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Thread: The Division

  1. #1
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

    The Division

    Yeah, this thing. I think there's enough of us playing it now that it needs a thread.



    I don't like Diablolikes and this looked like a generic cover-shooter so I wasn't expecting much from it, yet I let Malf talk me into it, and I'm kinda surprised at how much I'm enjoying it. It looks fantastic, first of all. I remember seeing the first gorgeous trailer and thinking it was the usual Ubisoft bullshots, but y'know what? It really does look that good. Secondly the world feels very open. Not every building can be entered or every rooftop scaled, but enough of them can that it lends a sense of logical realness to the world. Lastly, and most importantly, the combat is actually fun. Enemies charge you and throw grenades, which means you can't sit in one spot too long, so you do end up switching cover a lot, flanking enemies, flushing them out with grenades. If you're playing against higher-level enemies they often turn into unfun bulletsponges to fight, but as long as you stick with missions at your level, it's good stuff.

    Speaking of levels, everyone please post their current level(and keep it updated, if your wouldn't mind) to facilitate better coop.

    CURRENT LEVEL: 12

    Since Thirith is away this weekend, let's wait a bit before doing another session. Best if everyone stays on somewhat the same level if our coop sessions are gonna be any fun. I might actually start a secondary character just to play more on my own.
    Last edited by henke; 30th Dec 2017 at 06:46.

  2. #2
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I was playing last night on my main character. There's a new "Global Event" active for the next 4-5 days called "Strike". The main thing this adds while active is that all enemies explode on death. It's ace fun! There's all sort of mini-goals associated with this, such as killing enemies by killing their friends nearby, harder versions in missions where if you take too many shots too quickly, you explode (you don't necessarily die, but you take a wodge of damage), a goal for killing enemies with your explosion, and all sorts of fun stuff.

    It actually tempted me back in to the Dark Zone last night, and man, is that fantastic. Massive have saved their best mapping efforts for this area, and there are a LOT more rooftops to clamber over, buildings to explore and sewers to delve. On top of which, the added tension of it being a PvP live area makes the game incredibly tense.

    Basically, any large drops you get while in the Dark Zone are contaminated, and the only way to get them out is through helicopter extraction.

    This involves finding one of the helicopter landing pads littered throughout the zone, then firing off a flare to call in the chopper. This starts a minute long countdown, during which the extraction zone may or may not get assaulted by enemy NPCs. Once it arrives, it lowers a rope for you to attach your loot to and starts another 30 second countdown.
    But that's not the only worry; every other player in the zone will know an extraction has been called in and where, and this may draw in other players who also want to get gear extracted... or who may wait until the last minute, kill everyone else around the extraction zone and claim the loot for themselves!

    One tactic I've found that seems to work is to wait until someone kicks off an extraction, then start one somewhere else at the same time. This seems to reduce the likelihood of other players coming to your extraction.
    Of course, not everyone is going to go rogue, and none of my extractions last night got hijacked. But the tension of not knowing who is going to go rogue is sublime.

    Oh, and in the Dark Zone, if players have their mics live and aren't in groups, chat audio is positional

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: Netherlands
    Nice! I'll have to wait til Henke and Thirith join again because I think I'm already level 14 though.
    Is dark zone viable with a non-maxed character?

  4. #4
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I think so, yeah. I seem to remember taking a jaunt in there pre-30. And a quick google reveals that yeah, totally doable.

  5. #5
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeshibu View Post
    Nice! I'll have to wait til Henke and Thirith join again because I think I'm already level 14 though.
    Great, thanks.

    Malf, what level is your lower-leveled character?

  6. #6
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Same as Jesh, 14.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I played some with henke and (briefly) Malf yesterday, and this morning I did some solo play. It took me a while to warm to the game originally, and in this case that's almost entirely down to me starting off playing the game with a gamepad; I tend to prefer gamepad controls for third-person games, added to which I was perfectly happy with how the first-person but otherwise similar Destiny controlled on a gamepad. However, in the case of The Division, I found the difference between controller and KBAM to be night and day. It's not a game I'd binge on, but for the occasional couple of hours it's very enjoyable, doubly so with friends.

