Whereas Last Stand is a paid add-on, 1.6 is free for all players and launches on the same day for every platform, as Last Stand does. The first two expansions, Underground and Survival, launched first on Xbox One and PC as part of a timed-exclusivity deal between Microsoft and Ubisoft.
As explained in a blog post today, update 1.6 adds a lot of new content and makes some big changes. First, it introduces Dark Zone North, which comprises Dark Zone 7, 8, and 9. “While the Dark Zone has never been the most welcoming place in New York, the situation up in Dark Zone 7-9 is especially dire,” Ubisoft said. “Conditions in these parts of the Dark Zone are especially bleak and will be filled rwith some of the most eerie environments and challenging NPCs in the game.”
The new areas increase the total Dark Zone size substantially, as the Dark Zone will “nearly double” in total playable size when the three new locations are released.
Dark Zones 7-9 are populated by NPCs and “Landmarks,” which trigger enemy encounters after you take down the NPC foes you first come across. There are loot rewards available for successfully clearing the Landmarks.
The Division’s 1.6 update also adds a new Dark Zone event called “Contamination.” On an hourly schedule, Cleaner NPCs will show up in underground zones to burn contaminated body bags–your job is to stop them. This will be extra-challenging in part because the contamination has reached “unprecedented lethal levels.”
Additionally, the update adds Dark Zone leaderboards and a new, Legendary difficulty option, but only for three missions–Times Square, WarrenGate Power Planet, and Napalm Production Site.
“All the previous content has been taken out and replaced with new, powerful and much smarter LMB enemies that use more advanced tactics against you and your team,” Ubisoft explained. “They’ll react to your skills and status effects, will be hard to hit since they keep a low profile, will constantly try to flank you, and you really don’t want to get into melee range of them.”
Completing these missions will yield “exclusive” gear, as well as loot. Ubisoft said it plans to add Legendary difficulty to more missions at a later date.
The Division’s 1.6 update also makes a change to named weapons. With the update applied, they will be called Exotics. The weapons will be color-coded and also have “flavor and lore text” on their item descriptions. A change for the Alphabridge Gear Set is also included with 1.6.
“We’re changing aspects of it since it’s currently mathematically superior to other Gear Sets,” Ubisoft said. “Instead of the four-piece bonus sharing all talents when you use two weapons of the same category, it will now share the free talents from both weapons (except from Exotic weapon talents).”
The Frontline and Reclaimer sets are also changing, while Ubisoft is adding a brand-new one, called SEEKR. Body shots are this set’s specialty–it has a four-piece bonus that guarantees a critical hit after you land two consecutive body shots.
Ubisoft is also making tweaks to The Division’s PvP through the 1.6 update. The overall goal of the changes is to make it “more rewarding and fun to play.” Hip-firing will be less effective, as stability is being decreased while you’re on the move. Additionally, a new camera system for hip-firing is being added “so that it will take more skill to use.”
What’s more, the difference in damage between body and headshots is being lowered, while there will now be a one-second delay before you can perform a second combat roll. Ubisoft said it is currently “too easy to just spam rolls.” Another change for PvP is that you can no longer reload while sprinting.
Ubisoft is also adding more items to The Division’s in-game store, including more emotes, weapon skins, and vanity items. Update 1.6 will be made available first on PC on The Division’s public test server, though a date for this, or the full release, was not made available.
Be sure to read Ubisoft’s full blog post on 1.6, as it dives much deeper into the patch and offers detailed insight into why the developer is making the changes that it is.
We’ll report back with the full patch notes when they are released.
Finally, Ubisoft said Last Stand and 1.6 are “not the end of The Division.” No further expansions or patches have been announced, but Ubisoft said it will have more news to share soon.
The Division was the No. 3 overall best-selling game in the United States for 2016, only behind Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. In other news, Ubisoft announced this week that Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan will write and direct the movie based on The Division, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain.