The Division: Tense Multiplayer in the Dark Zone

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The Division: Tense Multiplayer in the Dark Zone

First revealed at E3 2013, Tom Clancy’s The Division introduced us to a post-apocalyptic vision of New York City realized in jaw-dropping detail.

Bringing Ubisoft’s vision of a post-pandemic urban battleground to life isn’t a task that the development team are keen to rush, so at E3 2015 there were still plenty of details to be unveiled — and this year was the turn of the Dark Zone.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

This in-game PvP realm invites players to take on a variety of missions either as a team, a lone wolf or — as Executive Producer Fred Rundqvist told me — as a rogue agent hell-bent on securing the Dark Zone’s extra-special loot drops all for themselves.

“Essentially, the Dark Zone is a lawless area where you can go rogue, steal other people’s loot, and potentially betray your own teammates,” Fred explains.

As the hands-on demo from the E3 show floor demonstrated, patrolling the Dark Zone is a nervy, tense experience where you’re never quite sure who to trust — whether that’s other player-controlled squads, or members of your own team. But as with much of The Division, your experience and how you choose to play needn’t be restricted by how many friends — from your PSN list, match-made or met in-game — are also playing.

Tom Clancy’s The DivisionTom Clancy’s The Division

“You can play on your own, absolutely, or as part of a team,” Fred says. “If you want to play alongside others, you can hook up with people inside the game world and form a group, or go through matchmaking and start as part of a team. If you’re playing solo you won’t get totally overwhelmed — enemies scale to give a challenge to just one person or to a larger team.”

So those fears that The Division can only be enjoyable with the level of tactics and comms that we’ve seen in the trailers can be put to one side.

As Fred explains; “It’ll be your choice to work with other players, or against them. The Division is a loot and progression driven game, so the main reason to engage another player in combat within the Dark Zone is to take the loot that they’re carrying and use it for yourself.”

Tempting as that may be, greed can easily get the better of you. “By doing that, you’re taking a fairly large risk. As soon as you’re openly hostile to another player, you’ve gone rogue and you’ll be flagged to all the other agents in the area. If they take you out, they’ll gain an extra bounty that’s placed on rogue agents, earn extra XP, and can pick up whatever it was that you stole.

“So the game is more balanced than just being a free-for-all — you have you decide if it’s worth it, who you’ll be up against, and the strength of your team before you go rogue and engage another player.”

Tom Clancy’s The Division

How you approach life in the Dark Zone, and outside in the wider world of The Division, is likely to depend on how you want to play the game. But, as Fred explains, you won’t find yourself locked in to a specific class, loadout or speciality.

“We like to think of The Division as a ‘classless’ game — you’ll unlock skills and talents as you level up and then you can specialize in a specific path. Or you can try to follow them all and level up that way and switch between them,” he says.

“Most people have a preferred playing style, whether you’re the supporting medic, the long range sniper, or if you want to go in aggressively and deal a lot of damage. To me, that’s the beauty of The Division — it’s an evolution of traditional RPGs.”

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  • This is a very interesting mode to an already interesting universe they’re creating within The Division. I’m eager to explore it, though not sure how much stealing I’d want to do, personally. I kinda wouldn’t want to set myself up to be a target like that. Though I *did* really enjoy being a a thief class in The Realm ages ago…

    • I can’t wait for all the funny, and traitorous activity that will happen when I play this with my friends.

  • This sounds like GTA online. Either you got a solid group to run with, or you can be a ruthless mofo and kill everyone for their loot.

  • It’s great news to hear that solo players won’t have a hard time playing

  • I’m a little concerned from recent promotional material that this is going to be MP focused. Kind of like Destiny was so focused on the looting and shooting with friends (does this well) that it really only introduced a basic single player experience with a dry story and bland voice acting. This is a Tom Clancy game, so these points should be the stand out.

    Please try and promote the single player a little more. Hopefully these are the details still to be unveiled and I’ll be drawn back into the excitement bandwagon again.

    • This has always been an online only multiplayer focused game – from the start. You can play it alone but the focus is on multiplayer.

  • Stop downgrading the graphics already. Other then that, tight!

  • Looks okay, but I’m really disappointed at Ubisoft for ignoring Rayman’s 20th anniversary at this year’s E3 and instead giving us THREE Tom Clancy shooters. -__-

  • I can’t wait to beta test this game on PS4. Send me an invite please to a closed beta. It would be a pleasure to help with feedback and bug reporting.

    • I’m not gonna pre-order, but I’m looking forward to this game. I’m just afraid this will be too much destiny and too little GTA Online.

  • Ubisoft disappointed too many times the last two years. Great marketing and promotion but then very disappointing games. I hope this time really bring great stuff…

  • I’ve been reading up on this game for a while now since my PC-leetist friend clued me in to it and I’m glad PSB is talking about it. Can’t wait to play!

  • It’s not worth it no matter what you do you’re not going to progress at first i wanted The Division thinking it would be a single player that’s deeply driven . My expectation was wrong . Why is every apocalypse setting is in New York haven’t New York took enough abuse by 9/11?.

  • I sense and smell DOWNGRADE on the horizon. I will eat my hat and pants if the finished game equals or exceeds what was shown at e3 2013 demo.

    • I really hope the in-game graphics what they showed at E3 were alpha , because it’d be a major downgrade to what we’ve seen at E3 2013 indeed.

  • Really looking forward to the game – hope it does maintain the visual flourishes it showed at that E3. If not, Ubi is going to be facing the downgrade wrath that came out in full for Watchdogs

    The game looks tight, and may slow Destiny down. Can’t wait to try it out.

  • Buyer BEWARE! The Division is “Always Online” even for single player. The game will not boot without an Internet connection even if you want to single player offline.

    Alan Corre, Executive Director at Ubisoft Europe already confirmed this will be an “Online only” title.

    Sorry, this is totally inexcusable. Ubisoft’s way to stealthily implement DRM on their titles.

    Have fun trying to play this title single or mp when the network is down or the inevitable server shutdown happen.

    My .02

  • this game is basically GTA IV with ubisoft assassin creed built in looks cheeesy.

  • Looks promising but don’t get your hopes up too high, its Ubisoft were talking about here….the kings of let down video games with promising futures…..

  • This has a lot of potential but as always what is the most important is how will those servers handle the heavy traffic of online players.

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