Posted by Paul Novak @dudewantshisrug
A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Twitter: @dudewantshisrug
Paul Novak

Even a bad game can be better with friends. When you don't have friends that play the same games, those bad games can seem even worse. Tom Clancy's: The Division has followed in this suit. Like many other players, I was ready to leave this game behind after struggling to enjoy playing it solo or with match-made partners. What made it more frustrating was that not only did I still want to enjoy the game but I would be leaving it before all of the content I had paid for, via the Season Pass, had even been released. This is where the Dark Zone Report (DZR) comes in.

There are plenty of other LFG sites on the Internet for The Division as well as many other games. DZR prides itself in not only welcoming new members but helping them out. Too many times have I tried other LFG sites only to find that the players I joined up with were only out for their own gain and would quickly kick you from the game if they deemed you to not be carrying your weight. In fact, at some sites where stats like DPS, Toughness, and Skill Power need to be listed I could not even get picked up to get into a game. Not only does DZR denounce this behaviour, it just hosted its second event dedicated to the very opposite.

The original Gear Up weekend was held just prior to the release of The Underground DLC for Xbox One and PC. The second Gear Up weekend was just held the weekend prior to the PS4 release of The Underground DLC. Personally, I cannot speak for the first event since I could not participate in it due to other commitments, I can say that they second event was an absolutely brilliant display to watch and partake in. Over the course of three days, innumerable hours of game time was played by an estimated hundreds of players all helping each other.

Things such as these are hard to measure in terms of success. I have no hard numbers to present you and I'm not sure if anybody does. There may be a way to measure how many registered for the event but how can we tell what percentage of them played. But that's not the true measure of something like this. It's about the stories of a player coming in to the event with little or nothing in the game and quickly leaving as a king. Such a story has circulated in the community of one player going from a gear score in the 160's to one in the 230's within the span of two or three hours. That is an accomplishment that would normally takes days of effort and hoping that RNG was on your side if you were to tempt it alone.

If there only had been a guest log for the event. A place that people could write that they were there and what a happened for them. We would hear tales of first time clears of Incursions. Loot drops of the weapons and gear long desired but never attained until now. Reading through such tales would give us a sense if not truer understanding of what it was to be part of something like this.

As for me, there is always the feeling I could have done more. I had volunteered to stream part of the event on the community's Twitch channel but I was one of the two time slots that were cancelled. The cancellation came about since the person managing the stream was in desperate need of rest as he had been hard at work behind the scenes and there was still far more for him to do. Perhaps it was for the best since I am by far not a professional streamer but just wanted to do something to help out.

Instead, I lurked about the chat rooms trying to help out as best I could but even then I was usurped. So many others were willing to help that by the time I would offer there had already been another offer that was taken. Even when I did join a group to help I became one of the ones being helped. After joining a group leader who asked for assistance getting players through their High Value Target(HVT) missions, he mentioned that he was going to go do the Dragon's Nest Incursion. I quipped that I had never even finished it myself and that I would like to tag along if it was alright. Alright? Not only did he take me through it but he grabbed two other players that had never done it and commanded us all through it.

But into every garden a serpent must crawl. Since this event had caught the eye and support of Massive, there were unfortunately a few that were not there to help. There came reports of players joining Dark Zone groups only to leave the group as to go rogue and steal their former companions loot. However, once reports of such treachery were made to the DZR admins said players were dealt with and no longer welcome if they were to continue their grievous ways.

To what reward did the members of this community stage this event for? Was it for money? Was it to enrich their own prowess within the game? Was it for pride? There was no money to be had from this as it was all voluntary. Even what items Massive donated were given away during live podcasts. Also, any in-game loot was given away if it where shareable therefore negating much of the gains that would have been made in-game. Then pride? Perhaps in the sense that they wanted to show that this community exists to support its members. Not show the kind of self-indulgent pride that leads to gloating. There has been no mention of members as to how many people they helped, so much for bragging rights.

This event passed much like a small town carnival. The workers and the regulars made sure the shows happened and the rides ran. Many people who would normally not be there came by to get prizes but met some good folk along the way. People may think that they show has moved on but in truth it is always there. I'll be somewhere on the grounds hopefully helping to keep things going, even if it's just bringing out another box of stuffed animals. The rest of the DZR community will be there to open one of the rides if you fancy it.

There is no official announcement for another Gear Up weekend. Given the success of the first two it is likely to happen. In the meantime, DZR continues on with players getting together to play the game and be social. If help is ever needed it is quickly found. Go check them out at