March 11, 2020

8 Min Read

the divisionthe division 2

The Division 2 State of the Game Recap: Season 1 of Warlords of New York is Here, Difficulty Balance Under Review

It’s been a week since the launch of Warlords of New York for The Division 2, and the first new Manhunt target of Season 1 has arrived. With Associate Creative Director Yannick Banchereau, Senior Game Designer Trick Dempsey, and Associate Game Director Drew Rechner on board, this week’s State of the Game livestream takes a look at how The Division 2’s expansion into Lower Manhattan is going so far. A few highlights:

  • With the introduction of Season 1, Manhunt-related Named Zones, and the Control Points in them, can be manually reset.
  • Difficulty balance and NPC health are being reviewed following player feedback after the launch of Warlords of New York.
  • In addition to the Manhunts, Season 1 will feature new Leagues, and Global Events in the coming weeks.

State of the Game streams on Twitch, Mixer and YouTube. (To find out what was covered in the last episode, make sure to check out the previous State of the Game Recap.)

PRIORITY ALERTS

Maintenance was performed yesterday to fix the following:

  • Gear-Set Blueprints not dropping from Control Points
  • Restorer Hive not healing for every charge consumed

Maintenance will also be performed at 2:00AM PDT on March 12 to fix the following:

  • NPCs not dropping crafting materials
  • Issues with clans and friend lists
  • Progression blocker that was keeping the Secure the Area objective from being completed on Roosevelt Island.

The team fixed a large number of bugs last week, and their work to fix bugs discovered following Title Update 8 continues.

Currently under investigation:

  • Dark Zone infinite loading screen.
  • Matchmaking queues being excessively long.
  • Gear-Set Talents not working properly.
  • Sound issues.
  • Issues with reviving group members.
  • Some Bounties being in locations that are not accessible.
  • An issue with the Bloodsucker talent working in an unintended way.
  • Prime Target manhunt progress resetting despite having defeated the first target.
  • Season Caches being contaminated if earned in the Dark Zone.
  • Reports from some players saying their Season level not increasing when they play in the Dark

Season Manhunt Partial Progression resetting due to difficulty changes:

  • Manhunt targets are replayable, and changing the difficulty will make that possible.
  • Once players have tracked down a target and defeated them, the progress will be counted even if they choose to reset the progress to replay it.
  • The Manhunt target will show “Replay” in the Manhunt Season UI.
  • The overall Manhunt progress is currently not updating to show 25% done when players take down a target; the team is working on this.
  • If players are currently progressing in a Manhunt and change the Global Difficulty, it will reset their progress as stated in the UI.
  • The best approach for most players will be to choose a difficulty they know they can tackle before starting the Manhunt.
  • Players can progress their own Manhunt in a group, but need to be on the same or a lower Global Difficulty as the group leader. If a player’s Global Difficulty is set higher than the group leader’s, e.g. a player with Global Difficulty set to Hard joins a Normal difficulty group, that player will not make progress towards the Manhunt.
  • Directives currently also reset Manhunt progress; this is not on purpose, and will be changed in the future.
  • Directives are currently also resetting when they should always stay active for a player’s own world. This is being fixed.
  • To make things a little easier, the team plans to add an option to just reset the complete Manhunt, instead of having it connected to the Global Difficulty. This change will take some time, as the functionality to only specifically reset this is not in the game currently, and also needs more UI support.

Control Points not resetting:

  • The team will be sharing more information on this topic soon through a forum post.
  • With Season 1 having launched, players are now able to reset Manhunt-related Named Zones and the Control Points in them.
  • The developers are exploring the option to be able to manually reset Control Points as initially mentioned.

WARLORDS OF NEW YORK

Season 1 – Shadow Tide

The first phase of Season 1 is live now.

