Ubisoft is finally ready to reveal the big shakeup coming to the Dark Zone in The Division 2.
As part of a PvP info blowout, The Division 2’s version of the Dark Zone has been made much less mysterious, which also means there’s plenty of new footage to go through.
For the uninitiated, the Dark Zone is a cordoned off, PvPvE area on the map where players are free to hunt other players, or go after tough enemy mobs for high-level loot. The trick is to make it out of there with your loot. The original game featured an item extraction system whereby players were able to hitch their cargo to a helicopter rope, which appeared periodically, sending the loot to their stashes.
Here’s how Ubisoft Massive is going to make the Dark Zone interesting in The Division 2.
Three Dark Zones
The sequel’s Washington DC map has three Dark Zones, each supports up to 12 players per session. One in the East, another West, and a final one in the South. The idea behind this segmentation is to offer a different gameplay experience for players within each of them.
For instance, Dark Zone East is a place of landmarks, and big wide open streets. Expect long-range combat and multiple approaches to most areas. Dark Zone South is the polar opposite, with overgrown vegetation and lots of spots to sneak in through or ambush other players.
Dark Zone West takes place in the suburbs, and it’s mostly designed for medium-range combat with a touch of CQC.
Dark Zone introduction
Unlike the original game, each of the three zones will first be introduced in three separate story missions where you’ll get to explore them without the threat of other players looming over.
This tour will help demonstrate how the various mechanics all work. These missions must be completed before each zone unlocks the proper, PvPvE version shared with other players.
New Dark Zone rules
Upon entering a Dark Zone, all your weapons and gear will be normalised to prevent extreme DPS builds or extreme survivability builds from dominating. This goes for AI mobs, too.
Massive is also splitting matchmaking into brackets 1-10, 11-20, and 21-30. Matchmaking will take into account each player’s regular level, as well as their world level (World Tier).
The developer also promised to match solo players with other solos, as much as possible. This does not, however, prevent anyone from forging alliances inside.
Occupied Dark Zone (Occupied state)
From time to time, Dark Zones in The Division 2 will enter an Occupied state. When these events occur, they will only affect one of the three zones. Once a zone is occupied, friendly fire will be turned on, and players will have no way of identifying regular from Rogue agents.
In fact, the mere idea of a Rogue agent won’t exist for the duration of the event. This is the most hardcore state, designed for ruthless players. Occupied also throws normalisation out of the window, so good builds will really show.
All bets are off at that point, and it’s every person for themselves.
The new Rogue
In The Division 2, Rogue agents will be able to lockpick supply crates in the Dark Zone, hack SHD terminals for resources, or steal other players’ gear before it gets extracted.
Massive has expanded the original game’s Rogue status into three different tiers. The lowest is Rogue followed by Disavowed Rogue, and Manhunt – the highest tier.
We’re working on getting you the details of how each of them is going to work.
The new extraction
Extracting contaminated gear returns, upgraded with a new mechanic. First, not every piece of gear you find will be contaminated. Only the rarest and most unique gear will require extraction, the rest will be automatically added to your inventory.
The biggest change, however, is that contaminated gear stats will roll at the power level of the player who extracted them. In other words, if you manage to steal someone’s gear before they could extract it, it’s always going to get you upgraded.
The Division 2 is out March 15, with a pre-order private beta kicking off on February 7.