The Division – Survival

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Now that Survival is out on PS4 and readily available to all, let’s talk a little about it.

The first few times I played Survival I hated it, absolutely hated it. You start out with nothing but a pistol and shit gear. All the gear you earned playing the game in any mode up to this point is now unavailable to you and you ask yourself “well, why the fuck did I play this game then?”. Not only do you not have your gear, you now have a slew of other factors to battle: infection – which you need meds for, cold – which you need better apparel for, thirst and hunger – which you need consumables for. Add all this up and the game seems insurmountable if not just un-fun.

But then after you play the mode a few times it grows on you. Running from place to place, looking for shelter or warmth while scavenging every piece of loot you can find becomes a challenge rather than a chore. The more you play, the more you remember the map and where loot may be. All the things you have to deal with become easier to deal with as your looting skills get better. When you find a “nice” upgrade to your gear you get a small rush and your enthusiasm rises enough to keep you going even further.

It probably took me about five or six rounds before I stopped hating the game and started seeing why people wanted this mode. With the option of PVP or PVE, I usually play PVE just because I normally avoid PVP to begin with but I do see where it adds an extra thrill to the game that would be a draw for other people. Even playing PVE, this mode is something that I can jump into for a session or two a day and have fun with. It seems counter-intuitive to call a game that forces you to struggle fun but that is exactly what this game does in this mode. It works because when you do succeed you get that feeling that you accomplished something, as opposed to the other modes which have, for a lot of people, become nothing but a grind.

Unfortunately, as much as I am enjoying this game mode I am not very good at it. To this point I have yet to actually complete my mission in this mode to extract the anti-virals you are tasked to retrieve. I’ve gotten as far as getting the anti-virals and calling in my extraction but something always goes wrong. The first time I had thirty seconds before my copter landed only to have another player spawn his hunter, which he failed to kill, and it killed me. Another time I went to the extraction point, called my copter in, spawned my hunter only to find that somebody else’s hunter was still there as well, ooops.

Massive has done well with game mode not only in its design and delivery but also in the fact that it is a service to the players. This is something that gave players still engaged and playing the game something extra to do and it has drawn players back that left the game because they were tired of the senseless grind. Survival may in fact be the thing that keeps this game alive and surviving.

 

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

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.

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