Dark Zones are the PvEvP territories for The Division 2, and provide the highest level of risk versus reward. Fundamentally, you’ll be fighting against real players over the spoils, and they also house high-level Blask Tust enemies, you’ll also have roaming packs of enemies to also contend with.
In comparison to The Division, there have been significant changes to the core designs of the Dark Zone, and there’s a lot of information here to get your head around: the game itself tells you very little.
Where Are Dark Zones?
In total there are three Dark Zones available, with each marked on your map with a purple biohazard symbol.
- Dark Zone East: The largest of the three Dark Zones, and sat next to Judiciary Square, it’s the largest Dark Zone and houses the Capital Train Station. Filled with wide-open spaces, and plenty of greenery, it’s brilliant for long-ranged sniping, and makes life challenging for confined builds that rely on sub-machine guns or shotguns.
- Dark Zone South: The smallest of the Dark Zones, Dark Zone South is the opposite of East, and emphasises close quarter combat. By the waterfront, it originally houses the sick and those in need, but having eventually flooded, was abandoned. Short-range equipment, and skills such as Shield and Pulse work well here.
- Dark Zone West: Set in George Town and heavily suburban, Dark Zone West is filled with alleyways and confined spaces. Originally a testing ground for the Government to develop DZ-62, its experimentation went poorly and resulted in the area being abandoned. In this particular area, sub-machine guns are favored.
How To Reach Dark Zones
Once you reach level 10 and have upgraded your Theater to level 3, you’ll need to chat to Senait Ezera. You’ll first find her on the ground floor of the Theatre, and if you’ve met the prerequisites, she’ll direct you to Dark Zone East, where you need to travel to the location and reactivate security protocols. Completing this mission, and its tutorial, allows you to then gain further missions for the remaining Dark Zones. At level 10 they’re fairly easy to complete, and can be played with friends or you can Matchmake at a Safe House to find a partner.
Where the prerequisites are concerned, you’ll need to disrupt public executions. These are often displayed as question marks on the map [?] or a red heads. Just head to them, and get as near to the hostages as possible before you begin to open fire: they stand the greatest chance of survival that way.
Loot, Extractions And How Dark Zones Work
Firstly, Dark Zones work similarly to Battleground’s in World of Warcraft:
Items and their attributes are normalised so that no player has a huge item advantage over the other. While there’s still a range of disparity if you’re undergeared and your opponents are overgeared (around 10%), it ensures that everyone regardless of kit remains viable. Skill more than gear plays a key part in beating opponents.
Dark Zones and their matchmaking is based on your level or World Tier, with brackets ranging from 1-10, 11-20, and 21-30.
Despite these rules, it must be noted that on rotation a Dark Zone can become Occupied. Once it does, all existing rules (those noted above), as well as any Rogue status and friendly fire are all suspended. Simply put, an Occupied Dark Zone is the wild west of The Division 2, and if you’re in the area when this occurs, be prepared for fight or flight if you want to survive.
Loot and Extractions
In The Division, all loot obtained in the Dark Zone was contaminated. The impact of this was that everything you found had to be extracted before being used. While extraction is very much alive and well in The Division 2, not all loot has to be extracted. Instead, some can be used immediately while stronger, more powerful kit will still need to be sent back to occupied territory.
When you’ve had enough time in the Dark Zone and want to extract your loot, you’ll just need to head to an extraction point and signal the helicopter. Once it arrives, load your haul to the rope and defend the area until the rope can no longer be cut. Just be prepared to defend your loot from other players and AI controlled enemies. Until your loot is high in the sky, it can be stolen and rest assured - many players will make every attempt to claim it. Once your loot is safely away, just head to your nearest stash to see what you’ve got.
As a final point on loot, the entire purpose behind entering the Dark Zone is the fact that the loot on offer is incredibly good (some of the best in the game), and prolonged periods in the areas can prove lucrative. The risk versus reward component of Dark Zones is only increased with the implementation of Dark Zone chests.
Like any other loot in the game, these stores can be stolen and in turn, will set your status immediately to Rogue. Fortunately, if you want open a Dark Zone chest without the status flag, you’ll need a key. While I can’t say for certain, but several clan friends have reported finding these on players, as well as named enemies, which suggests they’re part of existing loot tables for high-ranked enemies.
Just like in The Division, The Division 2 allows you to go Rogue. Unlike its predecessor however, it has far greater depth.
Going Rogue now has three statuses, which range from Rogue, Disavowed Rogue, and Manhunt Rogue.
- Rogue (Non-lethal anti-Agent activity): Activity within the Dark Zone that’s considered minor, but against the Agent code. If you’ve stolen Dark Zone Loot, or toggled the Rogue option, you’ll be flagged.
- Able to attack other players, acquire loot and experience from them, but they can attack you.
- Disavowed Rogue (Violent anti-Agent activity): Heightened activity based on you already being Rogue, and if you’ve killed another player. Have you turned Rogue and taken out another player? You are now Disavowed Rogue.
- Able to attack other players, acquire loot and experience from them, but they can attack you and you’re more visible on the map (detonated by a red icon).
- Manhunt Rogue (highest priority target): Based on killing multiple Agents, you’re at the final tier of Rogue status.
- Able to attack other players, acquire loot and experience from them, but they can attack you, completely visible on the map, and your bounty is significantly increased.
If you wish to clear your Rogue status, depending on your Tier, there’s several things you can do:
- Rogue/Disavowed Rogue: Enter one of several safe houses that litter the Dark Zone. If you make it inside, your Rogue status - and that of your party - will be removed.
- Manhunt Rogue: Access one of three terminals within the Dark Zone. Upon interacting with the terminal, you’ll have the opportunity to increase your notoriety, your bounty, and loot drops, or to clear your Manhunt Rogue status completely. Should you choose to continue with heightened risk, the remaining two terminals can be used to clear your wanted status.
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