The Division 2 is about to get a follow-up patch to its recent Title Update 9 – and there’s a big round of nerfs for the action-RPG game’s NPCs in store. Ubisoft’s posted notes for the latest batch of balance changes and other tweaks, and they reveal NPCs’ status effects, weapons, throwing and blindfiring accuracy, aggressiveness, and abilities have some toning down coming their way – though players are in a for a handful of buffs.
As highlighted in the post, the studio’s looking at some “global NPC balance” adjustments as part of The Division 2’s upcoming Title Update 10, but before that, “The balance changes in Title Update 9.1 are intended to eliminate outliers with NPC weapons, abilities and behaviours. These are specific fixes and a first pass at balancing these outliers, if further adjustments are necessary then they will be made in Title Update 10.”
The 9.1 Title Update is due to arrive tomorrow, May 14, at 09:30 CEST / 03:30 EDT / 12:30 PDT according to the patch notes and server downtime is expected to last around three hours.
Here’s what you can expect to see land in-game at that time (via Ubisoft):
The servers will shut down for maintenance to implement Title Update 9.1 on Thursday, May 14th at 09:30 CEST, 03:30 AM EDT, 12:30 AM PDT.
— The Division 2 (@TheDivisionGame) May 13, 2020
NPC and AI
“The balance changes in Title Update 9.1 are intended to eliminate outliers with NPC weapons, abilities and behaviours.
“These are specific fixes and a first pass at balancing these outliers, if further adjustments are necessary then they will be made in Title Update 10. We are also looking at global NPC balance with Title Update 10.”
NPC Status Effects Nerfs
- “Certain NPC status effects were too strong. With TU9.1 we are adjusting their damage to players.”
- “These changes also affect PvP status effect damage.”
- Reduced damage caused to players by Burn status effect
- Reduced damage caused to players by Bleed status effect
NPC Weapon Nerfs
- “Certain NPC weapons dealt significantly more damage than others. These changes should bring them more in-line with other NPC’s damage output capabilities.”
- Reduced damage and out-of-cover accuracy of SMG used by red-bar Hyena Assault.
- Reduced range of Cleaners Tank’s flamethrower.
- Nerfed Hyena RC Cars:
- Reduced damage of Hyena RC Car explosion.
- Reduced duration of lingering ground fire from Elite Hyena RC Car explosion.
- Reduced duration of Burn/Confuse status effect applied by Elite Hyena RC Car explosion.
- Reduced how often Hyena RC Cars are deployed.
- Nerfed Black Tusk Suicide Drones:
- Reduced damage of Black Tusk Suicide Drone explosion.
- Reduced how often Black Tusk Suicide Drones are deployed.
- Fixed issue where NPCs could throw a Firefly variant which did an excessive amount of damage to Players.
NPC Grenade Throw Accuracy Nerfs
- “NPCs were too accurate with their grenades. These changes introduce the idea of each NPC having an optimal distance for their grenade accuracy. The further away the NPC’s target is the less accurate their grenades will be. The optimal distance varies based on faction and veterancy.
- “For example: The Outcast Thrower’s Molotov optimal distance is ~20m. The Hyena Thrower’s Airburst optimal distance is ~30m. If the player is 35m away, then the Outcast will be less accurate than the Hyena at that distance.
- “Distance from target has less of an effect on the accuracy of Elites, Hunters, Rogue Agents and Legendary NPCs.”
- Reduced grenade accuracy with distance to target.
- Reduced accuracy of Hyena Thrower’s Airburst, Black Tusk Mini-
- Tank’s Grenade and Cleaners Turret’s Napalm Airburst.
NPC Blindfire Accuracy Nerfs
- “NPC Blindfire was too effective. These changes reduce NPCs’ possible damage output while blindfiring.”
- Reduced how accurate NPCs are while blindfiring.
- Note: Legendary get more accurate the longer they are blindfiring (but this is still significantly less accurate than before this change)
- NPCs no longer blindfire with a Shotgun or Sniper Rifle.
- NPCs instead switch to a pistol to blindfire with.
- Note: Hunters, Rogue Agents and some bosses are an exception (and break this rule).
- Tank archetypes no longer blindfire their weapons.
