The Division has been released. What is easily one of the biggest and most hyped games of this year has seen daylight in its full form. A much discussed idea that has circulated over time with the hype-train and often together with the previews on the game, are the supposed similarities with Destiny. The Division has been called a game that can fall into the same traps as Destiny, a game that might be too similar to Destiny or a game that might be a Destiny killer.
Now that we have had the time to play all of The Division we can finally start addressing these theories. We have therefore put together this list of 7 things separating The Division from Destiny. These range from the pretty obvious and shallow things to deeper parts of the games’ systems that overall really separate the two games from one another.
Time and Place
The most obvious difference is where the games take place, both in terms of time and location. While Destiny takes place in a future far away from our timeline and in our galaxy, The Division takes place here and now in New York. This setting difference does have a huge impact on the games and players’ experiences. With The Division we will move around environments we are familiar with and can find in real life, armed with weapons we have seen in games or real life before. Experiencing something that feels close and real within a mystery will create a completely different feeling and experience from the one found in Destiny which is built on the supernatural and taking place in a reality far from ours.
Following the idea of time and place comes the story which is one of the most obvious things separating The Division from Destiny. The Division’s story is different from Destiny’s in two ways: the narrative itself as well as the way it is anchored within the rest of the game. Destiny has a very loosely told story that really doesn’t justify the reasons for your actions or the environments, except for The Taken King. In The Division you have a strong story to follow with characters that feel real and alive. The story is in sync with the environment you explore and provides reasons for your actions. The story is also told in different ways which all help you experience a city in turmoil where anarchy rules. The Division is about creating an atmosphere with the story elements as the core.
While Destiny did have some very limited exploration which most often was about finding the ghost shells, The Division offers a great deal of options for exploration and a great environment. If the maps seems small at first glance, do not be fooled. When you uncover areas beneath the city, rooftops and buildings to roam, it turns out to be really big. And the map is filled with things to uncover and places to loot. Aside from finding hidden loot caches all over the map, you will have a number of different things to collect in The Division. There are Echoes, phones, missing agents and documents all giving you a deeper understanding of what has happened and what The Division really is. Plus everything you find helps level your character.
While the loot system is more refined in The Division from the system found in most MMORPGs today, it is different from Destiny in spite of some similarities. The similarities are mostly about the color-system describing at first glance a weapon’s rarity and about bosses always dropping the good stuff. Since this is true for all games in the genre it doesn’t make The Division a Destiny clone. The reason why this is one of the 7 things separating The Division from Destiny, is because the loot is so much more than having legendries. In The Division the loot is split into three different ways, you have your armor and weapons, you have clothes which make up for your appearance and then mods which help you do modify your weapon in a similar way to that of shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty.
While the perspective on how you view your character may seem a little too obvious and not that big of a deal. It really changes the way to play The Division compared to how you play Destiny, which easily make it a reason for being on this list of 7 things separating The Division from Destiny. While Destiny is an all-out first person shooter where you run, jump and kill, The Division is a cover shooter roleplaying game, where the focus lies on using your combination of skills and taking it slow, moving from cover to cover. These two very different play styles will draw different audiences even if it of course will be an overlap.
One of the strongest, if not the greatest differences between the two games, making it a must on this of list of 7 things separating The Division from Destiny is the PvP system. The thing is, you can’t really compare these two games when talking about PvP, since they are that different from one another. Destiny is your classic matchmaking FPS with game modes very familiar as you might have seen them in other games in that genre. The PvP in the The Division has much more in common with DayZ and other online survival games. In game you will find a guideline for how to play to get loot, but it is up to you to follow it or make your own rules. There is no matching or a true enemy to play against. It is more of a sandbox experience where you make your way through the PvP ranks as you see fit.
The final stop on our list of 7 things separating The Division from Destiny is how The Division really is a RPG at core, which sadly cannot be said about Destiny. While Destiny has a minimal character progression with your character, it first and foremost type is a pure FPS set in an online environment. The Division is an almost fully-fledged MMORPG with a great focus on the RPG part. In The Division you will both customize your character with the gear and equipment you see fit. But you also have skills, abilities and passive perks to unlock by upgrading your headquarters. This means that your character can both look and act very differently from other player you encounter since there is no class system. But seeing how The Dark Zones of The Division can be a great sandbox experience, this opens up for roleplaying on a high level, if you want it.
Stop comparing the two games
While this list of 7 things separating The Division from Destiny has in a clear way pit the two games against each other, it turns out to be something that you cannot really do efficiently. These two games are two totally different experiences, which very much stands in line with what their creators have described about them. Bungie has always said that Destiny is an FPS with a focus on online play, making it a natural steep from their previous Halo franchise. With The Division, Massive has been very clear that this in an MMORPG and it also plays like one. These 7 things separating The Division from Destiny is just a handful of all the things that makes these games different, and I do hope that the comparing of these games stop with this list on the subject.Related: Column, Destiny, Listed, The Division