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October 28, 2016 | 13:00 EST
Improving Character Balance: Key points
A Special Re port from the Developers
The Public Test Server (PTS) will be available to PC players on Monday.
Many of these changes are still being tested on the PTS and they are subject to further modification before the official release of 1.4.
Every piece of equipment dropped in World Tier 2 or higher will have all three primary stats on them (Firearms, Stamina, Electronics). One of these three stats will be much higher than the other two but this should provide a baseline of survivability since all gear will provide some amount of Stamina.
An example 229 vest has 148 Firearms, 990 Stamina, and 148 Electronics.
Critical Chance and Headshot damage will be scaled down.
All gear will have skill bonuses removed, these will be replaced with new performance mod slots on backpacks, holsters, and knee pads.
It will be beneficial to hang onto any performance mods you currently have.
Stat overlaps between Gear Scores have been removed, in other words a 229 item will always have higher stat values than a 204 item.
High-End Gear and Talents
All high end talents have been adjusted to be more viable for endgame. Some of them were increased and some of them were reduced.
This has been removed from the game.
There is a focus on creating more of a “shooter feel”.
The DPS formula has changed – and is expected to change again
Damage of weapons have been adjusted
The roles of certain weapons have been changed
SMG – very stable, critical hit damage
MP7, M1A will be less powerful
SRS Sniper, M2-49 will be more powerful
Named weapons will be changed in the future
Weapon Mods and Talents
Instead of 2 major bonuses they will now have 1 major bonus and additional minor bonuses (the amount of minor bonuses depends on the quality of the item)
Stats that are not interesting have been removed (Headshot XP bonus)
Some stats have been combined or reworked
(horizontal stability, initial bullet stability, stability) have all been combined into Stability
(accuracy, hip fire accuracy) have been combined into Accuracy
Choosing your weapon mods will force you to make more meaningful choices about whether you want a high DPS weapon or one that is very easy to control.
You should hang onto your current weapon mods in preparation for 1.4.
Damage bonuses such as headshot damage, critical damage, and armor damage will now apply additively rather than multiplicatively. This should make the game easier to balance and firearms will become a bigger factor in your DPS.
Unpopular talents have been buffed
Overpowered weapon talents have been nerfed
Some niche talents have been changed to be more useful in general situations
Some talents have been removed from the game
The effectiveness of armor has been reduced and stamina will be the primary method of increasing your toughness.
Amor will give you different amounts of mitigation depending on which world tier you are in.
Gear Set Rebalancing
Five-piece bonuses have been removed from the game
Some two-piece bonuses have been adjusted to focus more on utility and less on damage
Some four-piece bonuses have had their power adjusted
Skills and Skill Power
Electronics now grants you more skill power
Hard caps on skills have been removed, they now suffer diminishing returns as your skill power increases. This means that skill power will become less beneficial as you attempt to stack very large amounts of it.
Bugs for some skills have been fixed
Pulse has been nerfed to balance it with new NPC health
Some skills have been adjusted in power
Some skills have new functionality
Turrets are getting more health
Sticky Bomb and Seeker Mine will now effectively deal more damage against lower health enemies
Ballistic Shield and Mobile Cover have had their bugs fixed. They also have increased health and they will survive longer since enemies deal less damage.
Support Station now has more health and does increased healing. Solo players will be able to revive themselves using this ability.
First Aid Changes
Healing is now instant, there is no longer a delay
no longer heals you multiple times as you walk in and out of its radius
Healing strength has been increased
Overdose will still be a great self-heal
Defibrillator will now be better at healing allies and also revive them from death
Smart Cover Changes
Focused more on defense, damage mitigation will be closer to 35% for a player which high skill power
Damage buff has been removed
Weapon stability and accuracy buffs have been added
Survivor Link has been reduced from 80% damage resistance to 50% damage resistance and its duration has been reduced from 15 seconds to 12 seconds.
Recovery Link can now be used to revive dead players (disabled in the Dark Zone) and its healing has been increased. If you are playing solo it will automatically trigger when you are about to die.
