The Division Esports Outlook

We take a closer look at how The Division can become a competitive title in the esports scene.

Ubisoft has been pushing the envelope when it comes to catering their games toward competition. The company recently announced an online league for Rainbow Six Siege that will offer over $100,000 in prize money for the first season. With high hopes for The Division, does Ubisoft have more esports aspirations for the upcoming release?

Your first thought might be to immediately dismiss any kind of competitive scene for The Division. It’s a game similar to Destiny that adds RPG elements to a third-person shooter. How would that kind of game work in the competitive realm? Well, you might have asked the same question about World of Warcraft before it became one of the biggest esports titles several years ago. It’s not as significant in the esports scene as it once was, but there was a time when World of Warcraft had a big competitive following.

While Ubisoft has yet to announce any competitive plans for The Division, we didn’t hear about the company’s Rainbow Six Siege plans until months after the game released. Let’s take a close look at just how Ubisoft can turn The Division into a real competitor in the esports scene.

First and foremost, if you think of The Division as an RPG, it becomes much easier to picture it as a competitive title. The biggest concern about The Division having some sort of competitive scene is that all players are not equal. The higher your level the better gear you’ll have access to and the stronger your character will be. Most RPGs, especially MMORPGs, have some form of player vs. player combat, yet they fall into the same issue.

For The Division, there will be some sort of level cap. Generally speaking, competition should start once you hit that level cap, although you can have lower leagues for players who have not hit the level cap yet. Once you reach the level cap, things begin to level out considerably. You may still be able to get better gear, but there’s a limit. You won’t see someone with gear 10 levels above your own.

In addition, you have to factor in the RPG elements of The Division. You can essentially form RPG-like parties of up to four players. For competitive play you would likely want a balanced party that may have one player focused on the Security skills for tanking and soaking up damage, one player with a Medical skill focus for keeping the party alive, and two players with a heavy focus in Tech skill for inflicting maximum damage to any hostile forces.

Of course you can mix and match skills to specialize your characters and even change their role in the party, but looking at it from an RPG standpoint you begin to see a potential competitive future. The Dark Zone will already be a smaller version of this, with parties roaming around in search of loot, or looking to take down other players as they’re trying to extract loot from the area. All Ubisoft has to do is create an instanced version of the Dark Zone where only two teams can participate.

At present a lot of people are asking for more from The Division. We’ve been through an Alpha test and one Beta test, with another due next week. While some people are thoroughly pleased with what they’ve played of The Division, there are quite a few who feel the game needs more. Perhaps there’s already more to the game that wasn’t featured in the Beta, but adding some sort of competitive Dark Zone to the game, or even something that’s restricted to competitions (similar to how Heroes of the Storm offers features in tournament play that are not available in the normal game).

The bottom line is that there is room for competitive play in The Division. Ubisoft is also projecting that The Division will be one of their best-selling titles. With all that in mind, it’s not difficult to see the company positioning The Division as a competitive title at some point in the future. For now, enjoy The Division Open Beta next week and be sure to check out our support class guide, the best class skills in the game and learn how to survive in the Dark Zone!

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About the Author

Bryan Dawson

Bryan Dawson has an extensive background in the gaming industry, having worked as a journalist for various publications for nearly 20 years and participating in a multitude of competitive fighting game events. He has authored over a dozen strategy guides for Prima Games, worked as a consultant on numerous gaming-related TV and web shows and was the Operations Manager for the fighting game division of the IGN Pro League.