The Division took players on a bit of a ride after they entered New York City to get to the bottom of a biological attack that was carried out on Black Friday. Thousands perished as a genetically modified version of Smallpox was spread using cash. As things were bought and sold on one of the year’s busiest nights, many residents in the borough of Manhattan came into contact with this deadly malaise.
After thousands of kills, tons of loot, hundreds of collectibles, and more bullets fired than we care to count, a player can reach the end of the current story. Yet, in all of the fire, explosions, and cries for help, it’s easy to miss exactly what’s going on. There are a lot of stories going on at once, but only a few are key to the bigger picture.
To make life a bit easier, we’ve broken the ending down into pertinent threads. This way you can see all of the puzzle pieces and decide what may happen next.
To Understand the End, One Must Know the Beginning
Of course, before we can get into the ending, it’s a good idea to know what led to that in the first place. As many already know, your job in The Division is to enter a New York City that has suffered a terrorist attack and rebuild it. Civilized government is out of the picture, and survivors have nobody to turn to as different factions try to seize the city for themselves. For some, it’s a matter of owning New York, for others, it’s a matter of cleaning it out.
The attack in question though is what’s most important. Instead of a mass shooting or a bomb, a biological agent was used to bring the city to its knees. An enhanced version of the Smallpox virus was spread using currency on Black Friday, one of the busiest commercial nights of the year. The reason why it happened, and exactly who carried out the attack is unknown at the beginning of the game, so you will have to figure it all out.
A First Wave of Division agents were sent in to control the situation, but as the name implies, there was a Second Wave built in to actually finish the job (that’s you). The fate of many First Wave agents are unknown, and many that survived harbor resentment and anger towards the government and even Second Wave agents like yourself. It’s another mystery that you will have to unravel as you work to discover the truth behind the virus. All you have is a suspect, Dr. Gordon Amherst, and some whispers regarding his whereabouts.
What makes matters worse is that all throughout NYC lawlessness is running rampant. Civilians, soldiers, criminals, and more are out and about. Essentially, you are dropped into the middle of a warzone. Even with different strategic partners (a doctor, a technician, a police officer, and a few others) that you can save and recruit, your work is cut out for you as you forge your own path through the city.
Each person you meet, and location you discover opens up a new avenue of information that leads ever closer to the center of The Division. As you complete missions, you will start to put an end to each of these threads.
End of the Rikers and Cleaners
These two factions are opportunists at their finest. On one end, you have a horde of released criminals from Rikers Island. They want nothing more than to return to the streets they’ve wreaked havoc on in the past, and capitalize on the chaos. Led by LaRae Barret, this group of thieves, murderers, and downright scoundrels, are a ruthless bunch. What they lack in technology they more than make up for in tenacity. They are the easiest to kill, but don’t for a second think that they can’t put you down just as quickly.
On the other end you have the Cleaners, a group of somewhat psychotic individuals who want to cleanse the city by bathing it in flames. A burned body can’t spread the disease, even if that body is still alive when you set it ablaze (they’re one seriously dark group). The fear of the unknown is a powerful thing, and these well-armored, fire wielding soldiers will leave nothing up to chance.
Although the Rikers and the Cleaners are your enemy, their motivations aren’t totally far fetched given the circumstances. Survival and eradication of the virus is what it boils down to. What separates you from these groups, hopefully, is the fact that you adhere to a higher moral code. For that reason, you need to bring them to an end, even if you kind of understand.
While both give you plenty to do, neither is really important for the bigger picture. They’re hurdles between you and the source of the original threat. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should overlook them. They’re terrorizing the city and making your job of rebuilding it a lot more difficult.
Cut off the heads and the body shall perish. As the player works their way through the story they’ll come across the leader of each faction and dispose of them in an epic battle. After that, each faction starts to lose its hold on the city, making your life a bit easier.
Last Man Battalion Falls
The Last Man Battalion (LMB) is the toughest faction you’ll face in your journey to clean the city. This is a well organized, highly trained, private military led by Charles Bliss. These sons of guns were actually hired by Wall Street to help protect the financial district. Unfortunately, being trapped in no man’s land with no way out can change a person. Charles Bliss decided that if they couldn’t protect anything, they might as well take it over.
