The Beta for the upcoming Tom Clancy game The Division just ended yesterday. My initial take from the beta and what a lot of people are saying is that it is Ubisoft's stab at Destiny. Remembering the Destiny beta, I had such a huge hype after I played that and was horribly let down when the full game released. So going into this beta I was very reserved, but attentive.
I hate comparing this game to Destiny because it really doesn't feel like it at all. But seeing as Destiny is really the only other MMORPG of this kind, it's sorta difficult not to compare the two.
Some background really quick on the game in case you don't know. [Tom Clancy's The Division](tag:2684169) takes place in a disease ridden Manhattan. You play as an Agent for the Strategic Homeland Division or The Division for short. Your mission is to investigate the virus and restore order to NYC. At this point, factions have started forming across the city and have taken hold of parts of the city as well.
Now onto the meat of the Beta. Since it is an MMORPG, you will be able to create your own character. But I do not know much about it because in the Beta, Ubisoft simplified it to the point where you just chose a preset character build to use, which made sense since it was only a 3 day beta. (4 day if you have Xbox One) Everything about your character is customizable. From your hat down to your boots and everything in between. Now your clothes do not alter your armor or bonus stats, they are just for looking awesome. Your armor consists of knee pads, vests, gloves, backpack, side arm holster, and gas mask. All of which, along with clothing, is all found throughout the city. Armor is more commonly found on the bodies of your enemies, and can be bought from vendors, while clothing can be found commonly in buildings and (as of the beta) can not be bought. I actually really like this because it makes looting and exploring buildings more satisfying knowing that you could stumble upon a cool looking jacket or slouchy hat. Your weapons are also customizable by attaching optics, magazines, under barrels, etc. which are also found usually on bodies and of course can be bought from vendors.
The money system is based on completing encounters, side missions and main missions. Encounters are fairly random objectives that can be found throughout the city. They could be securing an enemy outpost, or just helping a group of soldiers secure an area.
Besides the main area which contains the missions and encounters, the beta also gave access to an area called the "Dark Zone". This area does not include any missions or encounters but instead is a place where you can better interact with other players. The "Dark Zone" acts as the PVP aspect of The Division. You can team up with other players and take on NPCs or other players. The area also features higher level hostile NPCs. So the aspect of teaming up with other players can come in handy here. Once you attack another player, the game will mark you as "rogue". When you are marked as rogue, all of the other players in the Dark Zone will be able to see your location and they will probably start to hunt you down. If you die while in rogue status, any items you picked up in the Dark Zone, that you haven't extracted yet, will be dropped and be up for grabs. Now if you do not kill anyone and just accidentally hit another player, your rogue status will fade after a few seconds. However, your rogue "cooldown" if you will, will increase with each player kill. Just after one player kill, my countdown was increased to 90 seconds.
Let me swing back to what I said about the items you can drop in the Dark Zone. The Dark Zone is a highly contaminated area of New York so any items you acquire in this area, you can not equip any of the items because they are contaminated. To be able to use those items, you have to reach one of the extraction zones which are spread out around the Dark Zone and extract those contaminated items. Once extracted, they will be put in your stash back at the home base in the main city area.
There is a lot I really liked about the game from the Beta, but at the same time, I am still fairly skeptical about the motivation to complete the objectives given in the game. Since the main mission area (the city area that isn't the Dark Zone) is not PVP, it feels a lot like Destiny in that aspect. I am sure that you can complete story missions and such with other players but one thing that got me excited about the game is when they said that you have to always be on your guard when teaming up. But that claim only comes true when playing in the Dark Zone. I almost wish that the entire map was PVP. It would add more of a thrill to the game and make it much more realistic. Now I am sure that there are a few who will disagree with me by saying that there would always be that select few who would just become OP-d and kill everyone and yeah probably but (and just a loose example) look at Minecraft. Most servers are all PVP with the exception of a community area where combat is restricted. I am not sure if that's what Ubisoft was going for or if they were just going for a straight up MMORPG with a PVP area, which is what it is looking like. With that being said, I do like how Ubisoft set up the PVP aspect of it. By not having a completely separate game mode for fighting other players, it adds fluidity to the game, unlike Destiny where if you want to go up against other players, you have to go into the Crucible aka Destiny Call of Duty.
Another thing I got a bit tired of is that you have to walk/run everywhere. There is not other mode of transportation. Now that does add a bit of realism to the game and gives you the opportunity of running into random enemies but the map is so huge that running everywhere gets tiresome.
What I did like from the Beta and the reason I am still pretty excited about the game is the combat. The combat is balanced very well. There is an even chance that you will kill your enemy that there is that he/she will kill you. When it comes to groups of enemies, coming up with a strategy on the fly is very important. Using the cover mechanic and your items and tools is crucial to your survival. The cover mechanic of the game also works extremely well!
After a while of playing the Beta, I got a little bored because there wasn't much motivation to continue exploring. I got a bit excited when I started a side mission and started finding cool clothing loot and weapon upgrades. But if the whole game is just driven by loot, it is going to turn into Destiny very quickly. Hopefully the actual story will be much more interesting when the game does release. So far, the story is very intriguing but that's about it.
I am still pretty excited for this game, seeing that the game is still in alpha production, things will probably change. I just hope that The Division doesn't become another Destiny.