The Dark Zone is a walled-off quarantine zone in the middle of Manhattan, with the goal to stop the contagion of the once as flu suspected virus. Linked seamlessly with the rest of the game it is the place for PvP-fights and at the same time contains the most powerful and rarest loot in The Division.

the-division-agents-dark-zone-entry

You can enter the Dark Zone by overcoming certain and well-marked wall sections or gates/checkpoints (decontamination chambers), whereas the exit is only possible via the latter variant. Once inside the zone you immediately lose the connection to the outside world, the agent’s com device starts to reboot and wearing a gas mask is highly advised.

Dark Zone Story

When the pandemic hit, the authorities gathered the sick in this area. They brought in the best scientists and the most cutting-edge medical equipment to try to contain the virus and look for a cure. But soon the government recognized that their measures were no longer enough.

The following video explains how it all began, how things have developed over time and how the Dark Zone became that what it is now.


the-division-dark-zone-just-the-fluMore and more people suffered from the virus and medical auxiliary equipment as well as personnel came increasingly to their limits.

the-division-artwork-dark-zone-isolate-the-sickThe cordon quickly became a fully equipped quarantine zone and the martial law came into effect. National Guard and especially for this scenario trained units tried to master that situation, but it was already too late.

the-division-artwork-dark-zone-power-went-outAll of them weren’t able to stand the increasing pressure and rioting, looting and chaos were now on the agenda. And that’s when the power went out.

the-division-dark-zone-contaminationWithin a few hours, the military had to pull out all troops of this with contamination saturated zone and left their best equipment behind. They left behind not only the supplies, medicine, and weapons, but also thousands of infected, dying and already dead people.

the-division-dark-zone-place

Few dare to go over the wall into the restricted area to pick up the remaining equipment, but fewer still come out. This is the Dark Zone.

Gameplay

Whether as a lone wolf, or a team of maximum 4 players – it is open to you, with what forces you enter the Dark Zone. Both variants involve their pros and cons that must be weighed before. Even if you can go in with proper rear cover you should be certain, that the tide could turn faster than you like. See Rogue Protocol.

The Dark Zone is a fear and betrayal fulfilled place in which each agent is responsible for themselves. Be therefore on the watch for enemy factions and always keep your eyes open for other friendly or hostile agents. One DZ instance can accommodate a maximum of 24 players.

Missions

the-division-e3-2015-dark-zone-reveal-1

While there will be no “real” missions in this highly contaminated zone, there is still plenty to do, from securing heavily guarded SHD containers to clearing Landmarks or extracting your loot. In short, you decide what to do.

The chance, to find better items through these missions in the Dark Zone than in the PvE Zone is much higher because of the military’s left-behind weapons and equipment.

The following from Game Director Ryan Barnard commented gameplay walkthrough shows a possible way of how to secure such an aforementioned chest.

Go to second walkthrough?

Dark Zone Rank

The Dark Zone’s rank system is completely separated from the character’s level based progression outside the zone. By killing enemy NPCs or other agents, whether they are rogue or not, you gain experience points (DZ XP) which ensure, that your rank will increase, or decrease. The higher the rank, the more choice you have in terms of better equipment and crafting recipes at specific vendors, which is also a requirement to access high-value crates. The current maximum cap for the DZ Rank is 99.

On the one hand, your rank can increase, but on the other hand, it can decrease rapidly as well if you die as Rogue Agent. In case somebody is able to kill you and receive your bounty, you will lose a lot of your Dark Zone XP based on your current Rogue Stage as well as DZ Funds and DZ Keys.

Dark Zone Keys and Crates

Dark Zone Keys are used to access particular crates in the Dark Zone. You can obtain them by killing enemy NPCs or agents. Each chest requires a certain DZ Rank in order to be able to open it. Where you can find these 19 chests shows the following short video.

Dark Zone Currency

In addition to your normal Credits, you can also earn a special currency by killing enemy NPCs or agents in the Dark Zone. This currency enables you to buy superior loot and crafting recipes at Dark Zone Vendors at the Safe Rooms and checkpoints. The more DZ Funds you carry, the more you can lose in case you die, as it’s based on a percentage value of your current amount.

Subzones

tc-the-division-dark-zone-subzones

The Dark Zone itself is divided into 9 subzones (Dark Zone North: 3 subzones)going from DZ01 (South) to DZ09 (North) of Midtown Manhattan, while number 06 is the most dangerous one and requires you to be DZ Rank 29-34 to join this particular player bracket.

