The much anticipated first instalment of The Division 2’s raids, Operation Dark Hours, has finally landed. However, it’s not quite been plain sailing so far and the game mode has come with its fair share of problems.
It’s been well document just how difficult the raids actually are – especially on console. The game mode has only been successfully completed a number of times with the first one taking a staggering amount of hours to complete.
In case you haven’t ventured into a raid yet, it’s an eight man game mode whereby you take on a series of toughened enemies in a unique setting. The developers have described it as the toughest challenge that The Division 2 players will have faced – and they’re certainly not wrong.
While the game is designed to be an eight man challenge, you can attempt it with a smaller team but, due to the difficulty, you’re setting yourself up for an evening of frustration and disappointment. This means that, in order to complete the raid, having an eight man squad is essential, but what if you don’t have other players that can join you?
And here we find one of the biggest problems that raids face. If you don’t have seven players to join you you’re essentially stuck as the game mode doesn’t feature any kind of matchmaking and this means that you’re either left shorthanded, having to hope there are players near the helicopter and they’re willing to join up, or you just don’t get to try it.
This is set to change however as the developers have announced that there will be some form of matchmaking coming.
It was a surprise initially when they decided to launch the raids without any form of matchmaking. After all, every other game mode in The Division features matchmaking, so why not include it here?
Well, community manager, Hamish Bode, tried to explain their reasons for this:
“It is intended that there will be no matchmaking at the launch of the raid, but the team are working on finding a more dedicated solution to make that a meaningful way to find a group in the game.”
But, this doesn’t answer the question of why not use the same matchmaking system that is applied to the rest of The Division 2?
“You really want to work as a team with different roles, build the whole team around the different roles that you want to put forward doing the raid.”
These are the words of associate creative director Chadi El-Zibaoui.
“You have to be able to analyse and communicate around what is happening. So the communication around the team is really going to go from the very moment they put the squad together to beating the bosses – analysing, planning and executing. We also did a lot of internal playtesting, and we quickly noticed that whenever there is just one player not fulfilling his role, that really messes up the whole experience and usually the teams don’t stand a chance to beat the fight they’ve started.”
El-Zibaoui did go on to state that it was possible for a squad full of silent randoms to complete a standard mission but there was a definite need for everyone to not only have a microphone, but for everyone to speak the same language and coordinate their gear before they decide to enter the raid.
This alone puts the raids out of reach of the standard matchmaking system and, instead, it requires the developers to create a proper, more sophisticated solution which won’t create frustration among players.
You might remember that Destiny 2 faced similar problems when they launched their raids, however, they were able to find a work around thanks to the solution of Guided Games, something which encouraged clans to fill mission spots in their lineups with random players who were interested in joining them.
The Division 2 hasn’t exactly been shy in the past of taking notes from Destiny, however, the idea is that the developers want to create their own, dedicated and working solution and it will certainly make it interesting to see how they’ll eventually go about solving the matchmaking problem.