The Division has had its ups and downs, and it seems they are still attempting to get their game under control. A large portion of this update has to do with the Dark Zone, which is not surprising, considering the next expansion involves a DZ aspect. It seems they are going to address some very annoying problems in this major update, which Ubisoft has described as “the largest update for The Division to date.”
This update will be released the same day as the Last Stand expansion. You can read more about what that has to offer (which is quite a bit) in this article.
The Dark Zone
First off, this update will be opening the northern parts of the the Dark Zone (DZ). Zones 7, 8, and 9 will now be available. According to the dev team, there are some surprises for players coming to these new areas, they did not give any additional detail. Also, with vertical spaces, rooftop areas, and underground passes, theses zones are almost double the current DZ.
As usual, these areas are filled with roaming NPC’s and Landmarks which get more challenging the further north you go. DZ 7 is located just north of DZ 6, with 8 and 9 spreading out to the east, placing them both north of Midtown East district. Loot is going to be of the highest caliber in these DZ’s, but it is not for the weak, so be prepared.
The new Landmarks have multiple waves of enemies after the first initial NPC spawn. Clearing Landmarks will now award you with additional loot that is automatically placed in your inventory. No need to extract it.
They are not increasing the amount of players present in each DZ instance. This means they are hoping players will be more spread out, giving each player opportunities for more PvE battles. With the increase of space, Ubisoft did make it possible to fast travel between checkpoints in the DZ.
Below is a quick bulletin summary of changes to the DZ:
- The Dark Zone has been expanded with three new areas, Dark Zone 7–9, north of Dark Zone 6 and Midtown East.
- New Landmarks feature waves of enemies.
- Landmarks award you with additional loot placed directly into your inventory.
- Fast travel between Dark Zone checkpoints has become available.
A new event is also hitting the DZ, named Contamination events. About every hour, Cleaners in the Dark Zone will appear in underground locations, and you need to stop them (of course). Be careful though. These areas are so contaminated your virus filter will not be enough to keep you from being affected. Move fast and watch your health while venturing into these underground passageways.
Dark Zone Leaderboards
Leaderboards are finally being added to the DZ. This allows you to compare your stats with other players across a variety of activities on a weekly and monthly basis. The stats are divided into PvP and PvE.
- Rouges killed
- Manhunts survived
- Extractions hijacked
- NPC’s killed
- Locked chests looted
- Items extracted
All tracked activities will be turned into a total score, divided into three tiers, and the higher you are in the compared to your fellow DZ players the better rewards you will earn when the leaderboards will reset. Why the hell they would reset them I have no idea.
Ubisoft wanted to give their hardcore players more of a challenge, so they concocted legendary difficulty. They implemented in on three mission — Times Square, WarrenGate Powerplant, and Napalm Production Site. The dev team stated, “This mode is supposed to be the most challenging mode in the game, even more so than Heroic Incursions, and is really going to test your build, your tactics and your group synergy.”
The enemies will not be the same in this new mode. All enemies have been replaced with smarter, much more powerful LMB that use advanced tactics against your team. They will react according to what skills and status affects you use, are going to be extremely hard to hit because they keep their heads down under fire. They will always flank you and you really don’t want to get into a melee encounter with them. That will spell death for you. It’s similar to fighting a Hunter from the Survival mode, only every single one of them is a Hunter.
There will also be named enemies throughout thrown into the mix throughout the missions. They have their own behaviors, roles and skills. You will be facing a mix of normal, veteran, and elite enemies. Legendary does scale to the amount of players present, similar to Challenge mode, but is supposed to be for more organized groups of players.
Legendary difficulty also comes with its own set of vanity items that you can’t get anywhere else, along with tons of reward loot for your heroic effort. Ubisoft plans on bringing this difficulty to other missions in the future.
Exotic Items and New Gear Set
Named weapons and gear now have their very own type, called Exotics. You will be able to tell them apart, in your inventory and when they drop from enemies, from the High End gear. Each of the items has also received a flavor and lore text as part of its description.
Each Exotic weapon has its own unique talent, if it didn’t have one already. The dev team gave a few examples:
“The Hungry Hog, for example, will now come with the Glutton talent (“Killing a target increases your damage dealt by 20% until you stop firing”) while the Tenebrae will have Lights Out (“Destroying an enemy weak point resets skill cooldowns for you and nearby group members”).”
These talents do not work alongside the Alphabridge 4-piece bonus set. This update is also introducing Extoic weapon sets where you need to have two specific Exotic weapons to unlock their talent.
Exotic Caches, which guarantee an exotic item, will be available as a weekly reward from legendary missions.
Gear Set Changes
There is a new Gear Set coming with Update 1.6, called SEEKR. This sets speciality is body shots. Its 4-piece bonus will guarantee a critical hit after two consecutive body shots (which can spread out between multiple enemies).
Here are the other changes to the current Gear Sets:
- Alphabridge 4-piece bonus now shares the free talent from your weapons instead of all three.