As you hit player level 30, the zoning is gone and you are able to explore the whole zone again, but with tougher enemies and better loot. Each of these subzones can be entered by either the aforementioned checkpoints or walls.

  • DZ01: 10-12
  • DZ02: 13-15
  • DZ03: 16-18
  • DZ04: 22-24
  • DZ05: 27-29
  • DZ06: 29-30 (30-34)
  • DZ07: 31-34
  • DZ08: 30-34
  • DZ09: 30-34

Brackets

With the introduction of Gear Sets and the Gear Score rating, the Dark Zone is now further separated into 3 brackets for players with level 30. The game will take your Gear Score into account and send you to one of the following brackets.

  • 0-160 GS
  • 161-200 GS
  • 201+ GS
  • 231+ GS

A clear line of progression should allow players who start in the lowest bracket to be able to reach the highest one by providing continuous and valuable loot drops. The 231+ bracket is known for the best loot in the game, but is also filled with one of the toughest enemies around there.

Safe Rooms

tc-the-division-dz-safe-room

Similar to Safe Houses in the PvE Zone, so-called Safe Rooms are also located inside the Dark Zone and act as a safe place for you and your team if you need to take a rest or want to escape from NPCs or hostile agents. A small box in there allows you to restock your ammunition and consumables while a DZ Vendor is always available to trade with.

Landmarks

tc-the-division-dz-entering-landmarksAs the name adumbrates, Landmarks are special locations or areas that can be only found and discovered inside the DZ. These places can be either simple streets, buildings or other, more noticeable places like an abandoned gas station or news chopper crash. When you arrived there, you will find more challenging encounters with high-level enemies that will most likely reward you with better loot. Moreover, you could also find a bigger loot chest there.


PvP-Mode

The PvP-Mode is not a classic multiplayer mode, as you might know it from other games. There is neither a scoreboard, nor a team that leaves the zone as a winner. But a persistent Dark Zone Rank ensures how other players perceive you and what stuff can be bought with so-called Dark Zone Currency from merchants in the zone.

PvP is enabled by default, so as soon as you start shooting at another agent, you should be aware of the Rogue Protocol.

However, if you are fully devoted to the single-player and co-op mode experience and want to avoid PvP fights at all costs, you can safely avoid this zone. But always keep the valuable items inside the DZ in mind. Maybe someday also you will dare to go over the wall!

A separate deactivation of this area is not possible.


Rogue Protocol

Rogue Agent

In the Dark Zone you won’t only fight against AI controlled opponents, but possibly also against other agents of the SHD, in the worst case even against the allies of your own team. If a player or team decides to go that way, the so-called Rogue Protocol is activated.

Non-Hostile Agent
Non-Hostile Agent
Rogue Agent
Rogue Agent

When you attack or kill an enemy player (except for enemy Rogue Agents), you and all members of your group will become a Rogue Agent. This means that all enemy agents in the Dark Zone will from now on know your current position because you will be marked with a skull symbol which you can see in the screenshot below. Furthermore, the color of the previously orange glowing circle on your com-device will now be red.

Within a group, friendly fire is disabled, which means that you have to leave the group first to shoot your allies. But be aware of the fact, that they will be notified before you actually leave the group so that they can prepare themselves for such situation.

Rogue Stage

The more enemy players you kill, the higher your Rogue Stage, which can reach maximum level 5 and is noticeable by a dashed circle around the skull. In addition, a bounty is put on you, which also increases with each additional kill.

To get rid of this status, no other players may be attacked or killed for a certain period of time (5 minutes maximum), or your stage timer resets. If you die as Rogue Agent before the end of this timer, the player who killed you gets the bounty and a lot of your Dark Zone XP. However, if you are able to stay alive within this time, you will receive your own bounty.

Manhunt

Upon matching Rogue Stage 5, a Manhunt mission starts for all nearby players, with you and your team as the target. If you manage to survive the manhunt (05:00 minutes), you will receive your own bounty. In contrast to the Rogue Stage timer, the Manhunt timer just pauses while in combat, instead of resetting itself back to 05:00 minutes.

Looting

the-division-e3-2015-dark-zone-reveal-29

Similar to the PvE Zone (Items: Loot Sharing), the loot of killed NPCs in the Dark Zone is not shared, meaning that everybody gets his own loot. However, due to the implemented PvP mode it is possible to also steal contaminated items from other dead players, undertaking the following two rules into account. Furthermore the loot of those recently killed players is shared amongst all players in the DZ, following the principle of “First come, first served”.

