Sometimes you read a news item and literally do that blinkinguyface.gif in real life. We used to call that a “double take.” Such is the case for a bit of news I heard about The Division 2, which is temporarily removing Expeditions, the main chunk of new content from its most recent DLC expansion, from the game as of today.
Yeah, I’m confused too.
Expeditions were meant to rotate in a three week cycle through different arenas with different objectives, and completing all three get you a special exotic weapon. Players assumed that once the three weeks were up, the cycle would simply start again. But that’s not the case, and The Division has made it clear that Expeditions are actually being removed from the game temporarily while they’re retooled.
“We always envisioned Expeditions as a rotating experience that will be open for some time, close for a limited duration and become available again later,” community manager Giuseppe Dalicante said on reddit.
That was news to literally the entire playerbase, as absolutely no one thought that Expeditions were only going to arrive for a three-week window and then disappear again, and I find it weird to hear Ubisoft acting like that was always the internal plan when they never once said that out loud.
As it turns out, this is mainly about a “Mastery” system with Expeditions that was removed from final release in order to get Expeditions out the door, and now when Expeditions return, it will have the Mastery system in place, which modifies the arenas in some way for greater challenge.
Dalicante expanded on this in a different post later on:
“Since the Mastery system was not ready for Episode 1, we had to make a decision between delaying Expeditions altogether or still open them for a full rotation to give all of you a taste of this experience…We would prefer to bring Expeditions back once the Mastery system is at the correct level of polish. We are sensitive to the discussions about the availability of the Diamondback in the meantime, however.”
The Diamondback being the exotic you can no longer get now that Expeditions are indefinitely removed from the game. Perhaps they’ll slot it elsewhere. Maybe the raid, knowing Massive.
I made the comparison on Twitter that this would be like Bungie realizing that strike modifiers weren’t very good in Destiny, and then removing strikes altogether until they figured out how to make better modifiers. I was then reminded that Bungie actually did remove Trials until they figured out how to make it better (which they haven’t yet), though comparing this situation to one of the most unpopular things Destiny has ever done is not a great look either.
This just seems exceedingly weird to me. I understand why you would want to upgrade Expeditions with the Mastery system to make them more engaging, but I do no not understand why this necessitates taking Expeditions offline completely until then, especially since it was the major addition to the game of the last content drop. I don’t think Massive could have gotten away with this if this was paid DLC and they were just flat-out removing access to it, but since it’s free, people can’t exactly demand refunds that they don’t have access to what they paid for.
I have no idea how long The Division 2’s Expeditions will remain out of commission, but next time, just delay them, rather than do this weirdness.