This was further spurned on by one Aaron Keener, a First Wave agent of The Division who had gone rogue. When you reach the end of your fight against the LMB a lot of things are made clear, the first of which is that Keener was just using them the whole time. Their power and skill put the private military head and shoulders above the competition, allowing Keener to move about the city as he pleased as he pulled the strings from the shadows.
Bliss, who had the twisted notion that he was actually helping the city by ruling it, was left with a large mess in his lap. You, along with your fellow agents of The Division and the JTF, are here to put an end to the LMB. You’ve been led right to their fortress thanks to Keener’s actions, and he’s not planning on sticking around to help. After an intense battle with Bliss (in which he uses an attack chopper) the LMB is defeated. You’ve cleared out its base, and law enforcement is now able to utilize key strongholds throughout the city. You’ve freed the city from the clutches of tyranny.
All Factions Are Defeated, But Who Spread the Virus?
After defeating all of the factions, you will eventually realize that you still haven’t figured who started all of this in the first place. During your fight against the LMB, you’ll come across a scientist who understands how it was done, but it wasn’t that person either, they are just able to recreate it.
After completing the “final” mission, General Assembly, a new event will pop up titled Unknown Signal. There isn’t anything to do here other than listen to some ECHOS (which we’ll get to shortly). After completing this short excursion however, you will unlock the final Virus Report under your Intel tab. This is when the truth is revealed.
It turns out that the release of the Green Poison, as its creator so eloquently dubbed it, was more than just an attack. It was to rid the world of weakness. Dr. Gordon Amherst wanted to enact natural selection in a new way. By altering a powerful virus, he would bring back survival of the fittest in a way where nobody would be able to help out one another. Either you survived the incurable disease or you died; it was as simple as that. He was well aware that nature may decide that he himself wouldn’t be fit to live, and that just made it even more worth it in his eyes. He didn’t want to rule or anything like that, he wanted humanity to be strong again. Unfortunately, he chose the darkest way to bring his dream to fruition and murdered thousands.
He survived in his lab, continuing to experiment before being found by Agent Keener. As with everyone else that comes into contact with Keener, Dr. Amherst didn’t last long. He was killed for his research and equipment. As one mystery is solved, a new threat arises.
A Possible Cure and Aaron Keener’s Ending
It took a lot of fighting and searching on your part, but after a lot of hard work, you along with other agents of The Division have found many pieces to the puzzle. Samples of the disease, survivors who’ve developed an immunity, and notes on the original formula have helped Dr. Jessica Kandel draft up a vaccine.
There is still a lot more research and work to be done, but at the close of The Division’s story, all is looking well. In order to properly rebuild New York City, it needs to be reconnected to the rest of the world, and curing the sick within is a strong step in the right direction.
However, while that sounds nice and it is, the Aaron Keener problem still exists at the end of The Division’s main story.
Although Aaron Keener did not trigger the events that lead to the quarantine of Manhattan and the creation of the Dark Zone, he is indeed the main antagonist of The Division. Sent in as part of the First Wave of agents, he was intent on saving survivors and rebuilding the city. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out so well while he was battling through hell. Agents were losing their lives, the Dark Zone, which had yet to be quarantined, was leading to even more deaths. The government had turned its back on agents of The Division as a new wave was being prepped for insertion.
Keener, who watched the ugly side of humanity boil over, decided to take matters into his own hands. By manipulating different factions and other forces, he started a war. One that could only be won with power and perseverance. But it was all an elaborate ruse to hide his true intentions. He sought out Dr. Amherst, the creator of the virus that started it all, so that he could make a new deadlier version and really put a knife to the nation’s proverbial throat.
When all is said and done, Agent Keener questions you, the player, and your motives. Is saving people really worth it? After so many of your comrades were left to die, are you sure you’re on the right side of this all? These are the parting thoughts he leaves as he has already fled with all of Amherst’s research and equipment. He is the biggest loose end left at the end of The Division, and one that will surely rear its ugly head eventually. But as it stands, you’ve reached the end.