The Division: 8 ways to improve Massive's loot shooter
I'm dedicated to The Division and I'm in it for the long haul. After 96 hours and 5 minutes I have to be. Otherwise I've been wasting my life. I know the Division has some pretty big problems but it's not stopping me from enjoying it. There are bugs and balancing problems, but I'm still popping in almost every day to grab some Phoenix Credits, pump up my Dark Zone rank a little more and run in fear from rogue agents.
Beyond the obvious fixes, there's other changes I'd like to see that I reckon will improve the game. I'm not a game designer (clearly) and some of these are probably a big ask (or worse, would further break the game) but fuck it; I'm paid to have opinions and these are ways I'd like to see The Division improve over time. Read them and tell me your ideas in the comments section.
Disable the mobile cover skill
Mobile Cover must be the source of 90 percent of The Division's glitches. Deploy it near a wall and you're able to roll through the scenery into another part of the map. Players are doing this in the Dark Zone to shoot each other and claim the XP. Or it's being used to skip through whole sections of a mission to farm bosses and their loot drops.
Outside of glitching it's not even a very good skill to have. The game is a cover shooter so each map is rammed with places you can duck behind for protection. I've never at any point found myself without somewhere I can't roll to and hide. Disabling Mobile cover means it can't be exploited by those leveling through glitches instead of play, and I don't think anyone would miss it as part of their character build either.
Replace XP in the campaign
Once we hit the level 30 campaign cap, why are we still earning XP? We're still replaying campaign missions on Hard and Challenging difficulty to earn Phoenix Credits, and that means we earn buckets of XP as we go, but it's all completely useless.
How about that XP is turned into a form of currency? Maybe not to buy gear and weapons, but at the least some crafting materials (especially since crafting was nerfed recently, making it much more of a slog to gather the right materials). Anything is better than nothing, and the XP we earn at the moment just vanishes into the ether. Let players have alternative ways of leveling up and you give them more reasons to play.
Fix the bloody dailies
It's not a daily assignment if it doesn't update for three days. You can't expect players to approach the Hard and Challenge missions with enthusiasm if they're running the same Hudson Refugee Camp mission for the third day running. It's got to the point where I'm setting my own dailies in my head for something to do. Try not shooting a fish tank in the Russian Consulate.
And while we're at it, can we get more than four Challenge modes? Some of the campaign missions are great, we'd love to run them again with the difficulty ramped up.
Give cheaters their own Dark Zone
People want to cheat. People will cheat and there's not much you can do about it. You can't ban people from playing the game however they want to play it.
But I don't want to play with someone who's cheating or fucking about and screwing up my fun times in the Dark Zone. So if someone is flagged as cheating, banish him/her off to their own little Dark Zone instance, where they can play with others who prefer exploits and glitch-kills over real skill. Leave them to it.
Repopulate the map
How big is the map outside of the Dark Zone? It's bloody huge, especially when you consider interior buildings, underground tunnels, rooftops and more. And yet once the campaign is over we barely have anything to do with it aside from revisiting a handful of daily missions or grabbing the odd material.
This seems like such a waste. The interlinked design and construction of Massive's New York City is incredible - one the main reasons for playing the game, and it looks gorgeous with its broken neon, forlorn decorations and graffiti-splattered walls. And yet we have no reason to explore it any further. Such a shame.
Drop the Phoenix Credits limit
You can only carry 1,000 Phoenix Credits at a time. New weapons cost between 800-900 Phoenix Credits. Instead of being able to save up to buy a bunch of complimentary gear together, or hang on to them in the hope of buying something better with the next DLC drop, we have to spend them or stop earning them.
We craft weapons and clothes and you won't let us make a bigger wallet? Come on.
Make it more of a challenge
The daily Hard modes are easy. Once you've got at least one High End weapon you can run them in 15 minutes without using cover or caring about skill. You're literally standing in the middle of a car park and watch elite and veteran enemies melt faster than a bootleg toy in front of a roaring fire. On the other hand, try to do a Challenge mode solo and you're one-shotted at the point of entry.
My point is there's no middle ground. I like playing solo. So do over 50 percent of players. But Challenge mode is pretty much off the cards unless you're keen to grind your teeth down to bloody stumps. Some balance would be nice.
Above all, fix the bugs, exploits and glitches
The Division is great but players are rightly frustrated with the technical problems. It's not a disaster yet, and Massive is doing well at patching and updating the game when it needs it. But patience doesn't last forever and it's making headlines for the wrong reasons. Hopefully there will be no more game-breaking problems, and once the majority of awful exploits are taken care of The Division will continue to grow as a compulsive loot shooter.