    I do wish, though, that they'd take the world they've build (I'm talking primarily about visuals here, since the writing is drably mediocre at best and downright dire in cutscenes) and use it for different gameplay. The desolate, snowy cityscape calls for something with a better sense of ebb and flow, with periods of next to no combat where you're simply exploring and getting a sense of the place.

  8. #8
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    That's all there Thirith, I think you may need to just play a bit more. Most combat can be avoided in the main PvE areas and there's plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.
    Also, have you seen any Echoes yet? They're cool little slices of time, holographically reconstructed. Kinda like "ghosts" in the Shock games. Most are just standalone vignettes, but some have minor interactions available and lead you on to other places of interest.

    Mind you, I can't claim that the writing ever gets massively compelling, and the premise remains uncomfortable throughout. But there's definitely some good exploration of the mentality of atrocity, especially when regarding the Cleaner faction. There's some downright chilling audio logs associated with them.

    I sunk some time in to the new West Side Pier content last night, and was delighted to find that it's more than simply a series of horde modes. There's a whole area to explore with new phone logs and an interesting dynamic mission structure, where events flare up on a regular basis. I as very impressed, especially given that this is free content. Difficulty-wise, it's somewhere between the normal play area and the Dark Zone. There's no active PvP like in the DZ, but it's nice to have a high-end area somewhere between the two.

    It's also nice that you're fighting all the factions at once, with Rioters, Cleaners, Rikers and LMB all mixed in together. To be honest, the game needs some of that, as the faction segregation in the main play area can get a little tedious, and the LMB alone can be a bit of a pain in the ass to fight at top level. This is especially true in missions and the Underground, where the difficulty spike between Rikers and LMB is noticeable and uncomfortable. So peppering LMB troops in with the others adds some spice, while not being overwhelmingly difficult.

    I also had a go at one of the horde modes, and it was pretty fun! I'm not sure it's something I'll play regularly, but it's nice to have some further variety in the game.

    And a little thing, but one that made me appreciate just how incredible the graphics are in this game:
    I spotted what I thought was a sign on a building while exploring last night, and gave it a shot to see if the light would break (as so many neon signs do in The Division). This one didn't pop or fizzle at all, and on getting closer, I realised it wasn't a sign but one of those convex mirrors. My brain initially just wrote it off assuming it would be a flat, static texture. But as I wandered past it, I noticed movement in the mirror, so I wandered back and forth in front of it. This game has working convex mirrors. That's pretty mind-blowing from a technical perspective, and something I can't recall having seen in a game before.

    It's a shame you guys are probably going to miss out on the Global Event that's happening at the moment, as its made a lot of content that's usually quite hard a lot easier thanks to exploding enemies damaging their buddies. I'll be sad to see it go, as it's been very fun, if wildly unrealistic. Then again, the game doesn't really pride itself on realism, a fact that becomes apparent when you start exploring the Talent tree.

    Edit: I also took some screengrabs while in the Dark Zone, which I'll upload once I find out where Uplay squirrels them away. The easiest way to describe the DZ is that it's The Division... amplified. Those little slices of horror you occasionally come across in the main area are exaggerated to shocking levels in the DZ.
    Last edited by Malf; 18th Dec 2017 at 05:47.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by Malf View Post
    That's all there Thirith, I think you may need to just play a bit more. Most combat can be avoided in the main PvE areas and there's plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.
    Also, have you seen any Echoes yet? They're cool little slices of time, holographically reconstructed. Kinda like "ghosts" in the Shock games. Most are just standalone vignettes, but some have minor interactions available and lead you on to other places of interest.
    I think we saw one of the echoes when we played just after I got back from my holidays, but none since. I can imagine that there are cool nooks and crannies; in general I think that the Ubisoft games tend to do really well with incidental details and worldbuilding. It's just a shame that they're consistently much weaker when it comes to overall worldbuilding, which is often clunky and hamfisted, and that their game designs make it all too easy to develop a kind of tunnel vision where you're always on the way to the next map marker and you practically need to ignore the game itself in order to enjoy the gorgeous worlds. (It was an eye opener for me to play Assassin's Creed Syndicate and make myself walk everywhere until I'm familiar with the surroundings, rather than just run all the time. It changed Victorian London from an OCD-nightmare map with icons into a real, astonishingly atmospheric place.)

