‘The Division 2’ Restarts Its ‘PvE Dark Zone’ Debate With The Arrival Of 515 Gear

The Division 2

I thought we would be having this conversation again at some point after The Division 2’s launch, but I didn’t think it would be this soon, or for this reason.

Massive recently introduced 515 Gearscore gear, over the current cap of 500, to drop in the Dark Zone. While 515 gear will join it when the raid arrives, many players are upset that they are being forced to travel to the DZ as the only place to farm this gear as it’s something that doesn’t interest them, at least not in its current form.

This has resparked a very old debate, one from the early days of The Division 1, where there’s an idea that there should be a PvE version of the Dark Zone free from Rogues and gank squads, so people can explore and farm these areas without being bothered by other players when they have no interest in PvP.

The counterpoint to this is that removing PvP and Rogue would destroy the entire concept of the mode, and people just need to “get good” if they want to survive in what is supposed to be the most harrowing zone on the map. This is roughly the position that Massive has taken as well, as despite all the requests for a PvE Dark Zone in The Division 1, that never happened.

The Division 2

The Division 2


Instead, what we saw was kind of alternative for PvP-focused players rather than the thing PvE players wanted. That’s how we have Conflict, a dedicated PvP experience which improves PvP play for those who were tired of trying to kill enemies in the Dark Zone who didn’t want to fight at all and just wanted to run and be left alone. But the PvPvE element of the Dark Zone remains, and now some people are getting annoyed by it once more.

It may not surprise you to learn that I am on the side of “yes, the Dark Zone would benefit from a PvE option.” I don’t think you need to remove the PvPvE mode that currently exists for the game. Those that like that aspect can still play it, but offering a PvE version has too many upsides to ignore. I know plenty of players that have not even done so much as the intro quest for the Dark Zone because they remembered how much they disliked it in The Division 1. I did the intro quest and got up to level 10 or 15 or so in the DZ, but I haven’t been back since for the same reasons. I have no real interest in fighting other players, be it well-geared adversaries or easily killable noobs. I have no interest in farming for loot only to end up losing it because of ganks or other mishaps. And so I farm activities that are more reliable, won’t pit me against other players and don’t have the risk of losing anything. But I would love to explore an additional 25-30% of the map in the Dark Zone areas with a PvE version of the DZ, because otherwise it’s just wasted space to me. This was also true of the first game where the DZ was even larger and kept getting larger with future updates.

There is always a hardcore contingent of Dark Zone players who push back on all this, but I am genuinely unsure of what they’d lose if PvE was just an option for the Dark Zone. Players who like the current Dark Zone could still queue up for that version. To me, this is more about denying players zones and loot they haven’t “earned” because they can’t stand the heat of the “real” Dark Zone which is stupid gatekeeping I don’t respect or appreciate.

The Division 2

The Division 2


I have no way of checking this, so far as I can tell, but I am willing to bet that as vocal as the hardcore Dark Zone community is, the DZ has a fraction of the players of the larger PvE world, and probably only a fraction of those actively want to be there and would care if there was a PvP option. I think there’s a reason that Massive put 515 gear in the Dark Zone, because they’re trying to lure people to actually play it. Right now, tons and tons of people are avoiding it completely because it’s much easier to queue up for missions or bounties or strongholds with a more straightforward path to loot, working with other players rather than against them. And if they do want to fight other people? That’s what Conflict is for, and that too comes with no risk of surprise attacks and lost loot.

The Dark Zone has always been Massive’s pet project, the concept that was supposed to make The Division stand out compared to its competition. And yet it has always remained my least favorite aspect of the game, and that has not changed in the sequel. If we didn’t see a PvE Dark Zone in all the years of The Division 1 doubt we’ll see one now, but I think it’s a bad path forward for Massive to try and simply bribe people to play the DZ when clearly something is gone wrong if they have to do that in the first place.


Global Majority Backs a Ban on ‘Dark Net,’ Poll Says

Global Majority Backs a Ban on 'Dark Net,' Poll Says

Seven in 10 people say the “dark net” – an anonymous online home to both criminals and activists fearful of government surveillance – should be shut down, according to a global Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.

The findings, from a poll of at least 1,000 people in each of 24 countries, come as policymakers and technology companies argue over whether digital privacy should be curbed to help regulators and law enforcement more easily thwart hackers and other digital threats.

The US Justice Department is currently trying to force Apple Inc to write software to allow access to an iPhone used by San Bernardino, California shooter Rizwan Farook.

The dark net refers to an area of the Internet only accessible via special web browsers that ensure anonymity, where content is hidden and data typically encrypted.

The Ipsos poll was commissioned the Waterloo, Ontario-based Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The think tank is part of a commission seeking to shape Internet governance.

The question asked in the poll pointed out the dark net’s anonymity can protect journalists, human rights activists, dissidents and whistleblowers, but also hide child abuse networks and illegal marketplaces selling weapons and narcotics.

