The Division's [official site] 1.1 update has arrived, bringing the first Incursion mission. Going by the name Falcon Lost, it's an end-game challenge and Massive recommend you take three pals along if you're going to tackle it. You can try it solo or with one or two companions, but you're likely to struggle as it's built for four and doesn't scale to group size. Along with the Incursion, there's another attempt to breathe life into the Dark Zone, with randomised non-contaminated valuable loot drops once an hour. Massive have also added loot-sharing between groups and made loads of minor changes.
I haven't played for a while, primarily because other games have been happening and distracting me, but also because the people I was playing with have either become dads recently (THANKS, Graham) or sped through to the highest of levels while I'm still strolling through story missions. I would like to go back but I'm not sure that I will - odd how easy it is to miss the boat. Or, in this case, fall off the boat just as it's getting out of port and into the open sea.
Still, for people who are still playing this seems like a healthy update. Of course, a great deal will depend on how enjoyable the Incursion mission actually is - there's a fairly detailed description of what to expect in this (Ubisoft-led) interview with game director Peter Mannerfelt, in which he specifies that an Incursion is not a Raid:
Raids are composed of multiple groups, so Incursions are not a raid in the MMO sense. Their difficulty, however, is comparable. Playing Falcon Lost in Challenge Mode will be extremely difficult, and will only be in reach of the best agents, using the right strategy and perfect coordination.
If all of that's actually true, I'd be delighted. And when I say 'all of that', I'm specifically referring to the idea that completing the Incursion in Challenge mode will "only be in reach of the best agents". If I have one major complaint about The Division, and similarly structured games, it's that success usually comes through perseverance as much as skill. Fail once, try again, fail a hundred times, return with a bigger gun. If the design of Falcon Lost is smart enough to bring out the best in players, rather than just encouraging players to have the best stuff, I'd very much like to play it.
And to fail.
Loot-sharing and Dark Zone random drops are the other marquee changes. The former addition won't allow you to trade with anyone in the world at anytime, and the limitations seem sensible:
You can only share items for during the first 2 hours after you have acquired them
Items can only be shared with players who are currently in your group and who were also in your group when the item was originally dropped
And the Dark Zone drops are another way to encourage competition in The Division's murky regions. Random high-level loot drops that don't require evacuation and decontamination. That should see groups converging on the spot and fighting to the bitter end. If I do go back to the game, I'd like the Dark Zone to feel threatening and forbidden.
There's a full list of changes right here and you can read every entry in our guide to The Division right now. Nothing in 1.1 has made our advice obsolete, although crafting won't be quite as effective.
The way our crafting feature is designed is to offer an alternative for players to temporarily complete their gear, by crafting missing pieces of their level. For End-Game we want crafting and our different in-game economies to provide reliable but slower source of gear compared to loot dropped from named enemies. If after many attempts you could not find said item, you should have acquired enough materials to try to craft something similar instead. It will not replace the item, but you will still be rewarded for your persistence.
More loot from named enemies and fewer crafting materials. That seems sensible. I always prefer finding a good bit of loot rather than having to make it for myself. I'm an
adventurer embedded military operative, damn it, not an Etsy store.
Alongside the Incursion and other changes, yesterday's update also saw the arrival of Operation ISAC, which will showcase new weekly assignments. There is a video in which a hybrid of Shia LaBeouf and Justin Long explains all.
This all seems terribly important.