The Division has been out for almost six months, and what an incredible half year it’s been! Through regular game updates, a first expansion and weekly patches, we have put a lot of energy into constantly improving the game. While these efforts have allowed us to bring more gameplay variety, the overall experience has been affected by lingering issues that have accumulated since release.
With Update 1.4 in the works, it has become clear with your feedback and our own observations that our priority should now be on improving the core gameplay experience. For this reason, we have made several adjustments to our development schedule: Update 1.4 will be released in October independently from Survival, and will focus entirely on bug fixing, game balancing and other improvements. Survival, the second expansion that was initially planned for release with Update 1.4 is now postponed to a later date this year. The third expansion, Last Stand, will be released in early 2017. This new schedule will not only enable us to strengthen the core experience before adding new content, but also continuously improve it by allowing for more production time to ensure the quality of future updates as well.
Our focus for update 1.4 and beyond will be on the following:
Fixing bugs, including those listed in our Known Issues as well as many other ones
Making loot drops more relevant to the player
Enemy difficulty and time to kill
Gear Sets and weapons balancing
Solo player experience
Dark Zone and PvP balancing
Quality of life additions based on community suggestions (such as weapon skins no longer taking inventory space)
This ongoing effort will begin with Update 1.4 where we will address some of the most pressing issues, such as bugs, loot and time to kill and set the foundations for future improvements such as PvP and Dark Zone. We will make sure to keep you informed of our progress in our weekly State of the Game, and share the complete overview of the changes to come in Update 1.4 in a Special Report livestream on September 13th.
We want to take this opportunity to thank you, our community, for being so openly passionate about the game. Our passion is what unites us and allows us to build a better game together! We remain committed to delivering the best experience possible, and will constantly be looking for your feedback as we shape the future of The Division.
Until now, 1.4 was basically the Survival update, but that has changed:
Update 1.4 will not include Survival; Survival will be a stand alone update that will be released later.
Update 1.4 will be released in October and will focus on bug-fixing and balancing, before they move on to new content.
It will be released on all platforms at the same time.
Until 1.4 is released, they will continue with small bugfixes and hotfixes that will deployed in the weekly maintenances.
In 1.4 they want to fix the whole system, address the big picture and and since all issues are somewhat connected, they don´t want to fix a single issue at a time but make a general overhaul. Nothing is off limits and they are even willing to rework whole game-features to make the game a better experience.
The idea is not to rush out a new update, but to take the time that is needed to make it a good experience.
Planed fixes in 1.4
There are many things to fix like issues with Skills and bigger and smaller bugs that range from game-breaking to just annoying. All these issues should be addressed and fixed in 1.4.
They had a lot of internal discussions about pre 30 and post 30 NPC scaling, what the differences are and why it is so frustrating to fight against 34 NPCs. The solution is not to just change health pools and weapon damages, they want to re-balance the whole system.
Loot should be relevant and better accessible, so that you can do the content you want and still get a character progression. Also when you do a content on a specific difficulty you should get equipment for that difficulty so you can progress. This way you don´t have to get carried through challenge content to do it yourself later.
So far confirmed 1.4 changes
Since they have more time for that update, they can also address issues that had lower priorities in the last updates, because they had to address critical issues first. These are the so far confirmed quality of life changes that will be included in the 1.4 update:
Weapon Skins no longer use inventory space
Craft all button
Buyback option from vendors
Running in the Base of Operation
Involving the Community
1.4 will be a special update that will be developed in direct discussion with the community. This way they can address the big picture with direct feedback from the front.
They will also invite People to Massive to look at 1.4 and work with the Developers on the next update. All expenses will be paid and it won´t be exclusive to known YouTubers and Podcasters. Everybody can have a chance to discuss ideas in a constructive way. There will be an article up tomorrow, where you can fill out a survey and apply for that trip.
While some people will be invited to Malmö, all others can also participate too. There is a new section in the official forum, where you can give feedback about specific topics. The first topic will be "your top 10 bugs". They will collect all feedbacks and then prioritize the fixes based on that. => Join the forum here: Link
Theorycrafting will also be a topic. They want to discuss how do you build your character for specific situations (PvP for example) to really understand how you play the game and why. This way, they don´t make changes and balancing on assumptions based on their data.
