Trust no one. DayZ and H1Z1 taught me that. And it’s a lesson many are learning as they reach level 30 in The Division and enter the Dark Zone. I’m a handful of levels away from Dark Zone level 50 and my experience ranges from ‘I’m having a blast’ to ‘f*$@ this game.’
The Division’s Dark Zone had a rough start. Penalties for going Rogue were too steep. So steep that the Dark Zone turned into just another area to kill NPCs. Ubisoft Massive quickly addressed these problems and the Dark Zone is turning into the mode many of us enjoyed in the beta. And it’s only going to get better.
What the Dark Zone lacks is focus. Sure, players can go Rogue leading to a murderous chase across several city blocks. But the Dark Zone needs to find a way to focus the action. Too many times, you see groups of four (or more) go Rogue and hold down areas with only one entry point. We’ve all been on the wrong side of an 4+ man group.
How can Ubisoft Massive focus the action? They’re introducing a new mechanic in the large April update that many open-world PvP fans will recognize – supply drops. Ever play Battle Royale on H1Z1? One of the easiest ways to find action is to head towards airdrops.
Supply drops is the developer’s answer to focus the Dark Zone’s action.
Every hour, a supply drop will land inside the Dark Zone. Each one is guarded by a squad of tough enemies. But the action won’t stop there. Pitched battles between players is all but guaranteed. The player (or group) that loots the supply drop first wins. You won’t be able to steal it. Supply drop loot doesn’t work like traditional Dark Zone loot. Because the gear isn’t contaminated, it won’t need to be extracted.
There are still a few things we don’t know about how supply drops will work. My biggest concern is the time it takes to loot it. You don’t want players rushing in and activating ‘super’ abilities like Recovery Link (health) and Survivor Link (damage resistance) and grabbing the loot before without fighting for it.
H1Z1, for instance, puts a 30-second timer (I believe) on looting airdrops. A similar timer on Dark Zone supply drops will ensure players can’t just run up to the supply drop and loot it without actually fighting.
As long the loot is good, and there is a delayed opening, supply drops sound like a welcome addition. It brings the action in the open and pushes players to go Rogue (and suffer the potential consequences of it).
The Division April update
Dark Zone supply drops is one part of a much broader update coming this month. The biggest is Incursions. Think Challenging missions, but even harder. How much harder? Think no checkpoints. If you’re squad dies, it’s back to the beginning. Ouch.
Incursions can be played in two difficulties. Hard and Challenging. You’ll need to run through Hard first to get the gear to survive Challenging. Ubisoft Massive said it took their developers days to tackle Challenging with the best gear. So yeah, sounds like it will be fun.
Other updates focus on quality-of-life improvements. Loot trading has been at the top of the community’s wish list since before the game came out. That’s coming this month. Assignments are another and reward Phenix Credits, Division tech and more. Think ‘kill a certain amount of enemies’ and harder ones.
April’s update is free and is not tied to the Xbox One exclusive arrangement. PS4, Xbox One and PC players will get Incursions and everything else that comes with it at the same time. The paid DLC expansions – Underground, Survival and Last Stand – will hit Xbox One 30 days earlier than other platforms.
Let me know what you think about the changes coming to Dark Zone? Do you like them? Is there something else you would like Ubisoft Massive to implement?