‘The Division’ Solo Gameplay Experience Not Recommended — Co-Op Gameplay Is Satisfying

Tom Clancy’s The Division, an action-RPG hybrid MMO more conducive to multi-player, isn’t recommended for those who want to go the solo player route, according to Now Gamer and creative developer Magnus Jansen. He does add a discretionary measure.

“We don’t recommend it; it’s much more fun to play in co-op, as those of you who [regularly] play online and co-op games will know.”

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Although it does have it’s own single-player campaign, most of the fun comes from the co-operative experience. Even basic psychology suggests humans are social creatures, and it seems Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment enables this ability. It is also encouraged. Of course, there is the counterpoint of considering how some friends may not be available to play with at a moment’s notice.

The Loneliness Of The Lone Wanderer

The Division’s post-apocalyptic and viral environment can lead to a feeling of loneliness when entering mid-town Manhattan. Of course, the staging area prior to entering certain infected locations can offer some NPC company, but there’s no real satisfaction in that. According to Now Gamer, the solo play can create a feeling of the “odds being stacked against you,” which can probably leave a single player feeling challenged, if that’s what you’re into.

When it comes to co-operative play, there is a different kind of experience felt when teaming up other players in The Division game. You have someone healing you when you’re struggling, and the ability to take on enemies in a strategic fashion is likely favorable as there is communication being bantered about on VOIP. The social aspect of it can create a different kind of experience. The dynamic changes.

Single Player Campaign Offers Three Skill Trees

There is also a nice single-player campaign split up into three story threads based on the chosen occupation of each division agent. The characters to choose from are Medical, Security, and Tech options. The environment is still open world, although this could create the challenge of an attempt to stick to the storyline if that’s the case. Creative director Julian Gerighty explains how they tackled this.

“The entire game is open to you from the start. There’s no limits, you can go anywhere and try and do one of these missions. How did we deal with this open world structure and still have a story? We split it up into three story threads and each one of these will give you a little piece of a puzzle that you’ll start to understand as you complete missions.”

Of course, this allows for a freedom of choice in The Division as you do have the option of replaying the solo campaigns along with your friends in a multiplayer format.

Solo Play In The Dark Zone Is Not Easy

The Division’s Dark Zone area can be tackled while playing alone, but it may be considered challenging since NPC’s are highly difficult and the threat of PvP ambushes exist. Of course, if you’re a Rambo-type like this guy on YouTube, and if you’ve got the guts, one can easily take out three players who decide to go after you.

The following video is not safe for work (NSFW) and contains some profanity and video game violence.

Single Player Vs. Multiplayer, The Twain Is Unclear

The interesting thing about The Division is that the “fruits of your labor,” as described by Now Gamer, carry over from one variation of the world to the next. The stats are recorded from a game you played with strangers on the web via the matchmaking system, and when done, the rewards are kept with your character. This is likely what brings on the appeal of the hybrid format of this game.

An interview with Magnus, as reported by VG24/7, revealed his insight into The Division solo play and assured they aren’t meaning to “punishing solo players or incentivising them by making it harder.” He further explained that the multiplayer aspect of it scales the AI to the number of team players in a group.

“To me it’s a matter of intent. It’s a great single-player game, period. We don’t use a stick, but rather a carrot, to get people on board with multiplayer, be it co-op or PvP in Dark Zones or the social spaces in the Safe Houses.”

From the gist of Magnus’ statement, it does seem he represents the game the way it was designed according to his explanation. He also further expounded that even if you’re not part of a division agent team, a stranger can revive you regardless whether or not you’re teamed up with anyone.

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So that being said, would you consider this the beauty and appeal of this hybrid game?

Tom Clancy’s The Division game releases to the general public on March 8.

[Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Ubisoft/AP Images]