Could the much anticipated sequel to The Division be a smash hit? So far, it seems that could very well be the case. The moment-to-moment game play seems solid and familiar, but it will likely appeal to fans of The Division and won’t necessarily break out into wider audiences. Like the first game, The Division 2 is clearly designed with groups in mind. Playing with a coordinated team creates plenty of opportunities for tactical positioning and planning.
The moment-to-moment combat hasn't changed much but maybe that’s because so little about it really needed changing. Gunfights remain a matter of dashing from cover to cover, flanking and being flanked, and firing big holographic hoops around as many enemies as possible. It still feels smooth and slick, lacking the frustrating stickiness of some cover shooters. Although the interface seems to be a little cleaner than before which is a nice bonus.
Unlike with the first game, The Division 2’s post-launch roadmap for its first year will involve three free expansions for all players. The news is great for players worried about the business model of service-style online-only games like The Division and Bungie’s Destiny.
But it looks like Ubisoft may have learned a thing or two from its multi-year development cycle with the original game, and from Bungie’s troubled experience with Destiny 2. When asked how Ubisoft plans to fund ongoing development for The Division 2, Karlson wasn’t able to say. It sounds like the developer is still working out the kinks, and a PR representative said the company plans to release more details about monetization and micro-transactions at a later date. This could be an arising issue if the dev's get strapped for cash and create a play-to-play scenario. Lets hope that doesn't happen.
One of the most interesting, and yet flawed, aspects of The Division when it launched in 2016 was the Dark Zone, a hybrid player-versus-player and player-versus-enemy area where you could battle against other real people and AI combatants in search of rare loot. Although Ubisoft beefed up the Dark Zone with more focused game modes like Survival and Last Stand, the area never reached its full potential as a competitive multiplayer experience in the same fashion as traditional shooters.
When asked about whether battle royale elements and the popularity of Fortnite would influence the Dark Zone in the game, the company said there were obvious ways to imagine a more full-fledged Survival mode that featured more players, though they could not confirm any concrete details. Having a Battle Royale mode, considering its popularity as of late could be a huge selling point on this game.
One new element of The Division 2’s endgame activities are called specializations, and they are essentially subclasses for your character to choose and level through to unlock new skills once you hit max level and complete the main campaign. Each one is centered around a weapon type: sniper, grenade launcher, and crossbow. Picking one does not exclude you from the others but you will need to level up through one before having access to the others it seems. This should put an interesting twist in game play to allow your team to better coordinate on the battlefield.
Your character in The Division 2 is an all-new one that has no direct connection to the first game, given the seven-month timeline jump. That means your character, weapons, and other aspects of profile from the original game will not carry over.
The first Division featured a raid-like activity called Incursions, and while those multi-hour missions were similar in style to the a traditional MMO raid, they only let you play with up to four others. Onstage at its E3 press conference, Ubisoft confirmed that The Division 2 will have full-fledged raids. Not only that, but these raids will feature as many as eight players in two teams of four. It's unsure if that means you and three friends will be teaming up with four strangers, or whether you and seven friends can only cooperate on a single team. Either way it should bring a new dynamic to the Incursions, I hope that this will be a lobby/private team type setup but we'll have to wait till the game launches to know for sure.