Ubisoft’s The Division has had a rough and tumble first year. The online shooter for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC was highly anticipated out of the gate but hit some stumbles along the way. After the release of two DLC, the developers announced another hitch on Thursday. The final two expansions will be delayed while the team focuses on gameplay issues that have stuck around.
The Underground DLC went live for the Xbox One and PC in June followed by a PS4 release in July. It was to be followed by Survival in September and then Last Stand by the end of the year. Ubisoft upset that apple cart by announcing changes to the The Division’s development schedule.
“With Update 1.4 in the works, it has become clear with your feedback and our own observations that our priority should now be on improving the core gameplay experience,” Ubisoft explained in the announcement. “For this reason, we have made several adjustments to our development schedule: Update 1.4 will be released in October independently from Survival, and will focus entirely on bug fixing, game balancing and other improvements. Survival, the second expansion that was initially planned for release with Update 1.4 is now postponed to a later date this year. The third expansion, Last Stand, will be released in early 2017. This new schedule will not only enable us to strengthen the core experience before adding new content, but also continuously improve it by allowing for more production time to ensure the quality of future updates as well.”
Update 1.4 will be released at the same time across the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. So with no new content, what is Ubisoft fixing with the update? Here is a high-level overview of what changes are coming to The Division in the update.
- Fixing bugs, including those listed in our Known Issues as well as many other ones
- Making loot drops more relevant to the player
- Enemy difficulty and time to kill
- Gear Sets and weapons balancing
- Solo player experience
- Dark Zone and PvP balancing
- Quality of life additions based on community suggestions
Community Developers Hamish Bode and Yannick Banchereau both appeared in a Twitch live stream earlier in the day to explain the focus on the planned fixes in The Division 1.4 update. They admitted there have been many discussions about the differences in gameplay when players are under level 30 and above level 30. They particularly noted how frustrating fights against level 34 NPCs have turned out to be. As a result, the developers want to re-balance the whole system versus just tweaking NPC health and weapon damage.
Balancing the PVE will take priority of balancing Dark Zone. Ubisoft plans to balance the PVE side of the game first and then work with those tweaks to make additional changes in the game’s PVP area.
Interestingly, Ubisoft is going the Destiny route with loot changes. The two developers commented in the live stream that the goal is to make loot relevant and more accessible. This means getting gear you don’t already have while playing content at a specific difficulty level. This will hopefully allow players to progress and not have to be carried through the same activity later.
Some of the quality of life changes mentioned during the Division live stream include Weapon Skins no longer taking up inventory space, a buyback option from vendors, and the ability to run inside the Base of Operations. Another welcome change will be the addition of a “Craft All” button to allow players to craft higher level mats all at once instead of one at a time.
The Division’s developer is also looking towards the community for help. The developer plans to invite members of the community to an all-expenses paid trip to the studio’s hometown of Malmo, Sweden, to try out and give feedback on the 1.4 update. The plan is not to limit this to just YouTube broadcasters and podcasters. Information about the trip and a survey to apply will be posted on the game’s website.
What do you think of Ubisoft’s decision to delay The Division’s remaining DLC to focus on gameplay fixes? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Ubisoft]