What is the Dark Zone

Dark Zone Review

What is the Dark Zone

The Dark Zone is an area in Tom Clancy’s The Division Game where the sick were quarantined during the outbreak. This area suffered the most losses and is still the most heavily contaminated area. The contamination was so bad that the military was ordered to rapidly pull-out, leaving behind most of their best gear. No Agent’s of The Division venture into this area looking for some of that gear and evidence that will help lead to a cure.

What is the Dark Zone – Video Overview

The Dark Zone is separated from the main story quest or PvE area for a reason. This is the area of Manhattan where all of the really sick were quarantined during the outbreak before the military was ordered to evacuate. In fact the military was ordered to evacuate so fast that they left all of their best gear in this area This entire area has the highest level of active contamination and as such is walled off for your safety. To get inside this quarantined area you either climb over the wall at certain low points or go through a check point. Now on the other hand, the check points are your only way out of the Dark Zone. There are multiple check points through out the Dark Zone, and each has a vendor that sales different gear. These vendors sale blue gear called “specialized” and purple gear called “Superior” and only accept a special currency that you earn from killing and looting either NPCs or Players inside the Dark Zone. Now this is better gear than what you can get from normal vendors at your base of operations or at the starting area. there is also a resupply crate where you can restock on ammo. Check points also serve as a respawn location when you get killed in the Dark Zone, because you will.

Tom Calncy’s The Division Official Dark Zone Story Trailer

In order to get higher level dark zone gear, you need to increase both your level and your dark zone rank. Your level is increased by doing PvE quests and story missions, but your DZ rank is only increased by killing NPCs or Players inside the Dark Zone. You earn Dark Zone currency the same way. If you sale gear to dark zone vendors they will only give you credits, not Dark Zone currency, so you have to kill stuff.

Check points aren’t the only respawn location or source of vendors in the Dark Zone, there are also places called safe rooms deep inside the Dark Zone. The vendors here sale the orange gear called “High-end” which is the best gear in the game they serve as another respawn location and they have resupply crates to restock on ammo medkits and grenades

Right now there aren’t any missions in the Dark Zone like there are in the PvE area, but just like your Base of Operations and the starting area, there are intel boards in the Dark Zone. These boards are located in the Check Points as well as the safe rooms. Those boards and the presence of named NPCs lead me to believe that there will infact be missions that you can run inside the Dark Zone when it is launched. For now the focus has been on killing NPCs or Players to get your Dark Zone rank higher so you can purchase better gear.

The only downside to that is how long it felt it took NPCs to respawn. Occasionally it felt as if I spent 20 minutes looking for a mob to fight, but that could be Ubisoft playing around with population caps inside the instances. Or maybe they are just trying to goad us into fighting each other I don’t know but I hope this is something that is addressed before the game is launched.

Be careful when fighting NPCs around players that are not in your group. There is no friendly fire for group members, but running in front of another player that is attacking something will get you shot. likewise a non-group member running in front of you will get them shot and cause your entire team to go rogue. The length of time you are marked as rogue depends on what you did. For instance, you accidentally shot a player a few times causing them to take significant damage but not killing them, your timer is very short. Kill a player and the timer is longer, jack their loot and it is even longer. Keep killing players and your timer will continue to increase. If you kill enough players your rogue symbol will change from red to gold, and all players in the area will be given a mission to neutralize your entire team. If you go rogue and survive until the timer runs out, you get yourself a nice stack of Dark Zone XP and currency, but die when you are marked as Rogue and you will lose a lot of Dark Zone XP and Currency. Remember when I said to get better items you have to increase your Dark Zone rank? Well, if you already own those items but your Dark Zone rank drops to a level below the minimum, you will no longer be able to use it. You won’t lose it, you just can’t use it until you reach the proper Dark Zone Rank again. So be careful when you decide to kill another player or if a team mate decides to go on a rampage.

On the flip side, killing a rogue players earns you extra Dark Zone XP and Currency, plus you can jack whatever loot they have on them and you don’t go rogue.

The Division has a proximity chat system when you’re in the Dark Zone. You can still communicate with your group members the same way that you could in the PvE area and quest missions regardless of where they are on the map, but players not in your group have to be closer to you to hear them better. Right now the proximity chat is limited to 8 players, and there are still some bugs to be worked out. Its not totally clear how you can enter or opt out of this feature except going into a private group like an Xbox Live Party, nor is it clear right now to see if you are in the “proximity” chat you can tell other players are by the red voice waves that appear above their head by their names. A really nice feature is how easy it is to invite local players to your group in The Division. You just focus your screen reticle on them to select them and hit R3 to “view” player, select their name from the list of “nearby agents” and hit “invite to group”. Once they accept the invite they are in the group. It really is just that simple.

It almost seems as if most of the regular NPCs in the Dark Zone are apparently named “Alex”, at least the ones the other NPCs care about. There is a lot of banter between the NPCs and they will talk trash if they are kicking your butt or when you are kicking theirs.

The NPCs in the Dark Zone are noticeable more difficult than the NPCs in the quest area. Most of them have blue health bars signaling they are superior, but the orange are even more difficult. Some NPCs have a star or a colored chevron or are named. These NPCs take teamwork and good cover to take out. If your low on ammo and med kits avoid confronting them because they will not go down easily. Its best to go after them as part of a team, but some can be worked down solo as long as you have good gear and lots of ammo.

you can suppress NPCs by applying heavy fire in the area where they have taken cover and this is a great tactic so that a team member can move into a flanking position to take them out or get them to expose themselves so the entire team can unload into them at the same time. When an NPC is suppressed it with have a white chevron above its head, and will hunker down into cover not exposing any part of themselves which is why you need a team member to flank them or you can try and rush them yourself if you rush them yourself you will be fully exposed and they may become unsuppressed before you get to them

Make sure you mash up your tech skills just right as they will play an invaluable part of your co op play, especially in the Dark Zone scanner helps you to locate NPCs and other players but their are other perks to it like being able to do more damage to scanned enemies or blocking enemies from scanning you your tank should have a riot shield and your medic should have the healing ability while your tech has something to help aid with DPS like the turret or sticky bombs

Cover is a critical part of the game play there is no crouching or prone only cover fighting from cover helps make you a harder target to hit just make sure you chose appropriate cover

Now I do have a gripe and that is sometimes it appears as if NPCs can hide behind a chain link fence and not take any damage from you, but you can hide behind a bookcase and somehow they still nail you. It also almost feels like in some areas the bullets ricochet off of hard objects because you are completely crouched and not exposed but still taking damage not sure if that is actually the case might just be something else Ubisoft has to work on inside the game mechanics before the game launches also the fact that you can’t crouch or go prone seems a bit ridiculous in a shooter that is supposed to be designed to be as realistic as possible people like me that like to play overwatch for my team find that we are standing at the ledge of a building completely exposed in a very unrealistic manner

Loot extractions are a critical part of the Dark Zone. In a nut shell all the loot you collect is contaminated and it has to be extracted if you want to keep it. We made a hole video talking just about loot extractions in depth and I’ll link that here below.

Overall I’m very impressed with Tom Clancy’s The Division and how they have remade how PvP works the game graphics are beautiful and the interface is very easy to navigate and understand I know I personally am looking forward to this game being release in March I just hope that Ubisoft fixes the known issues before the release date

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