Entering The Division’s Dark Zone

Graev and I played lots of The Division over the weekend. We decided it was time to venture into the Dark Zone for the first time last night to see if the dangerous PvP area was worth spending any amount of time. I have to say… it was pretty awesome.

The Dark Zone is a nice big section in the center of Manhattan. In the Dark Zone you can be attack or be attacked by other players at any time. Attacking someone who has not already attacked another player turns you ‘rogue’ and makes you red and visible on the minimap to other players. When you go rogue, other players can attack you and obtain a bounty for killing you. Going rogue is not without its benefits, though.

The best gear in the game is found within the Dark Zone. In order to take items out of the Dark Zone they must be evacuated via helicopter in special containers. Evacuating can only be done at special locations in the Dark Zone, and requires an event be initiated. Once initiated, after a minute an thirty seconds you can drop clip your bag onto the rope dropped by the helicopter and your gear is safely transported to your base.

Here’s where it gets good. These events announce to everyone that you are trying to evacuate gear you found. As you can imagine, rouge players want nothing more than to relieve you of your goodies.

We spent 2 hours last night hunting NPCs in the Dark Zone to gain Dark Zone rank, Dark Zone currency, and find good items. We did pretty well! Throughout the evening we chased rogue players down and ultimately walked away with a few full containers of goodies. I should mention that the Dark Zone has its own level system and currency outside the scope of the regular single-player/co-op game, so the playing field is much more fair and balanced. You can gain rank and buy lots of nice items.

One incredibly memorable moment last night was when there were maybe 12-15 guys all trying to evacuate gear at once. Everyone was on edge and no one was holding still — you could feel how uncomfortable people were around each other. I had this gut feeling that the guy hanging back was going to go rogue so I kept my shotgun trained on him. Sure enough, he started sniping at people and went red. I put my shotgun to his back and unloaded! I ended up snagging a full bag of goodies and ran in at the last minute to click them onto the evac.

I wish the entire game was like Dark Zone. That feeling of working with other players to stay alive is awesome, and when you see a red player your heart starts to pound and you sometimes have to just go and hide to catch your breath. Evacuating gear is incredibly unnerving and by the end of the night we were both exhausted from the experience of being on high alert. Definitely something to be said for the human interaction that is blatantly missing from the rest of the game.

  • I feel Ubisoft really designed some great systems for this game, for mp as well as sp players.
    The world building is superb, the weapons are great and the combat is very satisfying. Also the looting is very cool.
    If the expansions really build on this foundation, this game will become a huge hit.
    Perhaps it already is.

  • I am DZ rank 17, regular rank 14. I had read that DZ currency and ranks only matter in the early levels, and at level 30 you will spend all your time farming Phoenix Points from Challenge missions, and never spend another DZ currency again.

    This is rather unfortunate for end game PvP in that there is no incentive. There is only incentive for early – mid game PvP. It’s a GOOD incentive. It’s fun and the rewards from DZ currency are really good for levelling.

    I hope this is worked on.

  • Yeah I’m climbing the ranks myself in DZ. I sure hope that’s not true about grinding challenge missions. The missions are already boring…

  • Unfortunately that is incorrect. At 30 you get 3 daily missions, 2 hard mode and 1 challenging which you give you like 15-30 phoenix credits. With most stuff costing 150+ credits to get it will take you some time. The challenging difficulty is pretty difficult, even with good CC/heals, the Ai rushes and flanks you relentlessly.

    In comes the DZ, you will get phoenix credits there but maybe 1 or 2, but like you said you also get loot, plus theres the rush of always having to watch your back, especially if your solo. Once you hit 30, DZ becomes tiered in difficulty, and those evac zones become a hotbed of AI enemies.

  • Sad thing is, I can’t let the feeling go we should really judge the game only one year after the 3 announced expansions are out. It doesn’t prevent me from meddling with the game right and having some fun though.

  • Thanks for speaking to that, Wonderwyrm. That sounds much better than what I had in my head of the endgame. Even if it sounds grindy, I gather there is an incentive to the DZ.