I want to start by apologizing to our millions of fans around the world (here’s looking at you Dark Winter Project) for the lack of content over the past month. Legion Radio Network had to take a rather annoying hiatus thanks to, among other things, that cruel mistress known as life.
Life that catchall term for the random bullshit that gets in the way of doing the fun stuff has gotten the better of the Legion Radio Network lately. That being said sometimes life gets in your way in exciting ways. DesertFrost and DesertFire will be more or less unable to participate in the Legion Radio Network for the next 6-8 weeks as they prepare to come back home. Awesome! DesertCrypt is a newly wed and…. and has a cat? I don’t know what his excuse is. I guess growing a mean beard is a lot more work than I thought. God knows I can’t grow one. And as for me life has decided to bless me and my wife with our second child which is freakin’ amazing but getting ready for her to come is time consuming.
As a kid and young adult I could play video games all day. Now married with 1 child and another on the way working a full time job while also serving in the Army National Guard it is a pain in the ass to find time to get any gaming done. I do. Much to the chagrin of my beautiful wife I lose way too much sleep in order to get some time on the controller. Times are hard for the gamer in me.
So there you have it, our best excuses for why we have not talked about the flaming ship wreck that The Division has become and all the other big gaming news. I personally think Ubisoft Massive will be able to correct course and turn The Division back into the post apocalyptic fun land that it once was. You can hear our brief discussion on this topic on our upcoming episode 4 of the Legion Radio Podcast.
Speaking of flaming ship wrecks is it too early to start fearing for Nintendo’s future? They recently announced that they will be releasing their next home entertainment system next Spring and yet their E3 event will only feature Zelda…. for the Wii U. Come ON! I absolutely love Zelda but with everything else happening in the gaming world you cannot pin the next year of your company’s future on a single game.
From disappointment there is a shinning light in the world. Actually there are a lot of them. The biggest expansion yet to Fallout 4, Far Harbor, will come out later this month. Overwatch’s open Beta started yesterday and let me say it is a blast. and finally the Battlefield 5 announcement is tomorrow!
Obviously we have a lot to discuss coming up and we are happy to get back into it. While DesertFire and DesertFrost are away from the mic we will have some guest fill in. So thank you if you’ve listened to us before and wondered where we went and welcome if this is your first time hearing about us. As always….
The first free update will introduce the first incursion, a new challenging end-game activity developed specifically for squad play. Teams will be able to test their skills as they face seemingly unstoppable enemies to gain high-level weapons and equipment. This update will also add one of the community’s most-wanted feature, loot trading; allowing players in the same group to trade loot collected during a co-op game session.
In a Special Report on the official The Division Twitch channel, they finally revealed new information about the Incursions themselves and how the new gear sets will work. This breakdown summarizes the important points of the stream, but you can re-watch it anytime on Twitch.tv/thedivisiongame.
Story and Background
Falcon Lost will be the first Incursion
It takes place in a Water Treatment Plant and is a LMB Stronghold, because that is not really something that you bomb, when you want to take back New York
Captain Perez reassembles the LMB to keep control and now it is our job to stop the rest of the LMB
Multiple voice-overs and discussions that will be different each time
You won´t be able to camp in Falcon Lost, you will have to change position on a regular basis
There will be new enemies: Drones – they will flush you out of cover and need to be shot down
You really need a good group and tactics, will be very difficult with PUGs
It is not only about gear but also a lot about player skills
You need synergy between playstyles
Matchmaker is confirmed for Incursions. There is a Gear-Score recommendation for hard-mode and for Challenge Mode, you won´t be matched with players that are below a specific score.
No checkpoints in Incursions, when you die you have to start over
No weekly lookout for incursions you can play them as many times as you want.
The first time in the week you will get a very good reward, and after that you will get good rewards
More Incursions are planed (Columbus Circle is already confirmed for the Conflict update in May)
Future incursions will have different mechanics
Best/new gear and weapons than everywhere in the game (also new named weapons)
The Difficulty of the Incursions is very high, because it needs group coordination, tactics and also good gear to beat the Incursion
Incursions have two difficulties
Hard Mode that will require the equivalent of the current level 31 high end gear
Challenge Mode that will require the new gear-sets
The devs could beat the hard mode, so they made it more difficult.
