New Destiny Content, Cross-Platform Play and Division Final Thoughts

At the tail end of last week, while I was putting down my Call of Duty: Black Ops III tips, we got a couple pretty big pieces of news. So to start off this week, I thought we’d hit those big points, along with my final thoughts on The Division now that I’ve finished pretty much everything the game has in store.

The Division BetaLet’s start with The Division since it’s pretty fresh in my mind. The more and more I played through the story content, I can’t help but cool on the game. I loved the first third or so of the game – I thought the early game missions were tuned, difficulty wise, pretty much perfectly for the level scale. The second third though felt like a major turning point to me – the main missions slow down during that level 14-20 area and in fact the game directs through a whole neighborhood without a mission. Normally, I’m totally fine with an RPG steering you towards side quests, but the side content in The Division is so repetitive that it really felt more like an obligation. That feeling really got hammered home once I hit the final section of the game – those last few levels and missions. Once you hit level 30, any side mission is, from a reward standpoint, useless. Once the Base of Operations is fully upgraded, those encounters don’t give you loot that really makes sense. Side content only rewards up to Blue quality items – by the time you’re in those last few neighborhoods you’re chasing purple and higher, especially once you hit level 30. I honestly only finished all the side content in order to reveal all the collectibles on the map for the achievements to collect them all. Add in to that that the actual story content feels really hollow as it comes to conclusion and the last taste that The Division left in my mouth was really bland. The actual ending was so anticlimactic that I really don’t feel at all excited for the free content headed our way next month. And that kills me because the foundation that the game has is so damn good. I don’t know where along the lines the decision was made to keep an actual confrontation with Keener out of the game, but that is the big misstep that I think hurts the story the most. I feel like, while I’ve been avoiding comparing The Division to Destiny because the games are very different, I find myself now going back to the same thoughts I had with Destiny’s story ending. It’s so blatantly setup for future content that we know is right around the corner that it just takes away any sense of accomplishment for finishing the story. I still think The Division is the first really good game of the year, but I’ve definitely cooled on my opinion with it.

Moving on though, we got a piece of news last week that I’ve been waiting a long time for. Microsoft announced that cross-platform play is not only possible on the Xbox One, but is essentially here. We all expected Microsoft to eventually push cross-platform play with PC, but last week they announced that Rocket League will feature it, and it will be cross-console – that’s Xbox One and PS4. That’s pretty huge – it essentially kills the console war idea – both manufacturers realize that working together is way more beneficial than not. That’s not to say that exclusives and that sort of thing are going away, but we’re slowing moving toward the idea of gaming being unified as a whole. I look at it the same way I do with movies or music. I love music, but I don’t listen to one specific label or band – I wouldn’t do that with gaming, playing only one console or developer. It’s just silly. Now, there’s still a lot of hurdles to get over before this is the norm – but Microsoft has basically put the ball in Sony’s court. By saying that it’s up to the developers, and giving them the power to put it in, that’s a good move – and important for them after their stupid GDC party move. Microsoft has a big year I think this year – they’ve been lagging a little behind Sony so far, but with Xbox One going down to $300 for the Spring Sale, and a pretty damn solid lineup of games this year, they could be a good position.

