The Division: 12 things we wished we’d known before we started playing
There’s a lot to take in when first playing The Division. But really, all you want to do for the first couple of hours is grab a gun and blast the shit out of everyone. That’s fine, but pretty soon you’re going to make a mistake with all that gear you’re collecting, waste an important item, or struggle to get from A to B efficiently.
This is where the following pages come in handy, with twelve essential tips to help you level, survive, profit and kill more effectively.
01. The easiest way to get blue guns is to sell your gear
I spent the first three hours trashing all my weapons if they had poorer damage than my currently equipped Primary and Secondary. It freed up space in my inventory and gave me parts for crafting. Turns out, that’s not the most efficient way of getting blue guns early on.
I spent the next three hours selling all the green gear and guns to the vendors in the Base of Operations. After four missions I had enough to buy not one blue gun, but two. I am now lethal in a firefight. The lesson is simple: to get blue guns early, sell your stock, don’t scrap it.
02. Make traversal easier, less fiddly
The third person controls can be a bit clumsy around objects and items you’re meant to be interacitng with. Try these tips for smoother movement, less frustration and more efficiency: An exclamation mark on the context prompt means dropping will cause damage, blue fabric indicates a safe place to drop down, you can “sprint” up and down ladders by toggling the left thumb stick, only shiny doors can be opened, holding down climb (Circle/B) as you sprint gets you across obstacles really quickly, press Square/X on a safe house on the map to fast travel.
03. Use the consumable wheel for explosive attacks
Of the billion or so icons that pop up during play, one kept catching my eye. I’d picked up some explosive bullets. Or maybe even some incendiary. I went into my inventory and looked at my weapons and magazines but couldn’t work out how to equip them. It turns out you only need to bring up the consumables wheel by holding the right d-pad and selecting the bullets. You’ll also find energy bars and water there, which aren’t nearly as useful. It’s basically the same as your grenades wheel on the left d-pad, but a mixture of deadly shells and a packed lunch.
04. Surgical strikes, not spray and pay
Most automatic weapons are hugely unstable, so fire in tight, controlled bursts rather than holding the trigger down and hoping. Head shots are essential, and Marskman-type weapons are well worth investigating; the superior stopping power makes up for the smaller clips and slower rate of fire.
05. Don’t underestimate mods
Yeah, yeah, you’ve picked up a little gun attachment. You’ll see what weapon it fits later, when you’re not running to the next mission, right? Wrong. Examine it now. The right mod in the right place does wonders, turning a decent weapon into a godtier boom stick. Light machine gun? Use a stabilising grip and under-barrel. Assault rifle? Crank up the accuracy and speed up reloads. Marksman? A magazine extension can be a life saver. Strip every weapon before you sell or dismantle it, and keep your mod collection organised – the effort pays off.
06. Mark targets by pressing up
You know the Pulse skill that marks all targets within a radius and makes it much easier for you to pick them off, rather than shouting “are they dead, is everyone dead yet or what?” down the mic? Well, this isn’t that. But if you don’t have the skill selected this works at a pinch. Press up on the d-pad and you’ll mark a single target. You obviously can’t do this when there’s 20 bad dudes rushing you, but it’s at least worth pinpointing the boss so you can keep track of him.
07. Line your shots up before going into iron sights
Your aiming reticule is always visible on-screen, so make use of it: line it up over an enemy’s head before you pop out of cover to take a shot. In most cases the reticule will barely move, giving you an easy-peasy kill while barely exposing you to enemy fire. And to think you were gonna waste your gear mod slots on extra health…!
08. Unlock your perks and talents carefully
You can unlock the three wings of the Base of Operations fairly easily and with it come talents, skills and perks. Some are great, others aren’t. No one needs better energy bars. So when you do start to unlock them go for the perks that will help your early game with extra XP and cash boosts. We’ve gone into perks in detail here, but try and weigh up all the options instead of just clicking on a thing that sounds the coolest first.
09. Get the Pulse skill and mod it
You’ll unlock a lot of different skills, but two of the most valuable are handed out straight away. The Pulse skill that sends out a pulse to highlight enemies is essential. Make sure at least one of your group has it. It can then be modded later, with targeted enemies handing out more XP, taking more damage and other bonuses. You really don’t need to be fannying about assigning and swapping other skills in the first ten or so hours. Along with the First Aid health perk, both are essential.
10. Apply tactics at all times
You have to think. If you approach The Division as a run-n-gun shooter you’ll be dead faster than a smallpox victim. You need to flank enemies and take calculated risks in splitting your fireteam to draw fire, calculated in that you need to stay close to each other to res if need be. A good tactic for bosses is to approach them from two sides. Most of the early ones are tanks, so they just lumber backwards and forwards getting shot in the back.
Similarly, you must get used to keeping an escape route behind you where possible. Things will get hot, especially when you’re tackling a mission slightly over your level. Back off if you want to live. The Division doesn’t rewards brawn. It’s a level-based RPG. You need to apply brains.
11. Unlock the safe houses to open more missions
This seems obvious, but there’s so much information coating the screen, coming from all manner of NPCs, that key tips can get lost. Access to the map, to new missions and fast travel locations, is granted by visiting safehouses. Walk to the icon on the map, enter the safehouse and walk up to the noticeboard. Once you’ve read it with a button-press, your map will update with all the local instances, including the main missions. These are the big XP mines, so, assuming your initial goal is to level, visiting safehouses is an essential part of the early Division game.
Safehouses also house vendors, supply crates, matchmaking points and respawn locations. So open them up.
12. You can fast travel
This isn’t as obvious as you think, especially to those who chose to save themselves and stay off the beta. You can fast travel across the map. Just open it up, hover over any base or safehouse you’ve visited, and you’ll see an option to fast travel in the top lefthand corner. Press X on the Xbox One pad to say you want to do it, and then A to confirm (sorry, PS4 players: I’m sure it’s self-explanatory, though).
Walking long distance around the map can get dull, so don’t forget to fast travel back to base after missions to check your gear, sell guns, unlock wing perks and whatever else.
One last thing: you can teleport to any member of your group at any time. Very handy in any number of situations, such as getting lost. It does happen. Even agents get confused on occasion.
Remember, if you’re looking for a group to play The Division, our partners at The100.io have the perfect LFG solution.