Tactical Link has been reduced from 50% damage buff to 30% damage buff and the critical chance bonus was removed altogether. Three new buffs have been added which improve your weapon RPM, reload speed, and weapon stability for 12 seconds.
Incendiary ammo: lighting your targets on fire no longer causes them to stagger.
Explosive ammo: enemies will no longer stagger.
Both ammo types convert some of their damage to fire or blast damage which can be mitigated with Exotic Damage Resilience.
September 23, 2016 | 10:22 EST
State Of The Game - September 15, 2016
State of the Game: Key Points
Host: Hamish Bode – Community Developer
Guest: Drew Rechner – Senior Game Designer
Guest: Yannick Banchereau – Community Developer
We have implemented some “tracking things” and “stability things”.
The changes to 1.4 in this State of the Game are not all of the changes coming, this is just a small sample of the changes to come. Update 1.4 is still planned for release in October but the PTS will be delayed.
Some details about 1.4 – these are just a few of the changes that can be expected
Enemy Health and Scaling
A big focus of 1.4 has been time to kill – and time to be killed
We are fixing enemy health and scaling so it matches the scaling you experienced while leveling – it will be linear scaling rather than exponential scaling.
Video Demonstrations of the New Enemy Health and Scaling
The time it takes to be killed by a basic NPC has increased from 2.1 seconds to 6 seconds (so you can survive more easily – almost 3x slower)
The time to kill an NPC has decreased from 3.8 seconds to 2.1 seconds (so you can kill enemies more easily – almost twice as fast).
For people that are “super optimized” the game is not too hard, but the vast majority of players are having a very hard time with the difficulty since they do not have max pulse, max smart cover, the right gear set, etc. It’s even harder for solo players who do not have the benefit of “team synergy”.
We have 3 goals here
1) an even transition between difficulty level
2) relevant rewards for your difficulty level
3) we want to help solo players enjoy the end game.
We want to bring back the RPG/shooter balance
Heroic Difficulty will be exclusive to Incursions and it will be removed from all other activities
Difficulty no longer determines the item level of the loot, instead the difficulty determines the quantity of loot that will drop
Level 34 or level 35 NPCs will no longer exist
Elite NPCs have improved AI – they are more intelligent and defensive
Group Scaling (Party Size vs. NPC scaling)
In the past the game would assume that everyone is playing in a party of 4 and enemies would have increased health and damage. This would mean that a solo player and a team of 4 would be fighting enemies with the same amount of health and damage. This is being changed in 1.4 so that enemy health and damage will now scale based on your party size so that smaller groups will face enemies with smaller health pools that also deal slightly less damage.
World Level Scaling (World Tier)
Players in 1.4 can now select the “world level” – this is a feature that allows you to set the difficulty and rewards of everything in your game world. You can set your entire game world to level 30 and enemies will drop level 30 quality loot.
When you choose the world level it changes: All NPCs in Missions, Open World (we are bringing back the named roamers), Underground, Incursions, and the Dark Zone. You will still be placed in the Dark Zone bracket you belong to so you can’t set your difficulty artificially low to gank other players.
World Scaling Brackets:
Tier 1: 0 - 163
Tier 2: 164 - 182
Tier 3: 183 – 204
Tier 4: 205 - 229
Setting your World Tier will change all of the enemies in the Dark Zone to the level you selected
There are only a few builds end-game that really matter, this puts a lot of pressure on RNG and loot drops.
All enemies have a chance to drop the best gear
Gear Sets will drop at the same level as high-end gear within a bracket. For example, in Tier 1 you will be able to get 163 high-end and 163 Gear Set items. The highest item level Gear Set items in the game will be 229 and there will no longer be 268 Gear Score items in the game. All existing Gear Score items will be scaled down:
268 -> 229
240 -> 204
214 -> 182
191 -> 163
This means that the max Gear Score will be 229 and high-end items will be more relevant and competitive with Gear Set items.
