My Thoughts On The Division Closed Beta
The Closed Beta for The Division
I should be grateful really as the Beta was extended 24 hours due to high-demand and high-interest in the beta and obviously a lot of people wanted to check it out! Surprisingly, I didn't play much more after the first three days as I went back to work on the Sunday night and then needed to knock out some collectable videos really quickly after the announcement of the extension, as I knew that people would want to find all of the intel the Beta had to offer. I still managed what I think was around 30-35 hours of playing time so that's more than enough in the space of three days.
I also took part in the Closed Alpha back in December last year, and as other Alpha participants will know who also took part in the Beta, there wasn't that much difference in what was available between the two. Never-the-less, the Beta was still brilliant and I had an absolute blast!
The Division is going to be MAGICAL!
The beta took place from January 28th through until February 2nd. I was at the back end of my week off so I got to participate on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and a bit of Sunday before I returned back to work. I managed to do everything there was to do from the PvE experiece and pretty much all there was to do in the Dark Zone area. I hit both max levels, 8 for PvE and 12 for DZ, purchase both high-end weapons, find all collectables, complete all missions, and more! In the one main mission on offer in the beta, I played in a four-man group for a sweet co-op experience and also caused havoc in the DZ with the likes of DaveKinetic
, vF Dezro
, and Elite Marello
The PvE area of the game was very impressive. Despite rumours of the game being "downgraded" graphically since the E3 2013 trailer, the game is still looking solid and rich with details. The virus-riddled world of Manhattan, New York are not to be sprinted through! Jogging is acceptable but taking a nice slow walk on your way to the base of operations is the best way to go. The streets are cold with mushy snow, tyre and footprints, dogs, helpless civilians, different and dangerous gangs, overflowing litter and bin bags, abandoned vehicles, and so much more. The world itself goes through a weather, night and day cycle. One minute it can be a clear day with the sun shining and adding excellent lighting effects to NY, and then the next minute (or maybe 5 minutes or so), it can be foggy, dark and windy with a heavy snow blizzard making it almost impossible to see more than 10-feet into the distance.
There's a ton of options that will be available in the base of operations. The potential in the Post Office (where the base is) is huge! Three different wings within the base need upgrading - Medical wing, Security wing, and I think the last was the Tech wing. To upgrade each wing, side missions must be completed successfully. This unlocks upgrades for your character in each respective ability section. In the Beta, only two upgrades could be used from the Medic section but this was one more than what was available in the Alpha.
I did feel a bit deceived with what missions would be on offer in the Beta. Once I reached the Post Office, I had to access each laptop from the different wings. I didn't remember doing this in the Alpha and when accessing the Tech or Security related laptop, there was mention of the Lincoln Tunnel mission. This particular mission had been showcased in different YouTube videos around the time a small number of players and big YouTubers got their hands on the game before the Closed Beta began. Unfortunately, it wasn't in the Beta and the only mission on offer again was the hospital mission. Even though it was exactly the same as the Alpha, the mission is still pretty impressive and contained a good-looking and interesting structure to venture through. I hope there will be a lot more main missions like this that take players through the likes of Hospitals, Police Stations, Supermarkets, Hotels, etc.
Bumped into PunkyLiar but I don't think she knew I was there!
One thing I did notice about the beta was how much easier the enemies seemed to be to kill. The game still came with its RPG style and health bars that deteriorated through taking damage, as well as showing the amount of damage done from every bullet. The only time the enemies seemed to be difficult was when they came in large numbers or if I was in a bad position, ie. too close to a Cleaner and his flame-thrower for example. So long as I stuck to cover and was aware of where I could move to if a grenade was thrown at me, all was pretty easy really. The enemies seemed to act a bit more realistic and tactical this time round but they still weren't at the intelligence they need to be. Enemies didn't come as aggressively as they did in the Alpha (besides the baseball bat wielding guys as expected), but sometimes, enemies just stood still and took bullets happily if I was on an awkward angle or was in a position where the enemy may not have been able to "systematically" see me if you will.
The side-missions on offer weren't overly exciting. Most, if not all, where just a case of go, here, shoot them, activate this switch/open this door, there you go. Although they did offer new locations to explore, again, the difficulty seemed to easy.
Exploring in general was a lot of fun. There was plenty of collectables to find as well at a few hidden weapons crates. A healthy number of buildings could be explored from apartment blocks to stores, garages, sewers, subway areas and more. The harsh aftermath of the virus is evident everywhere and the collectables do a great job of showcasing the timeframe leading up to the worst parts of the virus-outbreak. There's no videos or trailers but there are documents and ECHOs showcasing the riots that took place as well as people making their last phone calls, being trapped in the city, realising that the virus was more serious than it seemed it first.
