The Dark Zone was one of the more intimidating aspects of The Division, as its emphasis on hardcore PvP wasn’t very enticing to casual fans. Ubisoft is taking that feedback into account for The Division 2, hoping to make the experience much more balanced for hardcore and casual fans alike.
The Dark Zone is an important part of that plan, and during a recent interview we had with Red Storm Creative Director Terry Spier, he discussed in detail the improvements the team is planning for The Division 2’s take on the popular feature from the first game.
These improvements start by making the on-boarding process a bit easier for each of the Dark Zones in the sequel. Dark Zones East, West, and South will all feature unique intro story missions.
These missions add to the lore for each zone, giving background knowledge on why they became quarantined in the first place. For example, Dark Zone West was initially a testing ground for a new compound the government made called DC-62.
Something went terribly wrong with DC-62, making the outbreak even worse instead of curing it. Connecting the Dark Zone’s backstory to the main campaign will no doubt help story-driven players connect to these dangerous regions a lot easier in The Division 2.
More importantly, these missions will help players get a lay of the land before being thrown directly into combat.
Instead of having to understand the layout of Dark Zone South’s large interiors in the midst of also trying to survive a PvP firefight, casual fans can take their time getting to know the environment, or even simply admiring it.
Giving more time to understand complex areas like the Dark Zones is certain to help a lot of players who may not play the game immediately upon its release catch up.
Normalization also evens things out in The Division 2, quite literally. This feature means that guns and gear stats will be identical across the board if they are the same item, giving newer players similar stats to veterans as long they have the same layout.
Red Storm Creative Director Terry Spier relayed how this process has helped changed the progression problems many faced in the original game’s Dark Zone.
“Plenty of players spent thousands of hours in the Dark Zone or single-player honing their builds to perfection,” Spier said. “So you go into the Dark Zone and have a tremendous advantage over a player that has only spent 80 hrs playing the game.”
Spier added that this doesn’t mean that build choices will be obsolete but that things will focus far more on “player skill” in The Division 2. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you.
The Division 2 releases for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on March 15, 2019.
Our full interview with Red Storm Creative Director Terry Spier, will be released tomorrow but in the meantime, let us know what you think of the Dark Zone changes below.