Reddit threads mentions
They also mentioned Reddit threads as examples of the good and constructive discussions that took place since the last State of the Game:
It was not confirmed if The BLIND Assault Rifle will be in 1.4
Changes in PVE will have an impact on the Dark Zone and the PVP, but they will do the PVE balancing first and then focus on the fallout in the Dark Zone
Cheater banning is still in progress
It is unknown if savable loadouts will be included in 1.4
Survival will be out after 1.4 as a stand alone update
Last Stand will be released early 2017
1.4 will be a stand alone update, that will focus on a general overhaul of the game in direct discussion with the community. The goal is to address the issues that have been listed in the last State of the Game and not only improve the quality of life in the game, but the whole experience.
They will keep us informed in the weekly State of the Game, and share the complete overview of the changes to come in Update 1.4 in a Special Reportlivestream on 13 September.
Posted Aug 27, 16
· Last edited Aug 27, 16by Smiff
With the announcement of Update 1.4 last week, there has been a huge influx of discussions. While there are concerns that the update is too far away, it’s important that the proper amount of time is allocated to make sure the changes are done correctly. Keep up the great and constructive conversations! We appreciate your support in helping us make Update 1.4 as good as possible.
ELITE TASK FORCE
There have been a lot of discussions regarding the candidate selection process for the Elite Task Force and concerns that it is exclusive to big personalities. While the application is closed now, we would like to reiterate that they were open to everyone and we will be using a number of criteria in order to make the best selection possible. Keep an eye on your emails!
PUBLIC TEST SERVER (PTS)
With the announcement of the PTS yesterday, there have been many discussions surrounding the PC exclusivity and general details. The PTS will be on PC only to begin with because it allows us to make constant iterations and deploy patches when we need to. Along with this, your character will be transferred to the PTS environment regularly and any progress made on the PTS will not carry over to the live game. Keep your eyes peeled for more information as we go forward!
Will there be new content?
There won´t be new content, new incursions or new modes, it will be what we have now, but different.
But as stated in the last State of the Game, there will be new features like buyback button etc.
Dark Zone / PVP
In 1.4 the Dark Zone won´t get a dedicated PVP balance.
There will be a lot of changes to PVE and therefore they want to focus on that first and then deal with the fallout in PVP later.
There will also be a Special Report on September 13th that will reveal the changes that are coming with Update 1.4
It confirmed what they already knew – Ballistic shield is broken and everybody uses Pulse, SmartCover and First Aid.
There will be a follow up survey that will go into more depth about how and why you don´t use specific skills.
We are aiming at releasing Update 1.4 in October, without the Survival expansion.
Will Update 1.4 be released simultaneously across all platforms?
Will Update 1.4 be free?
When is Survival coming out?
We will release Survival before the end of the calendar year. Since our current priority is on Update 1.4, we cannot commit to an exact release date just yet.
When is Last Stand coming out?
Last Stand is postponed to early 2017.
Can you give us more details on the changes to the core experience?
At the moment we are looking at the following topics:
Fixing bugs, including those listed in our Known Issues as well as many other ones
Making loot drops more relevant to the player
Enemy difficulty and time to kill
Gear Sets and weapons rebalancing
Solo player experience
Dark Zone and PvP balancing
Quality of life additions based on community suggestions (such a weapon skins no longer taking inventory space)
We don’t have details yet as to what form these changes will take, but we will share these with you in the coming weeks.
What about other issues?
There are other topics that are very important to players’ experience which are not listed above. This does not mean that we are not aware of them, but only that they will be addressed later.
How do you plan to integrate community feedback in Update 1.4 and the following ones?
We have been and will continue to read your feedback on the forums, twitter, Reddit, etc. We are also planning a series of forum polls that will be asking for your feedback on very specific game topics, for us to have a complete understanding of your experience. When possible, we will also provide you with information on the upcoming changes, and ask for your feedback directly, before these changes are implemented in the game.
How will you keep us informed of the progress?
We will provide weekly updates on our progress in the State of the Game livestreams and articles. Make sure to look for these! Also, when major improvements are ready to be announced, we will communicate on them specifically.
