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The Division Wants To "Feel More Like A Shooter" In 1.4

Less MMO-y

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.

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Alice O'Connor

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Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.