The Division 2: How PvP should expand to grow the playerbase

The Division 2 - PvP - Ubisoft

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is nigh. We’re just under a week away from the launch of the sequel to Ubisoft’s militaristic loot shooter. Personally, I couldn’t be more excited. The first game launched with its share of problems, namely the fact that it felt hollow and repetitive in the overall grind. However, Ubisoft listened to the criticisms over the life of its game and fleshed out the endgame options, providing a more well-rounded and longer-lasting experience. Heading into The Division 2, we’re expecting to only see improvement from that point forward. If the beta was any indication, we certainly will.

In terms of PvP, however, there’s more I’d like to see Ubisoft do in this arena. Conflict is The Division 2‘s take on Destiny‘s Crucible. PvP content isn’t the bread and butter of loot shooters by any stretch. But they do provide the game with leverage to withstand rapid burnout from their player base. Destiny and its sequel have, at times, become rather dull for me. However, these are the moments when I escape into the Crucible to combat the other Guardians online. On many occasions, I’d stay enraptured by the crucible for days on end. PvP matches based on teamwork and a revolving door of teammates and opposition kept things alive for me in a way the usual endgame grind not always could. The Division 2 is gaining this benefit from the start, unlike its predecessor, with Conflict.

Organized objective-based PvP

Conflict, as it stands, is a great start for the launch of The Division 2. Skirmish, a mode where players eliminate the opposing team and their reinforcements, and Domination, where teams aim to hold target locations to gain the advantage, are on the docket. For the future of the game’s PvP content, however, I’d first like to see an expansion in the modes offered. Skirmish and Domination are great modes that have stood the test of time across countless online shooters. But let’s get a bit more creative with the assets in The Division 2. There’s nothing more thrilling to me than a true objective mode where the winners are determined by the objective alone and not kills. So, I’m not referring to Domination where the object is to capture points to gain an edge in the fight. I’m talking about true objectives like Capture the Flag.

Capture the Flag is an objective mode in its most basic form. But many developers have taken it to a different level. The Division 2 could employ a Hostage mode where agents must retrieve a high-value hostage from the Hyenas and walk them back to safety. Each round could swap the teams. This is just a simple example. Objective-based PvP, in my mind, is far more engaging than simply gunning the other team down. It provokes team work and thereby makes the actual competition even more engaging and thrilling. The world of The Division 2 is built for organized objective-based PvP.

The Division 2 - PvP - Ubisoft

Employ the Ping system

Since my dreams for the future of The Division 2‘s PvP involve teamwork, let’s take the game mechanics one step further as well. Art begets art. Apex Legends and Fortnite have proven this. Both games have taken something that is popular and given it their own twist. Apex even created the much-appreciated ping system that easily enables strategy and teamwork in the absence of mics. With typical matchmaking, there’s never any guarantee you’ll land a squad with mics. You may also not want to use a mic. Fortnite is utilizing the ping system now in its own game.

The ping system is brilliant and is made for objective-based PvP. The Division 2 should employ its own form of the ping system. In fact, the ping system would work wonders even for the main PvE grind. Again, not everyone uses mics, and half the time, marking key points in the world is so much easier than vocalizing where you want your squadmates to focus their attention.

Frequent seasonal and limited-time events in the Dark Zones

I’d like to see a wider swath of events within the Dark Zones. I’ll admit I didn’t stick with The Division the entirety of its life. I bought the game on launch, beat the main storyline and hung around for a bit, and eventually moved on. I’ve heard of the contamination events but never got to see them in action. However, I think the game should employ a variety of events and even limited-time engagements frequently. Seasonal changes within games are what keeps fans returning. This is always part of the fun of other well-supported loot shooters. New, simple events with ever-changing conditions within the DZs would go a long way to attracting more players into the walls of those areas. These events could also be complicated with NPCs, adding layers to the experience. Of course, better loot and rewards should always be the carrot at the end of the stick. That’s what we’re in it for regardless, right?

The Division 2 - PvP - Ubisoft

Deeper organized PvP progression

I can hear the chorus of Division fans now: “This isn’t Call of Duty!” I get that. This is a loot shooter at its core. But the organized PvP realm keeps the broader player base engaged and present. And if Ubisoft is going to include organized PvP, it shouldn’t be some shoddy tack-on. It should get some real attention. Granted, I understand that it may not be the focus of the team right out the gate, but this is my pitch to see aspects of PvP evolve over time as Ubisoft continues to support the game.

In the beta, I couldn’t tell if there was any real progression or reward system in place for PvP matches I did engage in. But if there was, it wasn’t entirely front and center. Speaking of Call of Duty, why do you think it’s been so successful all of these years? Sure, it has smooth and well-oiled gunplay and a winning competitive formula. But it’s also in large part due to the layered progression system that keeps players coming back for more for a long time. I’d like to see Conflict give this more attention down line. Perhaps rewards could translate into the main campaign. That’d provide plenty of reason for players to skip over to Conflict in order to achieve rewards they could use there and elsewhere within The Division 2.

Of course, these are all just thoughts and ideas for how I’d like to see The Division improve its PvP offerings over time. Overall, I am ecstatic to jump into the game, create my skin, and pound the pavement in the streets of Washington D.C. this week. The Hyenas aren’t going to know what hit them!

So, what do you think of all of this? Do you care much for PvP? Would all of these advancements be pointless in your eyes? Or do you have some ideas on how you’d like to see PvP improve? Be sure to let us know your feelings on the matter in the comments section below!