High-end items may also be buffed (this is not entirely clear)
There will be no changes to Dark Zone mechanics in 1.4 – but we are definitely aware of community requests for a split Dark Zone (PVE/PVP) The changes made outside of the Dark Zone will provide a place for PVE players to farm gear as an alternative to the Dark Zone for now.
Plans have not been shared for:
Named Weapons – may not make it into 1.4
The PTS has been delayed (we are making changes based on Elite Task Force feedback)
We are trying to open the PTS next week
The technical test will still occur first, and then the PTS will be opened to the public a few days later
Graphs of current scaling issues in the game
At level 12 the time to kill is linear, but at level 30 it is exponential.
Notice the Power Gap between optimized and non-optimized players.
How the Proposed Changes would affect time to kill
The 1.4 update (orange) depicts a constant time to kill as your gear score increased proportionally to enemy level. When compared to 1.3, the same gear against the same enemies would have caused an exponential increase in time to kill.
The new World Bracket feature.
Selecting your World Scaling Bracket.
Other Statistics/Math related to game balance and damage output
End game mods – at lvl 12 your mods only contribute to about 6% of your time to kill, at level 30 its more than 40%.
Skills – these can increase the DPS of a player by more than 78% (pulse/smartcover) even when you don’t build for skill power.
The time to kill difference between players at level 12 is around 150% (so about 3x). At level 30 its 250% (about 5x) but when you min/max its actually about 500% (10x). If you are a really good player and you know how to optimize your gear then you should be more powerful, but not 10x more powerful – this needs to be fixed.
Additional comments about Elite Task Force
5 Content Creators
Some hardcore (600-1000+ hours played) and some casual (below 100 hours played)
Host: Hamish Bode – community developer
Guest: Yannick Banchereau – community developer
Guest: Quentin Correggi – project coordinator
Next Tuesday, September 13, is a more in-depth “special report” on 1.4.
1.4 Release Date
October – we are not committing to a date
1.4 PVP specific comments (Dark Zone)
PVP is not the focus of 1.4 – but we think the changes will affect it in a good way
Don’t expect PVP features or rule changes
The PVE changes should have a positive impact on PVP – you should not get one shot
Skill changes and gear set revamps should also have a positive effect
More comprehensive PVP tuning will be done after 1.4
1.4 Focus - Balancing
Our primary focus right now is Time To Kill (TTK)
Its completely off and we have lost the fine balance between RPG and shooter and that needs to come back
We are reducing NPC health and damage by quite a lot
There is such a large gap between average gear and “optimized” gear and the game cannot be balanced so we need to reduce this gap
Overall you will still feel way more powerful against NPCs
Huge difference between hard and challenging
This makes the experience impossible for solo players, you cannot progress your character
No matter what your group size, every activity should be possible and reward you fairly, as a solo player it may take a little longer but it should be possible
Loot is still going to drop in abundance – more and better loot
We are going to weight certain loot with certain activities so you can farm it, but all gear sets should be able to drop from every activity – this is a huge revamp.
Economy and Crafting
You will see higher gear score blueprints
Other changes (they did not specify)
This is not the whole balance pass that we would like to do
PTS (Public Test Server)
This will only be available on PC for PC players due to technical reasons
We are also looking for ways to involve console players
September 15 – Technical test to make sure infrastructure works (log in/get character)
This will be limited to PC players who applied to the Elite Task Force – you did not have to win
If we need more testers we will open a new registration form
September 19 – PTS opens publicly
All PC players can participate (as long as you own The Division)
There will be no NDA (non-disclosure agreement) – you are free to discuss/stream the content
There will be a special forum available for PTS players to discuss issues
Elite Task Force
13 people were invited
8 unknown players
Selections were made based on our internal analytics to select a diverse range of players
Multiple styles of players were selected including:
Some crazy guy who has completed all content in the game solo (including Heroic)
There is a new Agent Intel on the forums about Gear Sets if you want to provide feedback:
Of all Gear Sets currently in the game, which ones do you think are the most mechanically interesting, regardless of their actual power and stats? Available Here Source
September 9, 2016 | 13:20 EST
State Of The Game - September 1, 2016
Host: Hamish Bode – Community Manager
Guest: Kevin – Associate Life Producer (tracks server data/forum sentiment)
Elite Task Force invitations are going out today.
