What’s up Superfriends?
I don’t get to talk about games nearly as much as I would like to on the show, so I figured I’d get my fill by posting about my #1 hobby, nay, obsession here on the site. Maybe one day we’ll be able to have a dedicated gaming show from the Den… One day…
So to kick things off, I want to tell you guys about my experiences with Tom Clancy’s The Division, which came out just last week.
I’ve sunk the better part of 50 hours into the game at this point and I’m far from losing interest. But first, a little bit of background on the game for the uninitiated.
The Division is a 3rd person cover based shooter/RPG, the ELI5 on that would be: There are bad guys, you are a good guy (Most of the time, more on that later), you kill the bad guys, to do that effectively and without dying, you hide behind various pieces of conveniently placed cover. All the while your character (An Agent of “The Division”) becomes more powerful and acquires new skills and equipment.
Got it? Cool.
So all of this is taking place in a pandemic stricken New York city after some seedy character decided it would be a good idea to infect a bunch of cash with a deadly virus and distribute it around the city on the holiest of consumer holidays: Black Friday.
So here’s the rub (I’m reading the Martian right now and Mark Watney is a God):
New York is now desolate, looters and various factions have taken to anarchy and the government has deployed its top secret team of sleeper citizens to restore order to the chaos. Oh and there are Christmas decorations everywhere. Yay!
So, I started the Division up at about 1am on March 8th (which is surprising if you’ve ever experienced launch day woes before) and I played until my eyes would no longer stay open.
Cut to day 2. Finish work, power up PS4, launch the Division. Play endlessly.
This continues each day until… well it’s still happening now. Tick tock clock, I want to go home and play the Division right now.
But a very special thing happened to me on the Friday of that 1st week. Now this thing is very very unusual for me in games and I’m so glad it actually happened.
The Division has a lovely place in the centre of it’s map called the Dark Zone. The Dark Zone is an area in the centre of Manhattan that has been all but abandoned by the authorities. What does this mean for gameplay? Well this is the area where you can go rogue, which is to say, you can turn your back on the other agents of the Division and kill them.
But why would I kill other people that are on the same team as me in the grand scheme of things?
You see the Dark Zone is where players are able to find some of the best equipment in the game. The catch being that just picking this gear up off the ground isn’t enough. Due to the high level of contamination in the area, all items gathered here must first be extracted and decontaminated before the player can use them, when you die in the Dark Zone all equipment in your Dark Zone inventory is dropped and can be picked up by anyone.
So back to my amazing Friday experience.
I ventured into the Dark Zone to try my hand at the more powerful enemies and maybe even some Agents that lurk around the area. In doing so I come across another Agent, he seems friendly enough and we take to killing things together. After some time he invites me to his group and we play together for a few hours, chatting away, hunting down rogue agents and collecting an unhealthy amount of equipment.
My humanity catches up to me and I need to sustain myself. So I decide to call it a night. Not before mentioning that it was good playing with my new friend and I’d be inclined to play again some time. We add each other as friends and call it a night.
Now to most people this may seem pretty sterile an experience. But for me, this is so rare. To meet someone through a game, have a great time cooperating together and then making a friend out of it? 7 year old Hopkins would be so pleased with 24 year old Hopkins…
We’ve played several times since then. We own the Dark Zone when we’re rolling in a group and that is an awesome feeling.
I’ve still got quite a lot to do in The Division and I can’t wait to tell you guys more. So stay tuned here and I’ll update you with the latest, even if I start to hate this game, because that’s happened before… Looking at you Destiny.
More on the Division to come, I’m currently 4 levels off of the level cap of 30, so I’ll be checking in again soon with a discussion about the end game content and whether or not I think this is something that will hang around for awhile.
Until next time, see you all at Beers!
At the time of writing I was infatuated with something new and exciting, writing this edit in June of 2016 I can say with confidence that this game has devolved into a fractured mess that keeps players locked in a grind with more bugs than the Amazon. If you haven’t played The Division yet, I caution you to avoid it unless it turns around in the future a la Destiny: The Taken King.