With The Division 2 now upon us, we’ve awakened a crack squad of sleeper agents to get you up to speed. Just like the well-trained units of Ubisoft’s co-op tactical shooter, who are fighting to safeguard what remains of Washington D.C. after a devastating viral outbreak, we’re here to protect you as you take your first steps out into the battle-ravaged U.S. capital.
As such, this guide provides intel on the new factions and how to fight them, the gadgets you can use in the field, and the new Dark Zone vendor who only trades with rogue agents. Given that you’ll be operating in a location 20% larger than the original game’s map – one absolutely chock full of new threats – you’ll want to pay close attention.
Say bye-bye to bullet sponges
The Division 2 has several ways of avoiding the previous game’s tendency towards bullet sponges. The first of these is a reduction in global TTK (time to kill). Be warned, though: not only will you dispatch enemies faster, they’ll also take you out faster. As a result, staying in cover is even more important in this sequel.
Another key change The Division 2 sports is localised armour. Heavy enemies have separate bits of protection on their arms, chest, and head. Chip away at a specific location and you’ll knock that armour off, exposing the more yielding flesh below – the unfortunate owner will drop quickly without protection. The new chem launcher’s corrosive clouds are one of several abilities designed to deal with heavily armoured enemies, and it’s a whole lot more satisfying than pumping lead into what feel like bulletproof baddies. Stay in cover, use abilities, and pick your shots.
Face off against new enemy factions
There are four factions in The Division 2 and each presents a different combat challenge. The True Sons are a group of paramilitary warlords who use tried and tested weaponry and tactics, making for a familiar foe. The Hyenas, meanwhile, are a more ragtag bunch. This loosely organised gang of scavengers fight how they look: dirty. They’ll charge you with melee weapons and attack from all angles.
The Outcasts, meanwhile, are religious zealots who want to cleanse society with flamethrowers and suicide bombers, not unlike the first game’s Cleaners. Your biggest threat, however, is Black Tusk. These well-equipped enemies start popping up once you hit level 30, and come with robot dogs and quadrocopters that pack machine guns. The four factions in The Division 2 will keep you on your toes and test your ability to adapt your tactics on the fly.
Make use of new skills
There are several skills in The Division 2 that you can deploy to help turn the tide of battle, such as the seeker mine which returns from the first game. This handy globe locks onto an enemy before crawling along the floor and then exploding in their face. If you’re looking for a new toy, though, there’s the assault drone, which you control remotely, firing on enemies at range.
The aforementioned chem launcher, meanwhile, can be loaded up with combustible gas, riot foam, corrosive chemicals, and clouds of armour-repairing powder. Finally, there’s the wasp hive, which sends out a swarm of tiny drones to harass enemies, causing them terrible pain. When teaming up, try to pick allies who have different skills to yours, so you can have the full complement of waspy, corrosive, foamy fun.
What to expect in the Dark Zones
Dark Zones are lawless sealed-off areas of Washington D.C. containing high-level loot and some of The Division 2’s most fearsome enemies. But these villains aren’t the only foes you’ll have to worry about; in a Dark Zone, other players can hunt and kill you, too. This PvPvE mode was the first game’s standout feature, and The Division 2 is doubling – no, tripling – down on the idea with three new Dark Zones: DZ South near Fisherman’s Wharf, DZ East around Union Station, and DZ West in Georgetown.
Your aim when exploring a Dark Zone is to uncover high-tier loot. Unfortunately, all this gear is contaminated, so you need to extract it by signalling a chopper which can take your new treasures away to be sterilised. There’s also clean loot that you can pick up and use straight away, of course, but the very best stuff will require a heroic extraction.
Each Dark Zone holds up to 12 players, and everyone is on equal footing thanks to gear normalisation. This assigns a different set of stats to every weapon and armour piece when you enter the Dark Zone, so a beginner will always stand a chance against someone who’s sunk hundreds of hours into the game.
Is going Rogue a bad idea?
Breaking the rules of The Division’s ‘help society’ code of conduct in the Dark Zones is known as ‘going Rogue’. There are three main ways of doing this: you can steal from lockboxes, turn your guns on other players and take their loot for yourself, or even embark on a multi-kill Manhunt. The higher the risk of your Rogue actions, the larger the reward: surviving a manhunt until the very end provides some of the Dark Zone’s best spoils.
As you engage in Rogue activity you’re labelled a ‘disavowed agent’, and non-Rogue players are temporarily alerted to your location, providing them with the opportunity to intervene and put a stop to your activities. Evade other players – or simply kill them – and keep building your Rogue level, though, and you’ll eventually have a bounty placed on you, providing rewards for any player who can finally bring your spree to an end.
Don’t worry about getting caught up in Rogue activity accidentally – you have to manually turn on friendly fire before you can start shooting at other players. If you want the Dark Zone to be a purely PvE affair, just stick to taking out AI enemies. Watch your back, though; not everyone in the Dark Zone will be so restrained.
Enter the Thieves Den
If going Rogue and gunning down other players isn’t your idea of a fun time, then you should investigate the Thieves Den. This is the non-violent approach to going Rogue, and provides some reasonable rewards in exchange for a little bit of breaking and entering.
Hacking SHD terminals (which belong to your jilted former employer, Strategic Homeland Division) and forcing your way into lock boxes provides you with data that helps to triangulate the den’s location. Follow the trail and collect objectives within the time limit and you’ll find yourself at the Thieves Den, where the merchant inside will happily sell high-quality loot. These goods aren’t as desirable as those provided by Dark Zone Manhunts, sure, but as they say: lower risk, lower reward. You’ll also instantly lose your Rogue status when you step back outside the door. The only way anyone would ever know you’re a thief is if you go blabbing about it, so try and keep schtum.
Learn your Specialisations
This may be a beginner’s guide, but it’s good to think carefully about your endgame aspirations and plan accordingly. Specialisations form a major part of your character’s journey, as they offer powerful new weapons and skills when you hit level 30. You’ll want to build a character around these, and so it’s worth assessing your playstyle and thinking ahead about which Specialisation you’d like to play.
There are three Specialisations available at launch. These are:
- Survivalist: a ranger-style role, equipped with a crossbow and skills that trap enemies and inflict status effects.
- Demolitionist: packing a grenade launcher, this role specialises in explosive firepower that can be used to flush enemies from cover.
- Sharpshooter: the squad scout, armed with a sniper rifle that comes in pretty handy when covering your allies at longer distances.
You can pick only one of these Specialisations, so be sure to choose the best fit for you. After locking in your choice, you can develop it further by squading up with fellow agents and tackling endgame co-op missions together.
And with those seven lessons learned, you’ve passed our The Division 2 boot camp. You’re now ready to keep the citizens of Washington D.C. safe and help bring this catastrophe to an end. If you’re happy to accept your mission, head over to Uplay or the Epic Store, where you can purchase Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 right now.