I’ve played the Private Beta, the Technical Beta, and the Open Beta of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. I now have a full grasp at what to expect when the game goes live on March 15 and i’m pretty excited to tackle what Massive Entertainment has created, with now three years of experience supporting the first game.
You have to understand that these types of games are what I truly enjoy. Diablo, Destiny, Anthem — all of these games that have you grinding for better gear after the campaign has concluded have always been entertaining for me. I’m stoked to retake Washington DC.
Refresh my memory
I’ve been so stoked that I jumped into the first Division once again, but this time on my PC. I bought the Gold Edition of the game last month and really wanted to get a feel for what Massive put together. All I wanted was to go through endgame again but unfortunately, the road from 1 to 30 was still pretty rough thanks to the game’s mundane side quests and uninspiring story.
On my first run with the game on the PS4 — during The Division’s first year — endgame was horrible and I dropped it pretty quickly. But I returned to check out the famed 1.8 patch and it pretty much gave the game a second life. For the first time I was enjoying the grind. Massive can make this formula work. This still holds true during my time with the game on PC. There is something special here and it got me excited to play the sequel, which comes out next week.
The Division 2 Private Beta wasn’t enough
In the Private Beta of The Division 2, it felt horrible from a technical standpoint. FPS drops everywhere — by comparison the Anthem demo I played the month prior was a much smoother experience — and several bugs that were hard to ignore. To put it simply, it was a rough experience that got me thinking, “Will this game be ready by March?”
As I wondered about that, the announcement of an Open Beta gave me a sigh of relief. I couldn’t express what I thought about the game with just the Private Beta and waited for the Open Beta to go live. A technical beta did occur for a day and…well, let’s just say my thoughts on the game at the time got worst.
Open Beta finally hit and I replayed the content all over again. This time, the issues I’ve experienced have disappeared. Did the Private beta actually help in identifying the game’s problems before launch? It’s a surprise to me since the word “beta” has begun to stand for a marketing tool to give fans a chance to play early. I’ve participated in various betas and this is one of the only betas where I witnessed visible progress. Good on you Massive Entertainment.
Issues that bugged the hell out of me are gone. But one thing still remained — the game’s campaign. I have this fear right now that The Division 2’s story won’t be the driving force to push players to keep playing. I feel that the push to reach endgame will always be stronger than knowing what happens next in the battle for DC.
Is this an issue? For some that want a story to follow — of course. The silent protagonist makes cutscenes awkward and the quest to save the girl from one faction (first mission in the beta) had no impact. But for those that want to experience endgame as quickly as possible, also a yes.
Raids and beyond
While my compulsion to gear up and tackle the hardest content The Division 2 has to offer is strong, especially thanks to the satisfying cover shooter mechanics, I dread the last few levels to 30 being a slog. I want to enjoy my journey to the end because we are talking about 30+ hours of campaign content. I don’t want a repeat of the first game’s campaign drudgery.
So far, there hasn’t been a looter shooter that has pulled off great endgame content at launch. Each one has struggled in its first year and required a series of patches to make it work. MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft are masters with these types of content, and games like The Division are nowhere close to how they handle that type of content. Maybe it will be different with The Division 2. We’ll see on March 15.