What The Division 2 Dark Hours Raid Gets Right And Wrong on Console, According To Those Who Beat It

What The Division 2 Dark Hours Raid Gets Right And Wrong on Console, According To Those Who Beat It

"It's doable," according to the few players who have managed to do so.

Over the last week, players have been trying their hand at beating the first raid for The Division 2. Called Operation Dark Hours, the mission demands eight players to queue and work together to take down seemingly insurmountable odds. But for some on console, the difficulty has been higher than expected. Those who have managed the task say that while they would like some tweaks, it's still completely doable, and losing that difficulty might make the experience less impactful.

We spoke to players from two different crews who have beaten the raid on consoles. The first was a mix of two The Division 2 clans, and the world's first on PS4 with a time of 36 hours; the second got through the game on Xbox One and, at the time of their finish, were third on the leaderboard with a time of about 56 hours. The experience for both crews was a test of endurance as much as skill.

"We spent a good three, four hours on the first boss; four on the second boss, nine on the third, and honestly I don’t know how many on the last boss," says James Butler, who played on the Xbox team, "but easily over 15 hours. The rest of the time spent in the raid was either looking for a replacement for a player that dropped from the raid or taking a quick 15-30 minute break."

Zach Caraway, who streamed and posted the world's first finish for PlayStation 4 (alongside his squad of Bloodshy, Inkist, Tico79, Mr Bats, H2K Predator5, Jaqev, and HandsomeLancer) had a similarly long time getting through the raid. Both dealt with not only frustrating bosses, but a number of outside factors like "delta" server errors and needing to fill in gaps from players rotating out. Since there was no matchmaking, players would have to be recruited to join the long slog through tools like the LFG tools on Xbox. As it became clear how tough the raid would be on consoles and the hours stretched on, morale dipped.

"The lowest points were when it was late into the night and everyone was tired, causing us to make mistakes at crucial moments," says Butler. "Those crucial moments were often in the boss encounters; four of them, spread out across the raid, have to be defeated. Two in particular are the biggest stumbling blocks, but while most players struggle with the first encounter against Boomer, the finale against a missile-launching truck called "Razorback" is actually the longest fight. It's not only a tough opponent on its own, but it throws a lot of enemy combatants at you to deal with while you fight the truck.

"The points I would like to see changed on console would have to be on the last boss," says Caraway. "The Razorback has a lot of AI that spawn and it's honestly too hard to control, I think, for the casual player."

Caraway and his team are working on gradually working down the time required, showing that the raid is accomplishable given the right team. Even just a day ago, his squad chalked up a time of 2 hours and 52 minutes, a far cry from 36 hours. But it's also distant from PC, where runs are getting under half an hour already. Despite this difficulty, Caraway isn't keen on opening up matchmaking.

"I don't think it's impossible, and plus, we want this to be hard," says Caraway. "The casual players may want matchmaking, but I don't think it will help, it might just be harder. You need a set group of eight friends, and team coordination is key to the raid."

When looking at what could, or should, change about the raid, it frequently comes back to issues inherent to the platform. Caraway cites tight time frames to do damage to the last boss, as well as a "spongy" time-to-kill as issues that resonate after clearing it several times. Butler went into more detail on specific game issues, having played on both PC and Xbox. He says movement can be "erratic," which is difficult for console players to deal with, and also mentions that the builds some players might have are ultimately ineffective at accomplishing what this raid demands.

"Sadly it’s pretty restrictive. Nemesis, LMGs, and AR’s with the occasional chatterbox mixed in seems to be the go-to," said Butler. "Stack a lot of damage to elites on top of that, and the raid becomes instantly easier. The bullet-sponge enemies begin to go down easier and faster as does the bosses armor and health, thus decreasing the amount of time the encounter takes."

