Hello Division 2 Players
It has been quite some time since I felt the need to post in the community.
I came here to post this open letter to the Division 2 Developers; but because I know how toxic the environment in the official Ubisoft forums can become when anything being posted isn't a fanboy statement. I also cross posted it on reddit; just to be fully transparent. I hope that here, for once it will actually be read for what it is; and it will receive a true consideration of the statements it contains.
With all of that being said....lets begin.
I am not a "gamer" (maybe I am; but I do not consider myself one). I am a retired, 55 year old man. I am a veteran, a husband, a father, a grandfather; and I like to play modern tactical warfare games, i.e. Division 1 and 2, Ghost Recon Wildlands and Breakpoint, COD Modern Warfare (all versions), Insurgency: Sandstorm, and the original SOCOM series.
Unlike most people of my generation I wasn't too deep into the video game explosion. I had an Atari 2600; but it wasn't the center of my existence. I was deep into martial arts, and preparing myself to join the U.S. Military. My first real fore into video games was being selected as an Active Duty military member BETA for the original PC version of America's Army. I helped on that game for 5 years until 2007 when they decided to create the XBox console version. I wasn't interested in consoles; I had no experience with them, and wasn't interested in learning at the time. For 9 years afterward I didn't touch a game of any kind.
In 2015 I was severely injured in a jobsite accident. I spent the better part of 3 years going through surgeries, and physical therapy. My wife bought me a used PS3 from a local pawn shop so that I could play a game while I was laid up with a cast on my leg, and my back in a brace. From that point on I was hooked; migrating from the PS3 to the PS4, and now the PS5.
I have been very fortunate, because of my previous AA experience to be selected as a Beta Tester by several publishers, including Ubisoft for numerous games; from PSTs thru to the Open Betas, I have tested all of the Ghost Recon and Division series games since 2015; as well as titles from other producers.
Today I command a clan, [FRB], that I created over 20 years ago; a clan that has persevered across numerous titles. with a core group of members who have been playing together for decades. We aren't "pros", we aren't competitors. We are just a group of players who love to play the game. With a watch level of 3600 (and I stopped playing for a year to play FarCry6), and an Expertise of 19 (58 away from 20). I have 6 gear sets that I use consistently, all levelled out to Expertise 15.
I told you all of that; so that you have some qualifying background for me to provide my opinion and ideas on this iteration of the Division...
The Division is BROKEN, severely so....it has been for some time. You don't need me to tell you this though. If you play the game, you already know this. The worst part of being broken is the fact that, for every fix they make to an update, they break 3 more things. Since Title16 Seasons 9 and 10 were released, there are things that have been broken, that ran perfectly for 3 years. However, the issues with things that are broken in the game isn't the real purpose of this letter either. There are dozens of content creators and everyday players who have documented those issues quite well.
Nooo; my letter's purpose is to ask the developers; "why"?
Why did you go to such extremes to create this amazing environment; and then limit where we could go within it?
Why did you go to such lengths to expand the lifecycle by adding these new seasons; to create these new gear sets; to release the Expertise and Proficiency system? Yet you only did it with minimal effort, enthusiasm, and forethought about the ability to achieve the goals within the system. I say this specifically to address the EPS; it takes 990 exotic components, in conjunction with the other required materials, to advance one full gear set, 2 skills, 3 weapons, and a specialized weapon to Expertise 20. 990 exotics....and yet the RNG hasn't been recalculated, the drop rate hasn't increased; in Countdown I have had 4 exotic drops since the last patch. It seems like the only way to obtain exotics is to buy them from crates.
Why run these manhunt operations over, and over, and over in the same old tired locations? there are literally hundreds of unused buildings in this game where new architecture could have been implemented to create a new experience. New secrets to be discovered; new classified missions, new side missions.
You created RAIDS....but you can't matchmake for them; you know how hard it is to coordinate 8 people to run a RAID? There are times when it can end up being an all day process, just to get enough people together to play one. there are thousands of solo, and small clan players who never get to play a RAID outside of discovery mode; and you have alienated those players.