Where can I make suggestions?
You can post your suggestions on The Division forums.
Where can I report bugs?
You can report bugs on The Division forums, or by contacting our support team.
NPC have insane health-pools and it takes very long to kill them and that is just off.
The balance between RPG and shooter is lost
They will re-scale the NPCs to get the 1-30 experience back and to get there, they will reduce the health pools by “a lot”
That also means that the gameplay gets easier and that has to be compensated in player-balancing.
There is also a big gap between random gear and optimized gear and that needs to be addressed.
The main goal is, to go back to the experience, where it was fun to play and the player should feel powerful again.
There will also be changes on gear and skills.
To ensure smooth progression and make these steps clear, they need to look at the current scaling and redesign the system, so it feels like a more natural progression in difficulty.
There is a huge gap between hard and challenge content
This difficulty spike makes the life of solo and casual players very hard and you just can´t progress at some point.
There will also be more granularity how you select the difficulty in the game
Every activity should give you appropriate reward.
Solo players will have something to do, it may take longer until you get to the goal, but it will be possible.
More and better loot, less weighting, so for example you not only get Lone Star in a specific activity
There will still be some loot weighting in the game, so when you want to optimize and farm a specific gear set piece, you can still do that.
You will be able to play anything and get loot that gives you progression
It will be a lot easier to get the loot you want.
PVP is not the focus of Update 1.4 and there won´t be specific changes to PVP
The general changes of 1.4 will affect PVP and the Dark Zone, but there are no specific PVP features or rule changes.
The current meta will be addressed (Sentry and Shotgun for example)
There will be many changes to gear and stats
Economy and Crafting
There will be more higher gear score blueprints.
The big changes will come with a later update.
As the game has progressed, some of the core shooter elements have diminished. It’s important that you feel the impact of gun handling and that it’s factored in when you are considering which gun to use. They want to bring back and improve upon the importance of gunplay along with the cover based elements so the experience you have while leveling is consistent throughout the entire game.
On 14 September at 3am AEST (13Sep 19:00 CEST/ 13:00 EDT / 10:00 PDT) there will be a Special Report livestream on the official The Division Twitch channel that will provide more details on the changes coming with Update 1.4.
Edit: added info on PTS
PTS (Public Test Server)
We also got some new information about PTS and a detailed roadmap what we can expect in the next few weeks. As said last week, at the moment the PTS is for PC players only – they are investigating options to involve console players, but that won´t happen for the 1.4 update.
Roadmap: Thursday September 15th
Technical test of the PTS Server with a limited amount of players
To check if downloading the client and getting the characters works.
All PC players that applied to the Elite Task Force will be invited to this technical test.
When they need more testers, they will put up an application form and those will be invited as well.
Monday September 19th
PTS opens publicly for all PC players (Steam and Uplay) that own The Division (this is not a free game)
There is no NDA, you are allowed to stream, take pictures and talk about it.
You will have to download a separate client – basically another The Division game – that will be updated in more regular and faster intervals, so that you can test the new changes live.
PTS Feedback Forum
There will be a specific forum-section in the official The Division forum, where you can give feedback and vote in polls.
The PTS forum is public, so all players can follow the discussions, but just players that can also play in the PTS can write.
Posted Sep 9, 16
· Last edited Sep 9, 16by Smiff
We mentioned last week on State of the Game that we would be hosting a Special Report for Update 1.4. tomorrow (Tuesday the 13th). We will need to delay this show as at this stage we wouldn't be able to show all of the content we would like to. While the Special Report format demands that we be more complete in the type of things that we show, we'll be using our weekly State of the Game to give you some more concrete solutions that will be present in Update 1.4.
In other news, the PTS will not be available this Thursday as previously stated. After playing the build with our Elite Task Force it became clear that to have the PTS process be valuable for us in terms of feedback, we would need some more time to include key elements that are critical to the overall Update 1.4 experience.
Transparency is something that we know our community wants, and something that we aim to deliver every day. In this instance, it does mean that we need to share our schedule and intentions that are subject to shifting throughout the process. The alternative of "leaving you in the dark" is not something we see as an option! We're very eager to get this update out to all Agents while bringing you into the development process as much as we can and as soon as we have more information, we'll let you know.
