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Intelligence Annex #11: Beneath the Surface

16/06/2016 11:59 AM

Greetings, Agents!

In our previous Intelligence Annex we explored all the changes that were coming to the Open World, Columbus Circle, and The Dark Zone. It’s time to see what happens when you dive into the underbelly of New York City.

The next update literally brings a new layer of depth to The Division. You will dive into the unexplored territories beneath New York, not knowing what to expect or if you will even make it out. The treacherous, hostile, and claustrophobic mazes you will battle your way through presents an all new threat and challenge. To get all the best details we pulled aside Game Director Gilles Matouba from Reflections, the lead studio behind Underground. Let's get to it!

What Lurks Below?

A devastating attack has been carried out on a secure quarantine center that left dozens of civilians dead. With crucial GPS information extracted from a mobile phone that was taken off one of the attackers, Paul Rhodes was able to pinpoint their hideout. Once entering the Underground area “the Agents quickly realize that these leaderless and fractured new groups are rising to power and are as dangerous as ever,” explains Gilles. Together with the JTF, we have been busy securing the threats that are visible in the streets. During this time the factions have been infesting the Underground to regroup and plan a new wave of deadly attacks on the city. It’s our job to head down there and take this back!

Underground is also bringing a completely new area to the Base of Operations called The Terminal. It will have very similar capabilities that currently exist such as a crafting table, stash, matchmaking hub, High Value Targets NPCs, and vendors. In addition, it will be a social space similar to safe houses and you will be able to fast travel directly to it! Paul Rhodes has also been hard at work expanding our capabilities by building a Tactical Operations Center. In The Terminal there will be an entrance to the Underground area that will take you on an elevator ride down to the Tactical Operations Center. All the technology, infrastructure, and logistics that will assist us in the Underground is located here. This is where new vendors, Underground Operation Panel, and NPCs can be found.

TacOpsCenter

Everything is Out to Get You

The Underground areas of Manhattan are a large maze of tunnels and rooms. To create the experience of truly unexplored and unique areas we have tools that allow us to randomly create the layouts of each level. Underground is all about replay ability and “thanks to the sheer amount of level combinations we can have, it will be rare to encounter the same one twice,” describes Gilles. These levels will take around 20-40 minutes of action packed combat in dense, unpredictable areas filled with hazards and traps. The environment itself is dangerous, you need to be on your toes at all times because it can reach out and bite you at any moment. Traps are triggered by stepping into their proximity and you’ll come across a few traps you have encountered before such as:

  • Explosive
  • Chemical
  • Shock

In addition, there is an all new trap that you will run into.

  • Blinder trap. Strong flood lights pierce the dark atmosphere and can disorientate Agents.

There are also a number of environmental hazards you will want to avoid. They are:

  • Electric wires that shock players on contact. They spark and short against metal and electrify water puddles.
  • Fractured gas pipes that spew jets of fire across passage ways and will seriously damage you.
  • Oil puddles that can cause large fires.
  • Heavy virus zones.

Sometimes you won’t be able to simply go around these. It will be up to you to find solutions to disable the traps before you can move forward.

Finally, enemies have also gotten their hands on a few new toys you will need to keep your eyes out for.

  • Alarm panels that will call in waves of reinforcements if they are triggered.
  • Skill jammers that disrupts you, blocks skills, and corrupts your HUD.

Miss any of these and you could find yourself severely injured. The stakes are raised and you always have a choice to make. Do you brute force your way forward and take out the enemies first, or do you tactically approach the situation and deal with the hazard first?

Hazard

You will be fighting towards an overall objective in each Underground Operation. They are as follows:

  • Target of Opportunity: A dangerous enemy is gathering strength. Put an end to them before they can really others to their cause.
  • Surgical Strike: An opportunity has presented itself. Multiple leaders have gathered to discuss strategy in an Underground location. Eliminate them before they have a chance to disappear again.
  • Recover the Report: A JTF squad has gone missing. It’s up to you to find the squad and recover the Intel.
  • Supply Depot: Intel from a JTF patrol has pinpointed the location of an enemy supply stock. Destroy the supplies and eliminate any opposition.
  • Missing Patrol: A JTF squad has gone dark. Head to their last known GPS location and bring them back safely.
  • Critical Infrastructure: Critical infrastructure is being threatened under the streets of Manhattan. Protect it from a hostile enemy group.

In addition, these objectives are found in a large variety of level layouts and before you start it you have to configure the Operation. This involves selecting the difficulty, number of phases, and Directives.

  • Difficulty: You can chose between Normal Mode, Hard Mode, Challenge Mode, and Heroic Mode. Heroic mode is a new difficulty we are introducing to truly test your limits and skills.
  • Phases: Select the number of objectives in the Operation and therefor the overall length as well.
  • Directives: Another layer of difficulty that adds unique mechanics to the Operations. You can select a combination or all of the following:
    • Fog of War: Removes your radar and indications, forcing you to communicate and share more information with your teammates.
    • Waste it or not: All ammo that is left in the magazine is lost when you reload and no enemies drop ammo. This adds a lot of tension as you have to think and use your bullets carefully.
    • Sickness: Health does not regenerate and you will continue to lose health until you reach one bar.
    • Mad Skills: When you use one skill, both are placed on cooldown. Additionally, using a Signature Skill will trigger the cooldown for everyone in the group.
    • Special Forces: Enemies can now use Explosive or Incendiary ammo.

You have a lot of choices to make!

With Great Challenge comes Great Rewards

We are introducing a new progression system and currency into the Underground Operations. Gilles explains that “the new Underground Experience will give you access to Directives and award you with the right to purchase exclusive gear and blueprints in the Tactical Operation Center.” This is gained through killing enemies and completing Operations of any difficulty. The new currency, “Directive Intel” is also gained by killing enemies in the Underground and completing Operations. As the name suggests, you spend them to add Directives to your Operation. Naturally, as you rank up you can configure your Operations in more ways and gain access to exclusive gear and blueprints that are sold in the Tactical Operation Center. Test yourself for the ultimate challenge and rewards!

Underground opens up a completely new environment for you to explore, challenge to conquer, and an all new story to Manhattan. We can’t wait to get this into your hands!

Let us know what you’ve been up to so far in Tom Clancy’s The Division™ on our Facebook, Twitter, Google+, official forums, or the community Reddit. Good luck out there, Agents!

Until next time!

- The Division Dev Team