I hit level 30 over the weekend and the game took an odd turn for me.
Each sub-zone has one group mission, and on the penultimate one I was teamed up with 2 folks who were level 30 and had a high gear score (or it appeared high). Yes, this game has a gear score, easy to identify with other players. They were both near 150, which is the average item level across all pieces. I was having a tough slog through the zone, taking quite a few hits to take an enemy down. 15K per headshot, which I thought was pretty decent – at least in the solo play. These 2 guys didn’t even both hiding, they just ran through the entire zone, a clip dropping an entire room. My first thought was that they had hacked the game.
And then I hit level 30. I crafted some level 89 gear and went to do the last mission. In it, I got a new sniper (marksman) rifle and was now doing almost 60K per headshot. My mine skill was clearing out any solo mission in a single hit. In the space of 30 minutes, I had quadrupled in power. The sad part is the difference in power between me at 29 and 30 was about the same as the difference between me at 30 and those 2 guys at 150+ gear score.
Now, I’m all used to power curves. Diablo 3 has one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Most MMOs have bad ones as well, though dying while leveling is a rare enough occurrence these days. The Division just takes it to a level I’m not used to. It feels like I’m using cheat codes.
But, this is only related to the “normal” level gameplay. I haven’t done any Dark Zone content, nor any challenging/hard missions. I’m fairly confident a level of challenge exists within that space. Perhaps this is like SWTOR, where once you hit level cap, they provide you with a set of epic gear to take on the “now relevant” content. It does make all the solo-content essentially irrelevant to complete (aside from credits I guess).
So now, I’m looking for some builds and better understanding of stats in the end game. From what I can see so far, having scavenging up to 99% has a dramatic effect on drops, though getting it to 100% causes a bug to make it worthless. Crit chance has no impact on head shots. Weapon Damage has diminishing returns, Skill Power affects pretty much anything you do, and there’s a bear minimum level of hit points you need to survive a sniper shot. In a game where defence means little (from what numbers I’ve seen), optimizing offence seems to be relegated to a very small set of stats. Curious as to the long tail in this game.
I’ll give it another week or so, to see where things fall into place. Afterwards I think I’ll give Dark Souls 3 a try. We’re a month in, someone is bound to have a 50% off sale right?
My version of The Division should be here today or tomorrow with my new laptop. I’m really late to the party (fashionably late?) but looking forward to it.
Do you have a console? Did you play Destiny? It’s been amazing, although I hit a complete wall there just this weekend. I hear besides the FPS 3PS difference they are somehow spiritually linked. \
Any Division tips before I jump into it?
Well, some basic items.
You want a marksman rifle with a decent rate of fire, above 200. You want an assault rifle as the other gun. The rest of the guns aren’t really worth it, at least the ones I got to try.
Marksman guns benefit greatly from +headshot damage.
Character gear should be about 50% dps, 25% health, 25% skill power. That seemed to work well for me.
My favorite skills were sticky bomb and support station. One can take out groups, the latter keeps you alive, and is pretty much required in random groups. The wing upgrades for both are great.
Wing upgrades should focus on increasing grenades and medkits. Darkzone stuff can wait. Recalibration (tech wing) is the absolute best. It lets you reroll stats and is useful from the beginning.
Crafting is pretty much useless, unless your items are 6+ levels off your character. Crafting at end game is different, and you’ll get a feel for it.
Combat isn’t too crazy. Hide behind things, snipe, reload, repeat. Grenades are great. Enemies aren’t bullet sponges, which is great. The real challenge are the shotgun rushers, snipers, and elite enemies that drop you in under 2 seconds.
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