The Division: PvP Review

Disclaimer: The Division’s multiplayer is changing rapidly. Ubisoft Massive has nerfed things, buffed things and generally tweaked aspects of the game(not even a week old). This is a game that could be drastically different next week, next month or even next year.  The following review is of the current state of the PvP (Darkzone) gameplay and could very well change as the game does. Also note I came into the DZ at the level 30 bracket, so my experience could be drastically different than yours.  Please don’t get all salty on me plebs. 

backgrounder (7)

Imagine finding an incredibly rare item, this item is highly sought after and coveted by others. Now imagine you have to airlift that item out of a dangerous environment, where people want to kill you and steal this item from you. This is the simple explanation of what the Dark Zone is meant to be in Ubisoft’s  The Division. Considered the ‘PvP’ of the game, the Dark Zone is an area within New York where the disease basically took hold. Now an unlivable environment, Agents are tasked with entering the zone and collecting loot that the JTF left behind. Within the zone players are tasked with fighting mobs and bosses, looting chests and generally taking part in very PvE like activities. However what sets the DZ apart from the rest of NYC is that Agents can fight other Agents, turning ‘rogue’ in hopes of stealing loot, gaining experience and earning Dark Zone credits. Loot within the DZ is ‘contaminated’ and must be airlifted out, thus calling in an airlift is required. Calling in the airlift alerts other players and can lead to interesting confrontations. The experience sounds interesting, but in action comes off as a  mediocre multiplayer experience.

Tom Clancy's The Division™2016-3-12-23-20-58

I want your golden gun.

I entered the Dark Zone on Tuesday, a fresh level 30 with big guns and even bigger aspirations. Immediately I was met by champions who were much harder then the beta, dealing more damage and having more health then their PvE counterpart. I really like seeing this challenge. What felt ‘light’ in the beta, now felt dangerous and inhospitable. The DZ is broken into level areas, similar to the PvE world with  higher level areas featuring enemies at level 31 and 32. Higher level enemies, means better loot and upgrades for agents. Aside from the drastic difficult spike, much of the DZ is identical to the beta. This is both good and bad. Easily one of the worst parts Massive carried over from the beta is the Rogue system. I am a huge supporter of the existence of the system. The idea is interesting and could lead to some very interesting interactions. However, currently few people are going Rogue. The Rogue system is punishing, almost unfairly so. My one experience going Rogue, resulted in my death and the loss of money, Dark Zone keys and a levels worth of experience(yes you can level down in the DZ). This is incredibly frustrating as accidental Rogue-ing is fairly common and other players jump at the chance to kill Rogue Agents. Grinding a level for an hour, only to have that experience wiped in a mere minute is borderline rage inducing. This highlights another problem with the current DZ, weapon level requirements.

The Division

Warning: Deleveling may occur

Remember in the beta, how there was a Dark Zone level requirement for DZ Vendor goods? Well that is still here, but it is horribly implemented. In order to spend any Dark Zone credits on any items, you have to have a Dark Zone rank of at least 30. For higher tier items this requirement is level 50. The problem here is that Dark Zone credit simply become a currency to horde, with no use until at least level 30. If you do manage to make it to level 30, many of the items are not much better then those already available in  the Phoenix Vendor. The grinding in DZ feels redundant and uninteresting. DZ items lack any really distinct characteristics that make them sought after(I know – High Ends). High end drop rates got seriously nerfed, leading to frustrating hours of farming nothing but pinks and (gag) blues. The last problem with PvP is arguably the biggest one and could have tremendous impact on the future of this game.

The Division

Donnie Darkzone

If you powered through to level 30, you experienced a period I like to call the “Rise of the Phoenix(Credits)”. Basically Massive poorly balanced their end game currency resulting in individuals easily min-maxing ideal an op builds. Named champions would drop 12 – 15 PC, and could be easily farmed through DZ runs or Mission playthroughs. Realizing this error(basically that people were hitting max equip), Massive decided to nerf PC drops so now named champs drop a meager 2 – 5. They did this, but left those individuals with high level builds completely untouched. Basically individuals who did not ‘rush’ the game, now face a  tremendous grind that earlier ’30’ players did not. So already the Dark Zone can be dominated by individuals who are full geared. This happened to me while playing last night, as six highly geared agents basically spent hours steam rolling most of the server,  and my character would not be considered under geared. This is tremendously troubling, as new 30s will basically be fodder for max equipped players and there is no real way to grind quickly through this. The other problem is that there is an emerging meta in which almost all players are running similar gear(Vector much?), so if you want to create a tanky character and hold your own against the DPS mains… Well the most I can say is  good luck.

Now I know up to this point I have been very negative on the Dark Zone, but this is because I actually really like the idea. To see Massive make some ‘interesting’ decisions is frustrating. The Zone has some much potential to be fun. Things like the weather, the (few) Rogue fights I’ve been in, the fun gameplay with friends, the search for elusive new loot and  good shooting mechanics are all positives. As of right now though, the DZ is seriously lacking. Massive has shown that they are willing to listen to the complaints of fans, so that is encouraging. Hopefully the early bumps are not indicative of the future of The Divison’s PvP mode.

What I Liked

  • Graphics… The game looks good
  • Darkzone weather is incredible and adds to the tension
  • The Gameplay can be fun and motivating
  • Some new loot
  • Massive at least listening

What I didn’t Like

  • Most of the Dark Zones current structure
  • The Rogue System
  • Phoenix Credit debacle
  • Imbalanced Player Power

Arbitrary Rating:  6/10

Read My Review of PvE Here

Eli McLean

Eli "Enricofairme" McLean is the Founder and lead writer on He has been creating content about video games for the past 5 years. You can follow Eli on Twitter @enricofairme.

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1 response

  1. FilmApe says:

    Scaramanga would nuke you if you tried taking his golden gun…#Truth #PitBoss

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