We'll be covering some of the 1.4 changes in the State of the Game on Thursday, but it won't include as much as in a Special Report. Also, Special Report should include gameplay, which we won't have in the State of the Game on Thursday.
These are the issues they identified when they were analyzing their data.
Time to Kill / Time to be killed
They really wanted to identify the core problems with the game to solve that, before they move ahead with more content
They collected immense amount of data and put them into graphs and analyzed them
The enemies in endgame are too bullet-spongy and deal way to much damage
There is no build diversity – when you do not have a very specific build, you are not effective in endgame.
That means, there is a very limited amount of good builds and that is not what an RPG game is about, there needs to be variety and multiple ways to build an effective character.
That also makes the game unrewarding, because only few looted items give you an upgrade or are usable.
That makes the game very difficult – not only for solo but also for unoptimized groups, so when you are not reading up builds or informing yourself on Reddit, you really have a rough time.
Time to kill and Enemy Scaling
There is a huge difference between 1-30 and in the endgame.
While the time to kill is pretty linear in 1-30 and increases exponentially as soon as you hit endgame
Level 12 is their baseline and reference what experience they want to achieve.
This graph is based on average gear.
Best / random gear vs. optimized gear
While the time to kill for 1-30 with best/random and min-maxed equipment is close and linear, there is a huge difference in endgame between best/random gear and min-maxed gear
Level 12: mods contribute 6% to the time to kill
Level 30: mods contribute 40% to the time to kill – (they are a critical part of the builds and that is even a low number, because it does not include accuracy etc)
Level 30: Skills contribute 78% to the damage (when you cap electronics it is even more)
The game is balanced for the best possible build and since there is a huge damage gap between the best equipped and worst equipped player – the game is therefore very difficult for the average player.
Damage fluctuation in certain situations can be as high as +/- 264% between players (even higher in the live game)
Damage mitigation can be up to 7 times more powerful at level 30 compared to how effective it was at level 12
The NPCs after level 30 are just too powerful
The difference between the best-equipped player and the average equipped player should not be that big
It has to be rewarding to optimize the gear, but it should not make such a huge difference
The weapon handling should be more like in the 1-30 phase, so that they don´t have to compensate with enemy health pools.
Gear mods are too powerful in endgame and have a too big impact on the build
Skills are too powerful
SmartCover and Pulse are the most used skills
Update 1.4 changes
Fixing enemy health and damage scaling post level 30 so that it is linear and not exponential
Time to be killed in comparison: Now it takes 2.1 seconds to be killed by a standard Riker at level 33 – it will be 6 seconds in 1.4.
Time to kill in comparison: Now it takes for an unoptimized build / unmodded ACR 3.8 seconds to kill a Riker at level 33 – it will be 2.1 seconds in 1.4.
Difficulty progression changes
Now you can play normal/hard mode missions without problems – but the gap between hard and challenge mode is huge and you basically need challenge mode gear to even play that content. That also needs to change and that is why the are reworking the difficulty scaling in the endgame:
Reworking the difficulty scaling in endgame:
Even transition to endgame so that there are no huge difficulty spikes
Better loot and relevant rewards from mission
Linear equipment progression
Support solo players so that they have a chance to progress
RPG/Shooter experience back - faster killrate but RPG should still have an impact
Clearer path through endgame for fresh level 30 players, so that you really know what to do and where you can get equipment to improve your character.
New World Level for 1.4
Players can now select the World Level when they hit level 30.
You are able to set the level of the NPCs and the loot to a specific level.
Named roamers are back in the open-world (Bullet King lives!) and now you can farm open-world again
The World Level can be changed at any time
There will not be level 34 / 35 NPCs
The World Levels will be unlocked as you improve your Gear Score
When you reach GS 163 you are overpowered for Tier 1 and can move on and also survive in the Tier 2 environment. That gives you a very linear progression in endgame and you get the equipment in your current Tier.
