Inside the Mind of an Exploiter: How The Division's Grind Drives People to Exploits

Published: April 17, 2016 2:00 PM /



If there's one thing to be learned from any game that is built around loot, it's that such games are particularly prime targets for exploits. After all, loot based games are built upon offering a carrot on a stick, so it's only natural that people want to shorten the stick. Borderlands 2 had its infamous Evil Smasher damage glitch, which multiplied your damage exponentially; Destiny's Vault of Glass became trivial once you could push its bosses off a ledge with just a handful of grenades; and lately, The Division has been embroiled in a fiasco whereby people could get the very best gear in the game by phasing through walls. Fair or not, exploits (and how developers have handled them) have become an unspoken cornerstone of loot based games.

Regardless on where you stand on the issue of exploits, it is undeniable that such exploits have only become so popular because normal people who would otherwise ignore such things have turned to exploits for one reason or another. Maybe they just wanted to see the exploit for themselves, maybe they got tired of beating their head against a boss for hours on end, maybe the Pick Up Group that they're in pressured them into doing so; the reasons are as numerous as the exploits themselves.


You could try and fight in an area that the developers probably intended, but you won't live long
You could try and fight in an area that the developers probably intended, but you won't live long ...

Let's take The Division's Incursion exploits as an example. Normally, the Incursion is a roughly two hour long event where you simply have to fight off 15 waves of enemies while a static Armored Personnel Carrier with a grenade launcher shoots at you. Most people consider this encounter to be boring and frustrating, simply because failure means that you have to start all over again. Plus it is a rather dull affair to be fighting in a singular room while the brain dead AI run at you with (seemingly) insta-kill shotguns without any regard to cover.

The alternative is to glitch through a wall and spend somewhere between an hour to two hours shooting grenades at the APC with impunity. Both the normal and unintended method take roughly the same amount of time, they give the same rewards, yet most people in matchmade groups have been gravitating towards doing the exploit (to be fair, this is based on anecdotal evidence).


The reasoning behind this is twofold: the Incursion is simply uninspired and pits players against unfair mechanics, and the loot system in The Division has become somewhat questionable as of late. Let's say that the Incursion is this marvelous sandwich you've been making, filled with all sorts of meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Just as you're about to put the top layer of bread on the sandwich, a piece of lettuce falls off. Then you throw the whole sandwich away rather than simply lifting up the other layers and putting the lettuce where it belongs. And once you're done eating the sandwich, you realize that it actually leaves a bad taste in your mouth because luck dictated that it should taste like someone else licked everything.

...or you could fight in this pit, a safer and less interesting place that is second only to exploiting
... or you could fight in this pit, the safest and least interesting method outside of exploiting

Needless to say, most people would rather just drive to a store and buy a sandwich at that point, because even though it's just as likely that someone licked the sandwich you just bought, at least the hardest thing you had to do was put on your pants and drive to the store. This is exactly why The Division's Incursion pushes people to using exploits: it has a much larger margin of error if done normally, which can result in wasted time, which leads to a grumpy audience, which leads to exploits being used on a widespread basis. And when no other activity offers any kind of reward that even comes close to the Incursion rewards, it should come as no surprise that groups would rather be bored out of their minds pressing two buttons for two hours rather than beating their heads against mechanics that all but discourage using anything other than two specific weapons.


After all, no normal player wakes up and goes, "You know what? I feel like finding a new exploit that requires you to run against a wall while mashing a button today." Instead, they typically go from "Huh, this area is pretty difficult" to "We've been at this for hours, but we almost got it last time" to "F*ck it, just glitch through the wall, I don't even care about the rewards anymore."

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Ubisoft Massive
Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date
March 7, 2016 (Calendar)
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