘taste’ of the new story) and I didn’t like it.

Even when End-game content was opened to the players and we could test out level 30 characters, that too felt stifling because it didn’t give us a full test drive of the skills and abilities we would get from the gold-production of the game. This too, now thinking back, is probably a major part of my dislike for the beta and which made me swear the title off.

B. Dark Zone and PvP changes

I’ve been playing the Division 1 since launch and have played consistently for about 70–80% of the title’s life cycle. I did take some breaks between 1.4–1.5 and 1.6–1.7 reason being, the exploitable glitches and unbalanced aspects (Invisibility, RPM, CronusFUCKINGmax, PvP unbalancing issues primarily with the Classified Striker set, etc. etc.) were frustrating me more than it was allowing the title to be enjoyable for me. But all in all I still maintained love for the title due to it being a rpg looter/shooter on console.

Now initially I shied away from PvP up until about patch 1.3–1.4 of the Division 1, then started slowly easing into it once I learned the beauty (or cheesiness, depending on your stance lol) of the Predator Mark build. Once I learned how this build enabled you to stop a guerilla player (I’m defining a Guerilla Player as someone who strikes and runs off, never engaging in direct combat but almost always using asymmetrical tactics) from griefing you or your group, I began to really invest in builds which promoted PvP. So at the approaching end of the Division 1’s life cycle, I am fully invested in PvP and enjoy doing this more than anything in the game.

As you’ve made mentions of before, the new PvP system for the Division 2 has been nerfed (overall). It isn’t as raw as it was in the beginning days of the Division 1 where you simply had to just aim and tap the trigger at the player you want to initiate combat with. I always disagreed with the Rogue 2.0 system but thinking about things, I understand (don’t necessarily agree) with why these changes were brought to The Division 1 and ultimately The Division 2. In my understanding and mind frame, it’s kind of sad but it’s the way of the workforce at least in America now — our job or career choices are increasingly becoming ways of life and not ways or means of supporting a living. I personally do work on the weekend, not to be employee of the year but to minimize the workload I experience during the week and sometimes my workload prevents me from jumping on my console for a day or 2, meaning I’ve lost valuable time in grinding that my peers, friends and of course rival players have been taking advantage it. And these gaps only increase with time. This (imho) prevents a lot of adults from being able to maintain and keep up with the kids, young adults and the lucky adults who actually get paid to play videogames (and I’m not dissing any streamer, lmao hell if I could get paid to play I’d be at home happily keeping my face in the screen lmao.) so I think video game companies see this too. And in order to not lose money from the increasingly growing group of casual gamers, they have to tweak PvP in ways which rubs more consistent players wrong.

The Division 2’s PvP system (honestly and with no bias) seems a little more better than the Division 1’s. Just surface level things like TTK feels right. I’ve had about a hand full of DZ PvP experiences so far in the Division 2, some solo and some with a 2 man squad (Me and a Comrade) and even when I was defeated, I didn’t feel as if it was due to unbalancing or unfairness. The players who killed me got the kill’s legit, and the players I’ve killed made me feel I’ve earned those kills legitimately (PSA — Urban MDR still kicks fucking ass in The Division 2). This new, for lack of a better term, Casual Combat System being implemented in not just the Division titles but all games involving PvP is an unfortunate thing I think we will see more of but I also see it as a gift wrapped within the curse. Because now not being able to devote endless hours to endless testing of gear pieces or components it’s making me research the game more thoroughly so I can be more effective in my times of grinding to ultimately be more effective in my times of PvP. And it’s a weird trade-off,

  • Hardcore Gamers can incorporate testing of ideas and theories into their time of play, effectively learning on the fly from first hand experience and gaining an edge among the other players
  • Casual Gamers can synthetically test ideas and theories by watching YouTube videos created by the Hardcore Gamers and then incorporate these lessons into their play through synthetic experience.

Which when you think about, isn’t that much difference in reality. The Hardcore Gamers still power the games but now it’s done in a (albeit more forced manner) shared manner where knowledge is being taken or shared from the Hardcore to the Casual. Which in my view still helps foster a leveled battlefield but still afords the Hardcore Gamers a slight edge which they should naturally have. It further enforces the ‘fair gaming’ aspect because now Hardcore Gamers are able to fight more knowledgeable and more competitive Casual Gamers than they normally would which in effect creates a symbiotic relationship of Knowledge-for-Fun on both ends (I learn from you to make me more of a formidable foe and visa versa)

So I typed that long wall of text to say this,
PvP is changing the way it is to allow for a more common exchange of skill level amongst the Hardcore and the Casual gamers who will ultimately cross paths in this title and other titles with PvP aspects. And although on the surface level this seems a step back, I believe it to be a step forward in the push for the aspect of ‘Fun’ when it comes to PvP shooters.

C. Replayability Aspect

Now, as of this email I’m currently Lvl. 17 in the Light Zones and Lvl. 21 in the Dark Zones on The Division 2. And if I’m understanding things correctly, once I hit level 30 in the Light Zones I’ll be presented with a choice on 3 different paths I can lock my toon into. Unlike the Division 1, I could select whatever alt I wanted and flow with the team needs or solo requirements. Because alt’s were so fluid in the Division 1, I never saw the need to create more than 1 toon which ultimately means I never saw the need or the value of the replayability of the storyline of the Light Zone world which isn’t bad for me, the player, As I was still playing the title but it is bad for the content creators of the storyline/development studio where their hard work goes unnoticed due to rushing through storyline just to hit endgame.

