The Division 2 State of the Game took a look at what's happening to Expeditions in Episode 2, Title Update 6, as Senior Game Designer Trick Dempsey joined the stream this week. First, let's look at a few highlights:
- A new Mastery System is coming to Expeditions, rewarding completion time on different difficulties.
- Kenly College will return to regular rotation, with all areas open and a Diamondback rifle guaranteed on each Agent's first completion.
- The new Shepherd System will award automatic endorsements to players who answer calls for backup and complete activities.
- Invaded Missions are coming to Camp White Oak and Manning National Zoo.
- No maintenance is planned for tomorrow. Maintenance will likely happen early next week instead.
Apparel Cache Key improvements for future events
- The developers have heard feedback from players frustrated due to having a lot of Field Proficiency Caches and Dark Zone Caches, but they aren't dropping Apparel Event keys.
- For future events, the team is looking into making it more predictable when players can expect to get a key, and making the feedback clearer when they did not get a key.
- While many players know how the event works, the team is reiterating that players must be at Level 30 and have beaten the final Stronghold to be eligible for keys. This also applies to the Weekly Apparel Project, e.g. when trying to get keys on multiple Agents on the same account, they all need to fulfill that requirement separately. Also, players have a random chance to get a key from Field Proficiency Caches, and a slightly lower chance from Dark Zone Proficiency Caches.
Testing improvements for latency and hit registration
- The developers are currently testing some changes that hopefully will improve latency issues and hit registration problems, especially in PVP.
- These have been implemented on the live Conflict servers for testing and have been active for a couple of days.
- Changes to the Conflict servers don't affect the other areas of the game, meaning the team can do some testing without immediately impacting all other areas.
- The developers would love to get feedback on this, and encourage players to play some matches and let them know how things feel.
- If everything goes well, the team will then apply these changes to the rest of the game, for example in the Dark Zone.
Next week's State of the Game will talk about the full content of Episode 2, including narrative content and the new Specialization.
RETURN OF EXPEDITIONS
Kenly College Mastery System
- All three areas will open once again, with all branches open at the same time. All players will have access to Expeditions.
- The new Mastery System adds a new difficulty layer and challenge system to Kenly College.
- For each difficulty on each branch, there are three medals to be earned: Bronze, Silver and Gold. These are based on your completion time.
- When competing for Mastery Medals, a special Mastery Modifier is active. For this wave of the Kenly College Expedition, that Mastery Modifier is "Dead Drop." Enemies, based on their veterancy, will drop different types of live grenades when they die.
- Player skill and communication with their group will determine how quickly they can finish an Investigation Area.
- The requirements to earn a medal are shown in the UI, so players can easily compare their latest times.
- To offer more challenges, the team is also adding difficulty modes to Expeditions. Players will now be able to play Kenly College on Normal, Hard, and Challenging difficulties. Each difficulty mode has its own Mastery Time.
- Each Mastery Medal on each difficulty level has its own rewards. To get all rewards, players will need to get Gold on each difficulty on each branch.
- The developers believe a rotation still makes sense for Kenly College, so it will be open for two weeks after launch, and then close again. Afterwards, it will follow a "two weeks down, one week up" cadence for the foreseeable future. This will allow players to regularly jump into Kenly College each time it opens to acquire the Mastery rewards, and guarantee access to the elusive Diamondback. All three Investigation Areas will be active at the same time when the college opens.
- Players will be able to earn Medals, and their rewards, once per event.
- Your first completion of Kenly College, once per event, will guarantee a Diamondback. Players who missed out last time can get the weapon this time around, or get it again for multiple Agents.
- The developers have seen a lot of player feedback around the rank increase not working well, as manual endorsements made it difficult. In TU6, this will change, as the rank will now rise automatically.
- When answering the call for backup, the Shepherd meter will fill when playing activities, and trigger an automatic endorsement.
- Players who request backup can still endorse Shepherd players manually.
- As ranking up will happen more consistently and a little more quickly, the team is also making an adjustment to the ranks. With TU6, the first Shepherd rank will now require 15 endorsements (formerly 10), and each additional rank will require seven endorsements (up from five).
- With this change, we think the call-for-backup system is in a better place, as the helper will get at least one endorsement, with a chance for another one from the host. It also means players that might have answered calls for backup in the past without knowing about the Shepherd system now get exposed to the rewards for helping others.
- When Episode 2 goes live, a vanity item will be rewarded to every player above Shepherd Rank 1.
Manning National Zoo and Camp White Oak
- Manning National Zoo is now a Stronghold, and both it and Camp White Oak will now become part of the weekly Invaded rotation. These will offer a new difficulty mode, Heroic, like other Invaded missions.
- These new invasions are currently slated to begin appearing in the third week of the Episode, so that they will not interfere with players focusing on the new missions. Keep an eye out for them appearing regularly thereafter.
Manning National Zoo Secret Boss
- There's a secret boss in Manning National Zoo that few if any players have found.
- There's no UI interaction to find the boss, until players have done certain things. Players who find themselves in "a football field's length" in which there doesn't seem to be anything to do should look around, says Dempsey.
- Named items will be drops, and rewards from invasions.
- The first time completing Tidal Basin during an invasion now guarantees a named item reward.
- The first time completing each Heroic mission in an invasion guarantees a named item reward.
- Heroic bosses now have an increased chance of their bonus item drop, but now that drop can be either an exotic the player already has, or a named item.
- Named items can also drop – at a very low chance – from all enemies, but the chance is increased with higher difficulties. (This includes bounties and Control Point Alert levels)
Episode 2, Title Update 6 is planned for release in mid-October. Next week's State of the Game will focus on Episode 2's narrative content and the new Specialization. For more on The Division 2, check out our previous coverage.