‘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.


Google Cloud Division Announced; Google Apps for Work Rebranded to G Suite

Google Cloud Division Announced; Google Apps for Work Rebranded to G Suite

Google Cloud Division Announced; Google Apps for Work Rebranded to G Suite
Google repackaged its cloud services and corporate software and hardware offerings into a new unit called Google Cloud on Thursday, the Internet search provider’s latest attempt to catch leaders in the sector Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

The new group, run by Google executive Diane Greene, includes web-based work software such as Docs and Sheets, machine-learning and digital-mapping tools that other companies can rent over the Internet, and Android phones, tablets and Chromebook laptops designed for office users, Google said in a statement.

“It’s uniquely Google – a broad set of technologies and products from all parts of the cloud,” Greene said at a company event in San Francisco.

Google’s work software, renamed G Suite, has been around for years and is popular with individuals, startups and other smaller companies. While these programs have always been offered over the web, they weren’t delivered as part of a broader cloud computing service. Greene is combining them to offer a fuller range of services to companies looking to move applications and other work functions to cheaper, more flexible rented data centers.

Google also said Thursday its cloud service now has more than one billion end-users, through the products and services that other companies run on its servers. And Urs Holzle, Google’s longtime infrastructure boss, said Google had invested $11.2 billion (roughly Rs. 74,669 crores) on its cloud division over the past twelve months. He didn’t share revenue numbers.

Greene’s new division has considerable ground to make up. Amazon’s cloud business generated close to $8 billion (roughly Rs. 53,340 crores) in sales in 2015 and posted a 58 percent revenue increase in the most-recent quarter. Microsoft’s Azure cloud revenue doubled in the second quarter. Google is fourth in cloud services behind Amazon, Microsoft and International Business Machines Corp., according to Synergy Research Group. Microsoft also leads in work software still, and it’s Office 365 web-based software suite is popular.

On Thursday, Google unveiled new locations for its rentable servers in Mumbai, Singapore, Sydney, Northern Virginia, Sao Paulo, London, Finland and Frankfurt. More regions will be announced next year, it said.
Google also said it had picked up two new cloud customers, retailer The Home Depot Inc. and Pokemon Go, the viral mobile game. Over the last year, Google has pushed aggressively to woo larger cloud clients, which have in the past mostly gone to Amazon, Microsoft or used their own computer servers and data centers.

Google also introduced a new customer support unit within its cloud division, called Customer Reliability Engineering. Google engineers will work closely with other companies’ operations teams to make sure important cloud applications run reliably, Google said. It’s a necessary upgrade. Despite its technical prowess, Google has faced criticism for not managing customer relations as carefully as competitors like Amazon.

Greene, a Silicon Valley veteran and Google board member, joined the search provider full time in November to revamp its cloud and corporate software efforts. Since then, she has hired more sales and marketing staff and presided over several acquisitions, including the recent $625 million purchase of software developer Apigee.

Greene’s early work has started to show up in Google’s bottom line. Parent company Alphabet Inc. reported in July that “Other” revenue rose 33 percent to a record $2.17 billion in the second quarter, driven by cloud and corporate software businesses.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Google, Apps, Greene, Internet, Google for Work, Google Cloud, Google Apps for Work, G Suite


LG Appliances and TV Earnings at Record Levels but No G5 Boost for Mobile Division

LG Appliances and TV Earnings at Record Levels but No G5 Boost for Mobile Division

South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc on Thursday posted its highest quarterly operating profit in two years, thanks to record appliances and television earnings that offset another loss for the mobile division.

The world’s second-largest TV maker behind SamsungElectronics Co Ltd said in a regulatory filing its April-June profit more than doubled from a year earlier to KRW 585 billion ($521 million), matching its earlier guidance.

LG said it expected July-September operating profit to be higher than the KRW 294 billion profit it reported a year earlier, while revenue would be similar to the 14 trillion won recorded in the third quarter of 2015.

Operating profit for the appliances division jumped 49 percent from a year earlier to a quarterly record of KRW 433.7 billion, the company’s top earner for the seventh straight quarter as sales of premium products continued to support margins.

LG’s TV division swung to a profit of 356.7 billion won, also a quarterly record, boosted by sales of high-end televisions and improved cost structure amid declining panel prices.

The mobile business continued to struggle, however, reporting a KRW 153.5 billion operating loss, the fifth straight quarter in the red as sales of the flagship G5 fell short of expectations.

