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The Division 2's first raid doesn't include matchmaking

The grand promise of The Division 2 was that you'd always have someone to play with; that no matter the activity, you'd be able to use matchmaking to find other players to team up with. We're learning today (thanks to Kotaku) that promise does not extend to the game's upcoming raid, Operation Dark Hours.

"We decided not to include matchmaking, as we don't think this would make a good gameplay experience for random groups," said Hamish Bode, The Division 2's community developer. "The raid will test your ability to communicate well, have a good build set up and will require great teamwork to beat encounters."

Unsurprisingly, fans of the game are a little irked with the omission of raid matchmaking, as it appears to directly contradict marketing materials for the game. These materials touted the game's matchmaking, stating that "Matchmaking is provided for every game activity and difficulty level." And unless we're suddenly developing blind spots, there's nothing there that indicates raids aren't a part of the mix, nor did Ubisoft or the game's developer, Massive, hint that raids might not have matchmaking at any point prior to this week.

On one hand, we can understand why the team behind The Division 2 might be hesitant to allow matchmaking in raids. There haven't been raids in the series before, and someone who has a poor raiding experience due to matchmaking might not ever try to raid again. Cutting out matchmaking is a way to protect the experience.

On the other hand, however, it seems rather wasteful to develop content that will only be seen by a fraction of The Division 2's player base. The stance Ubisoft and Massive are taking now is the same stance taken by Bungie with Destiny's raids, and that studio ended up relenting in a way by introducing Guided Games matchmaking in Destiny 2.

The Division 2 might be served well by that Destiny 2-style middle-of-the-road approach, which asks mostly formed teams to pick up an extra player or two if they have the space. That could help ensure there are still matchmaking options for those who want them while still preventing eight total strangers from being grouped into a raid party. Just a thought.

Operation Dark HoursThe Division 2's first raid activity, launches tomorrow.