After a few delays to tweak and tune the base game, Ubisoft are just about ready to roll out Operation Dark Hours, the first eight-player raid for The Division 2. Players will need to have climbed to the tippy top of the game's progression ladder (Level 30, World Tier 5, Gear Score 490) to start the mission, which begins at the helipad at the White House. Players will be ferried eight at a time outside of the main city map to Washington National Airport, which is absolutely jam-packed with Black Tusk mercenaries. Unsurprisingly, they need to be shooted and looted. Below, a trailer.
It seems that Ubisoft reckon Operation Dark Hours is very tough indeed, as they've got a plaque waiting in-game for the names and clan of the first party to complete the mission. The inclusion of the clan name suggests (but doesn't confirm) that they're going the route of not allowing casual matchmaking for this raid, same as Destiny 2. Clans, organised groups and voice-chat are encouraged. Personally I think that's a bit much - let pick-up groups try, even if it's tough. Given that some solo players have survived Destiny 2's hardest fights, a loose alliance could pull off some real magic too.
So as to prevent Operation Dark Hours being mined completely dry of loot in its first few days, it's launching with a weekly timer. You can play the raid as many times as you want, but you can only claim special loot from its bosses once a week. The raid will be spitting out the game's biggest, best and rarest loot so far, although given that it'll be the toughest challenge in the game for a while, it's largely for bragging rights until the next big update. Personally, I'm most interested in the new boss fights, especially whatever the heck that big black monolith-machine is at the end of the trailer.
Operation Dark Hours begins on May 16th, at 5pm BST/6pm CEST/12pm EST. You'll have to have conquered the Tidal Basin stronghold to even be close to ready, so check out Ollie's guide if you haven't beaten it already.