The Dark Zone, perhaps the most interesting aspect of Tom Clancy’s The Division, is an area where players will face off against some of the toughest AI enemies and opposing agents. It’s also where players will have chances to uncover the best loot in the game.
The Division: Keys and Chests
Throughout the Dark Zone there are various chests hidden away within the map. These chests contain some of the better pieces of gear and weapons for players to use. In order to actually snag these rare items, though, you’re going to have to have two things: a decent Dark Zone rank and Dark Zone keys.
How Dark Zone Rank Works
Your rank is typically determined by your total kills and deaths. It’s essentially a leveling progression system, but, unlike a lot of other games (such as Destiny), it is possible for your rank to actually go down. Survival is the key here. The more high-level enemies and agents you take down, the more your DZ rank will rise. Deaths, however, will result in your rank taking a dive.
Unless you’re an insanely skilled player that can take down agents and enemies before they even know you’re around, like The Dark Knight himself, your best bet is to proceed into the Dark Zone with a full squad. Each member of the unit needs to be spec’d to compliment each other and come together as a single, dominant group. This means having decent offensive, defensive, and supportive abilities.
Your rank is important. The higher it is, the greater your chances will be to find and have access to the best weapons and gear in The Division. Maintaining your rank will require great effort. In the Dark Zone, death is your worst enemy.
How to Get Dark Zone Keys
Keys are another important element required to gain access to the coolest loot chests throughout the game. As one would imagine, keys are used to actually open the chests. How do you actually find these items, though? Well, that’s where things get a little tricky.
Dark Zone keys in The Division are typically acquired by taking down higher-level enemies and looting their corpses. The problem, however, is that it’s not super consistent. Much like Destiny, or any major MMO, getting good loot drops from an enemy is more about luck than anything. Yes, that means you’ll be facing off against the dreaded RNG (random number generator) system.
The most efficient way of getting DZ keys, as of right now, is to constantly grind the Dark Zone, taking down AI opponents and enemy agents. If you’re a complete jerk you can even get key drops by eliminating members of your own squad and looting them as they scream obscenities at you through the mic.
How to Find Dark Zone Chests
Opening chests is ultimately the best method of getting top-tier gear in The Division. They are, however, not too easy to come by. There are varying types, too. Some are out in near plain view, but these often contain gear that is only slightly better than standard pieces.
The real winners are the ones that you stumble across in random areas that require a higher DZ Rank and DZ keys to open. These typically contain much rarer, stronger weapons and gear.
Escaping the Dark Zone with Loot Intact
Here’s another kicker that many people don’t realize, though… it doesn’t end with unlocking a chest and grabbing the loot. No, there’s still another surprise in store…
You actually have to make your way OUT of the Dark Zone without dying to secure your discovered treasures. If you’re taken down enemies will be able to loot your body and take all of that precious gear you worked so hard to get.
There are two ways to do this… you can either try to make your way back on foot or you can call in an extraction chopper. The chopper may sound like an easy and guaranteed getaway plan, but, sadly, it’s not. The helicopter isn’t exactly speedy and, more importantly, all other agents within the Dark Zone will instantly know that you’re trying to get out and even have a general idea of your location.
So, in other words, you’ve got to find an easy route to take on foot that doesn’t require a lot of combat and keeps you out of the sight of other agents or you’ll need to find a good place to extract where you can hunker down and protect yourself while the chopper is on it’s way.