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The Division 2’s first raid is impossible for console players, apparently (update)

Two days in, there is no one on the leaderboard for PS4 or Xbox One

A view of a new exotic weapon on offer in The Division 2’s first raid, Operation Dark Hours. Massive Entertainment/Ubisoft
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Raids are meant to be hard, but the first one in Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is so hard that so far, no players on console have managed to beat it. PC users managed to do so within hours of the raid, Operation Dark Hours, going live on Thursday. But more than just a handful of frustrated voices are saying that the raid’s expectations are beyond the capabilities of twin-analog gamepad gaming.

Kotaku went into extensive detail about the raid and what’s behind the difficulty spike yesterday. But this is well more than some issue of gameplay criticism or someone’s impressions. The Division’s subreddit is alive with complaints about the raid’s difficulty (and condescending counter-complaints about the complaining) with a thread demanding the developers themselves try to beat the raid on the console doing most of the talking.

“I am not whining here,” says the original poster. “I have seen many top Twitch streamers (with great builds) try to complete the raid on console and no matter what they try [they] cannot finish the final boss.”

Suffice to say, at publication time the raid’s leaderboard on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had zero (0) entries. From Paul Tassi, of Forbes, earlier this morning:

Simply passing the first boss, a weed-out experience at the hands of Boomer, is bragging rights enough for console gamepad users.

PC players? They’ve since managed to whittle the whole thing down to under 30 minutes.

Naturally, this has turned many in the community on one another. “Whining about a raid being too hard after less than a day is the epitome of a soft gamer,” jeers one, although they were being tongue-in-cheek enough to declare they were “going full condescension, nerds.” So perhaps some of that is in jest or self-parody.

But another player, very seriously arguing for relief, backhanded those who oppose raid nerfs as “elitists.” They said that the game’s overall mechanics need to be changed to compensate for console differences, rather than apply nerfs specifically to Dark Hours enemies or bosses.

“Rather than introducing nerfs to the encounters at this time while things are still fresh, instead there should be changes made to the console versions to compensate for the differences over the PC version,” they said. “All I do know is that if it has taken so much longer for the raid to be done on the console, it’s indicative of something being wrong in the raid’s design that wasn’t properly researched and addressed.”

Still another player says that the larger problem is the raid is really only beatable with eight players all working damage-per-second builds. “Not only is the gear designed for DPS but none of the skills or skill mods really allow group dynamics,” they wrote, which belies Massive Entertainment’s claim that the raid “requires a coordinated team with roles.”

“The pulse isn’t viable either as there’s just not enough [area of effect] skills to buff your team,” they continued, and I can attest to that on a single-player PvE basis alone; pulse is beyond useless simply for its piss-ant range compared to the first The Division.

“The shield isn’t good for tanking either as pistols aren’t good enough for damage,” they say, taking a swipe at Massive for “only ever car[ing] for the PC build as that’s the version they personally play.”

Raids are not for everyone and yes, as the tongue-in-cheek poster above somewhat implies, those who get the most out of them are angling for an extra hard experience, and shouldn’t have that thwarted by outreach to less committed players. But Kotaku notes that in Destiny 2, the most similar game with a PC and console presence, PC players were the first to beat its raids, but console players trailed only by hours. It’s now been two days since Operation Dark Hours went live, and console players’ continued futility sort of speaks for itself.

I’ve reached out to an Ubisoft representative to ask if Massive, or anyone in community management, has any statement or plans to make one soon; being the weekend, I wouldn’t bet on an immediate reply.

But with just about every gaming publication that follows a game like The Division 2 mentioning this, someone should respond once everyone’s back in the office. Back in March, Massive and Ubisoft’s publicists really wanted to stress endgame content as separating The Division 2 and elevating it above what its predecessor was at launch. Raids were a huge part of that messaging. If two of the three platforms have very little hope of beating it, even if they’re willing to make the effort of organizing an eight-player team and spending hours upon hours at it, the raid may as well not exist at all.

Update: Kotaku notes this morning that successful times have shown up for the raid on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As of this morning there were at least two different completions on PS4 and four on Xbox One.

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