Tier 4 (Level 33 enemies – GS 229 loot ) – heroic mode in Incursions is unlocked
After 1.4 the difficulty (normal to heroic) does not affect enemy level anymore, it will affect what types of enemy you fight (normal grunts or elite enemies) and the amount of loot you get:
Normal / Hard / Challenge / Heroic difficulty selection for content
Normal/Hard/Challenge/Heroic difficulty will not increase enemy level anymore – but the amount of loot you get
Challenge mode + content will not be scaled to four players per default, so you could play it solo now
When you are in a group, the enemies still scale up to the number of players.
Elite NPCs are now smarter as before – so they will not be just bullet sponges but move faster and more tactical.
Heroic difficulty will only be available for Incursions
Incursion will be the only content that is balanced for 4 players
You will fight these types of enemies in the different difficulties
Normal = Mostly normal enemies
Hard = Normal enemies become Veteran, Veterans become Elite
Challenging = All enemies are Elite, and changes of fire teams and enemy archetypes
Gear Score Changes
Max Gear Score will be 229, so Gear Sets have the same as the highest possible High-End gear
High-End items will be more important now, since they are at the same level as Gear Sets
They are not nerfing the Gear Sets, they are just changing the Gear Scores to make it more consistent.
Gear Sets will get a new Gear Scores
191 = 163
214 = 182
240 = 204
268 = 229
All enemies are able to drop the best loot of the specific Tier.
Trash mobs have a less chance to drop the best loot than a named enemy.
This way you get constant rewards and don´t have to fight content for 10 minutes to get something relevant.
Trash-mobs in Incursion are still not dropping loot.
They are also removing gear drop weighting, the only activity that will drop guaranteed rewards (as well as more random ones) is Incursions. This will allow you to choose whatever activity you prefer and not force you to take part in content that you don’t like.
Monthly Supply Drops still look at your current Gear Score (the one that is used to calculate the DZ Bracket)
You matchmake with people on your World Level
You can also play with players on a higher World Level and get the loot-drops from there (power leveling)
You can also join players in a lower World Level to help them out
The World Level is tied to the Group Leader - so when you join a Tier 1 player, you will fight Level 30 NPCs even when you are a Tier 4 player.
Dark Zone / PVP
PVE Dark Zone: they are listening, but there will not be specific Dark Zone mechanic changes in 1.4
Dark Zone selects the World Level for you and when you are put in World Level 1 all enemies will be level 30
The Dark Zone Bracket is still calculated based on your gear score, so that high level players don´t harass low level players
There are many topics still to be discussed. Player balancing, equipment balancing, Scavenging and many more - those will be addressed at another time.
These are the other bullet points for the coming days:
PTS technical test for PC Elite Task Force applicants
PTS available for all PC players
Special Report Live Stream
Posted Sep 16, 16
· Last edited Sep 16, 16by Smiff
The article is worth a read and the core elements have been summarised in the above post
The introduction of World Tiers, coupled with a more linear NPC scaling, will bring back a very important level of fun and enjoyment that has been missing in the end-game of The Division. It creates more options for the solo players, since you can play any content, get better gear rewards from any activities – including roaming around Manhattan killing enemies in the Open World – and enjoy the game at your own pace and choice of difficulty. It allows us to scale enemies to your current power level instead of trying to keep up with the best geared players, which will bring down the time to kill and the time to be killed to similar levels to the 1-30 game.
It also means that the game will be much clearer. It will still include difficult content for the players looking for a challenge, but for others it will be a much more granular experience that is easier to approach and understand.
At the highest Gear Score tier, the hunt will turn towards the best and the most optimized gear. Hardcore, group-focused players will be able to tackle the hardest content in the game, like Heroic Incursions, and be rewarded accordingly. Solo players will still be able to get the best gear in the game at their own rhythm, while groups taking on higher difficulty will see much more of it drop and will be able to gear up faster.
We’ve said that improving the core experience of The Division was the goal of Update 1.4, and we believe that adding a more granular difficulty scaling and a smoother progression system with a more enjoyable time to kill will be a good foundation for a much improved and much more fun overall experience.
We’re extremely excited to bring this new approach to you and can’t wait to hear what you think about it! If you’re a PC player make sure to join us on the upcoming PTS, give it a proper shake down and give us feedback.
