Ubisoft’s got a mixed record when it comes to the quality of its games at launch, but it seems to be the one company that has figured out how to nail running a stellar live service. In this era of “Games-as-a-Service,” Ubisoft’s done a great job not only extending the life of its games but helping them reach their potential instead of abandoning them if they come in a bit undercooked at launch. There’s probably no greater success story in that sense than Tom Clancy’s The Division.
The Division was a fairly decent game at launch, but it was plagued by countless issues and a dearth of content. The game quickly fizzled out, but Ubisoft stuck with it, seemingly using the last two or so years to take a throw crap at the wall and see what sticks approach to trying to right the ship. This has been a tumultuous experience for fans who have stuck it out, as some features and changes bombed, while others resonated really well, but as of patch 1.8, which deployed late last year, it’s safe to say The Division is in a pretty great spot.
This makes Ubisoft’s recent announcement of The Division 2 an interesting one to think about. The original game’s entire live service has basically been a test case for what works and what doesn’t when putting together this sort of game, so Ubisoft is in a really strong position to knock the sequel out of the park from jump. We don’t know what Ubisoft has planned just yet, but we have a couple of ideas for what we’d like to see in the sequel
A New Setting – Sort Of
Ideally, I’d love to see The Division 2 set in something sci-fi (think Destiny) if only because the modern day setting really hobbled the game’s ability to allow for suspension of disbelief with many players. Personally, this wasn’t a huge issue, but I’ve talked to plenty of people and read many articles and posts where people describe being unable to get past normal humans being bullet sponges.
Given that this is a “Tom Clancy” game, I’m not expecting The Division 2 to go sci-fi, but I do think it could at least go futuristic. Think along the lines of Battlefield 2142. I think you could solve this issue for the most part by going far enough ahead into the future.
Take What Works, Throw Out What Didn’t
I’m reiterating this bit from the opening, but it’s worth diving into in a bit more detail. There were plenty of things that worked in The Division and just as many that didn’t. Some of the big standouts for me were the Underground (especially the revamped version), Survival, and Resistance. These should all come back in some form for the sequel. As far as I’m concerned, Underground should form the foundation of the endgame. Rifts were the best thing Diablo III gave to the ARPG genre and The Division 2 should expand on its version of the mode.
Survival was a sort of Battle Royale mode where players had to manage typical survival game resources such as hunger and thirst, but also warmth and disease. This mode will undoubtedly come back; the battle royale genre is absolutely huge right now. But I’m actually more interested in how the elements of this mode could be applied game-wide. Why limit it to the battle royale mode?
One thing that’s frustrated me about The Division is the World Tier system. This is actually kind of an ARPG issue in general, but I feel the survival elements could actually help out with this in the sequel. World Tiers in The Division are kind of just stepping stones until you get to WT5. You don’t really care about your build and items so much as you grind through WT1-4. The game gets a bit harder, sure, but ultimately the middle tiers just don’t matter.
I feel like each World Tier should be more its own game, with a different set of difficulties. A big way this could play out could be with the inclusion of survival elements from the original game’s Survival mode. Maybe things like hunger, thirst, and warmth aren’t an issue in World Tier 0/1, but as you move up to WT2, 3, and so on, these elements are introduced and amplified in severity. Even if these survival elements are left out, I’d like to see more done with these tiers than what we currently have in The Division.
The Division’s West Side Piers is another feature that really worked that should come back, but like Survival, I’d like to see its elements integrated into the main game. The randomized mission system keeps the game world interesting and having enemies come after you instead of just waiting around to be killed keeps you on your toes. Like the survival elements, this sort of thing could scale in intensity as you move through the World Tiers, allowing players to find the level of challenge they’re comfortable with while making the game more interesting as a whole.
Expand the Class System
One thing I was never a huge fan of in The Division was the class system. It’s just not that interesting. It’s too simplified and it doesn’t really offer a lot of neat stuff to pull off. Take some inspiration from the operators in Rainbow Six: Siege. There’s plenty to work with there. Go nuts and give us some real interesting classes we can sink our teeth into. Or, you know, go into the future and come up with entirely new, crazy stuff for us to play with. I’m not particular; I just want more options.
This one isn’t really sexy, but it needs to be said nonetheless. For whatever reason, Ubisoft’s sort of had a blind spot when it comes to anti-cheat. The Division has been plagued by cheaters (particularly in the Dark Zone), Rainbow Six: Siege went through serious issues with cheaters, and so on. It’s not an easy thing to tackle, but this needs to be something Ubisoft is thinking about as a priority. You can make the most awesome sequel ever, but if cheaters ruin the fun for everyone, it’s not going to be pretty.
What do you want to see in The Division 2? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!