Finally, rounding out the catch-up from last week, we finally – finally – got some concrete details about the next update coming for Destiny. We’ve known about this amorphous “spring update” for a while now, but the little breadcrumbs Bungie had been giving us were starting to get a little stale. Finally though we know not only when it’s coming, but we have a little bit more concrete idea of what it is going to contain. The new update – now called the April update – will be pushed live to the game on April 12. It’s bringing with it patch 2.2.0, which will feature the first major sandbox (meta) update since the end of last year. We got a little more cemented list of what to expect from the update – sort of. Bungie did their usual trick of being vague – new PvE challenges, new gear and new light levels – but did say we’re getting a new quest and strike coming. The biggest talking point among the community though has to be the image that Bungie used as a header for the weekly update: Destiny Taken Guardians. It’s not too hard to see why we’ve been talking about this image since last week. To me, there are two big points that it raises. First, there’s the obvious visual look – those are guardians, and they are Taken. There’s a few possibilities to explain that – the boring, and probably right answer – is that it’s just a shader. A freaking cool looking shader, but still just a shader. The other options could be that that’s just how the armor looks – I doubt that is the case because of what that armor is, which we’ll talk about in a second. The third possibility is that this is a new enemy type. I think that eventually we’ll see enemy guardians in PvE – but I really doubt that we’re going to get that during Destiny 1‘s life. That seems like a perfect twist to put in for the sequel – which you might remember is something I said during my fantasy development for that game. The other major talking point from the image though is just what that armor they’re wearing is. If you’ve been playing Destiny since launch, that armor is probably very familiar to you. You were chasing it for most of last spring and summer – it’s the armor that was rewarded in the Prison of Elders. Hell the background of that image even looks like the Reef. That opens up a couple questions. Is the Prison of Elders going to be the new PvE activity that Bungie said is going to favor replayability? Again, that’s the boring answer, but probably right. The community has been asking for old raids to come back – technically, the challenge tiers of PoE were considered raids. Does that open the doors for the others? I actually hope not – as fun as the old raids were, I want to see the game moving forward. Add in that to make them work in the current PvE space would be a pretty involved undertaking, and I doubt that is something we’d see in a free update. I could see them adding the Taken into Prison of Elders as a new, selectable, tier – essentially acting as a new difficulty level for it. Since Bungie said that replayability is a big part of this new activity, I think that Prison of Elders is a good start, but definitely would need a little work. We’ll learn a bit more this Wednesday, and the next two after that, as Bungie does their usual livestream reveal thing. These are usually pretty solid watches, so if you can, I would tune in. I’ll offer up my thoughts on them afterwards of course as well. Regardless, Destiny definitely finally has some life injected back into it.

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The Under Appreciated Best Part of The Division

The DivisionWe’re officially one week in to the life of The Division. That means that the super hardcore community is going to start shifting focus around to nitpicking and going a little off the beaten path. We’re already seeing it in the Dark Zone with Level 30 players decked out in High End gear just focused on ganking lower level/geared players for the hell of it. That means that we’ll probably see a whole lot of communication between the player base and Massive in the next couple weeks or so about the game moving forward. But before that potential confrontation really shakes out, I want to stop and talk about the one aspect of The Division that I don’t know has been getting enough attention.

In the maybe 24 hours of playtime I’ve put into the game so far, I would easily say that the bulk of that time has been spent just roaming around Manhattan picking up all of the collectibles scattered around. And in doing that I’ve seen maybe the best job of crafting an atmosphere and world in a modern themed game since probably Grand Theft Auto V. Massive has done an incredible job of making New York City feel like it actually is the real deal. The little touches like the NPCs fighting over supplies, looters looking in the windows of abandoned cars, and even though they’ve kind of become a meme, the dogs wondering the empty streets. And that’s just little touches involving the inhabitants of Manhattan. The world itself feels alive even in the face of the pandemic. Walls covered in memorial posters for missing people – especially the ones that appear in safe zones – really help put the human impact of the Green Poison in perspective. With the story revolving around this super-bug, and the fact that such an outbreak is actually a very real and terrifying prospect in the real world, seeing how much work Massive put into the human side of the game is really impressive.

The Division Collectibles

For me though, the most impressive part of building this world and making it feel alive is in the intel/evidence scattered around Manhattan. The intel pieces you get from completing the main story missions are visceral, dark, but still do a great job of explaining just what the hell is going on in the story. The Division isn’t a particularly gory or visually brutal game, but it is absolutely still an M-rated game thanks to the sheer brutality and realistic basis that the violence takes. The first Found Footage video you find, showing Cleaners clearing out a little bodega from the perspective of a terrified woman is so damn intense. It does an incredible job of advancing the overall narrative, and also outlining exactly what the Cleaners are all about – ruthless efficiency in destroying and burning the virus – all without any real dialogue. The phone recordings that are all over Manhattan are probably my favorite though. They’re written strongly across the board – even ones that could have easily been cheesy or goofy like the “On Fleek” recording come across as authentic. Add in that they’re acted well, with the voice work sounding much more like normal people instead of actors, and they come to life. I also like that Manhattan in full of different people with different lives – they aren’t all carbon copies. There are people of color, different economic classes represented, gay and straight, young and old all are in these phone conversations. They do a phenomenal job of giving the world of The Division before the outbreak a foundation, then as the outbreak happens and spreads, you can hear the panic and fear in the conversations. The collectibles were something that I was dreading a little going in to the game, just based on how damn many there are, but since there’s an upgrade you can take to mark them on the map, along with how well they’re organized in the HUD as well as how well they’re written makes them a big part of what I like getting in the game.