- The Division Dev Team
Posted Sep 16, 16
· Last edited Sep 17, 16by Smiff
As mentioned in the last developement blog and the State of the Game livestream where we introduced World Tiers, one issue facing The Division today is that the power difference between optimized and non-optimized builds is too great. We still want people to optimize their gear and min-max to their heart’s content, but in order to balance the game, we need to reduce the gap between the two extremes. As part of Update 1.4 we also want to bring back the shooter feeling, add more decision making and hard choices when building your character and add more variety to the viable builds. In this development update, we’ll take a look at the main changes we’re making to ensure those things.
Keep in mind that Update 1.4 is still in development and details included in this article are not final and are subject to change. The Public Test Server will be available next week and if you’re playing The Division on PC you will be able to try out the changes and give us feedback before they go live.
These are not all the changes made to the game in Update 1.4. A more exhaustive list will be released with the patch notes before the update is released in October.
Every level you gained between level 1-30 increased your three main stats – Firearms, Stamina and Electronics – organically, so in order to make your journey through the new endgame World Tiers work we need to simulate the same leveling up experience at endgame. One of the main changes to the current gear is that after Update 1.4 every piece of equipment dropped in World Tier 2 and higher will have all three stats on them. While one stat will always be much higher than the other two, and you can recalibrate as before, the inclusion of all three on every item creates a balanced baseline which means that your survivability will generally be higher and you no longer risk accidentally making the game much more difficult than it has to be. These base stats will increase with each increase in gear score.
Other stats, like crit chance or headshot damage for example, will need to be scaled down, as they currently can become way too high. Do remember though that enemy health and damage will also be rebalanced, creating a more even playing field.
In Update 1.4, all gear will lose their skill bonuses, while backpacks, holsters and knee pads gain new performance mod slots. This means that you’ll have more choices which mods you want to use and no longer have to be annoyed that the god roll gear piece you got came with a modifier you didn’t want in the first place. This limits the current RNG and makes it easier for you to customize your gear to fit your build. These new slots won’t replace any of the current ones. Current performance mods will lose their major bonus, and their skill bonus will be rebalanced and rerolled.
Keep in mind that it is a good idea to hang on to your current performance mods and don’t deconstruct them or sell them, as it will increase your chances to get the performance mod you want once they are rerolled.
2. Gear Score
The gear scores of Gear Sets have all been adjusted to match High end gear score within the same World Tiers.
191 gear will all be made into Gear Score 163
214 to 182
240 to 204
268 to 229
This change does not mean that Gear Sets are becoming less powerful. In The Division right now, the 268 Gear Score that Gear Sets have isn’t actually indicative of their relative power. With the new Gear Scores, this will be made much clearer and easier to understand.
One important reason for these changes is that we don’t want to see you get kicked from groups only because you haven’t inflated your Gear Score with 268 GS Gear Set pieces. Since we want to make High End gear more viable, and allow for more builds not relying on Gear Sets, we want to make sure you’re not automatically punished just because your Gear Score doesn’t look high enough. Gear Sets are not meant to be a measure of actual power or be must haves to be competitive at endgame, instead they will represent fun and specialized gameplay styles. We’ll talk more about Gear Sets later in this article.
Stat overlaps between Gear Scores have been removed. The item might not fit your current build, but we can now guarantee that the stats will roll higher on higher Gear Score items. This includes, for example, weapon damage, armor, core attributes etc.
3. High End Gear and Talents
We’ve looked through all high end gear talents and tried to balance the numbers on them to make more of them viable for endgame. This includes either lowering or increasing some of their bonuses. This is one aspect we’d love to get your feedback on from the PTS in order to find out which ones feel viable and which feel left behind.
Scavenging has been an issue for a long time and we’ve always meant to fix it. Unfortunately, all the solutions that we’ve tested were unsatisfying and we’ve finally decided to remove it from the game. If you have Scavenging on your current gear, that stat will be replaced and rerolled. We also don’t want players to swap gear for a specific result while they are playing; if Scavenging was made too good, for example, we’d end up in a situation where players would switch to their Scavenging gear before killing a boss.
