While plenty of The Division players have yet to even experience the end game in Ubisoft’s latest, others have been knee deep in the post-story grind for a few days now. One player even hit the game’s level cap of 30 in just 15 hours, proving that the most dedicated can get the job done in a single (long) sitting.
For now, the end game is mostly about grinding, trying to get more gear either through the Daily Story Missions or traversing the Dark Zone, but eventually The Division will offer meaningful end game content in the form of Incursions. But if players want to be ready for those Incursions they will now have to grind much harder than ever.
During a brief server maintenance down time on March 12th, Ubisoft stealth patched The Division to make a few changes. First, the developers disabled the ‘Trained Talent’ perk from any weapon in game, preventing players from abusing the Midas SMG for endless ability cycling.
Second, and more surprisingly, Ubisoft Massive also nerfed the Phoenix Credit drop rate for Dark Zone bosses. Previously, players could get upwards of 10 Phoenix Credits per Dark Zone boss kill, and now that tally has dropped down to 1-3. It’s a harsh drop to be sure, and one that has not gone over well with the community.
While Ubisoft did not offer a reason for the Phoenix Credit nerf it seems motivated by a need to slow player progress. With Phoenix Credits dropping at such a high rate and in large numbers, players were able to quickly farm the end game currency and pick up all of the best loot. In other words, someone who quickly leveled through the game and reached end game status before Friday likely has a full suite of high-end gear.
However, if a post-patch player wants to reach the same status as his fellow Division player it will now take him or her much longer. Sure, Phoenix Credits drop from the Daily Story Missions and Challenge Modes, but newer players are still at a disadvantage now. It will likely take a new player substantially more hours of grinding just to hit the same Phoenix Credit balance as those who farmed Dark Zone bosses pre-patch.
Obviously there are going to be plenty of Division players who will never even know Phoenix Credits were nerfed, but this is still a sticky situation for Ubisoft. If the plan was to slow player progress there might have been a better way to address things, or at least give players a heads up. As it stands now, there are some pretty disappointed players out there who feel at a disadvantage compared to others.
Moreover, this nerf discourages players from farming the Dark Zone so aggressively and puts the focus on logging on, doing the Dailies, and then logging off. What’s to keep players going if the grind is now less rewarding?