Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (and I put the Tom Clancy there because I have to, not because I think the game has much to do with anything that he’d put his name on) is a much better game than the original, in my opinion. In fact, it’s such a well-developed game that I’m really enjoying it, despite the fact that I’m not really a fan of the looter-shooter genre in general.
One of the things I’ve found most impressive about the game is how much more complex and interesting it is than the normal looter-shooter type of game. The character development, while not perfect, is a lot better than most. The world design is also very well done. You can find all sorts of hidden areas through exploration, and also small hidden stories all over the well-designed environment.
Over the last week of playing the game, I’ve picked up a few more things that players might not be aware of and that might help make the game more enjoyable for them. Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft have put a lot more into the game than meets the eye, and sometimes you miss things. In my case, sometimes even really obvious things.
Pickup Your Toys
Deployable assets are a big part of the gameplay in The Division 2, but did you know that you can destruct them before their time limit is up? I didn’t, and it’s not just about being tidy. There’s a really good reason for picking your turrets, drones, and hives back up. It decreases the time to spawn another.
It’s not uncommon for me to get into a fight, throw out my hive and flame turret, and then I either finish the fight quickly or have it move away from where I deployed my two friends. I used to just move on and ignore those devices, but then I found out that you can destroy them early by holding down the key you deployed them with.
Deconstructing the devices will not only start the countdown to deploy another immediately, but the time to next deployment is reduced significantly. Now, every time I move on from a fight I finished or don’t have my devices in an optimal placement after the fight changes locations a bit, I hold down the button for the device in order to blow it up early. I used to go through whole fights without the benefit of one or both of my deployables, but not anymore more.
Capture Control Points
Capture control points at every opportunity. You’ll get the initial experience and unlock the supply room with decent loot in it, but that’s just the beginning. You’ll be able to go to each control point once per day to re-loot all but the biggest box you got for the initial capture. Since there’s always one or two equipment-providing boxes in those storerooms, it’s a way to get extra random loot chances for free.
As you advance in level and get to the end-game, there are an increased number of random stats generated for equipment, which means you want to loot as often as you can to be looking for the most beneficial random combination of rolled stats. More rolls, more chances you’ll find something better than what you have.
Since each loot roll is at the current level of the player opening the box, it might be better to wait until you’re max level to capture points, but I don’t think that benefit outweighs all the other benefits you’d lose by not capturing them whenever you can.
Resupply Your Allies
One benefit to captured control points is the officer that’s generated on the point once you’ve captured it. This officer will take food, water, and components from you in exchange for experience. It’s a handy way to trade looted junk for experience, but there’s more advantage to it than just that that simple conversion.
You can unlock two skills at the White House that are triggered by supplying control points. One will highlight loot boxes, bags, and other objects, making them easier to see. The other does the same for enemies. Most importantly, the highlights can be seen through walls.
Being able to spot loot more easily dramatically increases the rate you pick stuff up, which tops off your crafting components pretty quickly. That frees you up to sell your junk. It also lets you run into water, food, or component supply points and more efficiently harvest everything possible and do it more quickly.
Being able to spot enemies is no small benefit, either. I’ve stopped short of rounding a corner into a group of hostiles more than once because their outlines suddenly appeared in front of me before I stepped out in front of them. Granted, the object-spotting seems a little more useful to me, but there’s no denying both are worth their SHD Tech points.
As I pointed out in the last article, shooting the locks off of gates can get you access to extra loot. It turns out that was just a primer on the more clandestine loot that can also be found in The Division 2. There are a lot of areas that aren’t just hidden, but even require a bit of problem-solving to get to on occasion.
This also relates to the control points, though. One of the best ways to spot hidden areas is to go around with the highlighting active. It’s pretty common to see objects highlighted that you don’t see an obvious way to get to. These are the ones you want to spend time finding, because they nearly always have an equipment drop or two.
