The Division [official site], the Clancy manshoot with MMO delusions, is getting its penultimate expansion tomorrow, along with a patch to the base game. The Survival DLC will add a new game mode in which 24 players are thrown into the full map of New York in the middle of a blizzard, where they’ll have to find warm clothing, food, water and medicine while searching for a cure to the virus that has ravaged the big apple. Oh, and there’s some big fellas chasing you too. It’s been in public beta for the past couple of weeks but now it’s hitting the big time. Ubisoft say a game of Survival can take up to two hours. Stressful.
There’ll be two ways to play the new mode. In PvP you’ll be able to shoot and kill other agents but the usual ‘rogue’ mechanic won’t apply (in the city’s PvPish Dark Zone you are normally marked as a rogue when attacking other people and players are encouraged to hunt you down). Meanwhile, in the PvE version, such friendly fire is off by default.
This seems, to me, an odd way to approach what ought to be a hardcore mode. In the PvP version, for instance, you can still choose not to kill the other players and see if they want to work together – but why take the risk when you know a PvE version exists and all the “nice” people are probably hanging out there? By segregating two types of player on arrival, it risks stripping out some of the tension of meeting people in the street. This is in keeping with the developer’s practice of watering down The Division’s DayZ-inspired multiplayer elements, and it likely makes it more accessible to folks who just what some mindless shooty fun. But it also feels like a wasted opportunity. Having said that, it’s still the first piece of DLC that makes me want to go back and have a run around, so that’s good.
Alongside the new mode, there’s also a big patch, adding 12 new high-level guns and some other special gear. There’s also plenty of tweaks. Your stash can now hold twice as many items, for example, and hip fire now has much stronger recoil. You can read all the changes and additions in the patch notes.
There’s one last expansion coming in this season of DLC, which so far has also included the Underground expansion. The final one, Last Stand, is set to be a fight in which “you and your squad must prepare to defend against a relentless foe, recruit other agents and build your defences to help you hold the line.” It was originally scheduled for winter, but has recently been delayed into early 2017.