If you’re a solo player then it would be easy to dismiss The Division 2 as a game that just isn’t suitable for you. After all, it is largely promoted as a co-op role-playing shooter, and the term “co-op” implies that you should be playing with a team of buddies, but perhaps your friends aren’t interested in the game or you simply like to play games alone. If you’re intrigued by The Division 2 but you’re put off by the fact that you would have to play it alone then fear not, I’m here to put your mind at ease. If you can’t be arsed to read my full ramblings then let me give you the TL:DR straight off the bat – yes, you can play The Division 2 as a solo player.
How do I know this? Because I’m doing it. My friends and colleagues here at BuffNerfRepeat, Glen and Ricky, met up last weekend to celebrate The Division 2’s launch and absolutely hammered the game and they’ve already reached max level, leaving me playing a game of catch-up, battling my way through the wastelands trying to rebuild a crumbling Washington D.C. all on my own. It’s a daunting task, particularly considering the multiplayer-focused gameplay of The Division 2, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
Let me dispell one worry that you may have straight away – you will not find The Division 2 too difficult to play on your own. It is difficult to the extent that each engagement is enjoyable and rewarding, but it isn’t too difficult that you find it impossible without a team of allies by your side. Enemy difficulty scales depending on the size of your party, so you’ll never get overwhelmed by sheer numbers of enemies that were designed to be tackled by a group. Your awareness has to be on point, as enemies will often try to flank you and approach from different directions and you’ll have nobody to watch your back, but as long as you’re paying attention to enemy movement and picking people off at the right time then you should be okay. You should always tackle engagements from as much range as possible to prevent yourself from getting swarmed, and I’d recommend using skills that provide extra firepower or distractions, such as the Assault Turret or the Striker Drone.
But what about simply exploring the disaster-ravaged open world, discovering collectables, following the narrative and delving into the lore of The Division 2? Well, I dare say that you’re likely to enjoy this side of the game a hell of a lot more if you’re playing solo. If you’re playing alone you’re free to explore the game at your own pace, not being rushed to move on by annoying squadmates who are only interested in hammering through the content rather than following the story. You’ll follow the story much better alone, as you’ll be free to actually listen to cutscenes and audio transmissions without having some annoying squadmate talking over it all in your headset. Put simply, if you want to follow the story and really get involved in the role-playing side of The Division 2 then playing solo is likely to be much more enjoyable for you. Take your time and soak it all in – it’s a big world out there.
If things do get too tough or daunting and you need some help (which has never happened to me yet), or if you decide you simply want some company, then The Division 2 does offer a very easy-to-use matchmaking option that will pair you up with a squad of agents in no time. With the press of a couple of buttons and a short wait, you’ll have a team of agents ready to help you take on whatever content you’ve matchmade for, so no task should ever be beyond completion. In my personal experience so far, I have never had to wait longer than a couple of minutes for my squad to be full, and the people that I have been paired with have always been capable and helpful. In this day and age not many people seem to use a headset (or they’re in party chat with their friends), so if you’re a bit shy then don’t worry as you’re not overly likely to have to converse with your helpers.
So, what about the structured PvP, the Dark Zone, and the Clan functionality? Well, as it’s a team-based affair, Conflict (PvP) will automatically matchmake you into a group of other players, so if you can’t play nice with others then Conflict probably isn’t for you, but if you’re happy for the game to find a group for you then you shouldn’t be afraid to jump in. The Dark Zone is obviously a multiplayer-focused area, strength in numbers and all that, but it can be explored solo if you wish, you’ll just have to keep your wits about you as you will be very vulnerable and will likely be targeted by other players. To be fair, exploring the Dark Zone alone and knowing that you’re vulnerable makes it a much more tense and atmospheric affair, which probably adds to my earlier point about role-playing being more suited to solo players. As for Clan functionality, if you’re a solo player then you’re probably not interested anyway, but if you want to find a clan to join (and hopefully make some new pals) then there are plenty of people looking to do the same over on The Division 2’s forums.
Solo players weren’t forgotten about during the development of The Division 2. In fact, Game Director Mathias Karlson said himself that “you can play through the entire story campaign into endgame and [then the] endgame [content] alone, but you can also do the same content [in] two, three, or four player co-op.”, so there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth – The Division 2 is completely accessible to anyone, including solo players, and if a situation does arise where you feel that you need more bodies to complete some content then it offers an easy-to-use system to find you a squad of like-minded players.
Don’t let the terms “online”, “multiplayer”, or “co-op” put you off experiencing The Division 2 as a solo player. I’m sure you’ll have just as much fun as me.
I’ll see you on the wastelands.