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PC Beta First Impressions

William Murphy Posted:
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Unlike DayZ and other recent PVP shooters, you don’t drop everything you were carrying in the Division, just the loot you picked up while in the Dark Zone. So you won’t lose your gear from the rest of the game, or any progress you’ve made. Your character will resurrect at any one of the DZ checkpoints, and if you manage to get to your body before its looted, you can still get your DZ loot and get it out. This is helpful when say, you die from an AI, and not from a fellow player. It’s like Diablo 3 where you can still get to your death site and pick up your gear.

The Dark Zone is level and tier based, so when you enter alone or with a party, you’ll be matched to other players of your level and Dark Zone rank (DZ rank is separate from your regular level and allows you to buy and wield gear you find in the Dark Zone or at its vendors). 

Build up base, open up new skills, perks system (not in beta), new clothing to find and earn, armor, weapons, all with typical white/green/yellow/purple color scheme. Crafting, deconstructing, modifying weapons.  There’s also local area voice chat, similar to Elder Scrolls Online on console or Planetside 2.  This is helpful, though players can obviously still lie to your virtual face about their intentions… hence, why it’s best to bring friends with you.

Going Rogue, in essence attacking any other player in the DZ, is not only one of the best ways to get your adrenaline pumping, but if you do it as a group with friends, it can be one of the best ways to get loot in the game.  From VG247:

“You’ll immediately be marked as a rogue if you attack another player in a sustained fashion (you’ll just get a warning if you spray a friendly by accident in a firefight). You’re now marked red on the map, and other Agents will get good levels of XP by taking you out. If the beta is anything to judge by, will almost always result in a small army of players coming for you. Conversely, if you see a large group of rogue Agents, run. These guys are aiming to beef up their rogue rank to 5 (the highest) by killing other players and surviving their manhunt counters to get the Dark Zone credits used to buy gear at the Dark Zone vendors. They want to kill you. Unless you’re in a large group, you’re dead meat. Go the other way.”

For those averse to PVP, it’s good to note that the DZ is entirely optional. While some of the best gear is there, there’s plenty of great gear to collect and craft in the PVE world too. One of the first things you do in the campaign is establish your base of operations. It’s basically the Dark Zone’s form of personal housing, and you’ll do missions and random encounters to unlock higher and higher tiers of tech, medical supplies, ammo, armor, gear and more.  Were told that the final game will have its equivalent of dungeons and raids for the PVE fans too, and all of the game’s missions can be taken on solo or in groups of up to four.

You can fully tweak and mod all of your weapons, there are a number of skills to slot (only two at a time, from a list of about 12 in beta), perks and talents too (though these were closed off in beta). You’ll collect tons of costume items to tweak your looks, and all of your armor and even your backpacks have stats to alter your HP, attack power, or skill strength. You could effectively deck yourself out in HP gear to be a tank, attack power gear to be a DPS powerhouse, or skill strength to be a support character – yes there are group and personal heals in the Division.

So far, we’ve really had an excellent time with the Division. It’s original, it controls really well, and it runs fantastically on our machines. We have some concerns about the social functions, and about of the amount of stuff there is to do in the open world between varying waypoints. The world seems somewhat empty and lonely between firefights.  For instance, we found a sewer in the beta, figured it would be filled with stuff to find, kill, or loot… there was nothing. There was genuine care in designing it, but the place was void of anything. We’re hoping the final game will have more random encounters and less running around a barren wasteland.  We’re also concerned about whether or not the game will have enough content to keep players going for months on end.  But hey, we thought the same thing about Destiny and that game did alright. If you’ve been looking for a good new third-person shooter MMO to play, you’ll want to keep this one on your radar.

Things would have been nice if the Division was a more traditional MMO with hundreds of players running around and into each other, but the setting of this near future destroyed city would be ruined with hundreds of bunny hoppers and people shouting LFG all over the place. The Division works as its designed – this new breed of shooter MMORPG. And we’re anxious to see the final product in just over a month.

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William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.