Massive and Ubisoft have opened up The Division for a free weekend on PC, starting today and ending Sunday, the 18th. Without question, I highly recommend you to check out the game, as it’s been totally transformed since launch, especially how the endgame functions, which you might be able to reach if you play all weekend.
Seriously, we are approaching a Diablo 3 level transformation here, and while Diablo 3 started in a worse place and ended in a better place than The Division, the comparison is not without merit, and hilariously, The Division had to learn many of the exact same lessons as Diablo as they went, from increasing loot drops to creating interesting gear sets.
Whatever progress you make over this weekend will transfer over to the full game if you decide to pick up a copy once the trial weekend is up, and it costs about half what it used to.
I will say, however, that I think Massive made a mistake by not allowing its two DLC offerings to be a part of this free weekend, Underground and Survival, with Survival especially having particular relevance to attracting new players.
Underground I can sort of understand, because it’s a pure endgame looting activity, though I think it would be nice for players who reached that point to get a sense of what
The Division’s “Greater Rift” dungeons are like. As someone who loves looting, this is far and away my favorite loot-based activity in the game.
But Survival? That would have been the perfect game mode to convert players who might not be interested in the rest of what The Division has to offer, or have been unsure about the game as a whole.
Survival, which essentially operates as a AAA budgeted version of battle royale games like H1Z1 and DayZ, allows players to jump in at any level, because everyone starts freezing, dying and cold with no gear. The point of the mode is to trek around the map and gear up as you go, ultimately making your way to a specific zone to extract a specific item. It’s a great group activity but possible solo as well, and it’s something that I've seen draw many new players into the game (even if I personally don’t care for the mode myself).
I’m unclear as to why Ubisoft would hide what is clearly such an engaging activity from these free players, especially when it’s something that can be done at low levels, which almost everyone will be this weekend.
The only thing I can think of are that maybe Ubisoft believes that it would sort of break a contract with Season Pass/DLC owners if players were offered that extra content for free. Survival is a game mode you can beat once or twice and be satisfied that you’ve experienced most of what it has to offer. The same with Underground, to a certain extent.
Or, I wonder if with Survival in particular, that Ubisoft and Massive are worried that players who are totally unfamiliar with the game’s mechanics might get turned off if they dive straight into that rather difficult mode without getting their general bearings first. Even as someone who has put several full days of game time into The Division, starting Survival at first was pretty disorienting. I imagine that’s amplified for new players quite a bit.
Whatever the case, I think it would do more harm than good, and Ubisoft should consider opening Survival up for at least a day or two of this trial.
So yeah, check the game out. The Division took a lot of crap (and rightly so) in its initial launch period, but trust me, it’s gotten leagues better at this point, and is worth a look.
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