It’s still early on in The Division‘s lifespan – and in truth, I don’t know just how long the world they built will feel as strong as it does now – but regardless I am super impressed with Massive’s work here. I still think that The Division is the first really great game of 2016, and does a great job of setting the bar moving forward this year.

Deeper Thoughts on The Division: Day Two

The DivisionYesterday I was able to get a little more in depth on The Division, hitting level 12, playing through some content that wasn’t in the beta, and playing around with my builds a little bit. A lot of what I wrote yesterday still stands – I am liking the game as a whole, but there still are a couple questions I have that are slowly getting answered. One thing that I forgot to mention yesterday was just how much I’m in love with the visuals in The Division – it’s definitely one of the best looking games on the Xbox One right now. The standout for me is the environmental effects – the weather in particular is spectacular; step out in a snow storm and you’ll be in for a vastly different experience than in clear weather.

What I really have been digging into is the real depth to the combat and potential variety in the builds. Only having three stats might seem a little simplified, but I think it actually helps drive players to realize that focusing on one or two stats makes you a lot stronger than trying to go Jack of all Trades. Even without explicitly talking about it, my group has already started to establish some different roles based around the builds we want. I’m focusing on raising my health and skill stats as much as possible – I am forgoing DPS a little bit in favor of being more of a medic/tank build. One of my buddies is going pure glass cannon – DPS and skill over health; he’s sitting around 2,000 health, while I have over double that. We have another who’s definitely building around per-bullet damage, with a strong marksman rifle and playing a little more defensive. That simplified nature of stats makes slipping into those builds really easy, and that’s why we didn’t even need to talk about the roles we wanted to take. It just happened, and that’s a sign of good game design. Sure a little of that was initialized by the random rolls we got in loot drops, but that’s easily changed as we progress.

Tom Clancy's The Division™_20160307161110

 

In regards to those build choices, I think the two I mentioned – Glass cannon with high DPS and Skill, and Tank/Medic with high Health and Skill – are the best all around options. I think going high DPS and Health is tempting, and with the right weapons and group makeup could work, but it’s definitely a little trickier to use in difficult content. I think skill power might be the most important stat overall, since it dictates not only the actual results of your skill (healing power, damage from attacks that sort of thing) but it also impacts cooldowns, keeping you at full power more often. It’s really tempting to chase crazy guns trying to find two super strong weapons to run with, but with guns you’re stuck playing around reloads. You need those abilities to fill the down time and keep the enemies at bay while those reloads happen. If you’re playing in a group – which I certainly recommend – you’ll definitely want at least one guy with high skill power.

When it comes to ability selection, that’s where the depth really shines. Gunplay in The Division is solid, but pretty straight forward. SMGs, assault rifles and LMGs all fill the same basic roll – sustained DPS and suppressing fire, while shotguns and marksman rifles are your pure damage options. It’s your abilities that add the variety and, frankly, fun to the combat. We had a group of three yesterday running through a mission, set to Hard of course, where we were a little underleveled – but we were able to power though because we had a mix of abilities. Even early game when you’re really picking and choosing your Base of Operation upgrades carefully, it’s not hard to get a good mix of different abilities in a group. We had one running turret and heal, I ran sticky bomb and heal, and we had our third with upgraded pulse and sticky bomb. Now, I probably am going to change up my skills as I upgrade my Base (I’m eyeing seeker mine and support station right now), but that mix seemed to work pretty well to me. And with my focus on skill power, my heals do more, and they come back faster – that’s why I am playing the medic role.

There’s still a lot to discover in The Division – I’m not even halfway to the level cap yet, there’s still a lot of story content to play, a slew of collectibles and I haven’t even begun to explore the Dark Zone. But even this early on, I feel pretty confident in saying that The Division is the first truly great game of the year. It’s not flawless, but the flaws it does have are pretty minimal and at the end of the day, it’s a damn fun game to play.

Tom Clancy’s The Division Launch Day Impressions

The DivisionYesterday saw the launch of what I would call the first big release of 2016, Tom Clancy’s The Division. It’s a game that I’ve been interested in for a while now, having played both the closed and open betas, so I’m excited to really dig into the world that Ubisoft and Massive have created. I played a good few hours yesterday, some solo, some with just one partner, and a little bit with a full group of four. There’s still a whole lot of game to get into, but I wanted to put down my first impressions, and some thoughts that I think will ring true for the whole game.

