Ubisoft has gotten into a groove over the last few years, keeping their games alive and well long after release. When most studios move on to the next thing a year or so after launch, Ubisoft has managed to evolve and continue finding success for games like Rainbow Six Siege and Ghost Recon Wildlands. Well, we can now add The Division to that list.
I played and loved my time with The Division over the course of the first year though other game releases and overall fatigue pushed me away. Ultimately, the game went back on the shelf and there it stayed throughout most of 2017.
Late last year, however, update 1.8 arrived and really transformed the experience. It got my attention not only because it was a free update, but that it added an insane amount of content, fixes, and re-balances. Not only that, Ubisoft brilliantly lined up the release with a free weekend, letting everyone get a taste without needing the game. Consider your plan a success Ubisoft, because you hooked me again.
One year later and I’m immediately noticing a vast amount of changes to the game. I’ll give the team credit because they spent a lot of time fixing, changing, and adding content during the first year. It’s fantastic to see that the team has continued that trend and the community still so engaged.
For those of you like me, here’s a short list featuring some of the major free additions to the game post-launch:
- Players can create and save multiple loadouts.
- A brand new area of New York to explore called West Side Pier.
- Global Events – week-long activities that offer unique rewards and special modifiers for PvE.
- Dark Zone 2.0 – an overhaul and improvement of the PvPvE area of the world.
- Optimization station – lets players improve the quality of gear
- New PvE mode called Resistance.
- Commendation system
- Classified Gear Sets, Exotic rarity level gear, and added loot like face masks
- New gear sets
- World Tiers, complete overhaul of time to kill and
I’m going to stop it there. Obviously, that’s not everything but as you can see, the list is sizable and significant. This list also doesn’t cover the mountains of bugs and quality of life improvements that have been made along the way as well.
At first, I was overwhelmed. Not only getting back into the game in a general sense but coming to terms with everything that changed since I last booted it up. New gear, rebalanced weapons, new features, etc etc. It was a fun challenge at first, though I’ll still fully admit that I’m still trying to optimize my agent by navigating my way through the mountains and mountains of loot that the game bestows upon you. A good problem to have if you ask me.
Though I’m still iffy on the best loadouts or gear to roll, I’m having fun just taking it all in once again. The new West Side Pier is a fun and challenging place to explore, and running the newly revamped Underground has been a blast as well.
With all the new changes and the revitalized player base, I’m rediscovering my love for the game all over again. The most recent Global Event called Ambush just wrapped up, which added a nice little twist on top of existing missions while also bestowing a ton of new loot. I’ve been having a lot of fun running through old missions as well as taking on new challenges like the Dragon’s Nest incursion.
Frankly, I’m thrilled that Massive and Ubisoft have continued to refine and improve the experience so long after launch. In my opinion, if you’ve since given up on The Division, the game is more than worth revisiting. A lot of the elements people weren’t a fan of originally have been either updated to make it more player friendly or outright removed. In this slower release season, perhaps The Division can help get you through these cold and long winter nights.