Tom Clancy's The Division 2 will soon be arriving in the hands of eager gamers. For some, it can't arrive soon enough, and those players will likely have signed up to take part in the private beta that was announced during E3 last year. Massive Entertainment has finally confirmed when that beta will be taking place, and you won't have long to wait.
As shown in the image above, the beta will take begin on February 7th and end on February 11th. If you pre-order the game, you're guaranteed a spot in the beta. If you'd rather try before you buy, there's also the option to sign up for a spot in the beta here, but be aware that places are limited.
To hold players over while they wait, a new story trailer has been released. Over the course of two minutes, players are introduced to the three enemy factions in the game, as well as the campaign's setting. There are the True Sons, a paramilitary force with plenty of firepower and the combat experience to go with it. They're led by a former JTF officer and they're very organised. On the other hand, the Hyenas are more opportunistic, preferring to raid civilian camps and scavenge everything they can take. They're led by a council of pack leaders, and their aim is to thwart their enemies by depriving them of supplies and resources. Finally, there are the Outcasts, survivors with a grudge against authority after they were imprisoned during a quarantine. Their leader takes no prisoners and believes everybody to be conspiring against them, so they're perfectly happy to kill and spread illness to survive.
Of course, the most dangerous part of the region will be the Dark Zone. In The Division 2 there will be three Dark Zones, each with their own gameplay styles. Dark Zone East is the largest zone with plenty of parks to provide long sightlines. Dark Zone South is the smallest zone that specialises in close quarters combat areas, large interiors and choke points. Finally, Dark Zone West is split in half by a canal and is characterised by European style architecture that offers medium-range combat.
There are plenty of changes coming to the Dark Zone too. There's a new Dark Zone operator at the Base of Operations who offers unlockable perks for every five Dark Zone levels players progress through. These can be used to customise playing styles, such as for space for items, better looting opportunities, or better rewards for Rogue agents. In terms of loot, only rarer gear upgrades will be contaminated, therefore they're the only items that will need extracting. Extracted gear will automatically suit the level of the player who extracts it too. Meanwhile, everything else goes straight into a player's inventory.
The Dark Zones will be more densely populated than those in The Division thanks to improvements to server capacity and size. Each zone will react dynamically to player activity, creating events in quieter zones to try and balance out where players can be found. Occasionally events will take place to create Occupied Dark Zones where all of the rules are changed. During these events, there are no SHD or Rogue players — everybody is just trying to do the best for themselves. Friendly fire is active, there is limited notifications, and player builds won't be normalised. They're designed to be "some of the greatest risk/reward opportunities" in the game.
What is this normalisation, I hear you ask? Well, this is where the game tries to minimise the gap between new players and those who are geared up to provide a large amount of damage, or survive a decent onslaught. Players will still have to take these factors into account while building their characters, though. It will also try to pit solo players against other solo players, although they are free to create groups once inside the zones. Matchmaking will take part in level brackets (1-10, 11-20, and 21-30) to help with normalising. Once players exceed those brackets and reach World Tier, they'll all be matched together to the same tier with rewards for players who are "above the normalized power level".
All of these changes can be seen in the multiplayer breakdown trailer below.
If you're not taking part in the beta, you'll be able to to meet all three of the enemy factions and enter the Dark Zones in Washington DC when the game is released on March 15th.
We don't have them yet, but we'll publish a story as soon as we pick up the Tom Clancy's The Division 2 achievements.
Get the biggest Xbox news delivered straight to your inbox every week.