Full disclosure, I wrote an article on this very topic back in December 2017. I’m doing it again.
Obviously, since that point, a lot has happened in the world of The Division. At that time, I had just rejoined the game thanks in large part to a massive free update that added a ton of new content to the experience. Since then, Ubisoft has launched a couple of global events and has been hosting small, mini events each weekend. As such, the game has had a tight hold on me and has allowed me to expand my knowledge, especially when it comes to improving gear.
Besides the new content and updates for the existing game, Ubisoft went on to surprise everyone by announcing The Division 2 much sooner than most expected. Though not much was revealed, the studio did mention that we’ll be seeing it in greater detail in a couple months at E3 2018. If rumors are true, this sequel has been in development for a while and is likely further along than we all initially thought.
With the reveal of the actual sequel, it got my wheels turning once again, especially with as much as I’ve been playing lately. While I still agree with my previous post, I’ve actually come up with a few new ideas which I believe would be pretty great.
Here’s my new list of 5 things I want to see:
Deeper RPG Mechanics
The Division does a great job of toeing the line between shooter and RPG. At its heart, the game is a third-person shooter, but it also adds in light RPG mechanics such as the ability to create and customize characters through a creation tool, loot, and a few specialized abilities and skills.
For the sequel, I’d love to see a wider range of skills and abilities to pick from. I’d even be okay with dedicated skill trees that you’d typically see in a World of Warcraft, Borderlands, or Diablo style experience. Now, to make this work, I think you’d have to untie the abilities to Security, Tech, and Medical missions, otherwise Massive would have to create a lot more side content to accommodate the new skills. While I liked how progressing through side missions upgraded the Base of Operations and your character, I’d be okay with divorcing the two in order to have a deeper character skill system.
Going further, I’d also like a more robust crafting system, which I felt became obsolete after you reached the end game. For the most part, my character had progressed way beyond anything I could conceivably make and I never felt like purchasing new schematics was important enough due to how much loot I was finding out in the world. So to that end, I’m hoping the sequel puts a greater emphasis on crafting gear or at least makes it more viable for high level, end game style players.
A More Diverse and Organic Living World
I love the atmosphere in The Division, but let’s be honest, the world doesn’t feel as alive as it could. Sure you’ll occasionally see a person yelling at you from the window, an NPC roaming the streets, or even someone needing an item from you, but that’s about it. You can certainly write it off for story reasons as being a result of the outbreak, but I’d love to see more activity out on the streets besides common enemy types.
Why can’t you find and then help NPCs scattered around the world through side missions? Why can’t you take part in public style events, where instanced players work together to overcome a bigger event? And why not, let’s add those bad ass Hunter enemies to the world, acting as a sort of boogeyman to players in specific zones or areas. Anything that would spice up the day to day action is perfectly fine with me.
Not only would this be an incredibly cool element to brag about, it would give the world a more unique vibe which would help to keep player immersion high months after launch.
Procedurally Generated Content
I think many Division players would agree that the Underground was a cool idea, even if it may not be the mode that players flock to these days. Basically, the Underground expansion added a new mode for specialized missions that featured procedurally generated content. In this mode, each mission felt unique and different thanks to customizable modifiers and levels that the game created on the fly.
Having something like this on day one would go a long way to helping player retention. When the campaign is over, players could find endless enjoyment running procedurally generated missions. It shouldn’t be a surprise that some players are going to chew through the story content in a much shorter time than expected, so having a mode that can hold their focus before eventual DLC packs arrive would certainly go a long way.
Revamped Loot Customization
The Division takes after Blizzard’s Diablo series in that it is basically a giant fountain of loot. Players get new weapons and gear for just about everything, though as you gain in gear level, much of what you earn is below the players current gear level. Thankfully, it’s possible to customize and upgrade gear in order to make it worth your time. The problem is that many of these features were added post-launch and considering they were never really part of the core game in the first place, I feel like the systems are not explained all that well.
I’ve recently become somewhat comfortable with the process, but when it’s compared to other similar games like Destiny, I find the process a little clunky and convoluted. Players have two options when updating gear: the optimization station which lets them increase the item’s gear score and stats, and the recalibration station which lets players replace and tweak individual stats. Both cost resources to use and recalibrating presents players with a few random options to replace the desired statistic. Outside of classified gear, players can only make one permanent change.
For The Division 2, I’d like to see this process streamlined. Maybe combine these two stations into one?
Simplify the UI for Appearance Items
Speaking of loot, I feel like the UI needs to be cleaned up as well. Specifically, the basic appearance items. Having been apart of the game for two years, I have serious amounts of jackets, hats, shirts, and whatever else on my character. A lot of these items are things I’ll never use considering I’ve found better-looking stuff.
Unfortunately for me, these items can’t be sold, so I’m basically stuck with them. I wish the game would allow me to get rid of them somehow, or let me clear them out. Changing my appearance has become a chore, especially when I’m looking for something very specific. Filters are a help, but still, scrolling through a massive list is longer and harder than it really needs to be. There’s gotta be a way to clean things up, right?
Bonus: What about a Battle Royale mode?
While games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite have become a cultural phenomenon, it stands to reason that the Battle Royale mode is and will become the hot item that most developers try to shoehorn into upcoming games. Should The Division?
I have mixed feelings on this. First and foremost, I’d personally love to see the existing Survival mode expanded and renovated. It’s already pretty great and with a few tweaks, Ubisoft/Massive could make it a go-to destination.
Still, I could see a Battle Royale mode being added, with a Division style twist. While you still start with the 100 players, maybe you keep the elite roaming mobs and add loot to the game mode which can then be taken back to the main game once the match is over. Seriously, there’s plenty of potential here to iterate on an already popular game mode.