The Division has a lot of coming to its next expansion Last Stand. They gave a rather large amount of information on what Last Stand will include and it’s a doozy. Ubisoft did not give a release date for the expansion and also mentioned when the expansion launched, the largest update (update 1.6) the game has seen, would be coming be coming with along with it.
For this third expansion, it focuses more on PvP and new mode of Dark Zone (DZ). This new game mode is separate from the DZ and is not open world, but sessioned based like Underground, and Survival. There will still be the PvP aspect, as well as the NPC PvE side, along with Landmarks, just like you would see in the DZ. Last Stand will also be bringing a new Incursion.
A New Way to Fight
Since these are sessioned based, players will be spawned in instanced maps to control terminals that house important information. You win when you can successfully transfer enough of the data. In this new mode, two teams of eight battle it out to get to these terminals, having to deal with the opposing team, and NPC’s that want to destroy everyone. The game sees the enemy team as Rogue agents, but this is only for lore reasons. *Note* Rogue mechanics do not apply in Last Stand.
When you finish a match of Last Stand, you go straight back to the queue, so no going back to the main menu and dealing with that mess. The eight player teams get divided into four player teams and, unfortunately, you can’t come in with four or eight man teams. However, you are allowed to join with three man teams and there is always the option to join solo. You must be level 30 to play a Last Stand match. Below is a photo of a map to kind of give you an idea of the mission objective:
For Last Stand, the DZ is split into four sections: DZ 1–3, 4–6, and the newest DZ areas, 7–8, 8–9. Those will be talked about with Update 1.6. From the matchmaking screen, players should be aware of what Dark Zone they will be put in. Matches can last up to 20 minutes. The A, B, and C locations in the above photo all need to be controlled before players can start transferring data from the terminal.
When you capture a terminal this will activate a spawn relay, so players who were killed can get back into the game. You can spawn from the megamap instead of the list, like in the regular game. Further along during the session, you can spawn on your team mates, making things really hairy late game.
Unlike the regular DZ, you don’t have to worry about losing your things when you die. Thank the game gods. The reasoning behind this is, the dev group is pushing you towards the fights, so punishing you for death would silly. The regular DZ allows players to make a hasty escape, and since it is open world, the punishment is acceptable.
Matchmaking for Last Stand is based on Gear Score, but also how well you have been playing as of late. Ubisoft stated:
“If you suddenly find yourself in a situation where nothing is going your way and your opponents are too skilled for you to handle, it shouldn’t be long until you find yourself playing against – and with — players on a more reasonable level again. If you sign up as a group, the server will aggregate the recent performance of all the players in your group and make sure you end up in a suitable game together.”
Ubisoft is also trying to limit the randomness of stats on gear and the impact Gear Sets have with a new balancing system. Players can try this out in their PTS (Public Test Server).
PvP and PvE Combined
Just like in the regular DZ, NPC’s are still guarding Landmarks, and patrolling the streets. Along with the norm, they are also being pests near these terminals, which are guarded by elites which will have to be deal with before you do anything else.
Killing these NPC’s will reward your team SHD tech, a team resource that you can use to unlock tatical boosts and fortifications left behind by the JTF and first wave Division agents. You have a “home” base — which is just the spot you spawn when the match starts- which you can activate automatic turrets to defend it, or a large Pulse to alert you of nearby enemies.
After set milestones during the match, these tactical boosts come online. Using your SHD tech resource as currency, these stations will give your team different bonuses, like faster data upload speed or more points for killing enemies. Stations can only be activated one team at a time.
Ubisoft stated these boosts were essential to your survival in Last Stand:
“These boosts aren’t permanent though, and only last for a set amount of time before they go neutral again. This means you’ll need a constant stream of SHD tech, but you will also need to plan ahead depending on any boosts the enemy team manage to activate for themselves. Once their boost goes away, what will you and your team do to counter any gains they made during the last couple of minutes?”
“The tactical boosts are a key part of Last Stand, which means that there is a symbiotic relationship between different player types. Some players might go for tactical locations, actively seeking out PvP fights, while others might go for a more PvE focused game and farm SHD tech for their team away from the control points. Sure, you always risk running into hostile players – it’s in the nature of Last Stand, and of the Dark Zone – but even if you try to actively stay away from those encounters you can still participate and help your team win the day. If you play smart, you might even be able to use the NPC enemies against the enemy team…”
NPC’s are also apparently very annoying in Last Stand, as they respawn continuously during a match. Landmarks do as well, so everything respawns fasters than in the regular DZ, which is good for farming.
Ubisoft is introducing a new progression system similar to Underground. You will gain special experience points and Last Stand rank, to a maximum of 40. Like in Underground, each rank up will reward you with a sealed cache of items, and at a certain set of milestones in your progression, you will unlock exclusive vanity items that can’t be found anywhere else in the game. This mode comes with two unique, full vanity sets and two sets of weapons skins. Even when you hit maximum rank, you will still earn Last Stand experience and be able to acquire sealed caches. You can not lose Last Stand rank like DZ rank, so no worries there.
Extra rewards are given if your team wins in Last Stand, but you are tracked on 30 or more actions you could perform during the match. Similar to Survival, if you performed those actions you will be rewarded accordingly.