The company in April guided for a sharp second-quarter rebound in mobile earnings on G5 sales. The phone was received positively by critics for allowing users to upgrade functions such as the camera through attachable modules.

But initial manufacturing problems undermined early momentum for the G5, analysts said, leading to disappointing sales.

The firm said the third quarter would remain difficult for the business though its performance would improve as new products launched.

LG’s second-quarter revenue rose 0.6 percent to KRW 14 trillion, matching its guidance for earlier this month.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Tags: Home Entertainment, LG, LG Display, LG G5, Mobiles

The Weekend Chill: The Division, Creed, and More

The Weekend Chill: The Division, Creed, and More

A lot happened this week on the cultural side of things, especially on a busy Wednesday that spanned the music, book, and film world. Chief among those was the death of Sir George Martin, aged 90, producer of the Beatles and long regarded as “the fifth Beatle” himself. Meanwhile, JK Rowling – the famous author behind Harry Potter – courted controversy after penning a chapter in a series titled History of Magic in North America which people felt misrepresented a diverse community into a narrower “Native American” bracket.

And then, Lilly Wachowski, one half of the directing duo behind The Matrix trilogy, came out as transgender. Lastly, director of the latest multi-billion-dollar Star Wars film JJ Abrams admitted the scene featuring Leia and Rey hugging was a “mistake”. In an interview with Slashfilm, he said that it looked bad because of how the shots were blocked: “Had Chewbacca not been where he was, you probably wouldn’t have thought of it. But because he was right there, passed by Leia, it felt almost like a slight, which was definitely not the intention.”

Hopefully that settles one issue with The Force Awakens, and if it doesn’t you’re just going to have to wait for December 2017. For now, we are focused on the next two days. This is still The Weekend Chill, and here’s what you should be doing this weekend:

Community was never a ratings darling, thanks to its oddball episodes and layers of meta humour that only appealed to a select bunch. The show’s fifth season – despite being a return to form – was its last hurrah on its network NBC and was promptly dropped from the cycle. Thankfully for its dedicated fans, Internet giant Yahoo intervened and brought it to life on its own shortlived streaming service Yahoo! Screen for a sixth season. Fortunately, all of this has played into the hands of creator Dan Harmon who has popularised the “six seasons and a movie” line. A film is indeed in development, so if you ignored Community season 6 when it aired on Yahoo, now is the time. Advantage of getting the sixth season DVD? You get access to the full gag reel.

The Weekend Chill / Community(Also see: Community Didn’t Kill Yahoo Screen – Yahoo Did)

How to access: Available on DVD, iTunes UK, and Amazon Video
Time commitment: 6 hours

A British crime drama series, River has the potential of sounding absurd when you hear its premise: Detective Inspector John River – played by Stellan Skarsgård (The Avengers, Good Will Hunting) – is still active on the force despite seeing and talking to dead people. After the tragic death of his partner, he is undergoing psychiatric evaluation that will determine whether he gets to keep his badge. River benefits in his job from his conversations with the dead, and creator-writer Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) is able to craft an intriguing psychological study around the same which is helped by Skarsgård’s phenomenal performance in the titular role as River leading the six-part mini-series. The show first appeared on BBC in the UK back in October, and was picked up by Netflix a month later for international distribution.

(Also see: What’s New on Netflix in March, and Our Top 5 Picks)

How to access: Netflix
Time commitment: 6 hours

With Sylvester Stallone in the lead, 1976’s boxing drama Rocky was a knockout at the box office and remains one of the foremost sports films of our time. It spawned a franchise around Stallone’s character that delivered multiple sequels of declining quality, until in November last year when Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) put a spin to the series and made Creed.

The film stars Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four) as Adonis Johnson, son of Rocky’s long-time opponent Apollo Creed, with Stallone reprising his character for the sixth time. Both Jordan and Stallone are fantastic in their respective roles, and Coogler brings something new to the series while still honouring its roots. To add to that, cinematographer Maryse Alberti helped create some great fight sequences. The film was snubbed across the board at the Academy Awards, with Stallone landing a sole nomination.