The QC players needed days to beat the Challenge Mode Incursion.
Player can drop items to give it to the other players in the group that were present as you got the item
Dark Zone you have to go to a Checkpoints to trade the item (safe area)
Dropped loot can be picked up by all players in the group
Items can be dropped and traded multiple times in the 2h window after pickup
New Feature: Assignments
There will be weekly and daily assignments
You can earn Phoenix Credits and Division Tech
Good rewards in general
Example: killing 10 Cleaners
New Dark Zone Activities
Drop from the sky that happens every hour on different locations and have very good rewards
Only the first group that gets there will get the reward.
Supply Drops are protected by hard enemies
When you get the supply drop, you don´t have to extract them.
In general, they will add new activities in every future update
When you die during a group-mission, you can follow other teammates
You can switch between your teammates, look around and help them until you are revived
There are 4 gear sets
Finding and equipping four pieces from a single set unlocks a new, never-before-seen talent for your Agent, which the developers aren’t revealing yet.
You will also get a setbonus when you have a specific number of set-pieces equipped
Gear sets will have other talents than what we already have
Different gearsets per playstyle
Are more powerful than High-Ends gear pieces – but you have to equip a multiple number of items to get the buff – but gear sets don´t have gear talents
Help a lot in the group synergy when players of the group have different sets…
Sentry’s Call – This is the Snipers Gear set
Striker’s Battle Gear – Combat Assault set
Path of the Nomad -Dark Zone / Solo oriented set (very vague)
Technician’s Authority – Support and Tech-Bonus
You can get Gear Sets from:
Blueprints that can be bought
Drop in Challenge Mode Missions
(you need to do multiple things to complete the set)
After you reach level 30 you are measured by gear score / now you don´t see player level but the gear score
The gear score is calculated by the gear you are wearing and is based on the quality and item-level
Gear score is also included in matchmaking. Matchmaking will also include the items you have in the inventory.
Player Level Cap
Agent level is still capped at 30, but your gear score can boost your abilities beyond your level, and are touted as a new way of leveling up for top-level players.
Man mid twenties with buzzed hair and the whispers of a beard rolls over in bed. Groggy he glances at his phone as he shuts off the alarm. He suddenly jolts up.
Pan in on phone screen: TheDivisionGame Twitch notification.
“Did I miss it!?”
The man eagerly clicks on the notification while jamming headphones into his ears to hear the announcement that will change his life.
No one really seems to know just where they had seen the announcement but everyone could agree on one thing: on the 29th of March 2016 Ubisoft Massive would be telling us everything we wanted to know about incursions for The Division during a live stream on their Division Twitch account.
I was shocked when I woke up this morning to find that there had already been a stream and I’d missed it. It was frustrating but I still get up before a lot people on the east coast of the United States I would still be one of the first to know exactly what to expect form The Division. Luckily my phone is waterproof so I was able to start the stream while I showered. This was important information, I didn’t have time to wait. But wait I had to.
At first it seemed like a normal stream with Hamish Bode and friends. But Hamish is a Community Developer for The Division and a guy in the know about a lot of things for The Division so I figured this must be it. Alas my hopes were rather quickly dashed when he said he couldn’t say much about the incursions yet and that he had shot a video about the incursions but it wasn’t ready yet. Then Hamish proceeded to torture me by dropping little tid-bits such as “It’s very very very very difficult. To the point where people inside the company cannot finish them.”
Then he drops that we should “stay locked to this channel” and that “This week will be a big week for information for people.”
So when several hours later I get another notification that The Division Twitch account was live i rushed to my cubicle, messaged my clan mates, and tuned in. This time it was Natchai, an Ubisoft CM surely he would give us news. But Natchai simply played the game killing a couple named bosses and then venturing into the Dark Zone all the while the chat was exploding with questions like “when is the incursion stream coming?” Natchai playfully told us he wasn’t sure every few minutes than finally after about half an hour of constantly being asked he shattered our dreams. There would be no incursion stream today and there was no set date for such an announcement.