  • Season 1 will add four Manhunt targets and one Prime Target to the game over the next 12 weeks.
  • The first target, Neptune, is now available. To find him, you’ll need to complete all the Control Points, bounties, and missions in his district, after which he’ll show himself.
  • The second target, Venus, will unlock on March 31; the third, Saturn, will unlock April 21; and the fourth target, Mercury, will unlock on May 12.
  • Once a target has been defeated and appears with a “Replay” option, they won’t block player progress toward the Prime Target.
  • Defeating all five will unlock a unique EMP Sticky Skill variant.
  • Each target’s unlocking will be marked by a seven-day double-XP event.
  • Double XP counts towards SHD level and Season level progression.
  • Once the Season is over, EMP Sticky will become available through other gameplay means. More information on this will be revealed at a later date.
  • Rewards include two gear sets, one exotic, and 19 named items.
  • On March 17, the first League will go live. This will focus on activities included in Neptune’s Manhunt, with challenging speedruns of Federal Emergency Bunker, Potomac Event Center, and DCD Headquarters. For the most hardcore Agents, there is a speedrun competition for Roosevelt Island on Heroic difficulty.
  • The League lasts for two weeks.
  • Season 1 will feature three more Leagues, which will go live on April 7, April 28, and May 19. Each League offers 10 rewards.
  • On March 24, the first Global Event, Polarity Switch, will go live. Becoming proficient at the Global Event can make you more efficient in the Leagues.
  • Season 1 will feature two more Global Events, which go live May 5 and May 26. Each Global Event will offer 10 rewards.
  • On March 31, a new Apparel Event, Urban Jungle, will go live.

DIFFICULTY BALANCE AND NPC HEALTH

The team has read players’ feedback over the past week, looked at their data, and agree that some adjustments need to be made in certain areas. There are three topics under discussion:

  • General difficulty balancing – how much health and armor enemies have per difficulty level, and how much damage they can do.
  • Co-op scaling – The game does some behind-the-scenes scaling based on the number of players, which affects enemy health and damage.
  • Dark Zone time-to-kill (TTK), which is currently faster than the developers intended.

Design philosophy of the current balance:

  • Difficulty should matter, and one should master the previous difficulty before taking on the next level.
  • Builds should have noticeable effects to your Agent’s TTK/time-to-be-killed. Tank builds should take a beating; DPS builds should be glass cannons.

Gear and Builds have changed a lot, and the team feels there’s still a lot of room for Agents to grow stronger. The team is discussing next steps to address community feedback in this area now.

Planned balance adjustments:

Hard mode:

  • Currently, Hard mode is roughly in line with where the developers want it to be, and will likely not be adjusted.

Challenge mode:

  • Challenge mode is where developers thought it would be, but after observing player performance, they’ve concluded that it’s overtuned. Challenge was created for players with “perfect” builds, but this limits build diversity, so it’s very likely that Challenge will be adjusted down a little bit.
  • The team feels that co-op scaling is overtuned as well, especially for named and Elite enemies, who are spongier than intended.
  • When co-op scaling and Challenge mode combine, the difficulty ramps up more than intended. The team is working to fix this.

Heroic mode:

  • The developers want Heroic to be a challenge for all players.
  • The team may adjust it slightly, but wants to keep its difficulty high.
  • Work to fix co-op scaling will also affect co-op difficulty in Heroic mode.

Additional notes:

  • The developers are happy to see that high difficulty is back, and don’t want to compromise that vision. However, some things aren’t working as intended.
  • Specific NPCs causing difficulty spikes will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
  • These changes require updates on both the server side and client side to implement.
  • Adjustments may be made incrementally and iterated on multiple times.
  • The team is also looking into loot drops that don’t scale correctly for higher difficulties, and encourage players to submit screenshots if they encounter them.

COMMUNITY INFOGRAPHIC – BRAND SETS

  • Community member and Reddit user SirPurplex put together this useful infographic for the Gear 2.0 brand sets of The Division 2.

The Division 2 is available now on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and is included in a UPLAY+ subscription. For more The Division 2, check out our previous coverage.

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