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The Division 2's first free episode is heading to the public test server soon

The Division 2's first free episodic update, DC Outskirts: Expeditions, will let players venture out into the post-apocalyptic wilderness beyond the capital, including the zoo! Never pass up a trip to the zoo. You'll be able go exploring on Monday, when the first episode appears on the public test server. 

The test will only be on PC, starting on July 1, and will follow a set schedule where parts of the episode are unlocked and locked for the purposes of putting specific features through their paces. 

During the E3 announcement, creative director Terry Spier called it "entirely new gameplay experience, one that will take exploration, investigation, and logic to uncover the fate of a military convoy gone dark." Also, presumably, the fate of all the lovely animals. 

Along with the new episode, skills are also being reworked on the PTS, with skill mods now making them stronger. Check out the skill rework details below:

  • All skills are being reworked on the PTS in conjunction with skill mods to make them more viable and powerful overall.
  • Many builds prioritise weapon damage, skills reworks are meant to make skill focused builds just as viable.
  • For example, skill mods that buffed turret damage by 25-30% will now buff turret damage but up to 150%. skills will now do a lot more damage.
  • Skill Cooldown Reduction has been changed to Skill Haste and the value of it on gear has been buffed by 33%. Now, Skill Haste scales with Skill Power. If you have high Skill Power, and a high percentage of Skill Haste, you can now plug in Skill Haste mods and reduce your Skill Cooldowns by up to 200%.

Ubisoft's also making some changes to crafting and exotics, and players will be able to get their hands on a pair of new weapons and exotic gloves. Heroic bosses will drop exotic loot and Cassie will sell better stuff, including named items and exotics. Blueprints, meanwhile, will be shared across all sources, so you can focus on activities you like, and they'll also be for sale. You'll also be able to slap flashlights on your pistols. 

The team's also exploring changes to loot drops and the gear system, and the skill rework is only the first step. Other issues being looked at include signature weapons, loading times and difficulty. 

The Division 2's getting a few fixes today, too. Here's what's coming in today's maintenance:

  • Will fix an issue where the talent from the Dodge City Gunslinger holster could be recalibrated to another item. If you've done this, the item you've recalibrated the talent to will reset to its original state. The deconstructed holster will stay deconstructed and will have to be acquired again. If you haven't recalibrated, nothing changes.
  • Will fix an issue where Signature Ammo perk from BOO quartermaster caused the Gunner specialisation to get 75 ammo instead of 50 on drop.
  • Will fix an issue with the Basilisk's armor during the Special Field Research mission chain.
Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.