You got activated during a busy evening at the club, your watch started glowing orange and you knew that shit had hit the fan. Without many words you said goodbye to your friends, your family and went on to get your operation details.
New York, some kind of virus, maybe a biological weapon. They didn’t say what exactly, they didn’t give you much details – just your stuff and a ride to the outskirts of the city where you should meet up with some other agents to get into action.
Then, when you actually arrive at the city and finish your first few assignments your helicopter ride gets blown up into your face and you slip in and out of coma. Welcome to the Division, a new game from Massive Entertainment published by Ubisoft. It’s a 3rd person cover based multiplayer shooter which takes place in New York after the city got hit by a viral catastrophe.
When you arrive in the devastated city you first have to take care of your Base of Operations which is located in a former post office building and under attack from one of the four factions that have the city in their grip. While the Rioters are just your usual thugs that gathered up to cause some mayhem for jokes and giggles there are far more dangerous groups. During the outbreak the convicts of Rikers Island managed to escape the prison and move into the city where they organized themselves. Some former city workers equipped themselves with hand built flamethrowers and try to cleanse the city with fire from the disease, hence the name “Cleaners”. If that wouldn’t be enough there is also the Last Man Battalion, a hired private military company that was first bought to protect the assets of the rich but since followed their own plans. You and your allied Joint Task Force now have the job to get the city back from those groups, establish some kind of civic order and manage to survive the whole ordeal.
The character you play in game is leveled up to L30 which can be accomplished in various ways and with several different kinds of missions. Sometimes you have to just shoot all enemies, or rescue some hostages or – what I liked very much – have to activate several contamination scanner devices in a specific time frame. Those devices are more or less hidden throughout a contaminated building and it sometimes required creative thinking to get all of them in time. Usual activities like headshots or multikills also grant some exp. While doing all those things you accumulate resources that you can spend in your Base of Operations to enhance or better rebuild the 3 different wings, each giving you unique traits, perks and skills. The first time I did this was pretty fun, the story was okay and rarely boring – the missions itself however were mostly repetitive, but there’s only so much you can expect from a shooter.
With Level 30 I also set my first steps into the Dark Zone, the PvP area of the game. The DZ is in the center of New York and is surrounded by huge walls that were put into place to try and contain the infected in a specific area. Surely those attempts failed and the zone is now abandoned and full of roaming groups. A very nice touch is that whenever two groups of different factions meet each other they will fight each other till death (and that not only in the Dark Zone) – not so funny if you’re caught up in the middle of the firefight. The mobs itself don’t give any “normal” EXP but instead DZ EXP and Currency. While you don’t level your agent normally there you gain DZ Ranks which enables you to buy specific gear and weapons only available with DZ Funds.
During the first two month the game was broken. As fck. The DZ was literally unplayable because of all the cheaters running rampart. Well I totally blame Massive/UBI for this failure, who in their right minds makes Weapon stats (recoil, rpm, ammo, etc) CLIENT based, as well as position and some other talent based stuff. Wow. Even worse that players could alter their WINDOWS CLOCK and get the rewards for the following week. Some things were patched pretty fast, others are not patched yet, but at least they ban cheaters now permanently on first offence.
Yes I abused some of the things during the first weeks as well like bugging through walls and beating the challenge mode incursion while outside the area (= enemies couldn’t hit you), but that wasn’t really fun at all. When the cheaters that went mad in the DZ got banned for 14 days (they since changed their policy to permanent ban) it was SO FCKIN ENJOYABLE to roam in the Dark Zone that it felt like a totally different game. Since then it’s gotten a bit worse, but is still enjoyable enough that I now spent 270 hours in game.
At the end of this month Patch 1.3 will bring the first “real” DLC and I really hope that it will be better than the last two free patches. Sure, 1.2 brought a lot good stuff. 1.1 only got us the incrsion “Falcon Lost” which was abused and bugged since day one. So yeah, with the promises they made for “Underground” and the announced weapon balance rework I am looking forward to it.