Firstly, I’m pretty pleased with the actual launch experience. I know that at midnight the servers were a little overloaded and there were plenty of posts about people not being able to log on, but by mid-day Tuesday (at least on Xbox One) there really weren’t any problems that I saw or had. In this day when games are persistently online and launches are always a shaky experience, it was nice to not have any major issues. The question now is how well the servers handle the full first week load as more players get their copies of the game and get logged on.

In terms of new content that wasn’t present in the beta, I only played a little bit last night. I ran through one full mission, unlocking the Security Wing for my Base of Operation in Manhattan, and obviously the tutorial section in Brooklyn. It’s not a huge sample size, but I will say that each mission I’ve played – the two in the Open Beta and now the Lincoln Tunnel Checkpoint mission – all felt very similar in their execution. The details differentiate them enough to the point where they have enough individuality, but I am a little curious at just how much variety they can put into the missions. That said, that security mission is definitely my favorite of those first three initial missions – running it a little underpowered made it challenging without being obscene, and the flow of it just felt really fun. It’s certainly worth running that mission as soon as possible though, as the reward for unlocking the Security Wing grants you a +10% boost to XP earned.

The Division Beta

Where I’ve actually spent most of my mental energy with The Division is in looking at the abilities, perks and talents which weren’t available in the beta. In the two betas, you couldn’t even look at them – it just said “not available in beta.” Now that I’ve been able to look through the upgrades, perks, talents and abilities, I feel a little more confident that the combat and action will stay fresh thanks to the different build options. There’s a ton of variety in there – from damage boosting talents to keep your DPS guys strong, to great team healing buffs and cooldown reducers for your medic players supercharging the team. What I really like is that the perks you unlock with each upgrade to a wing of the Base of Operation are all passive abilities. You unlock them, and they take effect – you get stronger right away. It puts some value on grabbing some of the, maybe less powerful looking upgrades, to get perks that immediately help your whole team. If you’re coming into The Division from Destiny – which I’ve definitely seen a lot of audience crossover online – you’re probably in for a pretty big shock. This is very much an RPG first – stats and abilities/talents/perks all matter a lot more than thumbskill and shooting accuracy. If you have a background with RPGs – in particular ones like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, or maybe a bit of Diablo – you’ll be right in your element. Min-maxing is the name of the game here – you’ll be chasing gear not with high damage or armor values, but with high stats in either Firearms, Health or Tech values to charge your DPS, Health or Ability powers. As long as you go in with that in mind, I think you’ll definitely enjoy The Division.

Now, that said, there are a couple things that I’m still concerned about. I already touched on that I’m curious about just how much mission variety the rest of the game has. There’s also some little details in the actual gameplay that I’m less that thrilled about. The A.I. is pretty dumb – sure they’ll flank you, but it’s more of a bumrush than anything resembling a concerted flank. They’re a lot more content to sit back in cover and just shoot a lot at you. The other thing is that the game really isn’t super difficult, even on hard difficulty. With crafting added – which is a little over generous calling it crafting – it’s not hard to get solid gear, level appropriately and go in with a partner or two and suddenly the missions are pretty simple. I’m still unsure that any end-game content is going to be enough to keep me engaged after I complete it. With other looter/shooter/RPGs (Borderlands, Destiny, Diablo) completing the end-game/raid content once is just the tip of the iceberg. The fun comes from running them multiple times to get different and better loot. I don’t know, based on what mission content I’ve seen so far, that The Division is going to have that same feeling at the end, but we’ll see. Lastly, the Dark Zone is still a huge question to me. In a perfect world, I think the Dark Zone would be the perfect end-game area. It’s got the highest leveled enemies, at their highest tier, and has the potential for PvP engagements. The problem is that I think the ganking method – camping those extraction zones, waiting for everyone to bunch up and start putting their loot on then pouncing – is too potentially rewarding with not a huge downside. And going in as a solo player is even more punishing – if you wind up running into Rogue agents, especially if they’re in a group together, you’re pretty much done for. Now, because the Dark Zone is divided up into six zones, instead of just the couple from the beta, maybe lower level players can use that first zone to get a start on looting; but there’s really no guarantee. That’s putting a lot of power into the hands of the anonymous gaming community. Regardless, The Division is a really strong game – the action is fun, the depth is surprising, and the game itself looks gorgeous. If you’re on the fence, I recommend it – just know that it isn’t flawless.