Lootable are items that a killed player has found in the Dark Zone and has not yet extracted them. Since these items are contaminated, they must be also secured by Extraction.

Not lootable are items that have been already secured and extracted by the killed player, or have been found outside the Dark Zone. These cannot be picked up and the dead player won’t lose them.


Supply Drops

Supply Drops are a global event where the Strategic Homeland Defense agency air drops multiple supply caches from outside the Dark Zone – and will fall down with a parachute regularly every hour at different locations that will be marked on your mega-map, which gives you additional information whether the crate is

  • still airborne,
  • available,
  • in progress,
  • secured,
  • or the drop site compromised.

These Supply Drops contain very good loot, some DZ Funds, and 15 Phoenix Credits, however, they are heavily guarded by super tough enemies and only available for a few minutes before they expire.

Moreover, you might not be the only one that seeks out and wants to explore the drop site, because only the first team that claims the dropped items will get it. Worth to notice is that these items are not contaminated and don’t have to be extracted, so they are yours as soon as you secure the SHD crate and pick them up.

Season Pass owners can also claim Supply Drops outside of the Dark Zone as part of the monthly special events.


Sealed Caches

tc-the-division-dark-zone-sealed-caches

Named Enemies in the Dark Zone have a chance to drop so-called Sealed Caches. Sealed Caches contain mystery items, starting from

  • Gear Items to
  • Crafting Materials including Division Tech and
  • Dark Zone Funds.

The quality of the loot inside reflects the difficulty of the NPC who dropped it and is also indicated on the range of crafting materials and Dark Zone Funds displayed in the UI as you can see in the screenshot above. The Sealed Cache is contaminated and needs to be extracted before you can open it and see what’s inside.


Extraction

Contaminated items you have found in the Dark Zone cannot be used before they are carried out by Extraction at from the game selected places. If you try to leave the zone with contaminated items, but without extracting them, they will simply get destroyed at the checkpoint you want to exit it.

By firing a flare gun, a helicopter of the Base of Operations is requested, which then waits for less than 90 seconds at the extraction point so that you can handover the loot, before he brings it back to the base. The extracted items can be found in your stash.

Upon arrival of the helicopter, special caution is required, because other teams/players will be informed about this process and maybe don’t want to leave you that easy.

Extraction completed
Extraction completed

Hijacking an Extraction

Since update 1.2, Extractions can be hijacked by cutting the extracting helicopter’s rope in order to loot the item bags of other agents that were already hanging on it. What does that mean?

tc-the-division-dark-zone-extraction-hijacking-rope-cut

As soon as you interact with the rope and try to cut it into pieces, your team will be marked as Rogue (Rogue Stage 0 and 19 seconds timer). In case you manage to fully cut it, you will reach Rogue Stage 1, giving you the standard timer of 90 seconds.

The contaminated item bags that were hanging on that rope will fall to the ground and reveal all items inside, which actually means that you would have to defend your loot.

This is the end for short stays at extraction points as you better stay there and protect the bag until your loot is secured.

Discuss in Forum Leave us a comment below

Comments

35 Comments

  1. John Richardson
    Jan 17, 2016 @ 19:31:00

    “More “Urge Than Compulsion”

    If you are fully devoted to the single player and co-op mode experience and want to avoid PvP fights, you can safely avoid this zone. But always keep the valuable items inside the zone in mind. Maybe some day also you will dare to go over the wall!””

    Maybe you Ubisoft, should provide PVE methods for people who have no interest in doing PVP, obtain high level weapons. Or are you just like Bungie and think that if you force us into PVP we will some how magically start to love it. I’d rather not hate that aspect of the Division like I abhor PVP quest lines in Destiny.

    Reply

    • Marcus Worrell
      Feb 29, 2016 @ 14:57:00

      You just directly contradicted the quote you chose. He said you can avoid the dark zone if you want to. Why are some players so sensitive about pvp being in a game? If you want a single player only game buy a single player only game. Some of us like pvp. Why buy a game with pvp and then cry about it.

      Reply

      • John Richardson
        Mar 01, 2016 @ 21:44:00

        Eh, no I did not. My point is that PVE players should be provided with ways to get the top gear without participating in PVP. Other than that I couldn’t care less if PVP is in the game. I’m just looking for equality. I don’t think special weapons should only be obtainable through certain PVE tasks either. Of course many people like PVP. I’ve played thousands of Halo and COD games too but I’m just not into that experience any more.

