The Division 2 Hosts Free Weekend, Talks About Lessons Learned About Running A Live Game

the division 2 capitol burningDrop into post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. for free as Ubisoft opens the doors of The Division 2 to the general public this weekend. The free-to-play weekend will run from now until June 17th which gives you around 4 days to try out the full game commitment-free.

If you do decide to purchase the game, Ubisoft is offering the post-apocalyptic shooter at a huge discount. The Standard Edition, normally priced at $60, can now be purchased for just $40, the $100 Gold Edition for $67, and the $120 Ultimate Edition for $80.

Meanwhile, Content Manager Yannick Banchereau talks about what they’ve learned from operating a live game and how they’re keeping players invested in the game in an interview with Gamasutra.

“Sometimes we tend to underestimate the importance of small updates on a regular basis that come between all the big drops. It's important to try to keep your game alive with new things to do. [That] doesn't mean you need a new game mode every week, it can be small additions like a new gun which are interesting to players.”

Where better to get information on what the players want than from the players themselves, right? Traditionally, community feedback is usually collected from forum posts, online threads, and support tickets. While Banchereau admits that the forums are a good way of gathering community feedback, he also says they’re currently trying to come up with new ways to collect information. “Forums are great,” he says, “but [they're] competitive. We want to make sure every player has a chance to give us their feedback directly to us without having to get into an argument with other players and feel like that feedback will be used and leveraged the proper way.”

In addition, Banchereau also says that they allot time to deal with “surprise flare-ups” to give the devs plenty of time to work on unexpected issues. “Instead of trying to schedule everything in advance, and the unexpected happens and you don't have any time in your production pipeline, we have time allocated for it, so we don't end up in situations where people need to work crazy hours, or need to push updates out several months.” explains Banchereau.

Using multiple studios is also one of the ways that Ubisoft uses to keep the updates coming. The Division 2 development team is made up of a head studio and supporting studios that all contribute to the game’s content. Rotating studios allows the team to roll out regular content updates while preventing its employees from burning out.

In conclusion, Banchereau says that they’re learning from other live games as well. “We're looking at all the big live games of the moment, everyone's doing great things at their own level, [whether] they're updating at a fast pace, or creating interesting compelling content, or using small pieces of content and generating a lot of acquisition and retention. We take lessons from any game, even the ones that are not so successful or not that good, there's always something to learn.”