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What Happened to the Country? What to know before you play The Division 2 (Spoilers for The Division)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division.

There has been a lot of debate about what happened to the world beyond the playable areas in Tom Clancy’s The Division when the virus turned pandemic after it was released in Able’s on Black Friday.

The unfortunate news is that the rest of the country fared no better than New York did, and the evidence is easily found in the game or heard by listening to the radios that are scattered throughout the safe houses and other locations in the game environment.

The first evidence is found it the opening sequence.

This still from the opening sequence clearly shows that by Monday afternoon there were major outbreaks in Washington state, California, Miami, Mexico, on both coasts of South America, Morocco, London, Moscow, Cape Town, Moscow, Tokyo, and many other locations all around the world. The United Nations has, by Cyber Monday, called an emergency summit to try to figure out what to do in the face of a global crisis that has hit every continent. The game shows up front that the virus escaped Manhattan long before the Agent arrived there.

The radios confirm this within the game. They play a series of pirate radio podcasts called “Wouldn’t You Know It?” that are put out by conspiracy theorist Rick Valassi. As the game progresses the podcasts change and the situation the city is facing is explained by Valassi through his podcast.

In one episode, later in the game, Valassi releases the following podcast to the airwaves:

Heard about Houston, New York? Heard about Detroit? Heard about Pittsburgh, PA? 

And not that we haven’t had our hands full here – we are the epicenter, after all – but it’s probably fair to say we’ve been so preoccupied with making it through the grindhouse flick we’re in, we just assumed the rest of the world would be there waiting for us at the end.

Not. So. Fast.

New numbers released today on the DCD website look shitty. Boston. Philly. Chicago. Atlanta, San Francisco, and LA. Infection numbers are through the roof.

You got martial law being enforced by state and national guards in every city in America. Interstate trucking disrupted, food’s not getting delivered, food riots daily across the country. Hospitals are overloading. No emergency services, ’cause the first responders have left to go help in bigger cities, like ours. Power grids up and down, just like that.

So, what’s my point? My point is, you’re like me. You’ve been telling yourself the world you know is waiting for you on the other side of this mess.

But here’s the thing. What if it’s not?

The dollar flu that swept across the city of New York would have escaped not only on travelers that left the city, but it might have been possible it could have spread via contact with parcels that were bought and shipped across the country.  I am not a virologist, and have no working knowledge of how a virus such as the Dollar Flu would have been transmitted, but however it spread it is a fact stated in the game that the virus escaped New York and martial law was declared as the food, power, and emergency services across the nation were crippled.

By the end of the game a cure was discovered, and sent to persons in a position to mass produce it and get it distributed, but the Green Poison left the country, and no doubt the entire world, in crisis as local governments fell and groups like the Last Man Battalion, The Cleaners, and The Rikers all stepped up to seize power in other locations all across the world.

Valassi expresses the concerns of his listeners in one of the final radio podcasts of the main story line:

You are listening to Rick Valassi and “Wouldn’t You Know It,” the best, if not only, paranoid pirate radio podcast in the tri-state area. So you got that going for you, which is nice.

So, folks have been asking me about the federal government, what the state of things is, et cetera. Basically wanting me to reassure them somebody is still in charge. But I can’t. 

I mean, are there provisions for “continuity of government” in a crisis? Sure. Realms of classified documentation? Yes. Top-secret mountain fortresses impregnable to any attack with a conventional nuclear biological? You bet!

The question is, is it working? Is it functional? Are there still people running the federal government, and if so, who, and where, and are they answerable in any way to the people in the republic for which they stand?

I mean, we all know what they’re telling us. We see the video footage. We download the official statements. But let’s be clear. Their top priority is to keep us calm while they try to figure out what the motherfuck to do about all this, ’cause in case you ain’t been outside since Turkey Day, the one thing we can be pretty goddamn sure of is they really haven’t nailed it down so far.

Not that I blame them. It’s such a fucking mess out there, I’m amazed we haven’t all turned into cannibals yet. Yet. 

Just give it time.

That is the world the Agents will be stepping out into in The Division 2.

Who is Jessica Kandel? What to know before you play The Division 2 (Spoilers for The Division)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division.

First and foremost, Dr Jessica Kandel is not a people person. She admits that in a comment about her ex having told her that she was better with viruses than with people.

