You might be positively itching to get at the tougher sections of the Dark Zone, but doing so will require you to have decent gear, and decent gear demands a high level character created in the player-versus-environment section of the game. If you're reading this section of our guide, you're probably looking for a way to make that happen quicker.
Unfortunately, the campaign mode has a fairly tightly controlled XP curve, and so the bulk of your levelling process will come about just by playing through the story. Unlike many other games of this kind, don't expect to be able to game the systems and race to the level cap in record time. There are certainly ways to maximise your gains which should help you get there a little quicker, but there's no magic bullet we're sorry to say.
Does that mean there's absolutely nothing you can do to make life getting to the level cap a little less painful? Not at all, and in this next section of the guide, we'll outline all of the currently known ways of speeding things up.
How Perks affect levelling in The Division
The first Security Wing Perk boosts your XP gains by 10% overall, so before heading too far down the plot you should make sure you've at least unlocked this by doing the first Security mission. You should get this rattled off nice and fast, just after establishing your Base of Operations.
Ironically you may be a little under-levelled to tackle this as your very first priority, so if you're struggling you might want to think about completing the first Medical mission before trying to batter through.
Make use of Gear bonuses to gain more XP
Minor Attribute bonuses on the Gear you find and equip may give a percentage XP increase for enemies that you kill. Note that the maximum bonus you can receive appears to be around 15%, but when you consider the potential of having a 15% increase on each one of your six Gear items, you can almost double your kill XP through equipment.
The bonus is added randomly during the item crafting process, so you'll either need to make a lot of gear to hit the sweet spot, or possibly compromise between overall Gear effectiveness and the XP boost. Bear in mind, though, that completing missions can earn you 75,000XP and up, whereas enemies are rarely worth even 100XP - you'll need to make a lot of kills to have a notable impact.
Other ways of gaining XP in The Division
Killing enemies with headshots or making multiple consecutive kills, discovering locations, helping random needy NPCs, picking up intel, opening chests, and doing all of those little distractions that make up the bread and butter of an RPG can all help you along on the road to the level cap. Individually, the contribution given by each of these is small, but taking 30 seconds out of your way to pick up an audio log or open a box is probably worth it in the long run.
Side missions and Encounters are each worth a couple of thousand extra points, so remember to talk to the JTF rep and look at the map in all of the safehouses to mark them. Keep your eyes peeled for random events happening as you make your way around the city too.
The effect of Mission Difficulty and Replays on levelling
Contrary to what you might have read elsewhere, adjusting the mission difficulty before you start has no bearing on the mission XP reward. Tougher difficulty is only rewarded with a bit more cash and a better item drop. Similarly, replaying a mission is only good for kill XP, cash, and another item drop - you only get that juicy chunk of mission XP the first time around.
Farming options for XP
At the time of writing, we've not come across significantly worthwhile methods for farming XP in The Division. Small groups of enemies do respawn at some locations around the city, but they're not big or frequent enough to really provide a decent source of XP. The time taken moving between them or waiting for them to respawn is better spent simply playing the game elsewhere and making more meaningful progress!
- The next part of our guide tells you everything you need to know about crafting in Tom Clancy's The Division.
- Need help with something else? Head back to the first page for the rest of our Tom Clancy's The Division guide.