On the outskirts of Midtown Manhattan lies an area where the infection wreaked havoc. An abandoned quarantine zone has left a section of the city explorable only to those willing to put everything on the line. Seeing as these locations saw a heavy military presence before they were deserted, some of the most powerful loot can be found in locked crates, on randomly placed NPCs, and on the other agents who have ventured into the abyss — even your friends.
In the Dark Zone, players encounter NPCs and other human-controlled agents. As they explore and engage enemies in combat, they will begin to accumulate loot. Any loot that is discovered in The Dark Zone is contaminated with a level of the virus that makes it unsafe to use until it is extracted and decontaminated. Agents in the area are all marked as non-hostile upon entering The Dark Zone, but at any time an agent can choose to disavow themselves from The Division and go rogue by opening fire on a fellow agent. In doing so, they will be marked for death with a red skull and a countdown clock that increases every time they engage another non-hostile agent in The Dark Zone. Survive the countdown and the rogue agent will earn significant XP and an in-game cash reward. If the agent is neutralized by any other agent, the penalty is a decrease in XP, in-game cash, and a loss of any loot that the player was carrying at the time.
In order to extract a package, the player must navigate to one of the three extraction points and fire off a flare to call in a helicopter. In doing so, all other agents in The Dark Zone will be alerted that an extraction has been started, and an icon will come up in their HUD to signal where the extraction is taking place.
This is where the fun begins. More often than not, the signal for an extraction will send all of the agents in the area flooding the player’s position, each with their own intentions when they arrive. Are they just looking to take advantage of the extraction peacefully, or will they go rogue to take the loot others are trying to send out?
Not only is the concept unique, but its implementation is quite well done. Like anything though, it has its strengths and weakness. Let’s take a look at some places where The Division got it right and others where it could improve.