Is The Division worth the grind?

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I am now close to having racked up a full week of play time in The Division. It’s not pretty, there have been countless nights which turned into early mornings as I farmed for that next piece of loot. A lot of blood, sweat, tears and carpal tunnel have gone into this game. But has it all been worth it?

We are well and truly into deep end game territory, this is the endest of games, where everything has been completed and the only thing keeping players coming back is the dark zone and sweet sweet loot, but the novelty is starting to wear off.

falcon lost

“This took you two hours, here have an instantly obsolete item.”

Recently The Division made it into the big leagues by having its buggy corpse dragged into mainstream media for a postmortem. Yeah, someone from Fox News started talking about the new(ish) crafting system and how he thinks it’s broken. This game is huge, and maybe not for all the right reasons.

Chances are if you know something about The Division, it’s that it is one of the most broken AAA games to have come out in years. Every time the devs patch something, another exploitable glitch makes the rounds on the internet. It’s a leaky boat and it’s sinking fast. Some of the exploits make the game almost unplayable, like the now patched one that let players stack damage in the millions.

But the thing is players brave this leaky boat, hoping it will take them somewhere, which seems increasingly unlikely. The now nerfed crafting system has made acquiring loot unbearable. You used to rely on crafting and good rolls to get yourself suitable gear, but that changed when the materials necessary to craft were increased. It’s now at a point where you need to spend hours and hours of game time to get the required parts, and then you have to hope you get a good roll on whatever you’re crafting because if you don’t, too bad, go get more materials.

Someone a lot smarter than me ran some numbers, and it turns out crafting a desired backpack has a 0.095 percent chance of occurring on a roll. This means to get your dream roll you might need to craft the pack 1053 times, costing 6318 fabric and 4212 electronics. Holy. Shit.

But hey, at least we were promised more high end drops, as every level 30 named enemy now spews out a gold. Except the thing is they are rarely worth the effort. Want to grind for two hours and only end up with a bunch of Advanced Performance Mods (AKA the most useless item imaginable)? Well congratulations, you’re playing the right game. If you’re hoping to get what you want in a drop the odds are well and truly against you. Even if it’s the right piece, say some knee pads, the chances that they have the stats you’re going for are insanely improbable. And let’s say you want a gear set item, well they drop an estimated 2 percent of the time, so good luck getting the set you want and the pieces you need.

"I've made a huge mistake."

“I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Now that gear scores are a thing we can easily see just how shit everything truly is. Challenging mission bosses reward us with inferior items, and the only way to get something worthwhile is to spend an absolute fortune of Phoenix Credits in the store, or to run the incursion. Ahh the incursion, at first it seemed to sweet, but Falcon Lost turned out to be a framerate destroying blood bath that takes way too long for a random chance of okay loot.

The most effective use of your grinding time is to run Lexington Event Center on challenging over and over. It gives you 30 Phoenix, which is pretty much the only thing guaranteeing you good items at this stage. With a squad of four I’ve timed a run at just over 10 minutes. So it’s a feasible way to acquire in-game wealth, but that means you need to run the same missions over, and over, and over again.

And what for? Why are we getting these items? Is it to fight other agents? The PvP is pretty much high stakes paper scissors rock depending on who has their signature skill ready/exploited Falcon Lost the most.  So the only real reason to get loot is to be able to get more loot slightly faster. Maybe I’m being cynical, but I just feel like the game has dried up way too fast and the likelihood of ever truly having a perfect character is so far out of reach. Time might tell a different story, but at the moment there really isn’t much incentive to keep dedicated players around.

Craft a level 30 Charlie on Twitter @clbraith and don’t forget to follow @load_screen and like us on Facebook.

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