She is a brilliant virologist, however, and guides the Agent through the search for the things she will need to find a cure; including a sample of the original virus from a contaminated bill to be found somewhere in Abel’s, Gordon Amherst’s notes from Amherst’s apartment, survivors with antibodies in their blood at the Hudson Refugee Camp, and the data from the computers at the Russian Consulate.

Her lack of good people skills is highlighted at the end of the Russian Consulate mission, when told that Vitaly was taken by the LMB and Rogue Agents, Jessica responds with an “eh” and says how she has his data, so does not really need him, yet.

By the end of the game Jessica has succeeded in her effort to find a cure for the virus and tells the Agent that she has sent it to people more able than her. She also offers the Agent a cautionary warning that if something like that virus happens again, humanity won’t survive it.

Who is Vitaly Tchernenko? What to know before you play The Division 2 (Spoilers for The Division)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division.

Dr. Vitaly Tchernenko is a Russian virologist that finds himself caught in New York during the lock down after the viral outbreak gets out of control. Through various recordings and other clues spread throughout the city, the Agent discovers that Vitaly deduced that someone created a modified virus based on the smallpox virus.

In one recording, Vitaly says that a weaponized virus was what he had been trying to defend against and that he recalls having had a long talk with Gordon Amherst about it. He concludes the recording by saying:

The consul will not allow me to contact the DCD and share what I know. They say soon we are leaving the United States. That I am so close to being able to help yet so far makes me angry. And terribly sad. I still have heard nothing from Dr. Amherst. I fear the worst.

The Agent is eventually tasked with going into the Russian Consulate to extract Vitaly, a mission that is complicated by not only mercenaries working for the Last Man Battalion (LMB), but First Wave agents that seek to get to the virologist for their own reasons.

Locating the server room the Agent initiates a download of all of Vitaly’s research to the labs at the base of operations, that had been set up in the postal building. The data is stopped by someone using SHD tech – the technology used by Division Agents.

During their run through the consulate the Agent overhears Hornet, the man that stopped the data transfer, inform the LMB on site that they are not fighting JTF (Joint Task Force), it’s Division Agents and he is on his way to get Vitaly.

In the end the Agent must watch as Vitaly is taken away by the Rogue agents and LMB soldiers in a helicopter. This leads the Agent to the General Assembly and a confrontation with the main force of the Last Man Battalion and their leader, Colonel Bliss, in an effort to rescue Vitaly.

Inside the UN building the Agent finds an Echo in a conference room where Rogue Agent Arron Keener is directing LMB soldiers and has control of Vitaly. A few moments later the Agent overhears a very upset Bliss declare Keener a backstabbing traitor and ordering his men to hunt Keener down.

The Agent does not manage to secure Vitaly, but, for what it’s worth, they do defeat the leader of the Last Man Battalion.

As of the end of The Division the whereabouts of Vitaly are a mystery. Some claimed that Vitaly is the body the Agent sees in the stairwell at the Russian Consulate, however, that is clearly not Vitaly, because Vitaly is seen in the UN with Arron Keener in the echo the agent finds in the conference room.

All evidence indicates that, at the end of The Division, Aron Keener took Vitaly and left New York.

Let’s Play The Division – Part 3: Precinct Siege

The third video in my series covers the last mission in the starting area of the game: Precinct Siege. This video ends with the Agent and Faye Lau getting ready to head over to Manhattan.

Comments, criticisms, and suggestions of all sorts are welcomed. I’m still learning how to make these videos, so all constructive feedback is appreciated. 

Who is Gordon Amherst? What to know before you play The Division 2 (spoilers for The Division)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division.

Gordon Amherst is one of the main NPCs of Tom Clancy’s The Division, but the player never actually gets to meet the scientist.

After the Agent rescues Dr Jessica Kandel, near the beginning of the game, Faye Lau delivers a file to her that reveals that Gordon Amherst was suspected of being the person behind the viral outbreak.

The first real hard evidence that Gordon is the person behind the viral outbreak comes when the Agent is tasked with investigating Gordon’s apartment at the Amherst Apartments complex. The Cleaners have gone in and are cleaning the apartments out with napalm flamethrowers.

Getting into the front of the building the player needs to fight through Cleaners in the courtyard to reach Gordon’s apartment, where they find evidence that they need to take to the far end of the apartment complex. A helicopter has been sent to airlift the evidence back to the base of operations, while the Agent stays behind to deal with the remaining Cleaners before they harm more civilians.

