We have reached week 3 of The Division’s PTS for Update 1.6 and Last Stand. Currently it feels more like a back and forth between changes than well-thought-out implementations and decisions from the developers.
Things like the reloading while sprinting is now thankfully back again and Damage Resiliences are getting hard-capped at 60%. Moreover, the newly introduced S.E.E.K.R. Gear Set has been removed from Update 1.6 entirely due to balancing reasons. Besides that, the developers have published an article which explains the latest Armor and Health changes in detail.
The connection problems for Last Stand should be gone now, but also only because a feature who caused the problem was disabled instead of fixed. Hopefully it will not come back as it was almost impossible to finish a game without being Delta’d.
You can find the patch notes for this update down below, but keep in mind that they do not represent the full changelog of the PTS. If you want to go through the full one, but still NOT final changelog again, you can do this here.
Expansion 3: Last Stand
Many players mentioned that TTK a player in Downed State was too long and enforced players to engage at short range in order to be able to finish off their opponent in Melee. We want to try a shorter TTK against players in Downed State and see the impact it will have on long-range engagements.
- Reduced Downed State health by 50% in Last Stand. This means downed players will be killed twice faster than in PTS 2.
Another issue in Last Stand is the scarcity of Medkits as a whole. As a first step, we will now grant maximum Medkits to players when they respawn.
- Players will now always be set to 5 Medkits when respawning after death.
We also lowered the health of Skill proxies in Last Stand, to make them easier to destroy by other players.
- Skill proxies have their health reduced by 50% in Last Stand only. Affected skills are Support Station, Turret and Seeker Mine.
One of the major complaints that appeared with Normalization was the sudden prevalence of Armor damage mitigation and its impact on PvP fights; this is addressed in PTS 3. Reducing the set Damage Mitigation will not only allow for a more consistent Time to Kill, it should also shift the Skill Power Meta that appeared during PTS 2, as weapon damage will become much more valuable. In addition, we have decided to try something different with Major and Minor bonuses on Gear, as we realized that their impact on PvP was minimal and players started avoiding the scaled major bonuses in favor of those that were not scaled.
The result should be an experience that evens out the playing field, just enough for players to feel confident when jumping into Last Stand while not completely negating the importance of character building.
- Reduced set Armor Damage Mitigation by 50% from 70% to 35%.
- Armor will now respect Talents and Skill buffs.
- Major and Minor bonuses are no longer normalized and apply as in normal gameplay.
- All Weapons stats will now roll at maximum. (such as headshot damage bonus on Marksman Rifles)
Players were receiving much higher than anticipated scores on PTS2 from certain activities. These changes are a first attempt at making it so PvE and PvP focused players can achieve comparable scores.
- Reduced the amount of score earned from additive kill marks. (Headshot, low health, explosive, etc.)
- Reduced the amount of score earned from Last Stand assist marks. (Being near a friendly as they capture an objective, turn on a fortification, activate a tactical boost)
- Reduced the amount of score earned from healing a teammate by 50%.
- Tuned the mercy rule to begin activating when there are 8 minutes left in a match and there is more than a 7500 points spread. The mercy rule will also now defer triggering if the losing team is currently scoring at a rate equal to or greater than the winning team.
- To help deter the spawn camp strategy we have added additional spawn points and updated spawn logic so that points outside of a player’s designated home spawn area can be used if there is too much enemy threat.
To avoid having to add extra health specific for Last Stand and maintain a 35% armor cap we decided to tune the PVP damage modifier to achieve the desired Time to Kill. This change is going to help the survivability of players in Last Stand and DZ. It will also make playing with your character in and out of Last Stand feel more consistent no matter of if you’re playing normalized or not.
- Reduced PvP damage modifier by 21% from 0.58 to 0.46. This applies to both Dark Zone and Last Stand game mode.
We decided to revert the change to Medkit cooldowns as the impact on PvE was deemed too great for the little change it brought to PvP.