There will be no new content in 1.4, instead some existing content may work differently.
The Dark Zone is going to be entirely different, so PVP balance cannot be done until changes are made.
The PTS (Public Test Server) will be a very good tool going forward (PC only for now).
Balance and performance are both being worked on simultaneously.
Elite Task Force (invitation to massive headquarters to help improve the game)
We are in the process of privately contacting everyone today; we have already contacted some but have not yet contacted others. It will be a wide range of player “profiles” who have experience with different aspects of the game, solo only players, group players, DZ players, etc. We will let you know when we have contacted everyone so you know whether you have been invited or not.
Preliminary Results of the Skills Survey
Nobody uses Ballistic Shield because its bugged
Everyone uses Pulse, Smart Cover, and First Aid because they are good, too good.
State of the Game: Key Points
Host: Hamish Bode
Update 1.4 has changed – it is no longer the Survival Expansion
Plan for upcoming updates and major patches
Update 1.4 (free update) is coming in October and its purpose is to fix issues with the game
Quality of life improvements
The Survival update will be released later in the year (before the end of the calendar year) – but we want to get survival right before we commit to a release date
Last Stand update – we are looking at a release date of early 2017
Comments about the 1.4 update
What we are talking about now is a future overhaul of a lot of the endgame systems that are making the game “not fun” after level 30.
We need to work our issues out before we release new content, this is the reason we are pushing back the Survival update.
We want to look at the big picture, the whole experience, the entire “fun aspect” of the game.
We don’t want to fix the small things here and there – we actually want to fix the whole system.
These will not just be tweaks; in some cases, this may include redesigns of entire features.
We want to fix all of the small annoying things such as:
When you heal and there was a small delay so you died
When you put out your smart cover and your friend accidentally destroyed it
Performance issues such as XBOX stuttering
Loot – making it rewarding and scale properly
A complete overhaul of the difficulty scaling in the endgame
Quality of Life improvements
This is just a small list of the things we will be tackling in the 1.4 update
Weapon skins taking up inventory space
A “craft all” button – ex. converting all of your green division tech into blue division tech at once
Vendor buyback option
Running between the Base of Operations and the Terminal – no more slow-walking
Improving the experience is going to be the main focus of Update 1.4 – but it is not going to end there. If we have not fixed all of the issues, then they will still remain the focus of the next updates.
Tomorrow we will have an article on our website sharing our plans to include community members in assist us with update 1.4. We will take submissions from the community for people who want to come here to Massive in Malmo, Sweden. All expenses will be paid. There is no barrier to entry – this is not a marketing opportunity – this is not limited to popular youtubers, podcasters, etc.
Submissions will include:
Confirm that you are 18 years of age
Confirm that you can travel
Confirm that you are aware this is in Sweden
Share your views on the current State of the Game
Why you think you would be a good candidate
There is a very short time limit on the submissions – we will be bringing people here starting Monday so you need to have your submissions in this weekend.
New Forum Section “Agent Intel”
We will be opening a new section on The Division forums called “Agent Intel” where our purpose is to ask for player feedback about specific topics. These topics could be related to bugs, balance, general experience, etc. We are starting off this new forum section with the following topic:
What are the top 10 most annoying bugs for you in the game right now?
Is the B.L.I.N.D. Rifle included in update 1.4?
I legitimately do not know.
Do you have any info on the Dark Zone?
All of our changes in 1.4 will have an effect on the Dark Zone and then we will look at balancing the Dark Zone after we see how these changes affect it.
Are you improving loot in 1.4?
It’s not just about improving loot; it’s about making loot more relevant.
Are you nerfing Smart Cover?
All of the skills are on the table for changes – everything in the endgame is relevant.
State of the Game: August 18, 2016
Host: Hamish Bode
No discussion about Survival DLC today.
No fixes, updates, or patches today.
The next coming weeks are going to be very interesting. Expect more information next week.
