For what felt like an eternity, those still playing The Division patiently waited for the 1.4 update to arrive with the hopes of curing the game’s woes. While the patch delivered some relief the game continues to show its flaws.
The quality of life improvements that patch 1.4 delivered have been well received. The little things like being able to mark gear so that it can’t be sold or deconstructed or being able to buy back gear that was accidentally sold may seem trivial but it is huge to those that play. Going through the grind to get that perfect piece of gear only to sell it by mistake was enough to make some quit the game. Even getting better loot drops from the World Tier system has been nice. Touring the open world and being able to get top level gear from any enemy has made it easier for those who don’t want the stress of Incursions or the Dark Zone to keep getting gear at their own pace. Perhaps the simple change of gear level to 229 was the most subtle but should not be over looked. Many of time a person was kicked for not having max gear score even though they played better with gear of a lower number.
Unfortunately, patch 1.4 was not the end all solution to all the problems of the game. With the more gracious amount of loot drops came the constraints of storage. Each character and the shared Stash can only hold so much and the need to constantly sort through gear can be a hassle at times. Then there is the changing of talents and skills. Changing things like critical hit chance and the like force players to rebuild their builds after relearning the mechanics of the game. One of the worst offenders in 1.3 still exists in 1.4, shotguns. Over-powered NPC’s and shotgun thugs in the DZ are still a problem. The hope to balance this weapon is somewhat dwindling at this point. Time to kill was something that Massive made a major point to fix with this patch and while it is better they accomplished it by making other sacrifices. The change was mostly mad by nerfing skills and rewarding DPS. These is a step backwards for the game taking it back to its 1.0 and 1.1 days when DPS was the key attribute as opposed to 1.3’s Skill build.
Looking ahead to patch 1.5 and Survival DLC there is a mix of emotions and messaging. Patch 1.5 is set to change things like skills and attributes yet again forcing players to learn again exactly how they will function. Gear score is another potentially unwanted change going from 229 to 256. As for Survival, it is unclear how this will be received as it will take away from players all the precious gear they have worked so hard for and ask them to start anew with nearly nothing. Some will be fully into this and other will avoid it all together.
Massive is over six months into the release of this game and it is still struggling. Every time a patch or DLC is released the player base is first filled with the excitement of things being fixed and getting new gear only then to be met with the lament of having to learn the game all over and grinding away at replacing their gear. The developer seems to take point with each patch to try to make the players play they way they want them to rather than the way the player wants to and that is something that is going to continue to drive people away from the game. The more Massive asks its players to do everything over again without offering much in the way of new experiences the more they will find less people enjoying much less playing the game.
Look for Survival and 1.5 to be a telling, if not breaking, point of the game and its future.
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A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.