For those who may not be interested in The Division
's PvP area, the Dark Zone, I feel very confident that there will be plenty on offer in the PvE area. The map will easily be big enough to keep us all entertained for months to come in my opinion.
Now, the Dark Zone, is where it gets dangerous. The same area was available in the DZ, these being DZ01 and DZ02. The only difference this time was that the two sections were not separated by levels. Instead, both DZ's where available to all DZ ranks but were labelled player level 8-8 for some reason. The Dark Zone was pretty intense as I searched the area for the best loot. NPC's roamed the DZ normally in groups of 2 to sometimes 10 members and would normally be a lot more challenging than the enemies of the PvE area. Killing NPC's successfully rewarded players with DZ EXP and sometimes loot too. Dying to NPC's however meant that any loot I already had would be dropped and I'd lose a chunk of EXP. One thing I didn't realise at first was that even if an NPC was the reason I dropped my loot, other human controlled players could still come and pick it up! Speaking of human-controlled players, these guys, were the biggest threat.
Roaming around the Dark Zone, paranoia and awareness levels were at an all-time high! Bumping into other players would almost always start off the same way. You stop to look at each other, scope each other out, see if anyone tries anything stupid, then either move on or fight! If their was more than 1 person who'd stopped to approach me, I'd normally move on pretty sharply as the chances of winning a handicapped battle were pretty slim. Fighting other agents in the DZ was very different to fighting AI. The battle would be a lot more intense and victory was so sweet, but the loss was so painful. If you win, you get to steal the dead agents loot, gain XP, and then get the hell on out of there. If you lose, you drop your loot, lose EXP, and lose DZ credits.
The only negative I had to fighting other agents was the abuse of the evasive roll manoeuvre. Although it is there to be used, it was so annoying and a bit of a fight spoiler to see enemies constantly spamming the roll to get away and avoid incoming fire. I have to admit, I did use it my self when necessary but I didn't over do it or roll into an out of bounds area just to be teleported to a checkpoint or the safe room!
The two DZ areas on offer in the Beta were a decent size to explore but soon became a bit boring if I'm being completely honest. There was a lot of crates and ammo boxes to open but 9/10 of these seemed to be one-time only. Hardly any of the DZ crates that required DZ keys were available in the beta and if enemies had previously been cleared out of a particular area, it was unknown as to how long it would be until they spawned again. Even when they did respawn, the groups of AI were no challenge for agents in groups besides maybe the group that spawned in the top-right corner of the DZ and the group at the bottom right which sometimes seemed to combine with the smaller group across the street.
The excitement levels of the DZ mainly depended on who was in the DZ and who was doing what. If there was plenty of Rogues to battle against, or you decided to go rogue yourself, then things definitely spiced up a bit. If you're more of the peaceful type, there's still an "ok" amount of things to do and find but even then, finding and trying to successfully extract loot can be pretty pointless if the best loot is being sold by the vendors!
Equipped with the two high-end weapons from the Beta!
I guess it all circles around though because if you want the good gear from the vendors, then you need to earn DZ credits! One of the best ways but easily the most riskiest is to go rogue! I'm not a Rogue type of agent but when I did turn to the darkside, it was a hell of a thrill! I was a bit confused at first with how it worked as I didn't realise that agents could take a few shots first before turning rogue. On some occasions when I took shots from other agent, I assumed that they had gone rogue especially when their health bars turned red. This wasn't the case and after opening fire on the agent, I'd actually turn rogue and would be on the run from the swarm of agents coming out of no where to claim my new bounty!
If I survived the countdown, which was small to begin with but added more time if I continued to fight or take shots, I'd be rewarded with EXP. Upon death however, the penalty was quiet heavy and a lot of EXP and credits were lost. It's a massive gamble but one worth taking just for the experience alone!
My sweet AR!
All in all, the beta was fantastic and I cannot wait for March 8th! If you didn't get in on the Closed Beta, there MAY be an Open Beta on February 16th according to Xbox Italy. Whether this is real or not is yet to be confirmed but you know I'll be taking part in that if it's true.
Once the full-game comes out, I'll try and stream and make videos when I can but I've only got two nights off from March 8th as I couldn't book a week off for it. I'm not going to rush the minimal time I'll have with it to start off with so don't expect to see a barrage of videos like I did with the beta.
Thanks for reading guys and I'll leave you all with a few of my own screens of gear-goodness from the beta!
My favourite AR and Shotty!
I never did find a 'Specialized' pistol :(
I liked the M870 Express over the High-End shotty
Posted by Dat Boi Treezy
on 04 February 16 at 09:40
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