Don't repeat the mistakes of Destiny 2.
The Division may have recently passed 20 million players and gotten a massive content drop in December, but publisher Ubisoft is already thinking about what's next for the series. We know that the recently announced The Division 2 will transfer some amount of progress from the original game, but we won't learn much more about the sequel until E3 later this year.
The original Division was released two years ago, and the sequel is being developed by the same trio of developers: Massive Entertainment, Red Storm, and Ubisoft Reflections. And while the original only received middling reviews at launch, the game's recent 1.8 update has introduced far-reaching improvements. And just because a sequel is on the way doesn't mean that support for the original Division is ending; current players will still be getting global events and a 4K patch on Xbox One X.
But what's on our wishlist for the best possible version of The Division 2? Here are our suggestions for features we hope make it into the next game.
1) More world-building and environmental changes
At the start of The Division you arrive at the Hudson Refugee camp; even after hundreds of hours, the camp doesn't really grow or change. The Division 2 needs to show progress in the world to increase your investment in the experience. There are literally people waiting in line forever to get into the camp. You're never given a sense of how your actions have positively impacted the world outside of your personal base's progression.
2) Better faction system
The "kill everything" approach to the various factions in the original Division really hurt the game's potential for creating a truly memorable experience. Let enemy factions make their case to you and force you to work with some and against others. Take a page from Fallout: let the factions fight each other or perhaps make some parts of the map more or less dangerous for players based on their alliances.
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3) A more integrated story
By the time your agent got to New York in the first Division, the interesting pandemic stuff had already occurred, and all you were left with were memories in the form of echoes. Destiny made a similar mistake the first time around when it took the strongest story beats out of the main game experience. And while The Division's separation isn't quite as tedious as searching out Grimoire cards, it would be far more impactful to get to know neighborhoods full of people and their struggles to survive rather than just running across the stuff they left behind.
4) Survival elements and meaningful cosmetics
The Division had players scavenging empty apartments for items such as soda cans, but that busywork didn't pay off until the Survival DLC. In-game cosmetic items were equally dull and useless; what's the incentive for taking a walnut-colored beanie over a beige one? The Survival DLC added stats to cosmetic items as well as weather events that finally gave players a reason to consider their outfits. Survival was a standalone mode, but those elements should be considered for the base game.
5) Baseball caps shouldn't be bulletproof
One universally agreed criticism of the original was that dumping hundreds of rounds into a looter whose only protection was a hoodie was more than a little immersion-breaking. Damage in The Division 2 needs to make visual sense. The game has made strides through the 1.8 patch to address this, but Ubisoft needs to go further with the sequel.
6) Stat balance the Dark Zone
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On paper, the RPG-style Dark Zone sounds good, but in practice a top tier of players have emerged to unstoppably rule the Dark Zone, ruining it for everyone else. Destiny's stats-balanced model makes a lot more sense in making PvP fair. The 1.8 patch did add a Rogue toggle and turned off friendly fire to make the DZ more balanced, but shooting still doesn't feel anywhere near as good as other PvP games. Also, the Dark Zone needs to have some kind of new, special infected units and more interesting unique gear to be relevant.
7) Get rid of enemy grenade spam
Certain enemy types in The Division not only spammed grenades but seemed to magically be able to damage you through walls and ceilings. Later Incursion bosses mimicked this annoying feature with endless waves of RC car bombs or unstoppable mortars. Division 2 needs to put an end to this frustrating spam.
8) Expand on the Underground DLC idea
This one's simple: The Division's post-launch Underground DLC introduced randomly generated dungeons, and we'd love it if they were further expanded on in The Division 2's endgame. Players quickly grew tired of daily story missions in the first game because they were predictable and often didn’t require high level strategy beyond knowing which sections to bypass. The randomly generated model from Underground could add unpredictability and longevity to grinding for those endgame currencies.
9) Build off the updates to The Division
We know that something will carry over from Division 1 to Division 2, but we really hope that Ubisoft's sequel learns from the mistakes of Destiny 2. Specifically, do not take away progress built between the community and developers. Updates added global events and made important changes to going rogue in the Dark Zone. Division 2 shouldn't start all of that over from nothing, but should instead introduce that as a baseline starting point for the sequel.