Where does the time go? Seriously? Where does it go? It seems like just yesterday it was the new year, and now here we are, knocking on the door of April.
My goal for this month was to complete The Division (check) as well as three other games. I’ve been making good progress on that challenge as I finished the Dying Light DLC (The Following), as well as Firewatch. With three days left in the month, I feel sure I can wrap up my playthrough of Saturday Morning RPG (novel at first, but gets repetitive; still fun), thus bringing me to completion of my challenge. Also, April is a bit of a slow month for new release games I’m interested in, so I hope to make great progress on my backlog in the near future.
Much of what I played this last week was, for better or worse, The Division. I’m not going to lie, for a good stretch there, I quite enjoyed my time with the game, but over this last week, I’ve come to the conclusion that the “end game” of The Division isn’t necessarily my cup of tea. This comes down to two areas: the Dark Zone and the daily challenge missions.
I know Ubisoft has patched the game (but there are still certain things that are wonky as hell, like how stats show up) for various issues, but the Dark Zone continues to reward negative behavior, and that’s something I just can’t get next to. I would far rather work together in a cooperative setting than work against someone, and this just isn’t my bag. Over the weekend, my co-op partner and I experienced a couple of aggrivating situations, one of which was enough to put me off the Dark Zone indefinitely.
Allow me to side step here and say that I think The Division would benefit from a player reporting system (something like Destiny offers). I have encountered players in the Dark Zone that aren’t just playing aggressively, but are actively working to get people to trigger a rogue state.
My partner and I were at an extraction zone (one of the more open spaces) and we noticed another player approaching. He didn’t have a pack to extract, which always sets off a red flag. Another? He was pointing his weapon at us. He then proceeded to throw grenades at us as well as shoot at us just enough for us to feel it, but not enough to set him off as rogue. This isn’t the first time this has happened to us, but I have a feeling it will be the last.
As we are about to extract, we are rushed by hostile NPCs. So what does this genius do? He tries to get in between us and the NPCs so we accidentally shoot him and trigger a rogue state. But this wasn’t our first rodeo, and people have done that to us before. We just didn’t shoot at anyone, attached our packs to the extraction rope, and got out of there.
But our a**hole “friend” came with us.
He followed us for a good long while, periodically shooting at both of us, but, again, just enough for him to not turn rogue. But the cherry on the jerk sundae was what happened next.
My partner and I ran into a group of hostile NPC enemies. We were about to fight them when we saw that our shadow was trying to get between us and them so, again, we might turn rogue. We said, screw this, and ran for the exit. We got to the exit, and it said we couldn’t leave while in combat. And guess why it said that? Because that jerk dude was occasionally shooting at us. He stayed right next to us by the exit and basically kept us from leaving for who knows how many minutes. I was really ticked off. I am not a report-happy person, but those features should be in the game for this type of person. He was trolling us so we couldn’t leave the Dark Zone. I kept jamming on the square button trying to trigger an exit and eventually (after a minute or two of doing it) it worked. Unfortunately, my partner was still stuck inside. When he finally got out, we were both just done with the Dark Zone.
I’d love to say people like that jerk person are an isolated experience, but more and more often, we have encountered negative players there. That’s just not my cup of tea. Again, I’d far rather work with someone than against them.
We also had quite the time with the daily challenge missions. The first two are typically easy, but the hardest can often be quite hard. We found this out when we matchmade with two other people on Saturday night and it took all of us over three hours to finish the hardest challenge mission. It didn’t help that the enemies were so powerful and swift, that we quite literally had to repeatedly retreat to the beginning of the mission with each wave (no matter how far into the mission we were) just to get enough distance to make it a less crappy playing field.
So when we went into the menu the next day to play the challenge missions and it was the same mission as the day before, we gave it a few tries and realized something: it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. So I said, “Hey, want to just do the nightfall instead?”
So we decided to play some Destiny. This was the first time in many, many months I’ve booted up Destiny, and, while I was out of practice, I had so much fun.
I don’t see much more of The Division in my future. Between the lack of a reporting system, an over the top difficulty for the hardest of daily challenge missions, and various types of other issues, I’m just not enjoying the game anymore. With all the other games out there to play, the choice to put it down is easy.
And with that, I wish you a good last week of March. How is your playing going? What are you playing?
P.S. As I was organizing the kitchen cupboards this past weekend, I found a can of baked beans which made me laugh. I bought them when I was replaying BioShock Infinite, as I was driven to eat the things I was finding in the game: hot dogs, chips, and baked beans. This is an example of games spilling over into life in a delicious way.