March 8th will see the release of one of the most anticipated multi-platform games of 2016, Tom Clancy’s The Division. With promises of a replicated midtown Manhattan environment and an expansive loot system, The Division brings with its high ambition an equally enormous expectation.
Fair or forced, The Division will continue to draw comparisons to Bungie’s 2014 blockbuster, Destiny, the father of the “shared-world shooter” genre. Now, Ubisoft dives headlong into this new-found genre with a game that seeks to be a bit more grounded from a setting standpoint.
The story of Destiny’s development, release, and reception has been well-documented, and virtually any gamer with a console has formulated an opinion about the game. Even with elements of the game that were incredibly strong — gunplay, multiplayer, aesthetics — Destiny’s first year was riddled with shortcomings. So, people picking up The Division, enter into the second big “shared-world shooter” experience with a sense of caution.
Before ever beginning to talk about comparing The Division to Destiny, Ubisoft Massive will have to avoid a lot of the issues that have become synonymous with Ubisoft like server and optimization issues experienced by Assassin’s Creed Unity players or the steady decline of graphical fidelity seen between the reveal and release of Watchdogs. Despite all of Destiny’s flaws, its launch was relatively smooth in comparison to many other online-centric games on the 8th generation consoles.
With a closed beta coming at the end of January and hopefully an open beta that will come some time before its release (though it is unannounced), Ubisoft should have a decent idea of how their servers will hold up on release day. As we’ve seen in so many cases before, there is an incredible amount of uncertainty on a game’s street date when server loads are tested to max.
Let’s just say all of this goes off without a hitch, and the game is left to stand on its own content rather than its technical performance. What does The Division need to do to avoid the issues players had with Destiny’s first year?