Recap of gear changes:
All gear in World Tier 2 and higher will have all three base stats – Firearms, Stamina, Electronics – on them, one of these stats will be higher than the others.
Other bonuses, like crit chance and headshot damage, will be scaled down to fit the new game balance.
Gear will lose their skill bonuses, but backpacks, holsters and knee pads will gain new performance mod slots, making them easier to customize to fit your build.
Gear Sets will have their Gear Score adjusted to the same levels as High End gear.
Stat overlaps between Gear Scores have been removed.
High End gear talents have been rebalanced.
Scavenging has been removed from the game.
As stated above, with Update 1.4 we want to return The Division to having more of a shooter feeling, similar to the level 1-30 experience. In order to do so, we’ve had to take a close look at how weapons and weapon mods work in the game. This part will see some big changes, but in the end should make the weapons and combat feel much more satisfying and varied compared to the way things stand right now.
One thing you’ll notice straight away is that the DPS numbers on your weapons will have changed. This isn’t necessarily indicative of a nerf or a buff to your gun; it’s simply a new formula for explaining how much damage it does. It’s still a work in progress, but right now the displayed DPS on the PTS is based on damage, rounds per minute and crit. While it gives a really transparent view of the damage output of the weapon, removing magazine size, reload speed and accuracy from the equation makes it difficult to compare weapons of different types between each other. We are currently working on a new formula to achieve a better overview of the power of a given weapon; you should be able to see it on a future PTS update.
We’ve also changed the damage the various weapons do and their current roles. In the live game, SMGs for example do higher damage than Assault Rifles, which is not intended. Instead their future power will come from the fact that they are stable and have high critical damage, which means your goal is to get as many bullets as possible on the target. Many Light Machine Guns will see a buff and get closer to the damage numbers of Assault Rifles, which will make them more powerful and viable to use. Some specific outliers that are currently way too powerful, like the MP7 and M1A, will see their raw damage numbers lowered to make up for the fact that they have big bonuses to handling. Weapons that are unpopular in the current meta, like the SRS Sniper Rifle and the M2-49, have had their damage output increased to bring them up to par.
We’re planning to do something more with the Named Weapons in the future, but you won’t see any significant changes with Update 1.4. That said, their talents and damage have been updated together with all regular weapons.
1. Weapon Mods and Talents
Previously, a weapon mod would have one guaranteed bonus it always came with, and one equally high bonus rolled randomly from the pool. That second bonus will be removed from the mods and replaced with an amount of minor bonuses, depending on the quality of the item. At the same time, we’ve gotten rid of stats that simply weren’t interesting, like head shot XP bonus, and certain bonuses have been reworked and combined into one – the different varieties of stability (horizontal stability, initial bullet stability and stability) and accuracy (accuracy, hip fire accuracy) are now, for example, single stats (stability and accuracy respectively).
This means, once again, that you’ll have to make actual choices when modding your weapon instead of being able to max out everything. Want to build for the highest possible damage? That’s perfectly fine, but you’ll end up with a gun that might have a big recoil or a small magazine. Or if you prefer, you can build a weapon that is incredibly stable and precise, but you’ll have to sacrifice raw damage. It means that there will be more skill involved in using the weapons, just like in a regular shooter and during the level 1-30 experience, and our hope is that it will lead to much more variety and less cookie cutter weapon setups. These changes allow us to keep up the challenge of the game, while reducing the time to kill of the NPCs.
In order to prevent overpowered “legacy” weapon mods, we’ve had to make these changes affect your current weapon mods too, which effectively means that all your weapon mods will be rerolled.
Similar to performance mods, it is a good idea to hang on to your current weapon mods and don’t deconstruct or sell them, as it will increase your chances to get the weapon mod you want once they are rerolled.
Damage bonuses like headshot damage, crit damage, armor damage etc, are becoming additive instead of multiplicative, which means that damage won’t spike as much as it does today. Those spikes make it really hard to balance enemy health and aren’t very fun in PvP. In the future, these will be much more manageable for both us and you. Damage will be more consistent going forward. These changes also mean that investing in Firearms will be a much more significant source of damage output, leading to more decision making when building your character, as building for DPS will mean sacrificing other stats.
