Nearly two months after Operation Dark Hours launched in The Division 2, Ubisoft has added a new, easier difficulty for console players to use as training for the normal difficulty setting. The change comes along with information about the release of the first episode for the game, which is the latest content update.
While this allows console players who have yet to defeat the raid to experience the content, it is not exactly what most were hoping for in terms of a solution. The new mode, titled “Discovery Difficulty”, comes along with a matchmaking option and will allow players to experience all the content that others have already completed. However, the loot tables are not the same. Normal difficulty will retain its exclusive loot, while Discovery Difficulty will have “a variety of great rewards, while training for the Normal Difficulty.”
Console players have expressed deep frustration with how the raid was developed and tuned, as PC players were obliterating the raid content soon after it released and were later farming it in as little as twenty minutes or so. Console players meanwhile were taking days to complete the raid.
After one week of the release of the raid, over 7,000 PC players were routinely farming the content, while only 150 console players, spread among the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, had managed to defeat the raid.
So, many players were expecting that after a few weeks (and then a few more), the console version would be tuned down ever so slightly to make up for the difference in speed and precision between a mouse and keyboard and the console controllers. No such change was made, and Ubisoft made the explicit announcement that the difficulty would remain as is.
It is a rather unfortunate situation, because if a consumer in the future were to consider a purchase between the three platforms, choosing anything other than a PC would be a hard sell unless they had zero interest in the endgame content.
Still, the addition of a Discovery Difficulty is reminiscent of what Blizzard does with its Looking For Raid group finder in World of Warcraft. The raid mechanics are simplified, bosses have less health, and the loot table provides gear that is less powerful than normal and higher levels of difficulty. It's an accessible alternative that allows everyone to easily access content without the need for organized raiding, something that many people would otherwise not have time to engage with.
This, however, may not be a step in the right direction for The Division 2. Yes, despite continuing to fall behind PC players in terms of the gear that can be acquired from raids, console players will at least be able to see the content. But that doesn't sound like much; and frankly, it really, really isn’t.
The Division 2 is available for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and soon Uplay+ and the Google Stadia.