The Weekend Chill / Creed (2015 film)How to access: Available on Blu-ray, iTunes US, and Amazon Video
Time commitment: 2 hours and 12 minutes

The Peanuts Movie
Charles M. Schulz provided the world with a wonderful and relatable character in Charlie Brown via his Peanuts comic strip, which ran for half a century before ending in 2000 after his death. With over 17,000 strips in total, it is quite possibly the longest story ever told. The Peanuts Movie is sort of an in-the-family creative production, considering it was written by Schulz’s son and grandson, Craig and Bryan Schulz. It tells the story of Brown meeting the Little Red-Haired Girl who moves in across the street and an adventure that involves everyone from Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, and others. 2015 was a year we got Pixar’s Inside Out, which had sealed most of the animation awards the week of its release. But that doesn’t take anything away from what is well-written and charming 88-minute 3D animated comedy. If you get the Blu-ray, you get access to additional features such as a few shorts, music videos, and detailed instructions on how to draw Snoopy.

The Weekend Chill / The Peanuts MovieHow to access: Available on Blu-ray, iTunes US, and Amazon Video
Time commitment: 1 hour and 28 minutes

Video games
Tom Clancy’s The Division
The arrival of Ubisoft’s newest open world role-playing game shooter – Tom Clancy’s The Division – into the larger world was by no means a straight line. The game was announced at E3 2013 almost three years ago, but then faced problems and was delayed in May 2014 pushing the game to 2015 and in May 2015, Ubisoft decided to push it again to 2016. Two years after as planned, The Division finally saw release this week but with copies held back from critics until launch day, reviews are still filtering in. That’s hasn’t stopped players from getting their hands on the game, helping the studio set a new day 1 sale record. We’ve prepared a handy guide on how to navigate post-pandemic Manhattan and this details what you can expect from Ubisoft should you decide to fork over additional money for the Season Pass.

The Weekend Chill / Tom Clancy's The Division(Also see: Hitman, The Division, and Other Games Releasing This March)

How to access: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam or Uplay for Windows PCs
Time commitment: A week to half a year, possibly

Hitman: Intro Pack
Square Enix’s popular stealth series is receiving a reboot of sorts with its latest entry – releasing Friday – and our early experience with the game has been positive. The 2016 Hitman underwent a change in format during January, as the publisher opted for an episodic distribution model, meaning parts of the game would be delivered over the course of the year. Hitman: Intro Pack – the first of a total of seven episodes – is what you will get this month and contains two missions: a prologue and an assassination in Paris. In April, you will get the chance to travel to Italy (only in the game, mind you). May will bring Morocco, and other countries such as Japan, Thailand, and the US will arrive periodically over time.

The Weekend Chill / Hitman (2016 video game)(Also see: Square Enix’s Lack of Faith in PS4, Xbox One Led to a Host of Problems: Report)

How to access: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Steam for Windows PCs
Time commitment: 6 hours

Mockingbird #1
She is known to fans of the ABC-Marvel TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D as Bobbi Morse, and has been portrayed by Adrianne Palicki for 40 episodes till date. Morse is also going to be part of the upcoming TV movie Marvel’s Most Wanted. Codenamed ‘Mockingbird’ in the comics, acclaimed thriller novelist Chelsea Cain made her comic book debut with the character this week, giving the character her first ever solo series.

Partnering her for illustrating duties is newcomer Kate Niemczyk, and the new series maintains Mockingbird’s characteristic flowing blonde hair. Frequently known as Hawkeye’s ex-wife, Cain wants her to have her own identity with this run. The first issue has a lot of Bobbi spending time at the S.H.I.E.L.D medical clinic, considering she was exposed to Super Soldier Serum and Infinity Formula prior to the book’s events.

The Weekend Chill / Mockingbird #1How to access: Comixology or Marvel Comic Store
Time commitment: 24 minutes

Real Cricket 16
It might not look like an entirely new game considering it serves as an update to Real Cricket 14, but the 2016 version of the game has tons of new features and some exciting new additions. Chief among those is the option to insert yourself in iconic moments, such as Javed Miandad’s last ball six in the 1986 Austral-Asia Cup final at Sharjah, or Sachin Tendulkar facing Shoaib Akhtar at the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Anuj Mankar, CEO and creative director for Pune-based developer Nautilus Mobile, put the game’s evolution down to popular mobile puzzle game Candy Crush Saga and feedback from the game’s passionate supporters on social platform Facebook. The game is still devoid of official licensing – be it the Indian Premier League or the backing of nations – but it’s shaping up to be a cricket game that has something for everyone.

The Weekend Chill / Real Cricket 16How to access: Google Play Store or Apple App Store
Time commitment: 3 hours

What are you planning to do this weekend at home? Tweet your suggestions to us @Gadgets360 with #WeekendChill and we’ll retweet the best ones.