The portion of respondents who either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed it should be shuttered ranged between 61 percent and 85 percent, with support strongest in Indonesia, India, Egypt and Mexico and weakest in Sweden, South Korea and Kenya.

Other countries polled included Pakistan, Australia, the United States, France, Germany, Turkey, and Tunisia.

“The public clearly wants law enforcement to have the tools to do its job. But if you flip it around and say should they have access to your data they tend to feel differently,” said Fen Osler Hampson, director of the global security and politics program at CIGI.

Only 38 percent of all respondents said they trust that their online activities are not monitored.

Hampson said public concern about online privacy will likely grow as more and more cars, appliances and infrastructure connect to online networks.

Ipsos said the poll was accurate in each country to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Dark net, Internet

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen PC Review

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen PC Review

Nearly four years after Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen released on the PS3 and the Xbox 360, Capcom, the company behind hits like Resident Evil and Street Fighter, has finally released the game for the PC. Has it been worth the wait? Although four years have passed, not much has changed since then, except for technical fixes. In case you didn’t play Dragon’s Dogma when it first came out, here’s what you should know.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen isn’t your typical Capcom game. What this means is, it’s not an instalment in one of the company’s famous franchises. Instead, it’s a new IP with a fantasy setting that has more in common with Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. That’s surprising considering that Capcom was notorious for rolling out multiple variants of games based on older IPs with only minor changes.

(Also see: Capcom Discusses Dragon’s Dogma PC Port, Possible Sequel)

The game puts you in the role of an Arisen, a being fated to duel with a dragon to save humanity. For the most part this story is simply an excuse to partake in some of the best combat in a role-playing game after Bloodborne. There’s a sense of fluidity to the proceedings allowing you to dodge, parry, and attack at will. But the best part is the ability to latch yourself onto ginormous creatures such as ogres and hydras, climbing them to attack weak points for some serious damage. It’s no surprise that Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen sports a fantastic combat system as the team that worked on the game also made the first Devil May Cry – another Capcom classic.

dragon_dragons_dogma_pc_capcom.jpegOn the topic of monsters, the enemy design of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen deserves a mention. More often than not they tower above you by quite a few feet. From chimeras and griffins to golems and dragons, they’re a sight to behold and make for worthy foes. Suffice to say, the easy difficulty option in this game is a welcome addition.

This aside, there are computer controlled allies called pawns. These are warriors that appear human but lack free will. Being an Arisen allows you to control them. They team up with you as you go on your adventures, making it easy to cut down the host of monsters in your path. Like you, they too gain experience and learn new skills. If you connect to the Internet, then they can be used by your friends (or anyone else online), and gain new powers and items. It adds a sort of a meta-game to the proceedings, allowing you to manage your roster of sidekicks to hone their skills. The beauty of this is that the more missions your pawn undertakes while you’re not playing, the more helpful it is when you are in the game.

(Also see: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen Coming to PC)

There are some concerns though. For one, if you were expecting rich, detailed environments in the mould of Fallout 4, prepare to be disappointed. As we said, Capcom hasn’t added anything new, so much like it was in 2012, the game world exists as a battleground with little flavour or character. Also, there’s no indication to whether you’re really powerful enough to take on a quest. As a result of this, you’ll frequently run into boss fights, or encounter an extremely powerful enemy that can and will destroy at a moment’s notice. It is something that hasn’t been fixed even four years down the line, and is a source of continued annoyance.

hydra_dragons_dogma_pc_capcom.jpegThe one big change is that the game’s technical performance has finally been improved. At the time of its initial release, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen was plagued with frame rate drops, subpar visuals, and other glitches that made it unplayable for some. Now, thanks to the additional processing power of modern PCs, it’s a substantial upgrade. You can run it at a heady 3840×2160 4K resolution, modify the field of view (FOV) to accommodate a better look of the game world allowing for more detail, and it performs well on older machines too.

Having said that, if you were hoping for a visually arresting game, you might want to temper those expectations. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is well-optimised for PCs but it’s no looker. The end result is a cleaner, smoother looking game with a few spiffier effects and very little else.

As it stands, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen for the PC is a fun romp with fantastic combat mechanics and an interesting pawn system. Granted it pales in comparison to contemporary role-playing games in terms of lore and environments, but the reasonable price and slew of additions for PC games ensure there’s little cause for complaint. If you’ve already played the game on a console, you might not be interested as there is no new content, but if you missed it the last time around, then it’s not a bad buy.


  • Engrossing combat
  • Pawn system is still fresh
  • Scales well on older PCs


  • Narrative takes a backseat
  • Light on exploration
  • Quest difficulty unexplained

Rating (out of 10): 7

We played a retail copy of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen for the PC, it’s on Steam for Rs. 1,799 and available on disc for Rs. 1,499.