  10. #10
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    To be honest, while it initially seems to be an exercise in clearing icons from the map, it's a lot less important here than in other Ubi games.
    It's very much a loot-grinder mind you, but with significantly better gun combat than Borderlands and Shadow Warrior.

    I hope you guys persist with it, as I'm very keen to try some of the high-end activities in a group.

  11. #11
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Malf View Post
    To be honest, while it initially seems to be an exercise in clearing icons from the map, it's a lot less important here than in other Ubi games.
    I'll have to disagree with that. In most Ubi games you don't gain anything significant from clearing icons, progress in the main story is never dependent on it. In The Division you gain XP from clearing icons, which is crucial since progress relies so heavily on your level. So I really think that clearing icons in The Division is more important than in other Ubi games.

  12. #12
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I'll concede that the icons are fairly important while you're levelling to 30, but past that it's all about the combat and gear grind. Last night doing the West Side Pier was the first time I'd chased icons in The Division for ages.

    You get a collectable in every Underground mission you do, but as those missions are procedural, the collectables are always very obvious with little to no hunting required. They basically appear at the mid-point of every "phase", where it's an atmospheric area featuring non-combatants.

    That's not to say I don't use icons on the map; I do. But they're all waypoints indicating the location of targets or missions.

    It's hard to put in to words, but it's definitely not a typical UBI map-clearer.

    Edit:
    Mind you, I'm also very aware that all my commentary might come off as overly defensive, which can be as much a turn-off as anything else. And I guess I'm just a bit worried that if you don't like it, I'll have to play multiplayer with strangers.
    Last edited by Malf; 18th Dec 2017 at 09:14.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Heh. Don't worry, Malf, now that I've switched to KBAM, I'm definitely sold on the game - not as much as various other MP games we play, but enough to want to play it with you guys.

    A couple of random thoughts:
    • Ubisoft did a great job with the graphics and accordingly the look and feel of the world. At the same time, I realise that I find flat, grid-based US cities quite boring in terms of topography. Not a huge issue for this particular game, but I miss the greater topographical complexity of Ubisoft's historical locations.
    • I'm pretty tolerant when it comes to user interfaces - I even found Skyrim's original interface bearable - but The Division's UI deserves to be shot in a dark alley and fed to the dogs.
    • I like the turret. I've read that it becomes pretty much useless at higher levels, but right now, at level 8, it's the only way I can beat some of the mission bosses when playing on my own.
    • Do you guys play with neutral lighting on or off? I kinda like the more muted, realistic feel it provides, though I've yet to explore any of the darker areas with it. They may well be too dark.

  14. #14
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    The nice thing about the grid is when the devs play with breaking it up by adding shortcuts across rooftops and through back alleys & buildings. The Dark Zone is particularly brilliant for this. And it gets even madder when you take a trip underground, where it can become very easy to get lost.

    While I agree the character management and inventory menus are a bit of a pain (comparing gear between your inventory and stash is a particularly horrifying nightmare), I think the AR interface during actual gameplay is pretty damn good. It makes it particularly easy to throw grenades or place skill items like the support station or turret, and the pack-attached overlay is very handy for quickly assessing ammo, health and cooldowns.