        I don’t know what you missed in Ubisoft’s quote. It seemed pretty clear to me – “Oh if you don’t want to you can safely avoid this zone. Too bad about the top items in there”.

        The Division is being billed every bit a PVE game as it is PVP. “Why buy a game with pvp and then cry about it.” is just a red rag comment.

        There is no reason other than will that rewards can be made equally difficult yet attainable in both PVE and PVP worlds, the developers just have to do it, plain and simple.

        Reply

        • Anonymous
          Mar 09, 2016 @ 14:12:00

          Well both PVE and PVP are rewarding, PVP just happens to be faster and somewhat easier. But you can still get legendary items from PVE. Play the game before you hate the game.

          Reply

        • Bread
          Mar 15, 2016 @ 03:02:00

          It’s plenty equal. PVE has weeklies and dailies at level 30 that reward Phoenix Credits, which can be used in the Post Office OR in the Dark Zone safe rooms to purchase endgame gear.

          Reply

          • John Richardson
            Mar 15, 2016 @ 07:09:00

            Oh. Well that’s sounds pretty good then. Thanks.

        • captainawesesome
          May 02, 2016 @ 20:24:00

          “I’m just looking for equality”…
          “the developers just have to do it”

          No, and no. If you want equality, go back to politics. Get out of here with your smelly sense of entitlement.

          Reply

    • joevsyou
      Apr 01, 2016 @ 06:15:00

      darkzones are SOO fun, why would you want to miss out in that? GO PLAY IT

      Reply

      • Simon Steffensen
        Apr 01, 2016 @ 10:22:00

        Just tried it first time yesterday, and im a PVE player at heart, but i gotta admit it was fucking awsome!

        Reply

      • John Richardson
        Apr 01, 2016 @ 11:16:00

        It’s OK until the teeny boppers catch you on a bad night. Total fuc..wits.

        I can see the grind coming though can’t you? Everything is getting samey. The daily missions are already getting boring. Its still fun but I personally can see the end. I predict the DLC will just be a grind carrot.

        No worries though as there is a raft of fantastic games to take you away from boredom this year…..

        Reply

        • Elristan
          Apr 18, 2016 @ 17:45:00

          You can get all the items in PvE, you just have a higher drop chance in PvP. And honestly, if you’re afraid of the grind… PVP is precisely where it’s at ! As long as you don’t attach a high value to you dying on occasion, it’s a lot of fun. Maybe you die sometimes, but you’ve had the thrill of trying to survive instead of just redoing what you just failed !

          I know I’m not gonna convince you to try PVP if you’re really dead set on not doing any. But at least maybe you’ll understand why PVP is so appealing to a lot of people : the risk is the reward, as much as the loot !

          Reply

          • John Richardson
            Apr 18, 2016 @ 19:10:00

            I’ve done plenty of the PVP but the dark zone just gets boring too I find, it was fun for a while. It’s just not varied and fun enough to invest my time in the grind. Be interesting to see the numbers as time goes on, it’s just different strokes I guess. I also have an issue with the premise of the Dark Zone being part of a Tom Clancy game. But hey knock yourself out if you like it. I’m not worried myself – as I say, plenty of games for me on the horizon, Destiny included.

          • Nar
            Dec 31, 2016 @ 18:05:00

            I was like afraid going into DZ, but then I tried it once, and fuck, it is awesome. I lost some awesome loot, because of thea team of rogues, but after like ten minutes I witnessed them getting slaughtered by npcs, so I help the npcs. It was fun.

  2. Juan
    Jan 22, 2016 @ 19:35:00

    Does Dark Zone Ranking resets if you exit the Dark Zone?

    Reply

    • QXARE
      Jan 24, 2016 @ 22:31:00

      No, it’s a persistent rank, same as your normal character level outside the Dark Zone.

      Reply

  3. Gonzalo Jarjury
    Jan 30, 2016 @ 02:32:00

    Where can I find my items sent it in the helicopter?

    Reply

    • QXARE
      Jan 30, 2016 @ 03:10:00

      Base of Operations -> Stash

      Reply

  4. Max
    Feb 21, 2016 @ 15:07:00

    What should I do my friend goes into dz 8-8 and I go to dz1-7 how do we change this

    Reply

  5. David Nguyen
    Feb 26, 2016 @ 01:53:00

    do we get out items back from the beta when the full release is out?

