Ubisoft Massive and Red Storm have finally given us the first details about the upcoming 1.6 update and Last Stand expansion.

As we’ve already known, both 1.6 and Last Stand are going to be PVP-focused updates, however it was confirmed that there will be PvE additions to both of them as well.

Firstly, there will be a private test server (PTS) running in the near future that showcases both 1.6 and Last Stand. Much like the 1.5/Survival PTS, this will unfortunately only be available to those on PC. The precise date for this hasn’t been announced, but it will be soon.

1.6 (the free update) will introduce three new sectors to the Dark Zone: Dark Zone North (DZ7-9). Ubisoft claims that there is just as much traversable area within Dark Zone North as there is in the rest of the Dark Zone combined, but a lot of that will be in new internal and rooftop spaces, which were a relative rarity in the rest of the Zone. Dark Zone North is physically connected to the DZ6 area, and is passed into just like any other bit of the map.

Sadly, it was confirmed that there will be no PvE Dark Zone coming. This has been a hot topic within the community recently, but Ubisoft argues that offering both a larger playing space and a dedicated PvP mode will help reduce the high level of ganking that currently plagues the Dark Zone.

The map for the Last Stand mode.

One of the four maps for the Last Stand mode.

Last Stand’s (the paid-for expansion) main attraction will be the Last Stand mode, an 8v8, instance-based PVP mode set within a Dark Zone sector. Unlike Survival, which could be accessed at any level, Last Stand will only be accessible to end-game players. You’ll have to be Level 30 to enter.

Comparisons have been made to Battlefield’s Domination mode in how it plays: three capture points spread over a relatively large area, with each zone having smaller objectives inside of them to ensure capture. The teams are further split into two teams of four, and participation in the mode will net you loot at the end of the match. The mode will have a progression system similar to the Underground expansion, with its own levelling system and ranks. Ranking up will net you caches of loot as a reward.

For PvE players, the matches will include landmarks and NPCs away from the main points. Finding and killing them will give your team benefits such as tactical boosts and capture point fortifications, which in theory means PvE players can play alongside hard-core PvPers and still feel useful to the team.

While the trailers show the two teams (SHD and Rogue) as wearing red and blue gear, your normal cosmetic items will be worn as normal when actually playing. Those colour codes were for demonstrative purposes only – you will always be playing as the SHD, and your enemies will always be the Rogues, no matter which team you’re on within the match.

What aren’t safe are gear loadouts, as Ubisoft will be testing with gear normalisation during the course of the PTS. It doesn’t sound like it will be similar to how Survival gives everyone the exact same loadout, instead just skewing players to a more equal playing field while keeping their preferred playstyles in-tact. However, this may change during the beta testing.

PvE content will be detailed in an official blog post tomorrow (January 20) at 5PM GMT, but one thing we do know already is that there is a new Incursion (The Division’s version of end-game raids) coming as part of the expansion (not the 1.6 update, and so you’ll need to pay or own the season pass to access it, much like two of the three already in the game).

And of course, smaller tweaks will be made in the 1.6 update. The AlphaBridge Gear Set, which is currently the dominant build thanks to how well it works with assault rifles, will be getting a much-needed nerf, and solo PvP Survival will remove grouping altogether, and you’ll be able to fast travel between Dark Zone checkpoints. Oh, and gear score will not be increased in 1.6.

All in all, this seems like a solid update. Last Stand sounds interesting, but I do need to see what fixes are being made to the core mechanics of PvP itself in 1.6 before being 100% sold on a whole mode based on it. Right now using cover is often more of a hindrance than a help, and the run-and-roll praxis we’ve got going on right now doesn’t make much sense when players are capturing objectives.

A new Incursion is always good, though. I’m been more of a PvE player in The Division anyway, so if it’s as good as Clear Sky or Falcon Lost, I’m totally up for it. Also Dark Zone North looks gorgeous in that cluttered, dismal way The Division does so well.

There is no confirmed date for 1.6, Last Stand or the PC PTS. However, PS4 players rejoice, because the exclusivity deal with Microsoft has expired and so they will be coming to all three platforms at the same time when they do finally launch.

INTELLIGENCE ANNEX #13: TAKING A STAND [The Division]

Joe is LPVG’s resident hardware nerd. If it’s overpriced and has gaudy RGB lighting, he’s probably drooling over it. He loves platformers, MMOs, RPGs, hack ‘n slashers and FPS, with his favourite games being Mirror’s Edge, Left 4 Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Oblivion and Dead Space. Don’t ask him about his unhealthily large Monsters Inc memorabilia collection. Seriously, just don’t ask…

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