Ubisoft has written a lengthy blog post that covers the numerous and substantial changes concerning character and weapon balance coming to The Division as part of its 1.4 update.
First, there are a number of gear-specific changes coming, the first of which is that every piece of equipment dropped in World Tier 2 or higher will have all three stats on them.
“While one stat will always be much higher than the other two, and you can recalibrate as before, the inclusion of all three on every item creates a balanced baseline which means that your survivability will generally be higher and you no longer risk accidentally making the game much more difficult than it has to be,” Ubisoft said. “These base stats will increase with each increase in gear score.”
Stats like critical chance and headshot damage are being scaled down because “they currently can become way too high.” Ubisoft noted that enemy health and damage are also being rebalanced with the 1.4 update, which should in turn create a “more even playing field.”
The Division’s 1.4 update also removes skill bonuses from all gear. Additionally, backpacks, holsters, and knee pads will get new performance and mod slots.
Gear score is also changing. All values are decreasing for levels 191 and above, but Ubisoft notes that Gear Sets are not actually becoming less powerful. “With the new gear scores, this will be made much clearer and easier to understand,” it said. Here’s how gear scores are changing:
- 191 gear will all be made into gear score 163
- 214 becomes 182
- 240 becomes 204
- 268 becomes 229
Ubisoft said it’s making these changes in part because too many people were getting removed from groups because they didn’t have “inflated” Gear Scores. “We want to make sure you’re not automatically punished just because your Gear Score doesn’t look high enough,” Ubisoft said. “Gear Sets are not meant to be a measure of actual power or be must-haves to be competitive at endgame, instead they will represent fun and specialized gameplay styles.”
Another goal of The Division’s 1.4 update is to help make the game have “more of a shooter feeling.” You will immediately notice that DPS numbers have changed. Some weapon values may be changed, but it’s more the result of a new formula that explains the accurate measure of a weapon’s viability.
“It’s still a work in progress, but right now the displayed DPS on the [public test server] is based on damage, rounds per minute and crit,” Ubisoft said. “While it gives a really transparent view of the damage output of the weapon, removing magazine size, reload speed, and accuracy from the equation makes it difficult to compare weapons of different types between each other. We are currently working on a new formula to achieve a better overview of the power of a given weapon; you should be able to see it on a future PTS update.”
Additionally, weapon damage by role is changing. For example, SMGs currently do more damage than assault rifles–and this should not be the case.
“Instead, their future power will come from the fact that they are stable and have high critical damage, which means your goal is to get as many bullets as possible on the target,” Ubisoft said. “Many light machine guns will see a buff and get closer to the damage numbers of assault ifles, which will make them more powerful and viable to use. Some specific outliers that are currently way too powerful, like the MP7 and M1A, will see their raw damage numbers lowered to make up for the fact that they have big bonuses to handling. Weapons that are unpopular in the current meta, like the SRS Sniper Rifle and the M2-49, have had their damage output increased to bring them up to par.”
Here is a quick rundown of the key changes coming to The Division’s weapons, as written by Ubisoft:
- We want to return The Division to feel more like a shooter, similar to the experience during the 1-30 game.
- New DPS formula on weapons has been introduced, but is a work in progress and will change over the course of the PTS.
- The damage and roles of certain weapons have been changed. Some weapons have seen a damage increase; others have had their damage lowered.
- Named weapons will not be changed in this update.
- Weapon mods will now come with one major bonus and an amount of smaller bonuses, depending on the quality of the mod.
- Damage bonuses are now additive instead of multiplicative, reducing the current spikes in damage which made the game hard to balance.
- The Firearms stat will become a much more significant source of damage output, leading to more decision making when building your character.
- Weapon talents have been rebalanced; some have been buffed, others have seen their numbers reduced.
- The identity of your gear will remain the same, even if the scale of stats and bonuses might change.
Many of the changes mentioned here will be retroactive, which means that you won’t be able to run around with a weapon with pre-patch values.
“While we realize this might come as a shock to some, we’re sure that the overall gameplay experience will be much more satisfying and simply more fun after these changes have been made,” Ubisoft said.
Read this blog post to see a full rundown of the character balance changes, which also include tweaks to skills, signature skills, armor, and weapon mods and talents, among other things. Bear in mind that everything mentioned in this story and the blog post is non-final and subject to change.
PC players can start testing the new update tomorrow, September 22, when the PTS goes live in its technical test. The full launch of the PTS is scheduled for September 26. The PTS is only available on PC right now, but Ubisoft is looking into how it can make it available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The Division’s PTS was originally scheduled to come out on September 15 before Ubisoft delayed it. The developer also recently pushed back to the release of the game’s upcoming DLC so it could prioritize on fixing the game’s issues and improving the overall experience.