The new maximum gear score was revealed as part of the upcoming Gear Optimization system. The fifth World Tier will remain the highest in The Division, but players can take their pieces of 256 equipment and improve their gear score through Gear Optimization. Instead of having to start over with new items in a new World Tier, players will collect Division Tech to upgrade their best gear to higher levels.
At the new Optimization Station, players can take pieces of 256 gear and increase each individual statistic with Division Tech. As an item reaches the maximum value for each statistic, the item’s gear score increases. After an item is perfectly rolled its new gear score will be 286, as noted on the game’s website. When players of The Division first log in after the 1.8 patch releases, players with a gear score of 256 will, at least, retain that level. If their gear is naturally well rolled, their gear score might be higher.