The Division is snatching the throne of ‘most divisive game at launch’ away from Destiny. There’s a lot wrong and a lot right with Ubisoft’s take on an open-world shooter. As Ubisoft Massive flails around looking for fixes to exploits and re-tweaking how we gear up, I long for something Destiny did right. Traditional multiplayer.

Destiny’s multiplayer wasn’t perfect. That’s not the point. It’s that it had multiplayer if you wanted to play it. Multiplayer has been a hallmark of Tom Clancy games for as long as I can remember. From the third person tactical shooting action of Ghost Recon, to the intimate first-person battles of Rainbow Six. And who could forget Spies vs. Mercs in Splinter Cell?

ghost recon future soldier

This, but in New York City? Sign me the hell up!

With The Division, Ubisoft opted to meld co-op and multiplayer into one. The Dark Zone lets you fight high-level NPCs, or go ‘Rogue’ and take out fellow agents. During the pre-launch, the mode sounded fantastic. I was getting H1Z1 vibes of going around and shooting people on sight and stealing their gear.

But like most things The Division right now, the Dark Zone is either fun or infuriating. If you’ve played a bunch (like me), the Dark Zone is a blast. I almost feel sorry for all the folks just hitting gear score 160+ and venturing into the deep end of the pool for the first time. You’re not ready for what’s about to happen.

Dark Zone battles play out a handful of different ways. Playing solo (like 60% of The Division’s player base)? You’re about to have a bad day. The weapon damage discrepancy between those with better gear is insane. Players fall in a second or two when facing better geared players. And a team of four geared up? You may as well run back to the Dark Zone checkpoint.

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Oh, and don’t even think about it against teams of more than four. I’ve had seven friends together at one point. It was fun for us. Everyone else? Let’s just say it didn’t take long before we were playing on an empty server.

If two teams of equally geared players do end up running into each other, fights usually devolve into who uses their damage resistance ability sooner.

Why traditional multiplayer?

The Dark Zone needs a major retooling. Honestly, I don’t know if it’ll ever work as Ubisoft Massive intended. Because of the sheer amount of time needed to acquire the best gear, players will always be split. You’ll have players who play all the time and have the best gear. And players who play more casually and will never have the best gear.

Extraction in Dark Zone

What you get is a multiplayer mode that feels cheap. You’re not dying because you messed up. You’re dying because someone plays the game more than you and has the best gear. I killed at least a few dozen players the other night. Was I better than them? My gear was, and that’s what matters in this game.

No one is on an even playing field. And with 60% of the player base playing The Division solo, Ubisoft Massive should be doing everything they can do level this playing field.

That’s where traditional multiplayer could come in. Strip the stats granted by the gear and let us play regular multiplayer. Yeah, I know it’s pretty much Ghost Recon in New York at that point – but it would give us something to do that doesn’t involve grinding endlessly away. If completing multiplayer matches granted Phoenix Credits and crafting materials, I would be all over it.

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Right now, The Division feels like a chore. All aspects of the game are needlessly grindy. The grind to high-level Dark Zone is borderline boring. I run with friends all the time, and I’m still just a rank 66. Some of my friends are approaching 90, but they also play all the damn time.

Traditional multiplayer would break up the monotony. And as we wait for the first large DLC update to drop, we need something to break up the grind. Because the only reason I’m playing The Division right now is for some Dark Zone shenanigans.

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