The Dark Zone's playing field has been levelled.
The Division 2’s Massive Entertainment sat down with Stevivor to discuss just what gear normalisation is and what it means for the average player.
“Now, normalisation is an important topic for us for many different reasons,” Creative Director, Julian Gerighty, said. “Basically, what this means for the player experience is that your gear, your build choices will still matter, but the base stats have been squished to level the playing field within the Dark Zone.
“So your tactical choices, and your choices to group up and play and communicate with other players are gonna be incredibly important still. But skill will matter more than ever.”
Anybody who has played The Division recently will know that a few builds existed that made entering the DZ a particularly nasty experience. Gear sets such as Predators Mark, Striker and even the Nomad set proved too much for many players thanks to their survivability and sheer damage output, but Massive are making sure that in The Division 2 it’ll be a more level field for all.
“We’re always committed to have a very alive relationship to how we balance and keep the game balanced and in check,” added Game Director, Mathias Karlson. “That’s going to be a super focus for us in Division 2 as well. However, with the default Dark Zone experience, we do normalisation this time around.
“You’re not gonna see that same peaks and valleys in between different players’ build. It’s not gonna be a requirement to have the perfect build. You can be competitive in standard Dark Zone play.”
Normalisation and balance are all well and good, but there are plenty of players out there who love to min-max their builds and wipe out fellow agents. What does that leave for them? According to Karlson, Massive have accounted for that too.
“That’s why we do the occupied Dark Zones because we do know, we have a lot of data and a lot of dialogue with the community,” Karlson said. “A lot of people love that, they don’t wanna lose that raw no-rules, friendly fire always on, no normalisation, so that’s why we’re doing that.
“That’s really where it’s not just your player skill, but also your build versus my build, your skill versus my skill. Let’s go.”
Will all this stat-squishing be enough to make the end game Dark Zone experience more welcoming for all? We’ll have to wait until The Division 2 releases on 15 March to find out.
Hamish Lindsay was sent to Malmö, Sweden as a guest of Ubisoft. All travel, accommodation and meals were paid for by the publisher.