The Division Open Beta Impressions

The DivisionThe open beta for The Division went live on Xbox One yesterday, and I ran through up to the level 8 cap. It’s essentially the same as the closed beta from early February, just with one more story mission added in and updates to the Dark Zone to keep it fair and fun. With that said, there’s still enough there to talk about as we get closer to the game’s launch. So let’s look a little more in depth on this beta and the new content.

The open beta starts exactly like the closed beta did – you’re level 4, and I’m guessing, starting in media res. You set up the Base of Operations again, run through the Madison Field Hospital mission to unlock the Medical wing and Heal ability – just like in the closed beta. The side missions and encounters are also the same – enough to get you leveled up to the cap and unlock the second upgrade on the Medical wing. The new content is a second mission, set in the subway tunnels that have been overrun by the Cleaners – flamethrower wielding enemies set on burning away the infection in the city. Completing this mission will unlock the Tech wing of the Base, which unlocks a second ability in that tree – the mini-turret. There’s also enough Tech supplies to upgrade that wing one more time, unlocking the upgrades for the Sticky Bomb. Essentially what the open beta is adding is a full second ability to use, along with three ways to tweak the Sticky Bomb – adding variety to the combat. Sure, in a pure PvE setting there isn’t a lot of ways to really explore that combat, but that’s why you head into the Dark Zone.

The Division Beta

Sure it’s still got a goofy name – Dark Zone still sounds like a bad show on late night cable to me – but the PvEvP zone is where the best gear in the game lives. We don’t get any new areas in the Dark Zone – the third area will have to wait until the full game launches – but Ubisoft did give the Dark Zone some attention between betas. I talked a little at the end of the last beta about a nasty exploit that let people run out their Rogue Status bounties by running into the boundary and being teleported back to the safe room. That exploit, along with a number of PC specific cheats, were fixed going in to this open beta. I spent a little bit of time in the Dark Zone – got a couple items, ran into a bunch of other players, and found the best weapon vendor in the beta – and I didn’t really encounter any huge issues. In truth, the Dark Zone felt a lot more populated than it did in the closed beta. I was at an Extraction Point with about 6 other players – who thankfully played nice and we all got our loot out. I saw AI enemies respawn at a rate that made it a lot easier to get loot to drop. I saw the chests in the Dark Zone actually have content in them more frequently. It’s a small sample size sure, but the Dark Zone feels a lot more fleshed out now, which really is a good sign moving closer to launch.

At the end of the day, this is still very much a beta. I had a couple weird lag issues that popped up that I didn’t notice in the closed beta – could be because the servers were dealing with more players. I actually got kicked from the game once last night too – but I chalk that up to the issues that Xbox Live was having last night. The loot is pretty limited, and it feels very much like Ubisoft tweaked the loot drops. In the closed beta, I was getting a much more even mix of weapons and gear – so far in this beta I’ve been getting a hell of a lot more weapons than gear; to the point where I was still wearing the default gloves even at level 8. I still think that the economy needs a little tweaking – credits are really hard to come by without selling loot. And my biggest question hasn’t changed at all – will this game have enough content to keep the playerbase engaged for longer than just March. Is the Dark Zone going to be deep enough to keep people playing? Is there going to be true end-game story content, or just capstone story missions? Is the full suite of abilities, traits and perks going to be deep enough over the course of the full game or are we going to be using Pulse and Heal the whole game? I don’t think any of those are invalid questions to ask, and I realize none of them could ever be answered by a beta realistically. But since The Division is the first real big launch of 2016 I think there’s a bit of extra pressure on Ubisoft to deliver here. Luckily we don’t have that long to wait to find out if they can – Tom Clancy’s The Division launches on March 8.

Stop With the Negativity Please

The Taken King LogoIs Bungie killing Destiny? Will The Division be this year’s Destiny? Did Treyarch mess up the Awakening DLC launch? All questions that I’ve seen online over the last couple days. All coming from the same place – negative opinions about games we love. All questions that are kind of silly to even ask. I get that fans get super impassioned with the games that they love, but there’s a way to be critical without being overly negative.

Let’s start with the Bungie/Destiny questions. Yes, Destiny is in a really rough patch right now. But I highly, highly doubt that Bungie is willingly keeping content and communication away from the community to “kill” the game. I really think that a big part of what’s going on now is that Bungie is scrambling to actually figure out the plan for the year. The game has already undergone pretty seismic shifts in the year and a half it’s been out. In truth, my only real issue with what’s going on now is the lack of communication. All I need from Bungie is a Weekly Update saying “Look we know you want to know more about what’s going on, and we wish we could tell you; but we just don’t have the plan set in stone yet.” Acknowledge that there’s been some turmoil, understand that the community is ready to devour any new content and information, and I think you’d see the vitriol start to fade a bit.

