I’ll end with my thoughts on the Dark Zone. The Dark Zone is the PVE portion of the map that is The Division’s endgame. That’s where the best loot is as well as more challenging enemies. It’s got a fairly unique setup. You can go into the Dark Zone and fight enemies for better gear, but since anything you pick up is contaminated you’ll need to extract it. You can call an extraction, but that alerts everyone in the vicinity to come your way, friend and foe. The extraction period takes 90 seconds, and you’ll need to be on your guard. NPCs will typically attack you. Or another player can attack you, steal your loot, claim it, and extract it themselves. In the few times I took gear out I never was betrayed by another player. I died once and lost most of my gear. But overall my extraction success rate is good. There is a permanent tension though during extractions. There’s nothing to stop one player from unloading a gun on you at the last second. More people means more tension, the whole thing feels like a Mexican standoff by the end.
The Dark Zone has a bit of karma to it. If you shoot another player, you are “rogue.” Which means other players can hunt you down and claim the bounty on your head. You’re only rogue for a set amount of time however, and it’s dependent on how violent you are. Occasionally I shot other players by mistake and ran, but the bounty on my head went away after about 15 seconds, but I’ve seen players who had bounties for 90 seconds. While you can betray other players, if you die you lose everything. But at the same time, when an extraction is called, it’s in everyone’s best interests to work together to keep the extraction zone safe. And yes, there is a matchmaking for the Dark Zone as well. So far I’ve gone in 4 times with a partner and none of my experiences have been the same. It’s been a lot of fun. You level up in the Dark Zone as well, and you can buy gear from vendors there. I’d recommend waiting until you’re level 10 before jumping in.
The Dark Zone offers some new co-operative experiences. You and your friends, or you solo, really have no idea what you’re going to come up against. You feel like you’re going on patrol in a very dangerous area, and you’re always unsure of whether that person is going to ignore you or open fire. It’s dangerous, tense, and damn fun.
The Division has been successful so far in my book. Occasionally I get booted from the game, but it’s never been so bad that I had to ragequit altogether. I’ve also come across a few instances where NPCs spawn right in front of me and mow me down. Other than that, it’s worked really well. The missions are fun and the shooting is pretty good. The itch to level up and continue is there as well. We’ll see how the Dark Zone plays out long term and if there is any good wrap-up for the story. For now I’m pleased with the purchase. More than that I’m curious as to what the DLC will bring.