The Big Issues with the Game
There are major problems with the game right now – we understand. The big issues require big fixes and this will take time. We agree that the meta is currently not fun.
XBOX Stutter (and general performance issues)
this is very high on our priority list.
PS4 Sound issues
Shotgun + Sentry’s Call
the biggest source of frustration for people in the Dark Zone.
very strong in PVP.
getting ability locked in the Dark Zone is not fun, explosive stagger is too good.
NPC Scaling endgame
level 1-30 scaling works great, above this is not very good. Regardless of how gear capped you are, you are getting one-shot a lot of the time and that’s not cool. You are currently not rewarded for the investment you put in your gear. Adding health and adding damage is not the correct way to increase difficulty and we need to get this right.
there is something off here, Hard is too easy, Challenge is too hard, the loot is not properly rewarding for the difficulty.
Everyone is going for certain gear set such as Sentry’s. The gear sets that drop are not the ones that people want. HVT only drops LoneStar – it’s not rewarding. Underground only drops FireCrest and BLIND.
“There is a reason we don’t use them – they are not very good. This should not be the case.”
Lack of a dedicated PVP space
People are trying to recreate that “dedicated PVP space” in the Dark Zone but it really does not work well for this.
To do Challenge difficulty you really need the gear from Challenge difficulty and to do Heroic difficulty you really need the gear from Heroic difficulty. When you are stuck in Hard mode trying to gear for Challenge mode you are not earning gear that will help you.
it does not make sense right now, Nomad does not make sense right now. It only works while you are leveling up but fails to work end game.
they were buffed but they still aren’t really usable.
Skills bugging out
these really need to be fixed.
they should all be usable, maybe not in terms of damage but in terms of utility.
Solo Players – All of these negative things affect solo players more than groups.
If you get one-shot
you can’t be revived because you have no teammates
you run out of ammo because they have so much health
Issues that aren’t game-breaking but are still annoying
we increased stash space and also gave people more weapon skins (which then take up stash space). Weapon skins should not take up stash space and that would improve this problem.
accidentally selling something to a vendor is frustrating.
Locking gear to prevent deletion
accidental deletion is very frustrating too.
Vanity Item Caps
cannot collect all the vanity items (cosmetic gear)
We will have information in the coming weeks on how we will address all of these issues.
The following charts have been created based on data provided in this State of the Game.
Active Players Gear Score
This chart was created using the previous playtime charts.
Originally Posted By: mattshotcha - Community Manager
August 16, 2016 | 10:38PM EST
RE: The ability to re-customize the appearance of your character
Hey, this is something that we have noted and the team has taken into consideration. While I don't have any specific update at this time, I will gladly follow up with the team and see where we are with any possible options. Source
August 19, 2016 | 00:05 EST
Originally Posted By: mattshotcha - Community Manager
August 16, 2016 | 10:09PM EST
RE: Lack of developer transparency, communication, and feedback reception
Hey all. Let me start with saying this, we hear you all loud and clear. Sometimes, we don't have as much of a forum presence as we should, myself included, but that doesn't mean we aren't reading and forwarding these threads on. All feedback taken here gets sent to the appropriate team and we consider it when prioritizing fixes and updates.
One thing is certain, we have not given up on The Division community in any way. In the weeks to come, we have a lot of great things to talk about and I look forward to the work ahead.
Originally Posted By: mattshotcha - Community Manager
August 16, 2016 | 8:52PM EST
RE: General PVP balance and separation of overpowered PVE gear sets from PVP
We are currently discussing and exploring options for all areas of the game's balance, PvP included. That said, this is solid feedback that can be forwarded along to the team. I appreciate that.
On the second topic here, the PvE DZ idea, this is again feedback we are hearing loud and clear. It needs to be noted, however, that this approach would need a fair amount of tuning to prevent it from being too over simplified.
As with all things, no promise is to be made at this time. Just know that we hear you and are exploring our options.
Here is a short list of changes made during this weeks maintenance:
Fixed a bug where players could initiate 1 Phase Operations in Heroic difficulty by pressing a combination of buttons on their input device.