The DivisionAfter the beta on the weekend, The Division is all over the place now. It’s IGN’s game of the month that they’re covering. And I can’t tell you the number lazy posts/videos I’ve already seen comparing Destiny to The Division in a number of different ways. All that does, to me, is continue to confuse the general gaming audience about how The Division works. They’re both loot focused RPG’s with shooter mechanics for combat – that’s the end of it. Destiny is a shooter first, and it shows in pretty much every aspect of that game. The Division is an RPG first, and it’s clear with the min/maxing, numbers based combat that that is the case. Instead of pointing to the other current RPG/Shooter, I think there’s more to talk about in comparing it to the first Mass Effect game. But even that is something that I think we should wait for the game to actually be out to do.

All of this negativity is taking the easy way out as a community. It’s really easy to add to the echo chamber instead of taking a second to think about what’s actually going on. Wait before you post to reddit or make a YouTube video. We’re in the golden age of gaming right now – the best games are out there, looking better than ever before and we’re worried about whether a developer is purposely killing one of the biggest games out there. Relax, games are still really fun – just use your head a little when you criticize the world of gaming.

The Division Beta Wrap-Up Thoughts

The DivisionToday’s the last day of the beta for The Division after Ubisoft extended it 24 hours. I played a bit more since I last wrote about the beta, including a relatively extended stay in the Dark Zone, as well as playing the story mission on hard difficulty with my buddy. So since we’ve got about a full month before the launch of the game, I thought I’d wrap up my impressions on the beta.

The big question that I’ve been seeing over and over since the beta launched has to be “will The Division kill Destiny?” That question was really never a viable question – it was always going to be no. Games just don’t work that way – one game can’t “kill” another. Sure player bases might shift a bit, but that doesn’t mean a game is killed. The reason that has been coming up is twofold. First, it’s really easy to title a YouTube video with a crazy thumbnail and then do just what I’m doing here for a few minutes. Secondly, it’s the easy comparison to make right now. Both games are RPG’s with shooter trappings. But the execution of those mechanics are very different and really don’t put the games in the same place. The Division is an RPG first, Destiny is an FPS first, and that’s really all you need to know. A better comparison for The Division I think is Mass Effect, but we’ll talk a bit more about that when the game actually launches.

Let’s focus a bit more on what we got over the weekend. My biggest question going in to the beta was always one that was never going to get answered – end-game content. What the beta did was show that there might be a little hurdle to get over to even reach that end-game content. Leveling was a little slow, but that could be from the lack of beta content. The biggest thing to me though was that pretty much everything I did was all really, really similar. I worry that there might not be enough variety in the missions and side-quest content to keep the bulk of the player base invested to the end-game. That worry is compounded for me by the Dark Zone’s inherent wonkiness. Already in the beta people found a number of exploits, both on console and PC. PC players are going to need some kind of anti-cheat put into the game to combat some of what I was reading was going on. Aimbots, invisible players, infinite ammo and levels – all that in the beta. On consoles, people figured out that if you went Rogue and then reached the boundaries of the map, it would warp you to the safe rooms, where you could just wait your timer out. I really don’t see that making it to launch, but still, it’s a little worrisome.

The Division Beta

What I did really like was pretty much everything else in the beta. The guns all felt like I would expect in a third-person cover shooter RPG; the abilities we got each had their uses, both in solo play and in team play; and the playspace had a pretty unique feel to it. My personal favorite parts though were the real little details – the weather system is amazing, in particular the snow storms; the snow actually will accumulate on your player character if you stand out in it. The enemy A.I. is surprising good, not content to just sit in cover and wait for you to move to shoot them, they’ll suppress you while rushers push up to whack you with bats. The inventory, weapons and stats all felt very much at home in a min/max style RPG. Trying to figure out gear to max out your stats in the right mix to get weapon talents is definitely something that I think gives the combat some depth. There’s a lot of really good gameplay headed our way in The Division, to me the questions more surround the story and end-game level stuff. There’s still a month before launch, plenty of time to iron out some of the beta wackiness and hopefully enough time to address some of the Dark Zone inconsistencies.