The Division is a funny game to rate. I initially had no interest in this game, but as reviews began pouring in and I took notice of the story and gameplay, it piqued my interest to invest in the purchase.
What I found was beyond a pleasant surprise. The balance it has struck in an "MMORPG" style game, but with plenty to play solo is very well done. I had hoped a couple friends might also invest in The Division, but they haven't as of yet. But, here's the thing... Unless you're planning on entering "The Dark Zone" it's unnecessary to group up. Some missions may be more difficult to tackle solo, but through level 15, I've hit everything thrown my way with some challenge, but no major frustration.
Certainly, The Dark Zone is where the game wants you to go at some point, but UbiSoft's bugs and issues have been well-documented, and, as a minimum of level 10 is necessary to enter, I've stayed away until they iron things out.
The DZ itself has an interesting concept; the best loot and hardest enemies are located there, and the entire zone is multiplayer, friendly-fire enabled. All loot grabbed here is contaminated, and must be airlifted out. Once you've collected your goodies and send up a flare for pick-up, all players in the zone will see said flare, essentially giving away your location and telling all players "here I am, with some great stuff!" As there's no in-game voice chat, players approaching you may be there to help protect you or kill you and steal the loot you just spent time collecting. Even players you have teamed up with inside the Zone can be using you to help kill that big bad boss, only to turn on you as you await pickup.
That said, there is a downside... Agents who do this end up with a "Rogue Agent" title within the Zone, and those who choose to can, in turn, hunt them down for bonus XP and also steal their loot with no "Rogue" tag applied.
Returning to the single player for a moment, I've never seen an MMORPG-style game accomplish what The Division has on such a scale. Upon leaving your safe house or base, the entire whole of New York becomes an "instance" for you (no other players will be there with you, UNLESS you group with them prior to leaving). While you must be connected online to play, I've played the entire story out as a single player game. Another interesting thing they've accomplished happens within the main base; as you run missions and collect necessities around the city, the interior of the base changes. More vendors, more refugees, the interior, it all reflects what you've accomplished. However, as a hub for this community of players, others will only see the base as far as they've "fixed" it. Very cool.
As a gun-based MMORPG, The Division plays out very much like a hybrid- as opposed to say, World of Warcraft or Guild Wars, where a ridiculous amount of hits may be necessary to kill opponents, The Division falls back into a Gears of War style of play, where falling behind cover is necessary, as 1, 2, 3 hits may take you or the enemy out, with some exceptions in MAJOR boss fights. There's occasional "bullet-sponginess" that occurs, but I find that to follow the typical tropes of MMORPGs. A sniper rifle head shot however, still takes out an opponent in one hit.
The Division also features a crafting system like most MMORPGs, but at this moment, it's very light. Recipes are handed out at levels and story missions- there's no hunting for them in obscure places in the world. And while this ease of only a few materials is nice, one thing I haven't encountered is recipes that give specific bonuses. Every crafting session is a gamble on whether it will add a stat you're actually hoping to get. Hopefully, this is something they'll change, as it has led to some frustration.
The Division takes a lot of chances in a genre that seems to be content with their typical gameplay, and they're better for it. Not every gamble is perfect, and there's still some ironing out to do (not unexpected in the genre) but the game is excellent for the majority of it, and the ability to enjoy it as a single player game is an unexpected bonus.