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Division 2 developers shelve high-level loot plans

‘515 Gear’ is not coming in the next update, following community backlash

Helicopter extracting loot from the Dark Zone in Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Ubisoft/Massive Entertainment

Developers for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 have shelved plans to implement higher level weapons and gear — the so called “515 gear” that was originally planned to arrive in next week’s Title Update 3. Today, developers walked back that decision, acknowledging a widespread community reaction against the gear for what it would mean to the work many put in to collecting and upgrading their inventories in the loot shooter.

Writing on Ubisoft’s official blog, Massive Entertainment developers acknowledged that items at the current maximum gear score of 500 “would have been outdated immediately, and all the effort you put into min/maxing and farming your builds would have been wasted.” That aligned with the first and most consistent complaint of the anti-515 crowd.

And it’s not just about ranking gear up to the highest overall number. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 encourages players to build a gear set that suits their play style, and 515 Gear would have faced some with abandoning that style to achieve a better overall gear score, or sticking with their hard won, trusty firearms. All this, right as the game’s first raid arrived, too.

Developers acknowledged that they themselves have encouraged loot/gear development as more than just hitting a specific number. “We don’t want the focus to be on constantly chasing a higher Gear Score,” either, “when it should be about finding a play style and build that you enjoy.”

A third component of fans’ anxiety over the 515 Gear plans is the fact it would drop in the game’s Dark Zones. Though developers hinted that it might be available elsewhere, with no specific promises made, players were upset about the risk it would take to successfully find, protect and extract top-level merch. Massive and Red Storm Entertainment made it a priority to make the rough-and-tumble, PvPvE playground less intimidating and more worthwhile than its predecessor, but in the Dark Zones, friends can turn on each other at a moment’s notice, and loot is in peril right up to the instant a chopper hoists it out.

While any massively multiplayer game will run afoul of mob sentiment at some point, Massive developers cited data from a Public Test Server, as well as “intense internal discussions,” and saw the merit in what the community was arguing in the forums.

That also means that Title Update 3 will adjust difficulty and gameplay affecting player survivability, mission and control point difficulty, and time to kill. Specifically, Massive said they want to make the Dark Zone “more fun and rewarding,” which is an ongoing goal carried over from the hard-as-nails rep it earned in the first Division back in 2016.

Title Update 3 will also bring in Dark Hours, the eight-player raid that had been scheduled for April 25 but was delayed at the last minute. Dark Hours will reward players with exclusive loot, an exotic weapon and new gear sets.

To “make it clearer where to get Gear Score 500 items,” Massive has implemented several changes in Title Update 3, including an across-the-board loot balance that reduces the chance of loot drops of items lower than the character’s Gear Score. More details are available at the blog post.

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