Where Midtown once sat we now have the Dark Zone. Like the main game world it's split into distinct districts, each one of which contains enemies within specific level bands. There are no missions to be rattled through in this area, and it instead exists to provide materials, weapons, gear, and mods that you won't find anyway else. It's also a Player-Versus-Player area (PVP), so you'll need to keep your eyes peeled for other players who may be after your goodies...
Dark Zone basics
To get into the Dark Zone you can use one of the checkpoints or find a climbable wall. You can either enter on your own or as part of a group, but while group play is recommended due to the extra dangers, as a solo player you may be able to avoid drawing too much attention to yourself. (Whether you're on your own or part of a team, however, venturing in before you reach level 10 isn't advisable full stop.)
Each district contains level-appropriate loot, safe houses containing a Dark Zone vendor, and a landmark. Loot can be found in one of three chest types: standard chests, medium chests that require a specific Dark Zone Rank to open, and large chests that require a Dark Zone key - these can be obtained from Elite enemies and other players (and a few may be available from UPlay.)
PvP and going Rogue
Unlike the rest of the game, in the Dark Zone you can kill and be killed by other players, although there are safeguards in place to ensure it doesn't turn into a free-for-all. First, you can only lose loot you've collected in the Dark Zone, and that loot is kept in an obvious yellow bag. If you're just exploring, then other players have no reason to attack you. Secondly, if a player or group does sufficient damage to another they will be given "Rogue" status and as a result have a bounty placed on their heads, making random PvP attacks a risky proposition.
Doing accidental or minor damage to another player will earn you a warning, but if the game thinks you're deliberately attacking someone then you'll be assigned Rogue status. It has a five minute cooldown period (reset every time a Rogue player makes another attack), and there are five stages that escalate as you do more damage. Higher levels make Rogue players more obvious on the map, command a bigger bounty, and carry a steeper penalty for the Rogue should they be eliminated.
How loot works in the Dark Zone
The amount of loot you can gather is limited, and can only be carried in your Dark Zone pouch. Carrying capacity can be upgraded with some Perks, but don't expect to be stuffing your pockets with shiny things and simply strolling out. In addition to the limited quantity of it, Dark Zone loot is contaminated and can't be carried out. Instead it must be taken to one of the many extraction zones on the map and taken out by chopper for decontamination.
Once an extraction is called for, a flare will be sent up, and then a countdown to the extraction will begin. Greedy players may see the flare as an invitation to steal your haul, so be prepared to defend yourself while you wait.
If you're having difficulty with NPC attacks during extractions, there's one place to do it that's much easier than the rest. Head for the zone in Bryant Park and launch the flare in the south-east corner, amongst the crates. Next, run to the building to the east and climb up the stairs. If you take cover on the balcony and stay hidden, then any spawning NPCs will simply congregate in the centre of the zone and not give you any bother. When the chopper arrives you can simply hop to the ground and send your loot off in safety.
Death and respawning
If you're downed you'll drop all of your Dark Zone loot and start to bleed out. Group players can be revived by team mates, but solo players become sitting ducks unfortunately. If you die before being revived, you'll lose some of your Dark Zone XP and respawn at the nearest entry checkpoint.
Any loot you've gathered will be dropped. Some will be set as “private”, meaning that only you can pick it up, while other loot will be classified as “public”, which means anyone can grab it. How much of each is determined by your Rogue level.
- The next part of our guide covers beginner tips for Tom Clancy's The Division.
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