The Division Beta Signals Changing of the Guard in Multiplayer Gaming
Michael Mays / Feb 24th, 2016 13 Comments
Is it too early to speculate on the impact that Ubisoft’s upcoming title Tom Clancy’s The Division will have on the world of gaming? Yes. Am I going to do it anyway? Absolutely.
As Gaming Illustrated’s own Ben Sheene reported, The Division’s open beta was the most widely played beta of a new IP in the short history of this console generation. Over 6.4 million people got involved in the fracas — second place in this category belongs to the 2014 beta for Destiny, which was played by roughly 4.6 million people. While it would be premature to take Destiny’s crown and place it on The Division’s head, it certainly stands to reason that it could end up there by the end of the year.
Where’s Your Crown King Nothing
I can hear the gamers yelling at me now: “Michael, who said Destiny even has a crown? What about games like League of Legends and DOTA? And why are you quoting Metallica lyrics in your header?” First of all, who let you PC gamers into the sunlight? Second of all, Destiny had a formidable showing in Twitch’s list of the most streamed games of 2015 (ranked seventh, to be exact), which is even more impressive when you consider that Destiny isn’t available on PC. No other game that cracked the top 10 can boast that.
Furthermore, Destiny’s popularity had much to do with the fact that it offered both PvE and PvP multiplayer entertainment. Black Ops 3, on the other hand, is a console multiplayer juggernaut that does contain PvE options, such as the popular zombies mode, but I don’t think many people would put that in the same category as what Destiny has to offer and what it looks like The Division will. So, yes, Destiny gets a console multiplayer crown. Now, let’s talk about whether The Division will stage a coup.
4 > 3
At first glance — which is all any of us have really gotten with The Division so far — what could lead a person to believe that The Division will offer a more satisfying multiplayer experience than Destiny? Well, in what might seem like a very minor difference to some, the number of players you can have in your team for a normal mission in The Division is four. In Destiny, it has always been three.
Many people out there who possess two or fewer friends might balk at my suggestion that this is actually a big deal, but some will see this as a welcome change. A PSN party holds up to eight players at a time. With three-man teams, there’s just no symmetry. Now, with four-man teams in The Division, your party can hold exactly two teams at once while people suffering from OCD rejoice. OK, I say this somewhat facetiously, but when it comes to cooperative gaming, I think many of us have a “the more the merrier” mentality.
It’s important to note that there is a huge difference between the quality of the presentation of Destiny’s latest expansion, The Taken King, and Destiny when it was first released. Upon release, Destiny’s presentation was abysmal in many respects. The voice acting was simply not up to par with many games we’ve seen over the years and the story was almost non-existent. We all had a good time with the game despite these things, but it was something that we had to acknowledge. So many of us played the game and said, “Wow, if this game had any kind of story, it might be the greatest thing ever created!”
With The Division, at least from what we’ve seen from the beta, it appears that Ubisoft has put some serious effort into making this a complete game. The story seems solid and the voice acting is excellent. It lives up to the expectations set by other Ubisoft offerings in terms of presentation, and it has MMORPG elements to it. This should excite many gamers.
Will the Coup be Successful?
Destiny has stepped its game up quite a bit over the past year and a half, but it often seems as if Bungie insists on taking two steps back for every step forward. Every time you hear some exciting news from Bungie that makes you hopeful, you then hear something ridiculous, like how they’ve been mismanaging servers. In many ways, it feels like The Division is primed to do immediately what it took Destiny an entire year to do.
The Division open beta seemingly had its proverbial ducks in a row more than Destiny did during all of its year-one content. This could all be wishful thinking, though. It’s easy to see the new bright, shiny object and become more attracted to it than something you’ve been familiar with for a time. The time is nigh for us to truly pass judgment. The Division in its entirety will be released on March 8, and then we will sit back and listen for shouts of “The old king is dead! Long live the new king!”
tags: Black Ops 3 , destiny , Metallica , opinion , The Division