I may have died a little inside. Ubisoft released The Division 3 weeks ago today and in that time span I have spent 72 wonderful hours with their creation but today they left me at the dance.
In our very first Podcast, we introduce ourselves and dive into our first impressions of The Division. Note we are aware of the massive patch implemented by Ubisoft, and the drastic changes specifically to the Dark Zone. We will have a breakdown of the changes and also have a review of the upcoming patches and expansions for The Division. Enjoy!
No that does not necessarily mean I know every detail about their development, the inner workings, the back stories, the credentials, or even who makes them, but I still like video games. Some say that video games are an escape from day to day life. For the people who can’t handle reality. Those people fail to understand that sometimes virtual reality is harder than you might think. Yes, you are able to enjoy fully interactive alternate worlds, such as a plague ridden, nihilistic, and by every definition, scorched Manhattan, NY. Within this world are some of the most vile and twisted criminals you’ll ever see, and then you are tasked to rout out and destroy them. Yes, you are given the task of bringing NYC back to it’s full beauty and prominence as one of the greatest cities in the world, but what’s so great(stressful) about that right?
Honestly, the aspects of a video game that get me going are the visuals. When a game, such as The Division, offers detailed lighting, shadow rendering, weather changes, and day to day 24-hour cycles of climate, it gets my attention, and my praise. Not to mention the real-to-life New York City mapping and creation!
So, in The Division’s case, it is almost as if we are able to escape to a real-to-life scenario, in a real place, minus all the nihilistic murderers, rioters, plague, freezing temperatures, and also face melting tactical urban warfare. Although in reality, who the hell doesn’t want to be an SHD Agent?
In a nutshell what I am trying to say here is that if you are looking for a cultured conversation about video games, or a passionate detailed breakdown of what graphics engine Ubisoft used (Massive*) to create such a once in a lifetime video game, I am not your guy. But if you’re like me, with your jaw dropped to the floor from the absolute brilliance of this game, then please, by all means join me. Once we awaken from our initial shock, together we will remember that this is just the beginning…
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone!
For your enjoyment, and for my point to really hit a home run, I have included below a comparison video between The Division and the Real Thing. Youtube creator showshowshowshow created a six and a half minute video that compares shots of New York against the post-pandemic version that can be found in The Division. This is only from the Beta!
Burnt out cars block roads, bodies lay in unceremonious piles, blood-thirsty and self-righteous gangs openly wage war with government agencies. A new virus has created a not quite post-apocalyptic world. The so called Green Poison has ravaged the population in less than a month. A possibly deceased president has initiated directive 51 activating The Strategic Homeland Division (SHD) or simply The Division. This hyper covert group was formed to return order after a devastating event that causes normal emergency and government services to fail.
Ubisoft’s latest AAA game The Division is, in my very humble opinion, a smash hit with some technical flaws that, while annoying, take little from the whole experience. Released less than a week ago I’ve personally helped the denizens of Midtown Manhattan for close to 40 hours. It’s been brutal, testing, but above all it has been pure tactical fun.
Cover and Concealment
So let’s get to what I consider the worst offending flaw of The Division. Even while Ubisoft got so much right with the cover system, a key mechanic of the game, there are times where it just feels clumsy. I would get stuck trying to rise from cover or on corners while diving especially while trying to fall back.
Moving around a corner while remaining ducked in cover is another awkward moment that never happens fast enough. It is extremely frustrating when someone with a shotgun charges your position and you can’t get off a wall no matter how much you spam A or try to round a corner.
However, do not take this the wrong way, 95% of the time the cover system works flawlessly. The vast majority of the time the cover mechanics allow you to rush from cover to cover popping up to take those perfectly timed shots. The battle between you and the AI as you vie for better ground and angles on the each others position is exhilarating with the speed and lulls of real combat
Speaking of AI, this game is a strong contestant for the most realistic enemies I’ve seen. Yes generally speaking they all pore out of tiny rooms with only one entrance but as you progress through the game they get better and better at taking advantage of cover and at times easily out flank you. The police academy mission and any fight against the Last Man Battalion were invigorating and tough while truly testing our squad cohesion.
