Jumping into The Division for the first time? Well, there’s a lot to learn. Perhaps one of the biggest aspects of the game that newbies need to know about, though, is the Dark Zone. This is a hybrid PvE / PvP zone where players will encounter higher-level AI enemies, but will also face off against other player agents. This is where you’ll find the rarest and most powerful loot in the game, but it’ll also be one of the most challenging spots to play.
The Division Dark Zone
The Dark Zone is a large, special area on the map. Players can enter this zone at any time, but should come prepared for battle. You can enter alone (although it’s not recommended) or with a squad.
Within this area there are loads of stronger enemies, other agents, and tons of loot. Killing enemies presents you with the opportunity to score some sweet gear or Dark Zone keys. These keys can be used to open chests located around the map. The chests themselves often contain weapons, armor, and other pieces of gear that are better and rarer than the ones you’ll collect playing through standard PvE missions.
Dark Zone Rank
The Dark Zone within The Division has it’s own separate and unique leveling system from the regular PvE content. Rather than using your normal agent level it uses a different system known as the Dark Zone rank. You can up your rank by doing a number of things including killing enemies and completing missions within the area.
Want to fly through DZ ranks and learn how to demolish any rogue agents that come at you with ease? Check out this in-depth guide to The Division to learn how to make your character an unstoppable powerhouse in the DZ.
You’ll earn XP and progress your rank by:
- Killing AI Enemies
- Killing Other Players
- Completing Missions
- Exploring the Dark Zone
Your rank actually gives you the ability to open chests within the map. The higher your rank, the better. With a higher DZ rank you’ll be able to open rarer chests which often contain higher-level weapons and armor.
It’s important to note, however, that you can actually go down in rank. This usually happens whenever your character dies. You’ll lose experience with each death which, eventually, results in a total rank decrease. This means you’ll need to learn to survive. Deaths from both AI enemies and enemy players count against you.
Being killed by enemy agents is especially devastating. This usually results in a steeper XP penalty. So, you’ll definitely want to explore the Dark Zone with a powerful build, great weapons, decent armor, and, if you’re smart, a well-developed team of friends that know how to play well and compliment your playing style.
Also check out: The Division Ultimate Unofficial Strategy Guide
Communication, coordination, and strategy are the keys to survival and success within the Dark Zone.
Getting Loot Out
Once you’ve collected loot from enemies or chests you’ll realize that there’s a status marker on these items saying “contaminated”. In order to gain access to this gear for use you’ll need to cleanse these items. To do this you’ll need to call in an evacuation helicopter into the Dark Zone to take the loot from you to cleanse it.
Here’s the problem, though… it takes roughly 1.5 minutes for the chopper to make it’s way to you no matter where you are in the DZ. As soon as you signal for it to come, all other enemy players in the area are immediately notified of your whereabouts. As you would imagine – that’s not a good thing.
This means enemy agents will be descending upon you very shortly. In order to successfully pull loot out of the Dark Zone you’ll need to defend yourself until the helicopter arrives at your extraction point. This is another instance where having a squad comes very handy.
Your best bet is to perform your extraction in a rather remote area of the Dark Zone, away from nearby players. But you’ll also want to pick a spot that provides enough cover for you to hold down the area and protect yourself. If you die, you can lose your loot. Not only that, but the attacking players will actually have the opportunity to snag all the goodies you’ve collected for themselves.