Three divisive improvements for The Division

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The comparisons continue, and the verdicts keep falling, but there’s one objective truth about The Division: Its reviews are, well, divisive.

IGN thought the game was worse than vanilla Destiny, a 6.7 overall compared to Destiny’s 7.8, despite The Division performing better in the same review criterion as Destiny between the author’s reviews. Because reasons? Inconsistency bothers me, but we’ll take that one for what it is.

Meanwhile, a Wired writer said he didn’t like The Division because it includes people shooting people and, you know, a dystopia based on a mutated smallpox virus which decimates New York and results in hundreds of flamethrower-wielding enemies, among others, hits … too close to home?

OK, then. So opinions are mixed. That’s fine, and reviews are inherently subjective, meant to be agreed upon and disagreed with. The numbers don’t lie, though: The Division is Xbox One’s most-popular game of all time, per early sales numbers.

After more than 100 hours of play, I’m pretty much in love with the game. I also recognize the flaws noted in some reviews and improvements we’re eagerly waiting for. With that in mind, here are a few things we hope The Division brings into the fold in the months to come.

Bigger group play

A group of 16 works its way through the Dark Zone, sweeping through the level 32 areas and fighting rogue agents like flies. Across the zone, a team of 16 rogues set off to find this group, ready to take on the bad-boy roles and ruin any extraction attempts.

The four-person teams in this game make challenging missions rewarding and the endgame content a lot of fun. Teaming up with friends makes the Dark Zone a little more manageable, too, and the tension becomes a little more palpable for players. That said, a bigger endgame environment with larger teams and tougher enemies, or the ability to matchmake as a big rogue group or a dozen-strong team in the depths of the Dark Zone, would be awesome.

The Incursion — er, Operation mission, I guess — is intriguing, and I can’t wait to see the scale of that raid content. Once we check that out, we might have a better idea of how the player-vs.-player endgame can unfold.

A bit more variety

The Division’s enemies, by the time you hit level 30, are repetitive and create pretty typical firefight situations. Like other MMOs, it’s tough to craft vastly different scenarios from instance to instance when enemy types and locations are static.

I hate the comparison, but when Destiny brought in the Taken enemies, it allowed Bungie to switch up strikes by throwing the Taken in in place of typical enemy groups. This added an element of surprise to the matchups from strike to strike, and it might be a good strategy going forward for Ubisoft.

A focus on crafting

Like many MMO players, I focus heavily on crafting my own gear and creating my character’s build through creation systems. This is an area The Division struggles with because there isn’t much opportunity to craft better gear than you can grab in the real world through daily missions or Dark Zone runs.

Phoenix credits, awarded for endgame opportunities once you reach level 30 and complete the campaign, are used to buy high-end gear and blueprints, but the rewards for blueprint-building and the rolls available for some of the gear and weaponry are average. Ubisoft might look into rewarding more Phoenix credits in real-world scenarios — a recent patch addressed this somewhat — and beefing up craftable gear’s stats to help turn crafting into a major benefit rather than a sideways move, at best, from grinding for high-end drops.

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