In another location, the Agent is tasked with getting into Abel’s shopping mall, where evidence indicates that the viral outbreak began. It is up to the Agent to get into this ground zero point,  find one of the original dollar bills used to initiate the viral spread, and get it out past a group of cleaners intent on incinerating everyone, and everything, in the mall.

During the search the Agent can view an echo that shows Gordon Amherst in one of the shops claiming that his bank card is not working and asking if he can pay in cash. He is seen passing the first contaminated dollar to a store clerk during the Black Friday shopping rush.

After the player has finished the main story there is a brief mission that leads back to a building near Camp Hudson. Observant players will recognize the building, it is directly across from the point that the Agent first entered the city after catching a ride over from the starting area. They might have paused, as I did, to study the mural of the four horsemen of the apocalypse on the front of the building.

Inside this building, that had been inaccessible until the main story was completed, the player finds several end game things; including the body of Gordon Amherst.

It seems that Gordon Amherst developed the virus as a way to help Mother Nature bring the human race back down to sustainable levels. His goal was to wipe out a significant portion of humanity, thereby stopping the overpopulation of the planet.

Even before the outbreak, Gordon Amherst was known as a controversial and dangerous person. The character was given the personality type of a person that fully believed what they were doing was not only the right thing to do, but the only way the planet could survive. He knew that he would quite likely die from his own creation, and fully accepted that fate.

New Let’s Play for The Division

I’ve started a Let’s Play series for The Division.

This first video is a bit of a beginning background, some character building, and leads up to meeting Faye Lau.

And, part two takes the Agent through the first two side missions of the game.

10 Things to know about The Division before you play The Division 2

With a new Division game set to come out in March of 2019, it is time to start thinking about what players will need to know before they dive into the new game. Below is a relatively spoiler-free list of ten things that players should probably know about Tom Clancy’s The Division before they tackle The Division 2 next year. For those who want a refresher or do not want to play through the first game before they dive into The Division 2, each item links to a much more concise (and spoiler ridden) article on the topic.

  1. Who is Gordon Amherst?
  2. Who is Vitaly Tchernenko?
  3. Who is Jessica Kandel?
  4. What is the Dollar Flu?
  5. What happened to the Country?
  6. What is The Division?
  7. What is an Agent?
  8. Who is Arron Keener?
  9. What is a Rogue?
  10. What is the Dark Zone?

Answers to the Why challenge

On Friday I presented the challenge:

Weekend Design Challenge: write a brief explanation of why you want to take on the chore of creating a video game.

Today you can put your answers in the comments for this post. If you already posted them on Friday’s post, that’s okay, there are no hard rules for these challenges. They are just to provide you with small tasks that can add up to the end result of designing a game of your own. (Or enhancing one you are already working on.)

My answer:

As a child I wanted to be a camera operator for films. As I grew older I began focusing more on writing. I’ve come to realize that video games are the perfect medium for sharing the stories I want to tell. For showing the worlds of my imagination in a way that let’s others not only see the world as I see it, but to also experience it in a way they enjoy.

Share your reason in the comments, and do not worry if it is not the same as my reason, if it’s longer or shorter … there are as many different reasons as there are designers and there is no right or wrong answer to this challenge, only an answer that you can put in a journal and use as a focus going forward.

Black Friday is almost here, time to play Tom Clancy’s The Division

With Black Friday just around the corner, I have decided that it is time, once again, to play Tom Clancy’s The Division. Perhaps it is extra fitting that I am battling the flu as I type this?

Between now and the 23rd I will be posting a series that I have been working on to bring people up to speed about the world of The Division and explain what I feel are the 10 most important things to know about the first game before playing The Division 2. The last of these will be posted on November 22.

I am also working on a new Let’s Play series that, if my internet allows, I will upload later tonight or tomorrow. In this new series I’ll be exploring the game starting with a new character. At the moment the first video is being saved in HD format on my ancient desktop computer. It’s at 20% as I type this, and I’ll start uploading it to YouTube as soon as it’s finished.

Raven vs Rat in Tom Clancy’s The Division

I’ve started playing Tom Clancy’s The Division again and one of the things that always catches my attention is the interactions the animals have. Such as this raven trying to grab this rat by the tail. I love the defiant “you wanna fight?” hops the rat makes at the raven before it goes back to what in is after in the snowbank.

I spied the raven and rat down the street and zoomed in with my scope, then got as close as I dared, unfortunately the pedestrian got uneasy when he saw me aiming a sniper rifle down the street in his direction and all three took off.

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