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Tom Clancy's The Division - The Low-Level Dark Zone

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Tom Clancy's The Division - The Low-Level Dark Zone

Post by atom0s » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:40 am

Over the last month or so my main focus on The Division has been playing in the lower level Dark Zones as a twinked character. For those that are unaware what that means, it means that I play in a bracket of the Dark Zone at the highest level it allows with the best gear I can possibly get/make to use in that bracket. In the Division, the brackets are:
- 1-14
- 15-19
- 20-24
- 25-29
- 30 (160 and below gear score)
- 30 (161 to 199 gear score)
- 30 (200+ gear score)

I have grown to enjoy the Dark Zone a lot but there are definitely problems with it going forward. This is not a Q_Q turn off pvp or enable pvp to be toggled post. That is the whole point of the DZ so no, I do not want it removed. But I do want to cover some problems I see with the Dark Zone:

1. Enemies are too strong.
Since 1.2 hit, enemy strength has definitely changed in the lower level dark zones. Especially enemies that use SMGs. Prior to 1.2, I could run around a low-level dark zone without almost ever touching my heal unless fighting another player. Mobs would do close to no damage to me. Then after 1.2, SMG mobs can almost kill me in 1 clip by themselves. What also makes no sense is that they are stronger than the boss mobs, guards with heavy machine guns, and pretty much any other large scale mob. The damage from SMG based mobs definitely feels broken.

It is not a cry for a nerf, but rather a check to see if things were over-tweaked or something since they are doing so much more damage than before and so much more damage than other mobs.

2. Enemies do not scale properly between DZ01-DZ06.
For this one, I will take the bracket 20-24 for example. In DZ01 the mobs are 19-20 with an occasional 21. DZ02-03 the mobs go from 21-24. So far so good. However, then 05-06 the mobs jump to 27/28+ there is no middle ground that should happen to scale up properly. This causes the low-level Dark Zone to have m ost people hanging out down in the lower DZ areas regardless of their level/gear/skill. This causes newer people in the bracket being targeted for easy kills more often because people have no reason to go into the higher areas because they will just get 1 shot by anything.

A suggestion here is to bring mob levels into scale with the level range of the bracket.
- DZ01: 19-20 (with bosses at 21)
- DZ02: 20-21 (with bosses at 22)
- DZ03: 21-22 (with bosses at 23)
- DZ04: 22-24 (with bosses at 25)
- DZ05: 25 (with bosses at 26)
- DZ06: 26 (with bosses at 27)

Making use of Purple/Yellow mob types as needed and were applicable. This would make the DZ05/DZ06 in the 20-24 bracket manageable without just getting 1 shot.

3. Exp from mobs does not scale properly.
This is one of the biggest issues, in my opinion, with the Dark Zone. Experience does not scale up with the varying DZ zones (01-06). This is one of the reasons that the Dark Zone becomes hated by newer players very quickly. When someone high-level dark zone rank comes and kills a low-end player, that low-end player usually wants to just leave/quit the Dark Zone. But the game is designed for this to happen. I will take the DZ20-24 bracket for example again.

Mobs in the DZ01 area give roughly 150 exp per kill. Mobs in the DZ06 give roughly 170 exp per kill. This is a massive under-scaling for the difficulty difference between the mobs in DZ01 and DZ06. Along with that, the amount of exp needed to level your DZ rank hits a high curve after level 10. While killing mobs is a valid method of leveling til around 40-50, you will start to slow down a major amount afterward.

Take for example, someone that is DZ rank 90. To get to 91, the required amount of exp is: 122,500

So at DZ01 that would take 816 mob kills at ~150 exp per kill.
Or, that would only take ~17 player kills at ~7000 exp per kill.

Clearly, this shows that going rogue is the clear way to level when you are high DZ rank.

You need 148,105 exp to level from 98 to 99. Again, that is ~987 kills at 150 exp. Or just 21 rogue kills at ~7000 exp per kill.

But atom0s! Just put on Increased Kill Exp gear you noob!

While that can help your incoming exp pretty well, it has a downside too. You sacrifice your stats to roll specifically for those boosts. Most people are going to focus on doing damage and surviving. Not focus on getting experience. This is something that in a game like this, is going to usually be ignored for doing more damage. Along with that, the items that can roll Increased Kill Exp have a chance of rolling much better secondary stats that assist with killing and surviving.

- Mask: Enemy Armor Damage
- Body: Ammo Capacity
- Knee Pads: Enemy Armor Damage, Scavaging, Resists

At low levels you lack gear set bonus' and such so you are usually forced to take specific rolls. Not to mention getting good rolls on other stats to line up with being able to even reroll the secondary stat.

You will basically be forced to roll a second set of gear just for exp per kill. And with the lack of stash space in this game (thankfully being addressed in the next major update) it is hard to hold two sets of gear for multiple characters with a shared stash. Especially when you have multiple bracket twinked characters.

With the hostile state of the Dark Zones now too with rope cutting and just general trolling, running around in gear that is not going to help you survive a pvp match is typically not peoples first choice to do. The population of the low level brackets is extremely random too due to people leveling up to 30 popping in at random along with the other twinks. One day a zone can be dead, and the next it can be packed. This can also change per-hour in some cases where the DZ will be empty then full a few hours later.

Having experience scale with the level of the DZ area would be nice to see, even if its not a huge amount increase, something is better.
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