The Division: Dark Zone tips for levelling and grabbing the best gear

By Staff, Friday, 19 February 2016 14:11 GMT

The Division’s Dark Zone is a dangerous place. These tips will help you understand what’s going on and profit accordingly.


Tom Clancy’s The Division: Dark Zone tips

The Dark Zone. The Division’s end-game area contains its best gear, its highest death-rate and the purest distillation of its RPG elements. It’s here you’ll face off against rogue agents and some of the apocalypse’s most furious AI. You need to understand it and master it to be in the running for those yellow guns, as the rules aren’t as clear as they could be. Check out our exhaustive Dark Zone guide for tons of information. If you can’t be bothered with actual reading and just want to get on with the killing, help yourself to these quick tips.

1: Get into a group.

The Dark Zone can be a brutal place. Not only is it a PvP area in which apparently friendly agents can open fire on you without warning, but it contains some the toughest enemies and the biggest rewards. You will be far better off in a group. If you’re playing alone, look for a group of agents running around together and try to latch on. All Dark Zone activities, from killing AI to hunting rogues, is infinitely easier in a group.

DPS isn’t the only consideration here. Because you only get your Dark Zone loot via chopper extraction (you can read up on how extraction works in our Dark Zone guide), if you get dropped you lose any Dark Zone gear you happen to be carrying. If you don’t have anyone to revive you, the Dark Zone can very literally be a fruitless experience. Find some buddies.

2: Chests and keys are a primary goal

There are three types of Dark Zone chest and the highest – the locked type, natch – contains the best gear. You need keys to open these, and they’re difficult to come by. The only way to acquire Dark Zone keys is by killing high level enemies or murdering agents who’ve already done the work for you. The video below will give you a run-down of the best areas to farm keys and some chest locations to get you started.

3: Escape rogue ratings

The Dark Zone’s rogue system means you get a bounty put on your head if you shoot a fellow agent. The bounty is on a timer, the idea being you should stay alive until it runs out. Non-rogue agents get decent bonuses for killing you while you’re under the effect of a bounty. There are five rogue ranks, each timer being higher than the last, and the rewards of surviving a longer timer, obviously, increase with the risk.

While toying with rogue ratings at the higher levels is the preserve of the more organised group, you can grab easy rewards by surviving even a level one rogue rating. You’ll get 150 DZ credits, usable with the Dark Zone’s vendors, for making it out alive. The initial Dark Zone vendor gear is blue, coming with higher DPS and better perks than the general fluff you get from killing low-level AI, so consider grouping with a friend of two, casually murdering a lone friendly agent in the Dark Zone and then go hide somewhere until the timer runs out. It’s an easy way to progress.

Be warned, though. Dying as a rogue agent will cost you DZ credits, whatever Dark Zone gear you’re carrying and Dark Zone experience points. You can easily drop a level, potentially rendering some of your gear useless until you regain it, by biting the bullet as a rogue.


4: Hunt rogues. But…

When an agent goes rogue they’re slapped with a bounty. Kill them and you’ll get a bunch of DZ credits, Dark Zone experience and whatever gear they were yet to extract by chopper from the Dark Zone. Hunting and killing rogue agents can net you some fantastic drops. Remember that rogue agents are player-killers, so they could well have collected a bunch of loot from others, and also bear in mind that they may be carrying Dark Zone keys. You really need these. Killing rogues is a fine way to spend your Dark Zone time.

But. Many players group together with the specific intention of going rogue, both to collect gear from other agents and beat the rogue bounties for DZ credits. If you see a large group of red skulls on the UI, don’t be tempted to “have a go”. They’re looking for people to kill and are only wary of similarly large groups, so if you’re on your own or in a small group you’re going to get mashed. Run the other way.

5: Beware agents on extraction areas

You have to extract your Dark Zone loot by chopper to claim it, so extraction sites are always action hot-spots. Most agents waiting for the helicopter are just looking to send their winnings back to base, but whacking agents just before the lift arrives is a key way of farming loot. Be very, very careful when you’re extracting, especially if you’re carrying an item you really want to get back to safety. If there are a lot of other agents around, even if they’re behaving non-threateningly and don’t have a rogue rating, be wary.

A key indication of the intent of a group of agents on an extraction site is whether or not they’re carrying any gear. Look for the yellow pouch at the bottom of their backpack stamped with a biohazard symbol. If they don’t have them, there’s a high chance they’re looking to steal yours. Trust your instincts. Doesn’t feel right? Then run.

Remember, if you’re looking for a group to play The Division, our partners at have the perfect LFG solution.

Get loads more information from our Dark Zone guide.

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