The last few days have been unexpectedly busy, which is at least a little unfortunate since The Division launched late Monday night/early Tuesday. Work as always gets in the way of my fun, but even more than that there have been various activities that I needed to be coherent for. On Tuesday I had a blast doing the Kings Fall raid in Destiny, but that also meant a night that I could not really devote much time to Division. Last night I had the World of Warcraft raid, and we managed to duplicate our progress from the previous week… this time with fewer ringers. Granted we still had ringers… just about half as many as we did the previous week so the progression felt more “real”. Today I took off work because I am having to coordinate the delivery of a dumpster. Then tonight, Friday night… and Saturday afternoon we will be cleaning out the garage which is our spring break project. It is going to be awesome to reclaim that space because for the last decade it has been a space where we just threw anything that we wanted out of sight. So there is an old dresser out there, a couple of benches… countless insanely large boxes that we didn’t want to haul to the recycling dumpster at that moment. So in theory I think most of it will go really quickly. The only major concern I have is that I also know there are various chemicals out there as well, and have no real clue what to do with those.
All of this said I have still been trying to squeeze in as much Division as I possibly can during the week and have managed to hit level eight so far. I’ve been loving the insane amount of clothing that I have managed to pick up while wandering around. With all of the options I have cobbled together an outfit that feels uniquely me… in a way I have not experienced in a game since The Secret World. The only problem is… the character models themselves are pretty limited. See the glorious beard that I am wearing? That beard is only available for a single face… which seems insane considering that I might want to have a beard like that on any model. A similar situation is the state of glasses in this game… I ended up going with the round Lennon lenses because they were the only ones that I felt actually fit my face. There were however zero options for actual glasses… like corrective style which I would have happily put on my character instead of permanent sunglasses… even in the middle of the night like the above picture. These frustrations however are relatively minor, and after not being able to get into the game on opening night… I’ve played pretty reliably ever since.
One of my favorite things in video games is to wander around unfettered by obligations and just explore the world. This is my Bethesda games are such crack for me, because I can absolutely jump off the beaten path at any moment… and am generally rewarded for doing so. One of my subtle frustrations of the beta was the fact that so many areas like the sewers and subway system seemed to have no real purpose. In the live game however… these locations are chock full of interesting encounters. On Tuesday night I was playing for a bit ahead of the Destiny raid, and popped into a sewer… largely because in beta these served as ways to get over to the next city block pretty easily. However while down there I encountered a chest that notified me that I had discovered a gun runners cache or something of the sort. When I opened it up, it had a very nice level 4 blue SMG that I have yet to be able to replace at level 8. I feel similarly awesome when I wander through abandoned buildings and explore them looking for treasure, and this time around it is great that I am not constantly hitting walls that I cannot cross into other areas of town. Sure there are absolutely some places where I really should not be yet due to my level… but I like that the game lets me go there anyway.
The problem with being so exploration based… is that I feel like I am getting absolutely nothing accomplished. I can happily wander around the streets doing random encounters that I happen across for hours… and then realize… oh shit I really meant to be doing this or that objective. I am slowly whittling down the objectives that I have open to me… and I think today I will work on some of the missions that involve rescuing this person or taking out that baddie. I remember there being a whole slew of things around the Hudson camp that I did during beta that I probably want to go back and explore. Granted I might be over level for them… but it should be fun in any case. The big thing that I have to talk about this game is that while I kinda wish you had random encounters with other players… after getting some grouping going I finally understand why that isn’t a thing. When we were running around as a group the other night it was a VASTLY different experience to me wandering the streets solo. With Ashgar and Tam, we were constantly running up against huge groups of mobs, and I have to say…. huge groups of cleaners are the absolute worst. Those damned fire bombs that they throw out… I guess I had gotten used to the looter smoke bombs not being that bad. In any case I hope to do some more grouping over the next few nights, but at this point everyone is going to be massively out of my level range I fear. I wonder how the game handles staggered level ranges… I think a lot of the difficulty we had the other night was due to the fact that Ash and I were level 4, and Tam was level 8. So I cannot imagine what it would be like with a larger disparity. All in all however I am still enjoying myself and having a good time.