NPCs are also smart enough to realize when they are pinned down by gunfire. When they become suppressed they will try to move while remaining behind cover to get out of the way of whizzing bullets or they will stick it out and wait until the bullets stop. Either way suppressing enemies is a great way to get other squad mates into position to take it to the enemy. However as smart as the computer is most of the time I have seen NPCs, bosses no less, get stuck thinking they are being suppressed and just stay behind cover as you stand feet away unloading on them until they either snap out of it or go down.
Day One Silly Things
One issue that I personally have not experienced is falling through the map. Several members of Desert Legion have reported this issue. I’ve heard that at one point walking on a particular street would cause you to instantly fall through. I realize this is something you can expect from a new release of this size and complexity but once again it’s an annoyance that may turn some players off. I’m sure this will be fixed whenever the first patch comes through.
Then we have trading or rather the lack there of. I realize that this is coming in less than a months time but seriously how is this not a standard feature?! This has me fearing some Destiny style shenanigans. So far Ubisoft is saying all the right things and appears to be doing everything right including listening to the fan feedback from the alpha and betas. So I will continue to give them the benefit of the doubt until they give me reason not to.
World and Story
One of the most important things games do is give us an escape to another world. The best games feel real and actions feel important to the story. The world built by Ubisoft is beautiful in its devastation. Destitute denizens roam the streets or hole up in their formerly overpriced apartments.
The story of the Green Poison is rich and exciting. Without giving too much away one crazed scientist may be behind the worst pandemic in human history. Although I’m throwing this in the good pile there is one little issue with the story. You can easily blaze through the game and never really pick up on everything that is going on. You can accidentally or purposefully never watch the cut scenes tucked away in your pause menu. It only takes the push of 3 buttons to see these but I know that’s a few too many for a lot of players.
This world is meticulously crafted. The weather effects are incredible. Snow gathers on your character during blizzards. Fog creates extremely low visibility. You can see footprints in the snow as you walk down the streets. Street art, tags, graffiti, posters, and notes line the walls of apartments and buildings adding to the feel of realism.
This release is clearly just the tip of the iceberg. By the end of the story I was only level 28 and had a measly handful of purple items and still had not finished updating my base.
You may notice my lack of Dark Zone funds and that’s because I’ve spent maybe a total of one hour in the Dark Zone. We will have an in depth podcast on the Dark Zone in the future but for now my initial impression is that the NPCs in the DZ are even more unforgiving than their non DZ counterparts and there is a surprising lack of other players running around.
There is No ‘I’ in Team
I’ve mentioned playing in a squad several times now in this review and there is a reason for that. This game is brutal. Any mistake is punished with a swift death. Move too far into enemy territory and you are quickly surrounded. Take a small piece of cover and you find yourself being peppered with rounds with no way to defend yourself. I’m not saying you can’t play this game alone, on the contrary solo play is very rewarding. But you must be very patient and smart.
Outside of MOBAs I don’t think I’ve ever played such a team centered game. Communication is key. Luckily several of the Desert Legion members and I are actually in the Infantry in the Army National Guard and we can use real tactics and commands to ensure everyone knows just where and what every member of the team is doing.
Guns, Guns, Guns!
Guns! Real world guns! Loads of them! Each class of weapon has a very distinct feel and will drastically change your style of play. LMGs and shotguns have very satisfying kick and deliver massive damage yet have the accuracy issues we’ve come to expect from them. DMRs and Assault riffles, my personal favorites with the DMR as my main and an assault rifle for those oh shit moments and providing cover, are versatile and play nice for newer players. There is also an almost infinite amount of customization that can be done to tailor any weapon to your preferred style of play.
This game is beautiful, hard, and rewarding. I’ve never experienced battle in a video game as intense as this. While there are a couple minor annoyances upcoming updates and expansions will hopefully address them. Ubisoft has created the next big MMORPG that people will be talking about for a long time.
-Real life tactics
Not So Good
-Cover can at times be glitchy
-Falling through map
-Where is the trading!?