Weapon talents have seen a rebalance too, with unpopular ones receiving a buff to bring them back to the meta while the current overpowered ones have seen their numbers slightly lowered. Some talents that previously were seen as niche and hardly ever used have seen a change in functionality. Other weapon talents that were beyond saving have been removed from the game completely. With the changes to weapons and weapon mods, the talents will allow you specialize further and complement your current build.
Apart from the changes noted above – performance mods, scavenging, etc. - most of the time we’ve tried to refrain from replacing bonuses you have on your existing gear, so its identity remains the same. Nevertheless, the scale of the stats and bonuses might change, either up or down, in order to fit the new balance.
Recap of weapon changes:
We want to return The Division to feel more like a shooter, similar to the experience during the 1-30 game.
New DPS formula on weapons has been introduced, but is a work in progress and will change over the course of the PTS.
The damage and roles of certain weapons have been changed. Some weapons have seen a damage increase; others have had their damage lowered.
Named weapons will not be changed in this update.
Weapon mods will now come with one major bonus and an amount of smaller bonuses, depending on the quality of the mod.
Damage bonuses are now additive instead of multiplicative, reducing the current spikes in damage which made the game hard to balance.
The Firearms stat will become a much more significant source of damage output, leading to more decision making when building your character.
Weapon talents have been rebalanced; some have been buffed, others have seen their numbers reduced.
The identity of your gear will remain the same, even if the scale of stats and bonuses might change.
In the current meta, it’s really easy to reach the armor cap without losing any damage output, which makes it easy to create a tanky character that can still do a lot of damage. Most of your survivability is coming from your armor instead of your health. From now on, we want to reduce the impact of armor and instead make health (via Stamina) your main source of toughness. This means that in order to create a tank character, you will have to spec in Stamina and sacrifice Firearms and Electronics.
Armor will now support your toughness, if you decide to spec for it, but you now need more armor to reach the same survivability as in 1.3. In addition, while you will gain more armor as you increase your Gear Score, higher World Tiers will also mean that you need more of it to gain the same damage mitigation. This allows us to create a smooth ladder for progression instead of seeing the numbers reach incredible heights again. Enemy damage has been lowered for Update 1.4 though, so investing in armor won’t be as important as it has been in the past.
Recap of armor changes:
Stamina will be the main source of toughness.
Armor value will have different results of damage mitigation depending on the World Tier you are in.
GEAR SETS REBALANCING
Looking at the Gear Sets, we’ve had to rebalance the current four-piece bonuses. If a four-piece Gear Set bonus is much more powerful than wearing four High End pieces by default, it will always be the only possible choice. For example, Sentry’s Call is currently giving such a high damage boost, that you simply have to have it in order to do the maximum amount of damage. This creates a staler game without much variety in the meta. Many of the four-piece bonuses weren’t very interesting either, something that became even clearer after the Agent Intel poll we did on the forums, so we’ll be testing new variations on the PTS and looking for feedback for how they feel to play now.
We’ve also taken a look at the two-piece bonuses. Since you can double dip into other Gear Sets to get them, we’ve changed them to focus more on utility instead of straight up stat bonuses. They will now allow you to customize your character even further and complement your weapon mods, by giving bonuses to things like accuracy, stability, ammo capacity and similar, instead of just giving pure damage boosts. These bonuses will be based on the overall concept of the Gear Set in question. Five-piece bonuses have simply been removed from the game, since they didn’t actually add anything interesting to the gameplay – they just made the damage numbers even higher, which helped create the current imbalance.
Of note is that the Reclaimer set and the BLIND set have their four-piece bonuses inactive on the initial PTS version released this week, since we’re still actively working on and evaluating them. Don’t worry, they will be back and are not going away permanently.
Recap of Gear Set rebalancing:
The four-piece bonuses of Gear Sets have been rebalanced.
Two-piece bonuses will focus more on utility instead of stat bonuses.
Five-piece bonuses have been removed from the game.
Reclaimer and BLIND have their four-piece bonuses inactive on the initial PTS version while they are being worked on.
Posted Sep 22, 16
· Last edited Sep 22, 16by Smiff
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