Let's be honest though, alienation of the players has been a hallmark of the Division 2 since it was released. when you raised the gear score from 30 to 40, you alienated an entire player base who had worked diligently to build amazing loadouts. You destroyed the talents on gear and weapons, like the chaterbox for example; you ruined that weapon. You have in fact made a continual pattern of player alienation time and time again. Why is it so important for you to ruin existing weapons, gear pieces and gear sets, simply because you create a new one? It is a shame how many gear sets that you have blown up and nerfed, simply because you want everyone to use the new "toy" on the block.
Why do you waste so much time on all of these outlandish apparel sets, and weapon skins? You know what would make all of us happy? a REAL "boonie" hat, like the one we had in Division, and an FDE weapon skin....oh and by the way, the LVOAc isn't a semi-automatic "rifle"; it is a full / 3 round burst "AR"; it is a teeth grinding aggravating crime to see that over and over.
Why do you get 100 Grudges (example) in collected loot in the Countdown, and then have the same weapon for sale as a reward at the Countdown Vendor?
Let us move on to the most irritating, and obtuse change in the game....ever. Why did you nerf the 10th floor of the Summit? you used the excuse "The farming of the 10th floor was never intended to be used in that fashion" Why? If a group of players are farming the 10th floor on Heroic or Legendary, with 6 or more directives active, and they want to run the level over and over again, facing numerous factions; how is that some kind of exploit? how is that any different than running the Countdown over and over again? How is it different than running through all of the control points on heroic, or running a mission over and over on heroic or legendary? As a game, in practice we have been farming the same missions over and over again since the release of WONY, and Endgame...You literally destroyed any reason for players to bother with the Summit anymore.
If Ubisoft really wanted to provide the community with some worthwhile hours of in game entertainment....why have they never created something like a "haunted House" event for the Division? can you imagine a side mission or classified mission, or even a main mission that revolves completely around a haunted house environment? There are so many great buildings where such an event could be set. Or how about a true underground, like we had in Division 1, the D1 underground became the most popular area of the game when it was released. Those are just a couple ideas off the top of my head.
Now let's talk about the most toxic environment in the Division 2.......The Dark Zone.
In an age where the entire world is "woke" to the dangers and psychological impact of cyber bullying on the internet, especially for young kids and teenagers, the Dark Zone is the most toxic, bullying oriented environment in any game, by far.
You would think that a company like Ubisoft that has been embroiled in abuse, sexual misconduct, and harassment allegations for the last few years; accusations that have resulted in the "retirement" of 3 of the top 5 executives in the company, would be far more concerned about the toxicity of the DZ.
But what many people are unaware of, is the fact that Ubisoft carries out contracts with government agencies across the globe, some of which are designed to determine the psychological impact of toxic behavior. My aforementioned involvement with America's Army was just one of those government contracts. Ubisoft was even sued under auspices of the UN and Geneva Conventions because AA was a proven propaganda tool used to entice teens and pre-teens into preparing for a life of military service before the age of 16.
There are literal psychology doctorate papers written on the connection of the toxic behavior within the DZ. The DZ is a psychological experiment, designed to see what the behavior of some people will devolve to, when they are released into an environment where the walls of law and order, and the "rules" literally do not apply to them. Think about it....How many people do you know who have ever been banned from the Division or Division 2 for behavior within the DZ.
We can't even begin to touch on the actual known cheating that goes on in the DZ. Conversations I have had personally with players from India who admit that they play in cyber cafes that are full of PCs with PS emulators on them; the guy was very upfront when telling us "You can't beat us, you can't ban us, you can't track us...we do what we want."
The DZ,...it is what it is; and when the development is lead by a group of executives who participate in an environment that is just as toxic as the DZ is....why would we ever expect it to change? Thousands of players refuse to go into the DZ simply because it isn't worth the abuse they must face. It is one thing to expect to be confronted by NPCs and real players, but when the real players attack anyone who enters for the soul purpose of making them leave...that isn't competition, its real harassment, without any repercussions for their actions.
What it boils down to is simple; the developers of this game, and others need to start producing games that the players / buyers want to play; not the game they want to make regardless of what the feedback is. The most arrogant statement I ever heard come from a producer's mouth was "I built the game I wanted to play since I was 14 years old....and I didn't care if anyone else wanted to play it or not."