- Medkits cooldown was reduced back to its initial value of 12 seconds, instead of 15 seconds.
Another very unpopular and inconclusive change was the removal of ability to reload while sprinting. While we believe that this change could be beneficial on paper, the implementation in PTS 2 was not satisfying and the impact on PvE too great for us to keep it in the build.
- Players will now be able to Reload while Sprinting.
Finally, an important aspect that has been greatly discussed during PTS 2 is the ability for players to stack Damage Resilience from many sources, to the point where they would become almost invulnerable. We have now taken several steps to limit this, starting with a new cap on All Damage Resilience.
- All Damage Resilience has now been capped at 60%.
- Provident: The last bullet of a magazine deals 10% more damage. (Instead of 60%)
We’ve made a few adjustments to make sure the Caduceus becomes the Skill Power weapon that we want it to be, but also make sure it doesn’t become too strong, especially when multiple copies are used in a group.
- Implemented a 0.2 seconds cooldown between each Caduceus Heal proc. In other words, healing effects from multiple Caduceus in a group will no longer stack. A player can only be healed by one Caduceus at a time.
- Changed the Unique Talent so that it now heals for 1% of the user’s Skill Power, instead of 1% of the receiver’s health.
We corrected an issue with the Medved generating too much Stagger on enemy players.
- Reduced Stagger from this weapon’s damage.
We added a cooldown to Tenebrae, to avoid situations where its Talent effect would apply too often.
- Its talent now has a 10 seconds cooldown.
As seen during PTS 2, Historian quickly became a great weapon for many players due to the current importance of Skill Power. With that said, we also realized that since its damage scaled with Skill Power, we could end up in situations where Skill Power users could have a very high weapon damage, on top of their high skill damage. Instead, we decided to go the opposite route and now scale the Historian damage with Firearms.
- The explosive damage will now equal 500% of the user’s firearms.
Despite the change done to this set in PTS 2, we are still not happy with the current version. We have decided to remove it from this PTS and the 1.6 Update until we can rework it for a later one.
Removed S.E.E.K.R. set from the game.
In combination to the Support Station range increase described in the Skill section below, we have reduced the Station range bonus of this set in order to improve the base skill while not making it imbalanced when used with this set.
- Set bonus (3): +30% Support Station range. (instead of +50%)
Note that combining this change to the change to Support Station range listed below, you can now reach a total range of 9.75 meters versus 9 meters in PTS 2.
Based on your feedback, we noticed that while the idea to reduce Skill Power impact on cooldown was welcome, it wasn’t yet push far enough in order to really promote Skill Haste and help players with low Skill Power.
- Skill Power: We further reduced the impact of Skill Power on skill cooldowns. This means that compared to PTS 2, players with lower Skill Power will have slightly shorter cooldowns and player with high skill power will have slightly longer ones. Our goals is to make Skill Haste the go-to stat for cooldown reduction.
We have also decided to take a few steps to address cooldown reduction that could lead to skill spamming. These steps consist of a reduction of Skill Haste, as well as an increase of base cooldown for some specific skills listed below.
- Skill Haste cap has been reduced from 60% to 50%.
We noticed that Pulse could become very powerful with high Skill Power, especially with Crit Chance and Damage bonus applied to the whole group.
- Reduced impact of Skill Power on Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage.
- Tactical Scanner:
- Critical Hit Chance increased by +20%.
- Critical Hit Damage reduced by -11%.
In order to make sure this skill remains usable for players with low Skill Power, we decided to buff it up a bit. We also looked at the Damage Mitigation bonus of Booster Shot, in a global effort to reduce the impact of Damage Resilience in the game.
- Self and Ally Heal increased by 15% on all mods.
- Reduced impact of Skill Power on Self and Ally Heal by 20% on all mods.
- Booster Shot: Damage Mitigation bonus decreased by 50% from 15% to 7.5%.
