It's been just over a month since the launch of The Division 2, and teams around the world are actively working to make the game more rewarding, balanced, and bug-free. In today's State of the Game livestream, host Hamish Bode welcomed two guests from Red Storm: creative director Terry Spier and game systems engineer Ryan Liebscher. They talked about the importance of the newly launched Public Test Server, discussed a host of changes planned for the next big Title Update, and showed off some craft projects and screenshots from creative community members.
State of the Game airs every Wednesday at 8:00 AM PDT on Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube. Read on for a recap of the topics discussed, and for more details, check out the stream itself below.
Public Test Server
The Public Test Server is now live on PC, and free for anyone who own a PC copy of The Division 2. Over the next few weeks, the team will conduct testing phases to ensure the quality of the next big Title Update (TU3). Phase one, which is active now, is dedicated to testing bug fixes, while phase two will focus on new balancing updates for PvE and PvP. After you play the PTS or watch streams, joining the discussion on the official forums is a great way to offer feedback to the dev teams.
Balance Updates to PvE and PvP
The team will balance combat in PvE and PvP separately, in order to better craft an optimal experience for players. Some big changes to PvP balancing are in store, including:
- Reducing the global PvP damage modifier from 70% to 40%, in order to bring kill times more in line with what players experience in PvE.
- Buffing assault rifle damage.
- Normalizing (i.e. evening out weapon and gear stats so high-gear-score players don't completely outclass lower-gear-score players) will now be done to gear score 500 in order to better accommodate diverse loadout choices.
- Ceasing skill power normalization, so active skill mods will remain unaffected.
- Removing the ability to land critical hits from hip fire in PvP.
- They are also considering further weapon damage and skill damage overrides (like the buff to assault rifles), and potential skill behavior overrides (like a change to Guardian drone efficacy).
The team at Red Storm is dedicated to tuning and improving the Dark Zone, and they announced a host of changes to make it more balanced and more rewarding for players. The biggest change is that loot drops in the Dark Zone will now go up to 515 gear score, exceeding the gear score cap of 500. If you want to get the absolute maximum power out of your loadout, the DZ will be the place to go. Other changes include:
- Re-tuning loot ratios so that players get less non-contaminated loot and more contaminated loot in order to encourage players to engage with the loot extraction loop. The size of the contaminated loot bag will increase to correspond with this change.
- Taking steps to ensure DZs are populated by the max player count (12 players) more often. The first of these steps is reducing the player pool into two groups: players up to level 30, and players in world tiers.
- Removing the Rogue cooldown after death to allow players to rejoin their rogue teammates; there will still be a cooldown on the Rogue toggle.
- Adding a short cooldown to landmarks so they don't repopulate instantly after the player exits them, in order to encourage more movement around the map.
- Tuning AI armor and damage in endgame DZs to make foes a little less lethal and increase their survivability.
- Planning significant Thieves' Den changes; starting by implementing ability to weapon swap in the Den so you can change which gun you have equipped when picking up special ammo.
- Occupied Dark Zone updates
* Cutting down XP loss upon death to make it less punishing. * Adding an ODZ-specific PvP modifier, so they can balance ODZs independently in future updates. * Later updates (not TU3) will include adding Manhunt and Rogue back to the ODZ, and cutting down the number of AI patrols to allow players more space for unfettered PvP encounters.
Assorted changes are coming to the dedicated PvP matches of Conflict, including:
- Changing the armor display to accurately reflect the number of armor pips a player has
- Reducing the power of the mid-game boosts that players can activate, so that the boosts don't affect the match so drastically
- Making it more likely that you will spawn alongside a teammate in order to encourage more team play
- Making the Conflict NPC more visible and more vocal
- Continuing skill cooldowns after death to reduce the frequency of deploying skill proxies like turrets and drones
Spier made a point to clarify that exotic weapons aren't always meant to be the most damaging, highest rated weapons out there; they are more about encouraging a different style of gameplay or enabling a fun new combat loop. That being said, they are buffing exotics across the board to do more damage per second, and Pestilence in particular is getting an additional buff in PvP.
Bode read through an extensive list of tweaks and changes to talents. Spier stressed that while some players may be dismayed to see their favorite talents nerfed, it is a vital process to ensure the game is balanced. The teams are actively working to ensure that the relationships between the myriad game systems stay healthy, so that as many builds as possible are viable, and items do not become "must-picks." Liebscher added that these changes are not made in isolation; for example, if one talent seems vital for taking on challenging elite enemies, they will look at changing not only the talent, but also the enemy characteristics. For a full list of the planned talent changes, listen to Bode read through them all in the .
Finally, the team noted that numerous improvements are coming to text chat on PC, including feedback for invalid actions, automatic grouping for raid teams, and the text input window fading after a message is sent.
The Division 2 is out now on Xbox One, PC, and PS4. For more on the latest updates to the game, check out our previous Division 2 coverage.