With the Division 2, I now want to have 3 toons. Each utilizing a different endgame path plus giving me the chance to test out different ideas 3 times over. I think this change up in the games mechanics for endgame activities has forced replayability of the title, which means (If I’m reading this action correctly) more in-game lore content, player content, etc. which is going to be tailored and geared towards drawing the player deeper into the lore and world of the game. The clues from the audio messages, the echoes, etc. help build not only on the lore of the title but it gives insight into game play also. For example, there is one echo where 2 rogue agents are discussion killing another SHD Agent. searching through the items of the victim and one of the 2 rogue’s claiming the victim-agent was too trusting only to be shot in the back of the head with the surviving rogue agent stating how trust is never a good thing in the DZ — this being in relation to the occupied DZ where it’s supposed to be no-holds-bar and you can kill enemy players or team mates and take their items. Things like that to me, and I could be viewing these wrong, makes the game that much more alluring. I even joke with (forewarn because he thinks I’m bullshitting with the threat lmao) my buddy that I’m going to cap his ass as soon as we hit the occupied DZ. It’s got me excited for PvP experience, for leveling up so I can increase my knowledge and survivability in the Dark Zones.

D. The Division 2 is actually FORCING cover-based shooting

And I say that in a positive and good tone. Where as in the Division 1, with the right build and right window of opportunity, I can face tank a tactical player into the checkpoint — just run down on him with a high enough RPM on a high DPS weapon and no tactical ability or fighting skill will prevent a kneeling or respawning. Where as in the Division 2, both with PvE and PvP, utilizing cover is not only a tactical move it’s a fucking life safer. Players have ran towards me when they clearly out muscle me only to hit the knee because I was able to allow for a wall-corner or a car trunk to act as a temporary shield while they had nothing to buffer or damping armor destruction and ultimately leading to player death on their part. THIS (In my most humblest of opinions) is what was missing from the Division 1. The Division 2 is forcing players to be tactical and this is even further re enforced by the programming of the A.I. as they now flank whenever possible. You’ll be facing 4–5 A.I. only to realize (often too late) one has gotten completely behind you and they now have you pinned in 4 on one side and 1 on the opposite. It makes for fun times lol. This forcing of tactical behavior is what makes the PvP and even the PvE feel more authentic, it forces team play where you’re now not just running out Ramboing shit down but now you’re moving as a squad, request supporting fire on a side you plan on flanking or calling out snipers that team mates may have missed or warning a team mate of a rusher they don’t see because they are looking down their scopes.

E. Streamers/Content Creators such as yourself

I initially didn’t understand the entire streaming and content creator culture of YouTube and other services such as Twitch. I probably shared the same point in my lack of understanding when it came questioning — How and Why do people watch other people play videogames? — But now, I see why.

I have yet to express this to [redacted] but his streaming and seemingly genuine excitement for playing The Division 2 was the tipping point for me. Watching him play the Hunter side mission had me close to buying the title right then and there. Reason being, it showed that the game had subtle/hidden elements of enjoyment. To expand further on this, I now see and understand the value of streaming and content creation. It helps bridge the gaps present in the mindsets of gamers who are either fully for, against or otherwise on the fence for a title.

Where I was anti-The Division 2, streaming and content creation for this title has pushed me from being against to for the game. and visa versa, where I was initially head of heels for a title such as [redacted], streaming and content creation for it has turned me away. I said that to say this,
You lot of gamers, who invest time and energy into a title helps (in my view) evolve titles from what they are to what they could be. You all have way more power and influence than both Players and majority of Game Developers like to admit. You guys (and gals) can either cause massive support or massive outcry which ultimately may force changes in the titles making the game more appealing and attractive to a wider audience which at least makes the titles more fun for others (or possibly less fun). without you guys dedication, insights and ideas — videogames may end up becoming stale and boring as fuck while increasingly becoming visually appealing but making the games of the future only eye-candy with no true substance to their inner workings.

I personally feel you’re a good content creator, you never give me the feeling of biasness or jaded views when you speak either positively or negatively on a title. This is rare from the limited amount of streamers I’ve seen and it’s a trait and quality required in this field if it’s to help elevate titles. So although you may personally dislike the title I think it’s a benefit to us, the viewers, when you do speak on what aspects are dope and which one’s aren’t because a lot of times we may be viewing the game from 1 angle and missing the other intersecting viewpoints and blinding ourselves to other pressing or important issues dealing with a title.

So although this particular point isn’t necessarily speaking on the Division 2, I felt I needed to get this thought out to you and bring to your attention to how the work you and other content creators and streamers do is beneficial to the gaming community as a whole

— -
Final Thoughts,

I can admit Brother. I still understand your dislike for the title, but I’ll also admit my dislike for the title may have be based on pre-judgement as well as expecting something old and not giving the new a proper chance to grow on me. Because as I do give the Division 2 a chance to grow on me, it’s now a fun title. It pushes many of the things we were requesting and demanding from Massive in the Division 1. It’s actually making tactical fighting a fun thing. and again, I’m not twisting your arm because I’m the same way when I say I’m done with something, I don’t want people beating me over the head about why I shouldn’t be tired of it or done with it. But if you do give the game a chance with a cup half-empty approach, I’m almost certain you’ll end up liking the title — maybe not right away but it will grow on you.

Also, if you for whatever reason want to use anything I’ve typed in this email to make speaking points beit positive or negative, you have my permission to quote me. lmao even if you’re saying “This fucking guy Johnathan has drank the cool-aid and is fucking tripping!” I won’t take it to heart Brother.

But regardless what you do in relation to the Division 2 and your content creation, I’m still a subscriber and appreciate your additions to the gaming community. Keep up the good work Brother and one of these days I’ll run into you on the PvP battlefield as I’m going to build a gaming rig this year sometime lol.

Just my ideas, my thoughts, my philosophies on whatever.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store