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    The Division: Dark Zone

    Every time we hear something new about The Division we get a slightly different impression about what exactly the game is and how it will play. In our last issue, we talked about how the game is looking more and more like an RPG. That’s not incorrect, per se there are certainly RPG elements in The Division. However, the latest talk coming out of developer Ubisoft Massive places the focus on aspects that make it sound far more like an MMO.

    The first sign that The Division has got a bit of MMO about it is that it seems it will have a loot system. It almost certainly won't be as central to the game as in Destiny and you should not expect to be seeing green, purple and white colour coded loot tiers. Nevertheless, the game’s developers do intend to keep you playing after the story is finished and a steady supply of new items and weapons for you to collect in order to improve your character will be a part of that. So, while there aren't going to be items tagged as being ‘legendary’ or ‘common’ as we’ve seen in other loot-based games, there will be equipment with higher stats that you will naturally be inclined to collect.
    Further inspiration seems to have been taken from MMOs in the way that The Division approaches PvP combat. The idea of having ‘safe zones’ where you don’t have to worry about being attacked by other human players and areas that are either dedicated to PvP combat, or in which it is possible it can take place, will be familiar to MMO veterans.

    That’s precisely what The Divisionis doing. When you’re pottering about in your HQ, or running about doing campaign missions, you're not going to have to worry about suddenly being jumped by rival players. The game will have ‘Dark Zones’, however, and it’s these areas that are dedicated to PvP combat if you and your buddies want to get a piece of that action, then, all you have to do is open up your map and head for a Dark Zone.

    There is one other area where you will encounter other human players and, again, it’s a recognisable MMO staple: the social hub. The Division’s social hub will be separate to the areas in which combat occurs and will be a space where you can interact with other human players, outside of those who are in your party.

    It’s worth noting that all those players will have their own class (you can see why we’ve compared The Division to both RPGs and MMOs). We don't have a great deal of detail on the game’s character classes yet, suffice to say that there’s likely to be a character focused on damage dealing, one on support and so on. Ubisoft Massive continues to emphasise that players of the same class can play the game together, but does say that you’ll get the most from working with team-mates who specialise in other areas.

    Despite all this talk of The Division as an MMO, it’s worth mentioning that it still looks very much like the third person action heavy shooter we saw when it was revealed. When some people hear the word ‘MMO’ they instantly think of fiddling around in inventories, farming experience and numbers flashing about all over the shop. That’s not what The Division is. Rather, it’s a game that’s seeking to place itself at the vanguard of a new trend in big-budget game design. In other words, it is trying
    to take advantage of the connected nature of our world by learning from what’s worked with MMOs and marrying that with the mainstream, big-budget shooter. Destiny has proved that can work. Perhaps The Division can pull it off too?

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