    I used the turret up until very recently, and I'd say it's viable up to about world tier 3-4. But to be honest, you should be ditching it before then and playing with skills and gear that promote a more active play-style.
    The turret and support station are crutches that reinforce the idea you should be hiding behind cover all the time, while high level play is much more mobile. I now play with my two skills being pulse and med kit. I've also slotted talents that help with a less cover-based style, such as the one that reduces incoming damage by 10% if you kill an enemy while moving. My gear also helps with keeping me alive, as I've equipped a set that heals me for a third of health when I kill and enemy, and 2 pieces from another set to increase health regeneration speed.
    This more mobile style of play has also made me aware of the value of SMGs; they have nowhere near as much recoil as assault rifles, and so are easier to keep on target when in close quarters.

    As for the neutral lighting, I've read about it but not tried it. I haven't really felt the need; the game looks so damn good already.

  15. #15
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

  16. #16
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    The new Global Event starts today, and runs for a week, Ambush.
    It's only available to players at level 30, but gives them a higher chance of getting classified set pieces from four gear-sets focussed on more cover-based builds, such as snipers and turret/bomb users.
    When you choose to do an activity with Ambush bonuses active, you get various buffs and debuffs, which drastically change the way the game's played:

    Ambush:
    Increased damage while stationary. A bar fills up the longer you stay in one place, and the larger the bar, the more damage you do. The bar diminishes when you move.

    Covert Ambush:
    In addition to the Ambush Buff, when you play missions with Covert Ambush active you take damage if you move around while the buff bar is empty.

    Strategic Ambush:
    And this is the top level one, which is hardest but with the greatest rewards. In addition to the buffs and debuffs listed above, this also adds a penalty from being too close to team members, where the buff bar diminishes when you're within range. Meaning, if you're all huddled behind the same piece of cover, you could very well end up taking damage for it.

    You get to choose what level of Ambush you'd like to play with when choosing to replay a mission, or when setting up an Underground run. Not sure how the system works in the DZ.

    The classified gearsets that are available through Global Event Caches are:

    Firecrest:
    Provides massive buffs to Flame Turret and allows you to hold more Incendiary Grenades.

    Alphabridge:
    Gives you bonuses from using the same type of weapon in each of your weapon slots and does some weird things with Signature Skills (basically "Ultimates").

    Hunter's Faith:
    The most obvious Sniper's set, this one focusses on increasing headshot damage, damage from consecutive hits and weapon range. You lose bonuses when missing shots.

    Tactician's Authority:
    Probably the one I'll be going for, this focusses on increasing the power of your skills and how often you can use them. I quite fancy building a Seeker Mine / Pulse build around this.

    If you're not allergic to Reddit, more info can be found here.

  17. #17
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Had some grand fun with this and three others last night. One guy I met in the DZ on Monday, and a couple of randoms (who are now on my Friends list).
    We did one of the "Legendary" difficulty missions several times, as well as some high-value targets, and in all I made enough to open 6 superior caches, which got me 4 classified pieces.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find that Legendary difficulty wasn't stupidly difficult. In most MMO type games, the "high-end" content too often equates to playing these types of missions with very specific parameters, such as amount of players, their builds, gear and skills, and with little to no variation.
    This was a refreshing change, with enemies being a bit wilier and no more spongey than Challenging difficulty. With the exception of one enemy who could only be killed by damaging his weakspot, but as soon as you'd hit it enough to set off the explosion, he instantly died.

    It felt really good to beat this, and really felt like teamwork was really making a difference. Again, something I've found less consistent in more traditional MMOs. This really felt like my skills as a player rather than my character's skills were making the difference.

    I played on a little after the group disbanded, and was able to start really getting used to the first 6-piece set I've acquired, the Striker's set. I got to a stage where I was tearing through Challenging missions that I'd found, well, challenging before.

    The Ambush rules are quite interesting as well, and getting used to how they work was very fun. None of my best gear builds are really tailored around popping things from cover, yet they didn't fair too badly.

    All in all, really, really loving this game at the moment.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    This reminds me that I should really get back to The Division so I can join you higher-level guys... These days when I play on PC (other than our Saturday sessions), it's almost always VR or Dead Cells.

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