After introducing World Tiers
, detailing character balance
, and also filling us in on improvements coming to gear, mods and weapons, one factor Massive hasn't covered yet, is the improvements that need to be made to loot hunting. In the latest wave of info released, the team covers loot dropping, weighting, sealed caches, vendors, crafting, and more.
As the game stands right now, the only drops that may improve a powerful level 30 agent rocking around 240-255 Gear Score, are ones dropped from level 35 Named Elites either in the Dark Zone, Incursions, or the "Underground
". Even then, the pieces can be High-End (most of which are currently pointless), or just not relevant for your character at all. In Update 1.4, Massive will be increasing the availability of loot so that even enemies in the open world and during normal missions have the chance of dropping some good stuff. Incursions will remain the same as only named enemies will drop any gear.
The items will be split into different pools, a very pleasing change if you ask me as there's nothing more frustrating than completing a Heroic difficulty "Underground" mission just to get two High-End Pistols which, if they're not X45's, they will be completely useless. Enemies will have the chance to drop items from different pools at the same time. This means a mod drop won't replace a Gear Set drop for example and with side arms being moved to a different pool as well, these won't overlap with regular weapons.
Massive are hoping this will change players style of play in missions. At the minute, playing in the "Underground" on the harder difficulties can be fairly time-consuming but in certain sections of the missions, players can either run straight through the room and past the enemies if they are not related to the mission objective, or use another exploit to make the enemies disappear and save a chunk of time. Players would do this to make the overall mission easier and the journey towards the end shorted for the items they want to obtain. In update 1.4, with all the enemies having a chance to drop decent loot, there will actually be a point now to clearing out the currently-skippable rooms. The same will be for HVTs and Search and Destroy missions also, any of the NPCs who aren't the primary objective may just drop that particular piece of gear you've been searching for.
The FireCrest Gear Set, which you can only get from the Dragon's Nest Incursion and the "Underground", will become available for all players to obtain, even those without a Season Pass or who have not purchased the DLC separately.
Players won't get higher quality gear from the higher difficulties anymore. Instead, more gear will drop the higher the difficulty is. For those who are not interested in the harder difficulties, you can still gear up with decent pieces just not as fast.
The Dark Zone will remain the best place to get the the highest quantity of gear faster than outside the DZ. This is understandable as the DZ is the most difficult place to venture in and the dangerous agents that hang around waiting to flatten the poor innocent agents riding solo do nothing but add to how brutal the DZ can be.
A new Gear Set, the "Banshee's Shadow", will also be obtainable anywhere else just like the other gear sets. If you haven't heard of this set before, it's currently being put to the test in the Public Test Server on the PC version of the game and gives a boost to those keen for some PvP action. The set currently has these bonuses:
Two Set Set Bonus
• +20% Dark Zone Currency gained
Three Set Bonus
• +10% Damage to targets out of cover
Four Set Bonus
Talent - Banshee
• While Rogue, all ammo is completely refilled every 30 seconds. Damage taken from non rogue players reduced by 10%.
• While not Rogue, Damage to Rogue players is increased by 10%. No Dark Zone XP or Currency is lost on death.
Lastly for loot drops, level 33 weapon mods will be added to the game and they will be available in all variants.
In Update 1.3, only specific Gear Sets drop at the end of certain Incursions. With the upcoming Update 1.4, the weighting of gear drops will change and Massive will use a system where the rewards for successfully finishing an Incursion will be weighted towards certain equipment slots instead.
Another feature of the open-world that will be changing will be gaining experience. Once you hit Level 30, then that's currently it. Chuck in the poor and occasional item drops from NPC's and the open-world, which at first is a wonderful sight to behold, just becomes nothing more than areas you don't even see as you will spend your time fast-travelling everywhere. Experience points will become relevant again in the new Update but not in terms of actual levels. Level 30 is still the highest level you can go but once you earn enough experience points to fill the bar again, you will instead be rewarded with a Sealed Cache that offers one or two random items as well as a certain amount of Phoenix Credits. The bar then resets, and you can get back to gaining more points again to bag another Cache. On top of that, if you're super-dedicated and log into the game at least every day or every week to complete the respective assignments, these will become more worthy of your time as you will now actually be awarded with Sealed Caches for completing daily and weekly assignments too. This new system is what Massive are calling "Field Proficiency".
Vendors will finally be getting improvements too in an aim to become more relevant again. Almost all of the vendors become completely pointless at the peak of the end game and eager agents waiting for daily and weekly refreshes slowly began to become disappointed with the refreshed offerings. Now, vendors will sell Superior (purple) and High End gear that's relevant to your chosen World Tier. The vendors that refreshed every 24 hours will now change on a weekly basis instead, giving agents more time to save the credits they need to be some hopefully decent items. Regular Sealed Caches will be available to buy as well, similar to the ones that will be awarded through Field Proficiency. Dark Zone vendors will also sell Sealed Caches that will give out a few more Phoenix Credits than the open-world ones.
Massive goes on to detail different vendors further as well as prices and Dark Zone caches:
Phoenix Credit vendors will be slightly less random than the regular credit vendors and allow you to buy categorized Sealed Caches – weapons, High End, Gear Set and Mods caches. The Dark Zone vendor in DZ06 will have a random selection of Gear Set items for sale, one for each slot. The Phoenix vendor, in contrast, will have items from each Gear Set on sale, but the slots will be random. The Phoenix Vendor will overall carry the best gear of all the vendors.
The Dark Zone and Phoenix Credits prices for Gear Sets have been lowered quite a bit to be on par with the High End prices. Assault Rifles, shotguns, pistols and Marksman Rifles have been given discounts as well. Named weapons aren’t as expensive as they used to be either.
In order to buy the Dark Zone caches, you need to be rank 20, but overall the rank requirements for buying equipment in the DZ have been lowered across the board.
To finish up, special Sealed Caches for crafting assignments, will give players "a pile" of crafting materials. The Division Tech requirements for blueprints has also been removed all together. Named weapon blueprints will no longer be sold by vendors in the game although Massive didn't state why this decision was made. If you do still have named weapon blueprints in your crafting list, you will still get to keep these but the gear score for them will remain the same despite what World Tier you are in.
Update 1.4 is still without a specific release date for The Division
but the PTS is in it's third week of testing and the release window is still "October". Could we see the patch go live in a couple of weeks maybe?