Sometimes you have to spend a little time exploring the world around the discovered stash to find a way in. It always seems like the way is pretty straightforward once you’ve figured it out, but finding the trick is the challenge. Sometimes it’s a closed elevator shaft you have to pry open and drop down or climb up through. Sometimes it’s a ladder that’s set off to the side unobtrusively and behind the building.
In more than a few cases, I’ve found the way to get in was to shoot off a lock placed behind the door, but that you could only barely see from somewhere else. What makes it hard is that you can’t interact with the door and thus have no indication that it might be opened that way. You just have to look around and remember as you do that shooting off a lock may be the solution.
Extra Missions and Free Stuff
Hit escape and then click on the progression pane in the menu. At the top-right is the Ubisoft icon, which you can click and get a series of challenges each week. Complete these missions for a small amount of in-game cash and experience. Granted, it’s not much. The challenges are mostly missions that you can complete through normal play anyway, though.
To do the missions, you have to join the Ubisoft Club, which is their semi-social platform tying games together. It’s really a way for them to promote other games to you, but you get some nifty free things for joining. I think it’s a fair enough trade considering the ease of creating filters for any persistent spam I don’t want to see.
Once you’ve joined, go to the Club tab under progression and accept all the challenges. You won’t do them all, but they reset each week and it’s just another chance to pick up a little free XP and cash. Arguably better is getting the extra cosmetic stuff for joining the Club and for each other Ubi game you own. I got patches and some cosmetic items in The Division 2 for the Watchdogs, Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and other games I already owned, for instance.
Helping Friends in Need
As I’ve said before, I’m pretty happy playing alone, but there is a really good reason you want to occasionally answer those requests for backup that you get spammed with regularly. You’ll get a share of the experience and loot when completing missions, just like the player who has the mission. There are even better loot-centric reasons to support your fellow players, though.
Each time you capture a control point, you unlock the supply room and get to loot at the boxes. The first time that room’s opened, you can loot the big box that provides multiple rolls for higher-tier gear. You get to open that box when you help another player capture a control point, even if it’s a control point you’ve already captured yourself.
That means helping players periodically will also give you a chance to get even more loot. Self-interest is a powerful motivator and The Division 2 does a great job of using it to guide you towards helping your fellow agents.
As you get higher-tiered weapons, you’ll find that the additional talents attached to the weapon come with some requirements. Some require you have more than a certain number of enhancements of a specific type, and others require less. It’s a system that further forces you to consider your equipment and build out, and frankly makes it a lot more worthwhile to hold on to really good equipment that just doesn’t precisely fit what you need at the moment.
Having a stash full of alternative gear will help you to mix and match later when you want to capitalize on the cool new weapon’s extra abilities but need to adjust a bit to get there. Plus, since you’re never really locked into a specific build, having all the extra gear allows you to build multiple loadouts for various styles of play.
Not all weapon special perks are tied to tied to gear, though. Some special properties activate when the weapon is holstered or in your hand. In some cases, they activate when you draw the weapon. Read the weapon information carefully to know how given features perform. You may get more benefit from wounding than for killing. Whatever the trick the ability is, be sure to read about it and then decide if the weapon is an upgrade or not. No matter how awesome the feature is, it’s worthless if you never activate it.
At the end of the day, The Division 2 is a looter-shooter and I think I’m nearing the end of my interest in it. That’s really more a testament to the quality of the game than anything, though. The fact that it’s held my interest this long is very uncommon for the genre, and even now I don’t expect a clean break. I’m sure I’ll be back to play a bit plenty over the next few weeks as I pick up whatever next game I happen to choose.
Of course, as soon as I say that, I have to also admit that the game has surprised me multiple times as I’ve started to lose interest only to transition into a new and interesting phase. It’s entirely possible that I’ll be back next week with another list of new things I’ve found that are interesting and have pulled me right back in.
The Division 2 is really just a very well-built game that’s easily worth picking up if you haven’t already. I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it and expect there’s a decent chance I’ll be back to play through the added content over the next year or so. If you do decide to give the game a try, hopefully these tips will help you get the most out of the game.