The Day After: A Hardcore Player’s Brief Review of ‘The Division’ Update 1.4

By Michael Moraitis | 10/26/16

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We are entering a brave new world, agents, and you can forget everything you know about “Tom Clancy’s The Division” prior to the 1.4 update that dropped on Tuesday.

It was an interesting 24 hours to be a Division player when so much has changed.

Before we start, it must be pointed out that the Xbox One is still experiencing game-breaking lag in the Dark Zone. It was a problem that Ubisoft and Massive said would be fixed, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that is not the case. It’s something that must be dealt with swiftly or else it could ruin the Xbox One player base. Now, on to happier times.

 

Right off the bat, the three most noticeable things are: the revamped scaling of NPCs in terms of both taking and dealing damage, the major rebalancing to some of our favorite gear sets and talents, and most importantly, the torrential downpour of loot.

The world tier system has lived up to its purpose and I found that out rather quickly in World Tier 4. One of my favorite and perhaps the fastest mission to get through, Madison Field Hospital, netted me eight 229 high-ends and two 229 gear sets in just two runs in world tier four on hard difficulty. Obviously this was never possible before.

I also found that every named boss in the Dark Zone dropped me a gear set item and the rate of trash mobs and bosses dropping gear sets was far higher in the DZ; although you still get a reasonable amount of high-end and gear set drops in the PvE-only world. Sorry to say, my casual friends, the Dark Zone is still the most efficient way to farm, with Dragon’s Nest still running in second place. 

When I initially loaded up the game, I strapped on my Sentry Gear and went to work on The Library in DZ3. It was abundantly clear that my M1A doing millions in damage per headshot was history, and instead I was reduced to six digits. Granted, 200-300K shots go a lot further now that enemy health has been reduced, but it’s sad to see those formerly sexy numbers go by the wayside.

Speaking of NPC strength: enemies are dealing far less damage than they used to. That’s not to say you can still run-and-gun on level 33 elites without an issue, however shotgunners and snipers aren’t blowing you away in one or two shots from ridiculous distances. 

Soloing a mission on hard, for example, was very doable without optimized gear. As far as trying to solo challenging was concerned, it presented a real difficult time for me. I’d suggest you group up until your gear is better optimized, but it is certainly doable.

The best thing about this update is that it is forcing me to play differently. I was always a DeadEye/Smart Cover player in PvP, but now I’m using an SMG and shotgun while being forced to move around a lot more. It’s taking some getting used to – as is most of the changes in this game – but it’s creating a new way to play and ultimately, a new experience for even a hardcore player of the Division.