    Reply

  6. Dubois Jon
    Mar 06, 2016 @ 07:17:00

    This site has wrong information… DZ is not split into 6 zones.. its 1 zone that each level bracket gets to play in.. that scales from easy to harder mobs.. but you get the whole zone.. also there is no level 29-30 bracket as devs already said that level 30 gets its own bracket…

    Reply

  7. Ice
    Mar 11, 2016 @ 17:45:00

    Something is irritating me, I keep seeing Level 9 players roaming around the DZ with level 15+ players, yet last night I could not play with my friend who is now level 13, I am level 15? As soon as he enters the DZ he disappears. I can still see his player icon on the map but if I go to him I cannot see him???? Please someone tell me why this is?

    Reply

    • cthulhu
      Mar 13, 2016 @ 04:05:00

      The lower level player(s) have to go into their group menu, select the higher level player and there will be a ‘join dark zone level’ option (can’t remember the exact wording) under all the ‘join group, invite to group’ options. Selecting this means they will find themselves in with the higher level enemies with their friend.

      Did this with one of my friends, he jumped me up to DZ rank 7 in about 10-15 minutes.

      Reply

    • Ansuman Baliarsingh
      Jun 06, 2016 @ 12:51:00

      Basically that’s a DZ Mismatch. Tell ur friend to go to Group Management and select ur name. There should be an option for him “Transfer to *your* Dz Bracket”. You can’t transfer to a lower bracket but a low level player can transfer to a higher bracket. This is done so that very high level players can’t fuck with beginning players.

      Reply

  8. Piotr Kuśnierz
    Mar 16, 2016 @ 23:13:00

    My epic moment as a rogue :)

    Reply

  9. Sk_FrozenNorth
    Mar 29, 2016 @ 06:22:00

    You can fully gear up in high end stuff just by doing pve, challenging mode, farming pheonix credits to by high end blue prints etc.

    Reply

  10. AmazingItsNotOverYet
    Apr 01, 2016 @ 01:47:00

    As someone who more enjoys the Borderlands-ish co-op loot-hunt aspect of the game, I’m disappointed in the Dark Zone game play. All the loot, loot crates, purchasable loot, etc, requires you be DZ30 once you are PL30. There is basically no scaling based on your Dark Zone rank. If you didn’t keep your DZ rank up with your PL rank, you’ve got a lot of boring grinding to do. But don’t worry; while you’re grinding you’re going to carry around a boatload of DZ Funds because you got nothing you can spend them on, which is great for those Rogue Agents out there.

    Meh.

    Reply

  11. Guest
    Apr 08, 2016 @ 10:00:00

    “whereas the exit is only possible via the latter variant.”, please can you write in plain English, rather than this pseudo-intellectual rubbish?

    Reply

  12. Matthew
    May 10, 2016 @ 17:05:00

    Does anyone know what the loot drop Gear Score in the DZ is based off of? Individual GS or bracket level?

    Reply

  13. zenlovedawg
    May 19, 2016 @ 17:58:00

    So can any of you just enjoy the game without complaint? I like the game and fully enjoy it…BAM!!….that’s it.

    Reply

    • LilVowz
      Sep 19, 2016 @ 05:27:00

      Lol

      Reply

  14. Gloryroad187
    May 24, 2016 @ 18:13:00

    I just completed the new Incursion and have to say it was a nice change. I was able to finish it in about 15 minutes and the loot received was two new set items and two new 204 GS weapons. The first part basically plant two bombs on the SAM site while incoming waves come.
    We used snipers and two tanks for this quick work. The 2nd part is 3 fuse boxes need to be placed while dealing with heavy gunners and shotgun waves. After that a boss appears with more waves and motor shells dropping. Go for the quick boss kill and sweep the remaining NPC’s and fight over. Great having two weapons drop off the boss with 204 GS!!! If anyone has questions find me on PS4 (Gloryroad187)

    Reply

  15. Darius Laurinčikas
    Jun 19, 2016 @ 14:58:00

    Can I buy for real money blueprint? O buy dark zone levels?

    Reply

  16. Steve welch
    Jun 28, 2016 @ 01:13:00

    Having problems sharing items in dark zone. Some items are shareable and some aren’t

    Reply

  17. darkzone is for noobs
    Sep 03, 2016 @ 21:12:00

    darkzone is complete bs, when you want to go in you die within 10 sec, and if you have any loot you will perma die, why is that? cuz there are players with lvl 70 darkzone vs a lvl 1 darkzone, balance this sht!

    Reply

    • Pseudonymous
      Mar 03, 2017 @ 14:40:00

      All dark zone rank really does is show experience. If you guys are the same level you have the same loot, and gear.

      Reply

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