The Division 2 RAIDwritten by ItsThatGuyJosh
Thursday 16th May
“Operation Dark Hours”
The dust has settled, bosses have been downed, records have been set, and serious questions have been asked about balancing on different platforms. Thursday 16th May saw the release of the first raid – “Operation Dark Hours” – for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. It is a first of its kind encounter for the franchise, and eagerly awaited since the planned release of April 25th was delayed. While a first for The Division franchise, comparisons exist for us to draw upon, with Destiny being the most obvious.
Operation Dark Hours is an 8-player activity. It is designed to be the most challenging content ever made for the franchise. With no shortage of enemies, the toughest bosses, and shiny new loot to obtain – including the raid exclusive exotic Assault Rifle ‘Eagle Bearer’. Players have been diving into this new content with enthusiasm.
A Much-Needed Update
, wereThe Division 2 has been caught in a state of flux recently. Many players taking breaks as the raid was initially delayed, and others searching for things to hold their attention. It is no understatement to say that the release of the raid has injected some new life into the game at a point where it was desperately needed.
Two days before the raid, we saw the release of Title Update 3, introducing with it a variety of buffs, nerfs, and balancing changes. Releasing such a large update so close to the raid was a questionable decision because many pre-existing loadouts were affected, and little time to fix given the RNG nature of the game itself. More fixes are incoming though because developer Massive are continuing to provide updates to the community as things progress. One thing is for certain though, The Division needed this content to address reduced activity levels, and in that respect, it seems to have been successful.
Above you’ll find the video that Tsarkyy made for you!
Gamer Hive – Assemble!
As a community, even our own activity levels declined as we waited patiently for more content. The Raid saw the Discord channels light up, and the in-game clan space awaken with bodies. We are proud to have boasted a Hive raid team on release day. Those present for the first Gamer Hive look at the raid were Tsarkyyy, Xander, Baerenbande09, GreenPringles, Terology, Hellenic_Reaper, Snow_Set and Kluuzo.
It was a difficult first experience of the raid for the team, but they approached it with excitement and enthusiasm. They worked through the first stages and shooting heads with enthusiasm. The first boss of the raid – Boomer – proved difficult and was the focus for most of the evening, with the team working out strategies and learning as the evening wore on.
I spoke to a few of the team and they shared some opinions. Baerenbande09 said, “What I liked the most was being able to play with 8 members from our clan which was just awesome. The need for strategising together made this a pretty nice experience”. Hive leader Tsarkyyy said, “Worth the experience as a Hive Team, that’s for sure. I could tell there are different qualities in each person, but we still have to figure out how to bring those qualities forward to defeat the raid”. Baerenbande09 also spoke of the difficulty, “I found it fun to have content where you don’t know if it is actually possible to beat it. It motivated me to start working a bit harder on my build”. All in all, a fun first evening for our team, and we are looking forward to seeing how our raid teams progress as time goes on.
The Raid In Review
It’s certainly no understatement to say that ‘Operation Dark Hours’ is difficult, and intentionally so. It is designed to be the pinnacle of challenges for Division players, as is usually the case for raiding in other games. The activity introduces new mechanics that highlight the need for strategy, teamwork, and communication. With the difficulty also comes added ownership to individual performance, and ensuring you are doing what you can to benefit the group. It’s fun, and the game is better for it.
This isn’t to say that the raid is perfect, far from it. Its introduction has revealed some game issues that will take some time to fix from a developer perspective. In its simplest form, the raid is largely a DPS check – an encounter that insists upon having the highest possible damage numbers. Because of this, there is no real viable build diversity. This can make things slightly monotonous, especially considering there were several feasible build types in The Division 1. In terms of the franchises’ evolution, this feels like a step backwards.
Perhaps the biggest issue though, is the lack of an in-game matchmaking function for the raid. A key marketing note throughout the short lifetime of the game has been that “matchmaking is provided for every game activity and difficulty level”, and the lack of this feature for ‘Operation Dark Hours’ has left the community feeling disappointed and disheartened. Whilst it’s true that Massive has since said that they will introduce this feature, it feels like this is a response to the overwhelmingly negative response from the community.
Despite some issues, this is a positive step forward for The Division 2. It is new content and gives the developers a platform to improve upon for future content drops. In terms of a raiding experience, it is simple, but effective.
The closest experience to compare it to then is probably Destiny. Gamer Hive founder and resident Destiny addict TheDashRendar said, “The raids from both Destiny 1 and 2 were pinnacle ‘end-game’ activities, designed to test a fireteams skill, co-ordination and communication. The Raid is the ultimate end game activity for PVE players, it adds a significant amount of content for players to consume and to replay to collect all of the exclusive raid weapons and armour, plus the rare raid exotics that only have a very small percentage chance to drop on completion”.
It feels like developers have tried to hit the mark, with some degree of success. Yes, some issues have been revealed, but this a franchise first style of activity. It is a promising start and gives hope for the future and how the game will develop.
Finally, a very big congratulations to our Hive team that were the first of our group to set foot in the raid, and for actively setting up more raid teams. Here’s to more of the same!