The Division Wants To “Feel More Like A Shooter” In 1.4

Ubisoft are trying to make The Division [official site] “feel more like a shooter” again, they say, similar to how it feels while you’re still levelling up. They’ve been talking more about Update 1.4, the patch so important that Ubi delayed two upcoming expansions to focus on improving the base game. A public test server will launch on Monday but, for now, here’s more on their plans.

Last week the Divisigang talked about difficulty scaling and this week’s dev blog is about equipment and weapons. They say:

“. . . one issue facing The Division today is that the power difference between optimized and non-optimized builds is too great. We still want people to optimize their gear and min-max to their heart’s content, but in order to balance the game, we need to reduce the gap between the two extremes. As part of Update 1.4 we also want to bring back the shooter feeling, add more decision making and hard choices when building your character and add more variety to the viable builds.”

So! To raise everyone up a little, all high-grade equipment will boost one stat by a big amount then the other two by a lesser amount, which Ubi say “creates a balanced baseline” people can’t mess up. Then, to create more decisions, they’re stripping gear of innate skill bonuses and adding mod new slots to some. They’re tweaking armour too, because “it’s really easy to reach the armor cap without losing any damage output” – not an interesting decision.

Meanwhile, in the realm of things that go BANG, Ubi are rebalancing the different weapon types and defining their roles better. They’re also making weapon mods more focused and distinct, they’re removing several uninteresting stats – like head shot XP bonus – and they’re rolling several other unexciting bonuses together. Blogwords:

“This means, once again, that you’ll have to make actual choices when modding your weapon instead of being able to max out everything. Want to build for the highest possible damage? That’s perfectly fine, but you’ll end up with a gun that might have a big recoil or a small magazine. Or if you prefer, you can build a weapon that is incredibly stable and precise, but you’ll have to sacrifice raw damage. It means that there will be more skill involved in using the weapons, just like in a regular shooter and during the level 1-30 experience, and our hope is that it will lead to much more variety and less cookie cutter weapon setups. These changes allow us to keep up the challenge of the game, while reducing the time to kill of the NPCs.”

They say a lot more than the bits I’ve quoted, of course, so do go read the lot if you want specifics.

The Division’s Update 1.4 is due to launch in October. Its second expansion, Survival, is now expected at an unannounced time later this year, while the third is due in early 2017.


  1. MiniMatt says:

    Curious game, I liked the first ~30 hours or so a lot, it was a fine singleplayer or small scale PvE multiplayer game that seemed to lose its way after the story completed.

    There’s potential in there though, and in the interests of seeing people do new and interesting things with pixels, I’m glad to see they’re still plugging away at getting that “end game” working.

  2. that_guy_strife says:

    I was so hyped for that game. Diablo-esque gear system in a modern setting cover-based TPS with various CD abilities ? Sounded great.

    But then the power creep was totally broken, 3/4 of the guns, abilities and gear was useless, the huge open world served no purpose beyond the initial campaign (getting to level 30). The DLC served as paywall, locking new missions and gear as well as new game modes – despicable.

    The first three title updates had no positive impact whatsoever, but instead introduced game breaking bugs EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    Bref, I am so very glad Massive admitted they were in over their heads, and called in a groupe of ”elite YouTubers”. I don’t think 1.4 is the patch that will make Division fun, since they’ll need to re-tweak for months, but it’s a damn good start.

    Looking forward to reinstall in March 2017 – a year after launch, when Division is hopefully out of beta.

  3. Blackcompany says:

    This update has me considering the game. I enjoyed the beta, but held off. I am now thinking of giving it a go, since, if you can get past the admittedly awkward premise, the game plays well.

    • sp0q says:

      I bought myself into it recently, got up to 27th or 28th level and left it to wait for the 1.4 to hit. It really sounds promising and it would be a shame to burn out before those changes are live. I’d advise you to wait until then.

      • Blackcompany says:

        Thanks for the info. Sounds like good advice. I think I will wait for the update.

  4. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    Haha so Ubisoft released a shooting game that doesn’t even feel like a shooting game?

    • Nauallis says:

      Bizarre description, overall. It feels like a shooter, somewhere between Gears of War and Fallout 4. It’s just a really boring shooter. I wonder about fixating on optimizing gear, because my take is that the problem has to do with the enemies themselves. They are boring. The bosses are merely bullet sponges, but without any particularly interesting mechanics. Their stories are not compelling.

    • Karyogon says:

      It’s actually not that bad, it just happens to be an incredibly weird mixture of loot-drop TPS with RPG elements, NYC Walking Simulator: Disaster Porn Standalone DLC and, err, MMO? It’s frankly amazing that so much of it works for so long, but I really hope most players stop playing it when they exhaust the (large amount of) content instead of tugging away at what little endgame there is, or at least was when I quit playing.

      • MrBear says:

        Large amount of content? Like what? Doing the same old missions again and again? Those 2 incursions? Oh, the underground, with the exact same recycled assets and the same recycled enemies over and over again?

        As I’m posting this there are 1,200 people in game on Steam. Looking at Steam again in comparison: There are 8,000 in Terraria and almost 25,000 in GTA V.

        The Division has completely and utterly failed.

  5. Barberetti says:

    Alice, the “official site” link is linking back to this article. As for the rest, well if it’s more like Quake, then count me in. Combo rocket-grenade jumping through the streets of New York would probably be fun!

    Somehow I doubt that’s what they mean though ….

  6. Jessa Doom says:

    We are so screwed they are making our agent weaker and are not fixing any of the things us players wanted fixed they are just screwing with the gear sets and weapons to make it look like they are making the game better in truth the wool is being pulled over our eyes as we’ll all be looking for gear that’s not there and weapons that won’t do any damage also messing with the headshot xp’s in some shotouts that the only part we can shoot points lost there then.

    For those that have spent a great deal of time getting 268 gear will now find it gone down to 229 weakening our agents and not anywhere did i read anyone asking for the gear and guns to be weakened yes we wanted them to work as they should and npc’s to be ajusted so as not to be bullet sponges and if the dev’s change the gear, guns, and npc’s stats down say by 10% nothing will change.

    Well many of us have said the game is dead with this 1.4 patch the hole as been dug then we will see how long it will be before this game get buried in it.

    “Six sence I SEE DEAD GAME”

  7. HorzaPY says:

    After the original trailer I thought this game was gonna be survival based. Even see em picking up bottles of water… So disappointed

  8. MrBear says:

    1.3 saw a gear nerf. The few good guns were nerfed because “we want people to use other guns than those handful of good ones.” Instead of boosting the majority they decided to nerf the few good ones. That is not good game design, that is ludicrous.

    Talks is that 1.4 will nerf SMGs and M1s. So again, their “solution” is another nerf. Again, not good game design, just ludicrous, clueless fiddling around.

    Will bugs be fixed? Most likely not. They’ve not really fixed anything in the past patches, so why would that miraculously start now? Bugged echos, bugged ladders, hooray.