The Division

The Division: A Beginner's Guide

A helpful guide that should help you find your feet in the anarchic streets of Manhattan.

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We love the Division here at Gamereactor (check out our review to find out why). Ubisoft and Massive have done a great job in realising their online-RPG, and they've created an undeniably massive and detailed world. However, its size can also be daunting, and because of that we've compiled 13 pieces of advice (in no particular order) so you can avoid the dollar flu and get some of your own sweet loot.

1. Use different kinds of bullets

The Division has a bunch of different sub-menus and systems to keep track of, so it's easy for the bullet selection wheel to get lost in the mix. However, using different kinds of ammunition may just get you out of a pickle, especially when all your grenades and skills are used or on cooldown. Ammunition types can be found by holding the right arrow on the D-pad, and there's two different types - explosive bullets and incendiary bullets. Whereas their uses are quite clear, the damage makes a lot of difference, especially on bosses. Setting enemies on fire, or setting off an explosion nearby will also stun an enemy, so simply using special ammo for a couple of seconds will get you a long way, if you find yourself neck deep in thugs.

If you decide to utilise special ammunition, be aware that the limited stack you have runs out pretty quickly, so get used to keeping an eye out for the regular bags as well as loot chests in general.

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Now that we're talking about the right D-pad sub-menu, it's also here you can find various consumables that'll refill your health bar. If you've run out of health packs in the Dark Zone, you can still drink a couple of cans of fizzy pop to keep yourself in the fight.

2. Main missions are the fastest way to level

This might sound obvious, but there are a lot of activities that'll take up your time, and they all reward the player in various ways. The Main Missions, though, are where your attention should be during the first few hours, as each of them easily gives you 60-70% of a level. Once you've completed 5-6 of them, the level requirements will be further stretched out, but until then they should be your first priority. Not only do they give you the much needed narrative context to drive your adventure, but they are an essential introduction to how various enemy combinations work as a challenge, and you'll learn much more about combat efficiency by sticking to the first Main Missions, than simply wandering around. There'll be time for that. Trust us.

3. Remember to upgrade your Base of Operations

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Yes, The Division briefly introduces you to upgrading your base, but even though this part of the game may seem purely contextual and might appear as filler, it's the primary way for your character to grow, as upgrading the various sections of the base - which is divided into Health, Security and Tech - will unlock new skills and talents.

Completing Main Missions and Encounters will earn you resources towards one of the three sections mentioned above, and these resources can be used to purchase specific upgrades for your base. Look carefully at the given upgrade though, and you'll see that this is how you'll unlock new active skills for your character. The Seeker Grenade unlocks after you've built a communications room in the Tech wing, and they'll also unlock modifications for each skill. If you want your turret to spew fire instead of bullets, you'll want to look carefully before you spend your hard-earned resources.


4. Craft away

Crafting is another one of those systems that easily gets buried under the barrage of information that you will receive early on. It is, however, very simple, as completing side missions will give you certain blueprints, and these blueprints can be used to craft weapons and armour at the crafting station in your base. If you're stuck with uncommon gear, the blueprints are a quick way to get the upper hand early on. They'll require Specialised (the blue) versions of Tools, Fabric and Weapon Parts, but do remember, that even though you're only finding Standard (green) versions of these materials, they can be combined into better ones in 3:1 ratios. Therefore, finding enough standard versions of these should net you some pretty good gear during your first hours of play.

5. Don't be afraid of the Dark Zone

It's true, the Dark Zone can be chaos. There are powerful NPCs, and players who will turn on you in a second, but it's also here you'll easily find the best gear for your level, and for the most part with minimal effort. The Dark Zone can be a gold mine, it can also be the most potentially frustrating part of the game. If you do decide to venture into the Dark Zone it is advisable to do so in a group, preferably with four of you, as it's quite likely that other players will have had the same idea and will be roaming around in groups ganking un-suspecting solo players and taking all their sweet, sweet loot.

The enemies are considerably harder in the Dark Zone than outside of it, but simply by selecting tactically sound skills, as well as staying behind cover and being conservative with your bullets, you can easily scrape together a couple of Specialised items in an hour or two, and that'll keep you on top of most challenges early on. In addition, by taking down NPC enemies, as well as hunting Rogue agents, you'll gain Dark Zone currency, which will buy you some pretty neat gear too.

6. Know your stats

Of course you'll want to be increasing all three areas of specialism as much as possible, but each one has its own role. Firearms, unsurprisingly, increase damage with all of your guns. Stamina, meanwhile, increases your health, and your third stat, Electronics, will increase the strength of all your skills, which means increased damage on the turret, more healing from the first aid skill, increased effectiveness of the pulse, and so on and so forth. Early on you're unlikely to find gear that will increase all three of these so learn to play to your strengths.

