A reader explains why he’s decided to sell The Division after 200 hours, and what he thinks the developers did wrong.
I bought The Division for my PlayStation 4 at launch and was hooked from the start by its great gameplay and excellent graphics. The story was interesting, the gunplay solid, and I loved everything about the single-player game. I hit the level 30 cap and finished the storyline in about 20 hours, and then the endgame began.
The endgame is designed to keep you playing, it’s all about grinding and repetition to earn enough Phoenix coins to buy high end equipment blueprints, and gathering enough crafting materials to make weapons and armour from those blueprints. Unfortunately, this section of the game is currently deeply flawed and unbalanced.
As usual, the developers released the game without enough testing and they hadn’t balanced the endgame. It’s too easy now for companies to release games unbalanced and tweak them to make them work via patches at a later date, and The Division was no exception. There were several problems at launch, but the major one was that the developers didn’t realise how quickly players would level up their gear. Many players charged straight through the story in a day and then began farming Phoenix Credits (PC) in the Dark Zone avidly.
Initially, named bosses in the Dark Zone dropped around 15 PC when you killed them, and many players ran farming routes gathering thousands of PC while the majority of players were still busy enjoying the story missions. This led to severe unbalance in the Dark Zone where new gamers would be destroyed by these high ranked mobs, who were way too overpowered and enjoyed hunting down and killing weaker players like culling sheep. Of course when the powerful dominate the powerless the gap constantly widens, with the powerful growing even stronger as time progresses.
Another major problem at the moment are the vast number of gamers using glitches to farm Phoenix Credits and crafting materials. This usually involves using a skill where a portable cover is glitched into a wall, allowing your character to pass through the solid wall into areas you shouldn’t be able to reach. If you look on YouTube right now it’s full of videos for unlimited Phoenix Credits, crafting materials, and high end gear farming glitches. And there are invulnerability and invisibility glitches. The game is a nirvana for cheats, and again players like me who play the game honestly are falling way behind the majority who are exploiting it.
The developers have responded by nerfing the number of Phoenix Credits named bosses drop, down from 15 to 1 to 3 per kill, and in the next patch they’re also going to make it harder to create high end materials, but they’re simply locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. It’s too late, and the nerfs will only affect those who are trying to obtain high end items now, not those that already have them.
I played the game for over 200 hours but decided to trade it in yesterday after a most unpleasant incident happened to me in the Dark Zone. The item vendors in the Dark Zone sell high end blueprints but you have to be Dark Zone level 50 to buy them, so I was trying to increase my rank and had reached level 43. I was farming some high level enemies when I was killed from behind by a mob of four overpowered rogues and I respawned in the nearby safe house.
They stole all my equipment so I had nothing left to steal, but they knew I’d respawn in the safe house so they thought it would be fun to lay siege to me and kill me every time I left the building. They killed me another four times over the next few minutes, and each time you die in the Dark Zone you lose experience points, so I went down a level.
I decided then that I wasn’t going to play The Division anymore, because the group that kept killing me reminded me of a pack of male school bullies picking on the wimpiest girl in the playground, so it put me right off the game.
The new DLC is coming out soon, containing new ultra-difficult missions called Incursions, where players will be able to obtain even higher level weapons and armour. But let’s face it, the only players who will be strong enough to do them will be… the bullies and the cheats.
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