- All mods: Base cooldown increased by 33%.
One of the obvious issues with PTS 2, Seeker mine quickly became the new Meta due to the efficiency of Cluster. While this is partly due to a wrong balancing of damage mitigation (bullets do less damage so skills feel much more powerful), it was also pointed that the stagger effect was just too much of an extra for this skill.
- The stagger effect has been removed.
- Reduced the explosion damage from each mine, however increased the bleed damage instead. The total damage is now lower when each mine hits different target and significantly lower when all mines hit the same target.
- All mods: Base cooldown increased by 17%.
A clear must-have skill in order to stack Damage Resilience. We do like that it brought players back to the cover based gameplay that we want to see, but the bonus is simply too strong and needs to be reduced in order to bring Damage Resilience in line with the new balancing of the game.
- Damage Resilience decreased by 33%.
- Reduced impact of Skill Power on Damage Resilience.
- All mods: Base cooldown increased by 9%.
One of the regular suggestion that came up to counter the Seeker Mine domination in PvP was to make Sticky Bomb Disruptor instant. This has now been done.
- Disruptor: It will now detonate with no delay.
A very unpopular change with PTS 2 was the reduction of Support Station range. We know that this skill has become a player favorite with this update, which is great, but we also do not want it to become too much of a must have. To address this situation, we decided to increase the range again, but reduce the impact of Reclaimer. We also implemented a limitation to make sure that stacking Support Stations on top of each other would not lead to crazy amounts of heals.
- Range increased by 25% from 6 meters to 7.5 meters.
- Implemented a 1 second cooldown to Support Station heal procs. In other words, stacking several Support Stations on each other will only heal the player once, and not once per Support Station.
Both the long range and the very high amount of health made the Turret a too potent proxy-tank, making it possible to clear difficult content using a very passive playstyle. A shorter range and a more reasonable health pool will make the Turret a more balanced tool, where positioning matters more.
- Base skill and Active Sensor: Range decreased from 35 meters to 25 meters.
- All mods except Shock: Base health reduced by 25%.
- All mods: Skill Power impact on health reduced.
While the overall difficulty of Legendary seems to be just about right, there is one aspect that generated quite a bit of frustration: lack of checkpoints. We agree that dying at the end boss and having to restart from the start can feel very punishing, and we decided to do something about this. We also had a look at consumable drops, especially Medkits.
- Added one checkpoint to each Legendary Mission. (About halfway through the mission)
- Added more guaranteed consumable drops on specific LMB3 NPCs.
Often overlooked in this PTS, we have decided to give a little boost to our contamination events in the Dark Zone in order to make them more interesting and less punishing.
- Added additional veteran flamers and rushers in all contamination event encounters.
- Dropped the contamination drain on player’s health by 2/3.
Loot & Vendors
As a quality of life change, and an answer to a request from the community, we have decided to increase the Phoenix Credit cap.
- Phoenix Credits cap has been increased from 2.000 to 5.000.
- Fixed a bug where the “Action Completed” pop up would trigger with each NPC kill.
- Fixed a bug in Last Stand where gameplay VO was being deferred and playing long after gameplay actions had been completed.
- Fixed a bug in Last Stand where players would sometimes remain invulnerable to damage with their weapons holstered throughout the match.
- Several improvements were made to NPC AI.
- Fixed a bug with Tactician’s Authority where the buff would be consume when another group member uses a skill.
About Delta errors in Last Stand
The Delta issues caused by server crashes that plagued the PTS 2 build have been largely eliminated as of the last server update. Many of these crashes were caused by a side effect of Last Stand’s join on the fly functionality. A fix has been completed and is being dev tested but due to the complexity of the fix, it will not be implemented in PTS 3. For PTS3 all join on the fly functionality is temporarily deactivated. To help us to get the most valuable data out of the Last Stand PTS we ask all players to stay in their match until it concludes and leave during the between match summary/matchmaking screen.