The Division 2 test patch adds more Dark Zone loot and increases PvP 'time to kill'

The latest patch on The Division 2's new public test server touches nearly every system in the game, with adjustments to skills, gear attributes, recalibration and weapon damage values. But the most interesting changes, to my mind, come in the Dark Zone and PvP combat, which is being adjusted to make it harder to kill other players.

In the Dark Zone, players can expect much more contaminated loot, which are powerful bits of gear that are exclusive to the Dark Zone. Bosses are now guaranteed to drop contaminated items, while higher-challenge landmarks can now drop multiple pieces of contaminated loot. All other enemies will have lower drop rates for loot overall, but when they do drop something there's a "very high chance" it will be contaminated. I'm a big fan of the change, and I'll definitely be spending more time in the Dark Zone when the patch makes it into the main game.

Staying in the Dark Zone, enemies now deal less damage, but will take longer to kill. This should lead to more protracted battles, which is a change I'm less keen on. In open areas, it will make fights feel more tactical, and you'll have to keep moving, which is good. But the idea of drawn-out firefights in tight corridors isn't very exciting.

In PvP, the patch adjusts skill modifiers so that skills have more impact, while damage modifiers have been reduced to "increase time to kill". In Conflict, both armor boosts and damage boosts have been made 50% less powerful, but assault rifles have been buffed: they have a 1.25 damage scaler applied to them, which should bring them in line with SMGs.

Other significant changes include gear having better defensive rolls across the board, a higher chance of enemies dropping ammo, and decreased damage from veteran, elite and named NPCs.

You can browse the full patch notes here—if you play regularly, I highly suggest checking them out for a glimpse at what's to come. There's no timeline for the patch making it into the full game.