Ubisoft and Massive are taking the work going into Update 1.4 for Tom Clancy's The Division
very seriously and recently delayed
the game's upcoming expansions to put more time and effort into fixing the main game. After recruiting the assistance of dedicated players lucky enough to head out to Sweden to discuss the different options that will help the game move forward, as well as working behind the scenes and testing different changes out for themselves, Massive has shared more details on what we can expect to see in Update 1.4.
One of the main issues with the game for some is the time it takes to kill enemies and other players. The difference between an average player and one who's been pouring countless amounts of hours into optimizing, from their main weapon all the way down to the boots, is way to big.
In our internal testing, we found that at level 30 damage fluctuation in certain situations can be as high as +/- 264% between players and damage mitigation can reach +/- 250%, a difference of five times in power. This is only talking about level 30 and 163 Gear Score items, without skill power, talents or stat optimization taken into account - this difference gets much, much bigger in the live game. The gap between the “best” and the “worst” is simply too big, and with the current exponential nature of progression, that gap becomes bigger and bigger with every increase in power level.
Massive also did a test between level 30 characters and level 12 characters. Gear mods for example can increase damage output by 40% but a level 12 character will only see an extra output of 6%. Damage mitigation is also way off as a level 30 character can be seven times more powerful than a level 12. Throw in skills and certain attributes and the differences here can fly off the charts.
Another crazy gap comes from the enemies. A "normal" level 35 enemy (not a Veteran or Elite) can take twice as long to kill than it would for a level 12 agent to kill a level 17 enemy, which is just not right. Flip to the other side of the battle and a level 35 enemy can kill your character 1.5 - 5 times quicker than a level 17 enemy could kill a level 12 agent.
The endgame is aimed towards the best of the best gear and weapons but unfortunately this makes a situation where most of the missions and activities are too hard for most players to complete. Casual players won't enjoy the experience or find it rewarding and this is something that needs to be fixed badly.
Another issue is the difficulty scaling. When going from one difficulty to another, the jump is way too high. Also, the coherence to the difficulty levels just isn't there. If you try a challenge mode mission for example, this will be much easier than doing a challenging "Underground" mission. I personally checked out a heroic style mission recently and was surprised to see level 33 enemies rather than level 35 like in the "Underground". Also, some of the activities available don't scale to the number of players in the group and this is something players won't really notice as the game doesn't communicate this to you.
Lastly, rewards will be receiving an overhaul too, as a lot of the time, the rewards are just not worth it unless you're playing on the hardest difficulty in the "Underground" or one of the Incursions:
Currently, the gear you need to complete a harder activity drops from the activity itself, which makes it very hard for players to gear up and feel like they are actually progressing. The difficulty versus reward isn’t really where it should be either and often the pure quantity of rewards given to you after a difficult activity is simply underwhelming. With rewards often given after the activity is finished, failure can be extremely frustrating and punishing. At the same time, activities that are not very punishing or difficult tend to give out unsatisfying rewards with low Gear Score.
In an effort to fix difficulty scaling, Massive will be introducing a new way to measure player's power more efficiently. Gear Score will be changed to make the Gear Score milestones much clearer. All Gear Sets as well as High-End Gear will now be 163, 182, 204 or 229. The 240 and 268 Gear Scores will be no more. Obviously, what you currently have in these scores will still be there, but will now either be 204 or 229 pieces.
The upcoming update will allow for players to choose between "World Tiers" based on Gear Score:
- Tier 1 = 0 to 163
- Tier 2 = 164-182
- Tier 3 = 183-204
- Tier 4 = 205-229
Whichever Tier you choose will scale the level of all the enemies in your world. 163 will see level 30 enemies, 204 will see level 33 enemies. Enemies will have their health and damage output rescaled completely and level 34 and 35 enemies will be removed. Level 33 will now be the highest enemies you will encounter in World Tier 4.
Activities will also scale dependent on your World Tier. The Open World itself will also become a place to actually travel through again as players will "run into suitably challenging enemies in the Open World that will also provide meaningful rewards". Named bosses will respawn back in the world again (after they were axed sometime back due to being exploited for Phoenix Credits) and will offer decent rewards upon their death.
Heroic difficulty will be removed off all of the missions and activities besides Incursions. When choosing a difficulty, the World Tier won't change, instead, the difficulty will define the enemy level:
- Normal = Mostly normal enemies
- Hard = Normal enemies become Veteran, Veterans become Elite
- Challenging = All enemies are Elite, and changes of fire teams and enemy archetypes
Challenging difficulty will now also scale according to group size and will therefore become beatable by solo players and smaller groups. Incursions will be the only content always scaled for 4 player groups.
As well as being able to acquire equipment from bosses and activity rewards, you will also be able to grab new pieces from NPCs as well, besides during Incursions.
- Tier 1 = Gear Score 163 rewards
- Tier 2 = Gear Score 182 rewards
- Tier 3 = Gear Score 204 rewards
- Tier 4 = Gear Score 229 rewards
Massive detail further changes to gear drops:
Higher difficulties in a World Tier don’t mean that better loot will start dropping; instead it will have a direct effect on how much loot will drop. This means you will always get relevant rewards, but will always be able to push yourself to get even more of them and gear up faster.
We’re also removing gear drop weighting, the only activity that will drop guaranteed rewards (as well as more random ones) is Incursions. This will allow you to choose whatever activity you prefer and not force you to take part in content that you don’t like.
More details will be inbound for The Division
's Update 1.4 and we'll be sure to keep you all up to date on the work being done by Massive. The update itself is still without a specific release date but should arrive for the game next month.