Rewards from Underground Operation Directives will now also include all gear sets from Updates 1.1 and 1.2 and you have a chance to receive additional loot when completing Operations with 4+ Directives.
Rewards from Underground Sealed Caches will now include all weapon types as well as all Underground and Update 1.3 gear sets.
Named NPCs in the Underground now have increased drop rates across all difficulties and doing multiple phase operations will give you a better chance at higher quality gear.”
August 2, 2016 | 8:14 EST
New Guide Now Avaliable!
August 1, 2016 | 12:45 EST
State of the Game - July 21, 2016
The next state of the game will occur in 3 weeks.
The PS4 update is still set for August 2.
The 20% damage bonus in PVP has overall been a net positive based on community feedback.
The Time to Kill (TTK) in PVE is still too high, but this is a conversation for another day.
The B.L.I.N.D. Battle Rifle is a semi-automatic MDR, but it is still not ready for release. It will work with Sentry’s Call.
We are aware of XBOX lag and framerate drops and these issues are not completely on our side so we need to work with our partners to find out what is happening there. In-game this problem creates “stuttering” or “micro-freeze”.
There is a headshot damage cap now but you will never be able to reach it (1000% Headshot Damage).
Healing lag (delay) is still an issue we are working on. It is a tricky issue because it has to do with server-client architecture and it is not an easy fix.
We do not have a release date for the 1.4 update.
Loot weighting will be changed in the Underground; this change is “more than in progress”.
Bug Fixes and Updates
The blue division tech bug has been fixed. Now high end division tech drops from crates instead.
AlphaBridge gloves have been fixed and you will be paid back your resources if you recalibrated the bugged version of them.
The DeadEYE fix will be coming soon (tomorrow); we do not consider it an exploit for now.
We are aware of Brutal stacking, and we have fixed this.
The side missions are fixed today.
Getting in and out of the Underground is being worked on.
The Underground ladders are also being worked on.
Is Sentry’s Call designed to work with shotguns? It seems too powerful.
Yes, it is intended.
Will you be at GamesCom this year?
No we will not be there this year.
How often do supply drops occur?
They will be there every two weeks, and they will exist until the next one drops to replace the old one.
Should Sentry’s Call work with burst fire weapons?
No it is not intended to.
Are the “Four Horseman” bosses in the Dragon Nest Incursion intended to be farmed multiple times?
We are aware of this and it is ok.
Where is the FrontLine Gear Set?
That is not going to be coming any time soon.
Where are the 229 weapon blueprints?
They do not exist yet but they will exist, no release date yet.
*This has been paraphrased and organized for readability
July 23, 2016 | 19:22 EST
State of the Game - July 14, 2016
Players will now deal 20% more damage to other players with weapons. This change does not affect skill damage.
More kill volumes have been added to Dragon Nest Incursion. This will kill players who try to exit the map area.
Monthly events start tomorrow:
Season Pass owners will see an exclusive supply chest drop outside of the Dark Zone in the streets of New York.
It is guarded by a group of level 32 NPCs
Opening the chest will give you 3 items of High-End or Gear Set quality.
A new chest will automatically drop and replace the old one on the 1st and 15th of each month.
Update 1.4 will bring more variety to these exclusive drops with random locations as well as increased frequency.
We are looking into making changes in the following areas due to community feedback.
Drop weighting and drop rates
Multiple Gear Set changes that you would like to see happen to Gear Sets
Improvement of the PVP experience
Aside from today’s small change we are looking into other and bigger changes for PVP
We are following discussions closely and apologize for the inconvenience and confusion with leaving the recoil/stability change out of the patch notes.
*This has been paraphrased and organized for readability
July 16, 2016 | 09:26 EST
Originally Posted By: Natchai - Community Manager
July 13, 2016 | 12:50PM EST
RE: The G36 Stealth Nerf on Accuracy and Stability
About the Accuracy/Stability change; yes, it seems to have been an intended change that we (as in the community team) weren't made aware of. This one's down to internal miscommunication I'm afraid. Nothing more I can say about it Source