- Frontline’s 4-piece no longer removes the critical hit chance, instead it removes the effect of any mods you have applied to the shield.
- The Reclaimer set focuses on the Support Station. Its 4-piece bonus activates all Support Station mods simultaneously. It no longer has an effect on consumables.
- Tactician’s Authority’s buff only disappears after you use a skill.
Armor and Resistances
Armor has always been one of those “go to” in The Division. You rolled for it if you could, it wasn’t fun and Ubisoft acknowledged this, completely changing the way Armor works.
Instead, gear items will come with a base armor as usual, but Armor will now be removed as a major bonus, being replaced with health. Health and stamina will now be the new metas, taking Armor out as a major factor in the game. However, this is going to impact healing, skills, Skill Power, and damage. So pretty much everything.
This now means players who have invested in Skill Power have an increased advantage, especially when using a skill like the First Aid Kit. For example: with the new meta, since a player has so much health instead of Armor it makes it you will not be able to fill your health bars to full when you use the First Aid Kit if you have no points into Skill Power (Electronics). This also goes for all other skills, like the Sticky Bomb, and Seeker Mine.
They also changed the way resistances to status effects work. Now resistances are analogue instead of binary, which means that they lower the effect of the status effect by its percentage instead of just cancelling it out – 40% burn resist means 40% less burn damage and duration, for example. If you do manage to build up a 100% resist to a specific status effect, it will no longer have an effect on you and anyone trying to apply it to you will see a “Resisted” message in the scrolling combat text.
Also, whenever a status effect is applied to you, you will build up a certain amount of temporary resistance to it for a short while.
- Armor has been removed as a major bonus and replaced with Health. Gear still comes with base armor and some talents will still give bonus armor.
- Health and stamina are your primary means of toughness.
- Current Health rolls have been turned into the new stat Resist All.
- Resistances have become analogue instead of binary.
- Diminishing returns have been added to status effects.
- Other parts of the game have been rebalanced as a result, to make sure Time to Kill and Time to be Killed stay balanced.
- All changes are retroactive.
Changes to Skill Powers and Skills
- delayed detonation with a red area warning and beeping sound before it explodes
- Flashbang — no longer cause the Disrupt status effect
- given a longer cooldown
- First Aid Defibrillator — will now heal in two steps; one initial burst followed by a heal over time
- will no longer do any damage on its own
Signature Skills are also going to be tweaked. Immunity after using a Signature skill has been increased to 60 seconds, but you are now prevented from being able to trigger the same skill when you already have the immunity debuff from another player’s skill. Skill has will have an effect on Signature Skills as well as regular skills and Tactical Link will give you less weapon stability then it does currently. This is so it can be countered by Survivor Link.
Summary of Changes:
- Skill Power has been moved to a system similar to armor, where each new World Tier you reach will demand more Skill Power to reach the same effectiveness of your skills.
- There’s a bigger difference in skill efficiency between low and high Skill Power builds.
- Changes have been made to Sticky Bomb, First Aid and Shock Turret.
- We’ve rebalanced Signature Skills and made it impossible to trigger a Signature Skill when you’re already suffering from its immunity debuff. Tactical link’s damage bonus has been lowered in PvP.
- Hip fire stability while moving has been decreased and a new hip fire camera has been added.
- The damage gap between body damage and headshots has been lowered.
- When combat rolling, there’s now a one second delay before you can roll again.
- You can no longer reload your weapon while sprinting.
- Medkits can now be used at full health and remove certain status effects.
- The Rejuvenated talent has been changed to give additional resistance to status effects.
- Adrenaline no longer gives an overheal from medkits, instead it will give a heal over time.
- Your enemy’s health bar will flash whenever they use a medkit.
- Survivability talents like On the Move, Battle Buddy and Critical Save have seen some balancing changes.
Guess what!! Unlimited freaking recalibrations is finally here! You can now recalibrate an item an infinite amount of times, but it will get more expensive each time, until it caps out after five recalibrations. It is still only one stat per item.
- Unlimited recalibration has been introduced. The price increases each time, capping out at five recalibrations.
- Helping civilians reward Intel.
- High End pistols in Survival no longer costs Division Tech.
- Scavenger Box now scales with World Tier.
- Some item prices have been tweaked.
The In-Game Store
There will be a new currency coming in Update 1.6, called Premium Credits. You can read more about that here. You can use these credits to buy a range of new items from the special vendor including — emotes, weapon skins, and plenty of other vanity items. Check out a couple of those below:
- All activities now reward their own separate experience points and award their own caches.
- In Survival, solo players can no longer end up in games with players queuing as a group.
- Grouping up while in a PvP Survival game has been disabled.
- Reviving a downed player in Survival always costs a medkit.
That’s it folks. There is still no word on a specific release date for the Last Stand expansion, which is bringing this massive update. We will keep you posted, there could be more on the way.