Posted by The Division
The weapon Meta has been a huge topic of discussion within the community. Using statistical data and community feedback, we looked at what needed to be changed to help bring more variety to weapons. As the release of Update 1.3 inches towards us we want to share some more details with you.
An Unbalanced Meta
Selecting a strong weapon loadout is crucial to your overall effectiveness when dealing with enemies. Currently, this often revolves around the combination of an SMG with a Marksman Rifle, specifically the Aug/Vector paired with an M1A. With SMGs yielding the highest DPS at close range, and the Marksman Rifle’s power at long range, this pairing has become a staple in the current Meta. As the only two weapon families with unique bonuses, they are the most sought-after and used weapons. This has led to an unequal spread of weapon usage among players.
From this you can see that SMGs, Marksman Rifles, and Assault Rifles are the clear favorites, with LMGs and Shotguns very far behind. Assault Rifles have a higher optimal range with higher base headshot damage, making them still effective. However it’s clear that LMGs and Shotguns need some love.
Within the SMG weapon family, we have also seen a large disparity in weapons used.
This difference stems from both availability and power. The AUG, Vector, and MP5 can be acquired through blueprints in the Dark Zone, making their availability much greater than others, which is one cause of the large difference. In addition, the AUG and Vector are simply the most powerful SMGs based on their stats. This is why this large descrepency exists.
To address the current domination of the SMGs and Marksman Rifles and bring a better balance between all the weapon families, we are going to make the following changes:
- Add unique bonuses to each weapon family
- Increase Shotgun damage output
- Decrease the damage of the AUG and Vector
- Make adjustments to the M1A
- Introduce new weapons
- Add the ability to reroll talents on weapons
- Make changes to Special Ammo
Below we will detail exactly how we are going to achieve better weapon balance.
Giving you more choices
New Weapon Bonuses
Your choice of weapon has a huge impact on your playstyle. To bring more variety, we are adding unique bonuses to the weapon families that do not have them and changing the bonus on SMGs. The new bonuses are:
- SMGs now have a crit hit damage bonus rather than crit hit chance. It is much harder to reach a higher critical hit chance now, and you will have to make more stat choices when selecting gear in order to take advantage of the new bonus.
- LMGs receive a bonus that increases their damage to targets out of cover by about 25%. The design of LMGs is to force people into cover and control areas with their large magazine sizes.
- Shotguns receive a stagger bonus against NPC. When shooting targets, you have a high chance of causing them to stumble and lose their balance. This will not affect other players, however. Shotguns are also receiving a buff to their base damage that scales with the weapon’s level and up to a maximum of 30%.
- Assault Rifles receive a bonus to enemy armor damage. This allows Assault Rifles to be a powerful weapon in PVE situations.
- No changes were made to the bonus on Marksman Rifles
Each bonus provides an impact in a variety of situations and playstyles. Additionally, bringing up the damage on Shotguns up allows them to reach a level that is more on par with other weapons while they are in their optimal range. These changes allow you to now select your weapon loadout around your preferred playstyle rather than their DPS value.
The AUG and Vector
It’s clear that the AUG and Vector are two of the most sought-after weapons in the game. With a higher max damage than Assault Rifles, this desire is understandable. To address their damage level we are making the following change:
- Reduce the damage done by the AUG and Vector by 10%.
SMGs are meant to be close-quarter combat weapons that gain more from critical strikes and therefore rely on hitting the target with as many bullets as possible.
With the current Meta many players are using an M1A together with an SMG. Due to its power level and its usage level relative to other Marksman Rifles, we are making the following change:
- Increase the minimum accuracy cap on the M1A. When you shoot consistently, the cross hair will grow to a much larger size than it previously did.
The change allows for a slower and more controlled playstyle that is better suited to how Marksman Rifles should be used.
With Underground we are also introducing a few new weapon types. Each one will have its own balancing relative to its weapon family as well as a unique talent. The new weapons and their talents are as following:
- Named Shotgun: Showstopper (This is a fully automatic shotgun)
Showstopper: The emptier the clip, the better the accuracy.
- Assault Rifle: G36
Focused: When no skills are on cooldown you weapon damage is increased by X%.
- Marksman Rifle: SVD
Decisive: Killing a target will make your next shot with the weapon be an automatic critical hit.
- SMG: PP-19
Hurried: Each critical hit reduces your next reload time with X% to a minimum of Y seconds.
Changes to Weapon Talents
Weapon talents are a crucial aspects of your weapon and often the deciding factor in making a weapon powerful or not. To make the process of finding weapons a bit less reliant on RNG, we are making it possible to recalibrate a talent on your weapon. In order to do so you have to collect a new currency called Weapon Kit that can be obtained through crafting, enemy drops, and crates in the Underground. Spend them in combination some Phoenix Credits at the Recalibration bench to be able to recalibrate a talent on your weapon. All talents can be recalibrated and it works in the same way gear rerolling does.
These changes allow you to adjust your weapon talents rather than forcing you to use a specific weapon type because of the talents it has on it.
With a few new gear sets focused on consumables we’ve taken the opportunity to adjust them overall.
Explosive ammo provides a huge amount of burst damage that would very often be the deciding factor in a Dark Zone fight. While it should still provide a boost in damage, we are going to significantly reduce the burst damage that players are currently experiencing in Update 1.3. The ammo will now scale linearly with the damage of the bullet. If you hit for 10,000 damage, the explosion will do the same.
Similarly, we’ve also taken a look at Incendiary Bullets. Currently they set you on fire for a longer duration than Incendiary Grenades. With that, their duration has been reduced from a 10 seconds to 3 seconds. This change should better reflect their power.
All in all these changes should bring more playstyle options for you to choose from. Adjusting certain weapons, adding bonuses to all weapon families, introducing new weapons and talents, and allowing a weapon talent to be recalibrated will open doors to a large variety of new play styles and allow you to further customize your loadout.
Your feedback is invaluable to us. We can’t wait to see how you guys do with the new changes and what new weapon metas are formed. As always, make sure you keep the feedback coming!
– The Division Dev Team