7. Pick up every piece of gear you find

Unwanted gear can be a useful source of crafting materials. This may seem like a no-brainer but picking up more gear means that even if it isn't better than your currently equipped items, you can deconstruct it for crafting materials to craft gear that's better than what you currently have equipped. Waste not, want not.


8. Gear rarity works in tiers

Green items are your standard pieces that won't really give you any bonuses other than stat increases. Blue items are when you start getting gear bonuses like higher crit rate or decreased skill cooldown after a kill. Following that we have Purple items, which are considered 'superior' grade gear; they still have bonuses like Blue items, but they are almost always better in terms of stats. Finally we have Yellow or Gold weapons, and these are your high-end pieces and the best that you can currently acquire in the game. They are also the most expensive and the hardest to find, but then again, they're the most powerful.

9. Modding gear can give you an edge

You can mod your primary and secondary weapons along with your vests, masks and knee-pads. While these won't give talents like the base weapons, they give the gear different benefits. For example, an extended magazine will give you more shots per clip, while a suppressor will reduce the likelihood that enemies will attack you over your allies. If you're playing in a group, modding your gear to compliment your party will greatly improve your effectiveness.

10. Enemies have different levels of difficulty

And we're not just talking about their numerical level. An enemy's strength also depends of the colour of their health bar. Standard enemies will have a single red health bar, these are usually of minimal threat (unless they seriously out-level you).

Veteran enemies will have an armour bar on top of their yellow health bar, so you need to deplete their armour before you can start dealing real damage. Armour piercing mods are very effective against these enemies.

Finally we have elite and named enemies. Like veterans, elites will have heavy armour, however they are distinguished by their purple health bar. Elites will also generally be tougher than veterans and smarter as well, with a special attack or two up their sleeve. There are two redeeming factors about fighting elites; one is that they usually have a weak spot which you can hit for massive damage, and the second is that they usually drop the best loot of the three enemy difficulties.

11. Enemies also have different jobs

As well as the varied enemy strength, enemies may have a class indicator next to their health bar. A lightning bolt means they will try to rush you and melee you while you're behind cover. A target reticule indicates a sniper, while a grenade means they will, unsurprisingly, be throwing nades of different types at you. If you spot an enemy turret, which look similar to yours, it means there's an engineer nearby, these are denoted by the wrench next to the name. Finally we have the medics, which do exactly what it says on the tin and heals nearby allies (these should be taken out first otherwise they'll continue to heal allies throughout the fight, prolonging it unnecessarily).

12. Learn the different enemy factions

The division currently has 4 'factions' each of them using varying tactics.

The Rioters are your standard adversaries. They're armed with fairly basic weapons, it's unlikely they'll be wearing armour, and they'll use fairly conventional tactics.

Next we have The Rikers, these are escaped convicts, they're tougher than the Rioters, but their weapons remain as basic as the Rioters', they're more likely to try to get behind you, however, so keep an eye on your flank so you don't end up getting surprised from the side.

The middle tier faction are the Cleaners. Unfortunately these aren't the guys you get to come and clean your Base of Operations. They're often seen carrying flamethrowers alongside their standard weapons, and they tend to move slower than other enemies. Still, when they get close enough their fiery weapons will ignore your cover and apply damage over time while you burn. You'll want to keep your distance from these enemies if at all possible, or at least stay out of range.

The final faction are the intimidating sounding Last Man Batallion or LMB. These are the toughest enemies in the game at the moment. They often carry higher quality gear than the other factions and are usually seen wearing armour. Squads from the LMB often contain medics and snipers and will challenge even well organised players. If this were a police report they would be considered 'armed and highly dangerous'.

13. Don't be afraid of going rogue

While good loot can be found on Dark Zone NPCs, the best loot will be found on other players and the best way to get that loot is to kill said players. Going rogue has other benefits as well. The longer you stay rogue, the higher your Dark Zone fund reward will be, as long as you survive until your rogue timer runs out. The survival reward combined with the satisfaction of other players' loot can be very tempting, but remember while you are rogue, players not in your party can attack you without consequence and if they kill you your forfeit for going rogue is paid in precious Dark Zone funds.

There's information being thrown at you all the time in The Division, but as long as you keep a cool head you'll be able to keep yourself alive and pick up those precious loot drops. If you want to see some more gameplay, head over to our The Division page and check out some of out previous livestreams and gameplay trailers.


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The Division

REVIEW. Written by Eirik Hyldbakk Furu

"We're still early in 2016, but we've already made room for The Division in our game of the year list."

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