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  1. Below are my thoughts on this, often, touchy subject. I’ve taken a long look at the concept and execution of the Dark Zone and its gameplay and have come to the conclusions below as to why it so harshly divides the community, why it should work and why it doesn’t work. Perception: Firstly, the learning curve is drastic! Unless you have great knowledge of the game meta, builds etc any PvP you face in the DZ will be very one sided. I see Players who are more used to PvE constantly complain as they don’t understand how they’re toon can be killed so rapidly…fact is they’ve only faced Ai…usually never tried a Legendary or Heroic mission, maybe never faced a Hunter in Survival. They don’t realise and have never had the experience of PvP. They’re build isn’t optimised for PvP. They fail, get killed constantly and, seemingly, too fast for it to be allowed in the game…must be hacks, exploits, cheaters… the DZ is full of cheaters clearly…crappy game. …see? Their perception is that the DZ is where all the Cheaters go, it’s a broken area and “Why can’t we just have a PvE Dark Zone?” What went wrong: Inexperience. That’s where it went wrong. Massive came with practically zero experience building a PvP arena style game, they didn’t do their research. They knew what and how they wanted things to go but forgot the first law of MMO's. - If players will be dicks in an online game, and they will do all they can to be the biggest dicks they can be. Suddenly you have players camping extraction zones. Spending dedicated hours creating meta builds and exploiting every loophole possible in the game mechanics. Players deliberately running into your shots so you go Rogue by accident … basically being huge Trolls and suddenly Massives' lovely game is broken to pieces. It's not how they wanted the play to develop. Players just weren't playing the game by the rules they wanted them to. How does it get better: The first step forward was subcontracting out development of the DZ and PvP to Red Storm. A development house with ACTUAL MMO PvP experience. Drawback is that how Massive built the DZ, how they built all the game mechanics meant that Red Storm have a HUGE uphill struggle. They’re constrained by the source coding deep in the game. Bottom line the Dark Zone will NEVER actually be “fixed”. There will always be some element of “broken” about it as it can’t be rebuilt from the bottom up. I say this as I'm pretty sure it would have been by now...this strongly means its just not possible. However, Red Storm have shown us how things could have been … firstly with Last Stand and now with Skirmish Mode. The key was shown as Normalisation. You can enter the mode with any build you want, meta'd to any level, but stats will be normalised…levelled out. Yes, there are still ways to exploit some builds but these are far more minor than the whole concern around the DZ. In Last Stand for example I’ve gone in with pure PvE builds and whilst I’ve not done very well, I’ve not had players kill me in one shot as they could in the DZ. I believe normalisation was the solution I proposed very soon after the game released (somewhere on these forums long ago). The reason it’s not been implemented into the DZ still, and it appears never will, are clearly due to the fact the bottom layers of core coding to build the DZ are focused on the same coding as the LZ and this will always prevent the obvious solution. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the players neither have the experience or knowledge of how games are actually built and how such early choices in game mechanics can influence areas of game play. All they see, all they vocalise, is that the game is broken. It’s true, it is…in that area but its broken BECAUSE the LZ isn’t broken, for the very same reason that the Light Zone is fun, makes the Dark Zone horrible for many. Red Storm can improve the situation. I also believe that modes such as Last Stand and Skirmish have been built DELIBERATELY to try to move gameplay focus out of the DZ…to lessen the number of dedicated PvP players in the Dark Zone artificially. Less players with the PvP meta builds physically in the DZ, ultimately the better for PvE players entering the DZ. The Logic is simple if flawed. Flawed because of course… First Law of MMO's: People will be dicks. Those who want to be dicks will realise exactly that there are less skilled, tooled up, players in the DZ…that the chances of running into a player who can face them down will be far less. …so less wolves = more prey. There will be a period of quiet as PvP players migrate to the new game modes but ultimately you will face a meta-gamer again. Conclusion: The Dark Zone is broken, long live Last Stand and Skirmish. PvE players ought to realise that there are far more PvE opportunities in the game and either visit the DZ rarely or take the hits more on the chin. The DZ won’t and shouldn’t be a safe place, unfortunately it will also never be a FAIR place. Red Storm can help to modify some issues but they're bandaids over a big wound. However, I don't see the Dark Zone as a failure. What it doesn't do is explain to players exactly what it is and how it works...sure it "tells" them...but clearly the full implications of it are not understood or there wouldn't be any issue, would there? Despite doing exactly what it says on the tin, I think the fact there are PvE elements in the DZ lead many to neglect the warnings or just choose to not understand them. Game on people….
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