The Division Update Guarantees High-End Drops, Makes Crafting Pricier

The highlight of The Division's big upcoming patch may be the addition of the first Incursion, but it's also going to have a significant impact on item drops and crafting. In a blog post today, the game's development team offered some new details on the changes being made and the reason why crafting is about to become more expensive.


"The Division is primarily a RPG. As such, gearing up your character is one of the main aspects and incentives to keep playing the game once the story missions are completed and max level is reached," Massive said. "As part of the end-game loop, players are expected to obtain their equipment by trying to beat challenging activities, and be rewarded for it.


"As each player develops and perfects their build, he or she will be looking for very specific items that will contribute to that build. Looking for one specific item can be quite tedious, but it should also feel extremely satisfying when the item is finally acquired."


Crafting serves as an alternative, allowing players "to temporarily complete their gear, by crafting missing pieces of their level." But as things stand, Massive feels "loot drops are just too rare and disappointing, putting too much of an emphasis on crafting: you are looking for crafting materials and may sometimes end up dropping an interesting item in the process."


That point is demonstrated in the graph below, which shows that crafted items represent nearly half of all high-end items in the game. That should change with the introduction of patch 1.1 for two reasons, one of which is the increased price of crafting revealed in the patch notes.


The other, more direct reason: Killing named NPCs who are level 30 or higher now guarantees a high-end drop. The enemy's level will dictate the gear score of the item drop in question.


"For example, a level 30 named will guarantee a gear score 163 high-end. With so much more high-end drops, you'll quickly notice that crafting high-end items, while more expensive, will not necessarily be much more complicated. To make sure that crafting remains a viable alternative, we will also increase drop rates of Division Tech materials to 40 percent on level 32 named enemies in the Dark Zone.


"New drop tables have been designed to grant you just enough control to focus your efforts on specific NPCs, depending on your need. Each named NPC will now have more chances to grant a specific type of high-end item. By discovering the specificities of each named NPC, you will quickly learn which ones you should focus on in order to obtain specific items."


The blog post goes on to explain why crafting prices are being changed as they are. As detailed in the patch notes shared earlier this week, it will now cost two to three times as many materials to craft certain higher-rank materials.


"By changing the conversion rates, we will encourage players to use their low level materials while they are leveling up, instead of saving them until they reach level 30," Massive explained. "It will also bring more decision making between selling and deconstructing low quality items. Most high-end materials should come from deconstructing high-end items, and not deconstructing lower quality items to then convert these materials into high-end ones. Similarly, lowering yields when deconstructing items will also lower the efficiency of items farming."


These changes will go into effect with the release of patch 1.1 on April 12. These don't necessarily mark the final changes being made to any of this, as Massive will continue to keep a close eye on the situation.


"Balancing an online game is no easy task, and while we believe that these changes are a step in the right direction for the future of the game, we will keep monitoring the situation and address what needs to be modified," the studio said. "But more than that, we will have an eye on all aspects of your experience, and balance things when needed. Sometimes it means making hard decisions that might not be appreciated, and when this happens we will make sure to give you the visibility you need to understand why these decisions are made."


Outside of these changes, the update adds the first Incursion, essentially The Division's take on raids. This Incursion is meant for high-end players and comes with an even harder difficulty mode that is proving too difficult even for the developers.

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