But there is an ultimate element of valor to being one of the people to finish a raid that so many say is impossible, and so while both Caraway and Butler concede that changes should probably be made, they're hesitant to recommend anything major or sweeping. It hearkens to the prestige of raids in games like World of Warcraft, where a world's first is a major accomplishment that takes dozens of hours, if not several days, to achieve. Both celebrate the teamwork demanded from the crews playing the raid, and the overall challenge.

"The raid is definitely hard to some extent on console, but it's doable," says Butler. "People will always complain. If it was easy, people would complain that the raid is a joke; make it too hard, and people will complain it’s impossible and can’t be done. The bottom line is that you can't please everyone."

Ubisoft is set to broadcast a State of the Game tomorrow, where it's not out of the realm of possibility that tweaks to the raid will be announced for console platforms. Ultimately, it might be for the best; there are a lot of players in The Division 2, and they would probably like to see the raid content without having to invest so much time and effort. But the pursuit of the impossible is what drives players like Caraway and Butler to do these things in the first place.

"So few had beat it on Xbox, along with so many more saying it’s impossible," says Butler. "It made me want to beat it more."

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

Read this next

The Division 2 Episode 1 Release Date - Expeditions, National Zoo

There’s brand new DLC coming for The Division 2. Here’s what you need to know about The Division 2: Episode 1.

The Division 2 Exotic Weapons

Exotic Weapons are as good as it gets in The Division. Here’s what you need to know, and how you can get the elite weapons.

The Division 2 Raid Matchmaking - Can You Matchmake For Dark Hours Raid?

The Division 2 has just received its very first Raid, though getting into it requires a fair bit of effort. Here’s what you need to know about The Division 2 Raid Matchmaking.

The Division 2 Exotic Holster: How to Get the Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster

There’s a brand new piece of Exotic Gear in The Division 2. Here’s how to get your hands on the Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster.

The Division 2 Gunner Specialization - Which Specialization to Pick, How to Earn Specialization Points

You’ll gain access to a powerful fourth weapon once you reach the endgame in The Division 2. Here’s what you need to know about Specialization.

The Division 2 Hunter Mask Locations

The Hunters are some of the toughest enemies which you can face in The Division 2. Here's where you can find them, and get all 12 Hunter Masks in the game.

The Division 2 Free Trial: PC System Specs, Gameplay - Everything we Know

The Division 2 is almost here, and we've got all the release date, gameplay, PC system specs, and other information you need right here.

More News

Destiny 2's Console Players Are Having a Fun, Disastrous Time Switching to PC

Turns out there are some differences between the platforms.

One of Epic's Flagship Exclusives is Coming to Steam

Supergiant's Hades aiming for v1.0 sometime next year.

More on PlayStation 4

Destiny 2's Console Players Are Having a Fun, Disastrous Time Switching to PC

Turns out there are some differences between the platforms.

Life Is Strange 2, Episode 4 Review

Life Is Strange 2's penultimate episode is an emotional one.

New Trials of Mana Footage Shows Cleaner, More Accessible Fights

Let's have a good clean fight, Mana fans.

GTA 5 Cheats

Discover all the GTA 5 cheats with this handy GTA 5 cheats PS4, GTA 5 cheats Xbox One, and PC guide. Plus get all the GTA 5 cheats for Xbox 360 and PS3.

All Mortal Kombat 11 Characters and Future DLC Fighters

Here's our full Mortal Kombat 11 characters guide, including the current roster, and all forthcoming DLC characters.

Death Stranding is a Game About Walking, Apparently

Someone has finally played Death Stranding and can tell us what its all about.

More MMO Games

Destiny 2's Console Players Are Having a Fun, Disastrous Time Switching to PC

Turns out there are some differences between the platforms.

What's The Best Video Game Spaceship?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | In honor of No Man's Sky Beyond, let's look back on the coolest spaceships around.

"Stop Asking 'Is It Political?' and Start Asking Instead About the Actual Politics of Each Game"

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Also, the things studios of all sizes do to survive, and what happens when that's not enough.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is Axing the Damage Stacking

No more stacking up those auras.