Published on April 27th, 2016 | by Suros_Six7
Ubisoft and The Division’s Massive Mistakes
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With The Division being in development for so long and its release date being pushed back multiple times, it’s a huge surprise how broken it is. It seems that Ubisoft Massive spent so much time building the world of Manhattan, New York they forgot to do any real testing on the game. Their follow-up patches to fix problems seem to be one step forward and then two steps back; creating more bugs that could be considered worse than the initial bugs and also the attitude Ubisoft’s employees seem to have.
Since release, some unlucky users that crafted backpacks were locked out of their accounts. Not only did this stop them from being able to play but it also corrupted their items, making them disappear and prompting said users to create new, alternate characters and start from the beginning again. It took Ubisoft Massive an entire month to roll out a fix for this issue and even then they did it incorrectly. Players that were forced to create an alternate character after being locked out of their main had all their gear reset on BOTH characters to pre-Patch 1.1, effectively making them lose any progress or gear they made in the new content.
Speaking of Patch 1.1, the amount of issues this patch has created is absolutely ridiculous. After patching, some players had the welcome sight of an empty character selection screen as their characters were wiped by Ubisoft server issues. The fact that this is allowed to happen is baffling to me, especially considering this was rampant on the Xbox One, the main platform they market to with Xbone players getting DLC an entire month earlier than PS4 and PC. This sounds like a recipe for a dying game on anything but Xbox due to the lack of content in the initial game. The Division in more ways than one has been compared to Destiny. While Destiny did have timed exclusive weapons during the first year for PlayStation players, it didn’t really impact the game that much because they were just weapons and not a whole patch of content.
Not only did Patch 1.1 wipe characters, it introduced some of the most boring content in the game and dashed hopes people had of Massive improving as a development studio. Incursions are the newest content being added to The Division and if the first one is any indication of what’s to come, you might as well get your shovels out and begin digging an early grave for this game. The first Incursion is a really poorly made fifteen-wave horde mode that resets groups to wave one upon wiping at any point during the activity. It seems Massive’s idea of “challenging” is throwing players into a pit of enemies that deal lots of damage while also having lots of health. The hard mode of this mission, which is one level below challenging, is the only viable way to beat the mission consistently. Even then it’s so boring that people would rather glitch through walls and spend 15 to 30 agonizing minutes (depending on difficulty chosen and gear on players) firing bombs at the boss to finally destroy it while other enemies can’t reach them. The Division players found a very intricate way to go OUT OF BOUNDS just to avoid doing this mission the intended way.
There was a ray of light in this patch; a golden beacon of light that scraped the New York skies leading players to believe that Massive was going to get it right for once. Before this patch, players had to grind “Challenging Missions” which were just story missions on a higher difficulty to get good loot. These missions were boring and required lots of effort and time with little to no payout. Initially this new patch made it so instead of only getting one High-End item (High-End now being the second highest level of gear), players got four. This made the repetitive tedium of Challenging Missions all worth it and, as mentioned before, players started to have hope. Less than 24 hours later Massive released a hot-fix making Challenging Missions only drop 2 High-Ends, thus returning it back to a grind not worth doing; never mind the fact that they released a hot-fix that hurt the game faster than they hot-fixed returning people’s wiped characters.
The possible final nail in the coffin is the way Ubisoft’s employees have contradicted themselves with statements. It’s almost as if they never talk to each other. It’s known that it was intended that the best gear would be found in the Dark Zone and not through crafting, but this patch made the two best weapons in the game craftable. Now, this is a contradiction but it was one that some people liked because it gave players a goal to the long grind of the Dark Zone. This was another thing that was taken out by the developers and now the best weapon drops are left to chance once again, and a very low chance at that. Another showing of contradiction is the community manager saying that Ubisoft wants to “punish” people that exploited the boring end-game content. However, recently on stream a developer was playing with a player that had over 220 gear score which was only possible to get through exploiting at the current time. If Ubisoft makes the mistake of possibly banning exploiters or wiping exploiter character gear, they face the danger of losing more players in an already declining player base.
Ubisoft Massive has spent a lot of time working on The Division only to release a broken game, and it seems that their extra content planned for the game has only hurt it further.
Their fixes for issues create a one step forward and two steps back problem that needs to be addressed before their players decide that it’s time to move on. I think The Division can be an entertaining game played solo or with friends once Massive takes time to either implement their ideas properly or start listening to the community and what it has to say. I’m not going to hold my breath, though, as Ubisoft has shown an inability to create worthwhile games in recent years.