- “There is no easy global fix for NPC Aggressiveness. There was no intentional desire to increase NPC aggressiveness with TU8.
- “Instead the shift in global difficulty from TU7 to TU8, surfaced underlying issues with various NPC behaviors which could result in them being overly aggressive.
- These fixes only address some sources of the perceived NPC aggressiveness, we are still investigating other sources and working on fixes.”
- Reduced frequency and aggressiveness of NPC behavior to advance on hidden targets (Players who have not been exposed for a long duration).
- Fixed prolonged aggressive circling caused by some NPCs’ reaction to targets being too close (Players who are within ~5m of them).
- This affected the Hyena Assault, Cleaner Assault and Outcast Assault.
- Fixed some status effect reactions which could cause non-tank NPCs to path towards players aggressively.
- Further lowered likelihood of Tank archetypes to rush towards Player Hives/Turrets to stomp them.
- Adjusted status effect reaction priorities to fix issue that allowed Ensnared NPCs to still move if Blinded/Burned.
NPC Ability Nerfs
- “Certain NPC healing abilities were too strong. These changes reduce their strength.”
- Black Tusk Support Station Tuning:
- Support Station no longer heals mechanical NPCs (Warhounds, Mini-Tanks, etc).
- Support Station no longer heals destructible props (which are objects Players must destroy in a mission).
- Legendary version of Support Station now checks line of sight and has healing cap amounts like normal version.
- Armor kits no longer completely heal Bounties and other bosses.
- Note: Hunters still heal completely.
- “The below are adjustments should improve options in the player’s toolkit to counter NPCs. We are reviewing more changes like these for TU10.”
- Buffed Player Skills Survivability:
- Reduced how much damage Player Skills take from NPCs.
- Buffed damage of Player Status Effects:
- Increased damage caused to NPCs by Bleed status effect.
- Increased damage caused to NPCs by Poison status effect.
- Increased damage caused to NPCs by Napalm Ensnare status effect.
- Buffed In-Cover Blindfire for Players:
- Reduced size of Player’s hitbox (against NPCs) when they are in cover and are blindfiring.
- Dev Comment: This should make it feel less risky for Players to blindfire at NPCs.
Instant Season Level unlocks.
- Players are now able to purchase Instant Season Level unlocks.
- A Level can be purchased for 100 Premium Credits in the Season UI.
- First improvements to the issues causing FPS drops in Dark Zones during extractions and longer play sessions.
- Fixed issues that could cause the NPCs for the Saturn Manhunt and Gold King bounties to spawn past a closed gate and making them inaccessible.
- Fixed an issue causing players to be unable to enter the
- Technology Laboratory in Kenly College.
- Fixed an issue causing players to be unable to remove the
- Recommended Activity projects from the HUD.
- Fixed an issue causing the friendly Oxidizer Chem Launcher Skill to cause damage to allied player Skills.
- Fixed an issue causing the Frenzy talent to incorrectly stay active after swapping weapons.
- Fixed an issue causing players on Stadia to crash when accessing the Central Aquarium Classified Assignment.
- Fixed an issue that could cause the Seeker Mine Skill to have a lower than intended cooldown.
- Fixed an issue that caused players to be unable to interact with the scrambler during the Settlement Blockade activity.
- Fixed an issue that could cause the doors to not open during the “Break through the Black Tusk Forces” beat in the DARPA Research Lab Main Mission.
- Fixed an issue that could cause progression to be blocked after getting killed by Rogue Agents during the Invaded Grad Washington Hotel Main Mission.
- Fixed an issue that caused players to be unable to pick up keys in Operation Dark Hours normal mode after interacting with the crates.
- Fixed an issue that could cause several Kajika bosses to be spawned in the Pathway Park Main Mission.
- Fixed an issue that could cause enemy NPCs to spawn out of thin air during Open World Activities.
- Fixed an issue that could cause two buttons to have the same function when engaging in a Global Event and having a GE reward available.
That’s all we’ve got for The Division 2 Title Update 9.1 for now, but it sounds like we can expect news of Title Update 10 to appear at some point in the not-too-distant future, given Ubisoft’s already got some NPC balance plans in mind – though there’s no word on when it’ll arrive just yet.