The buildup to the second instalment of Tom Clancy’s The Division is a pretty big deal.
It comes as no surprise that the team at Massive Entertainment have been hard at work refining the inner workings of The Division 2 using lessons they learned in the previous game.
And so they aim to deliver on that promise of a more expansive and mechanically sound game with the multiplayer modes that the original game was extolled for. Dark Zones make a return in The Division 2, and this time they’re bigger and meaner than their predecessor.
For the uninitiated, Dark Zones is the multiplayer mode for The Division 2 that features both PvP and PvE gameplay. The latter, though, will only take place during your initial visit to each of Washington D.C.’s four Dark Zones, in which you’ll be up against one of the three enemy factions.
If you’re familiar with The Division, Dark Zone gameplay is generally quite chaotic despite the team setup, with players going in, getting loot from chests while avoiding being killed, sending contaminated loot to the extraction point for use after the Dark Zone session, and so on. It’s pretty much the same here, but it’s been beefed up with new features that make it more challenging and interesting for returning players and new ones alike.
Dark Zones are your main method of progressing your character past level 30, which is the max level in the game. In it, you’ll be working in teams with other players, sometimes with AI-controlled ones, and you’ll be going around killing off enemy players and collecting chests for extraction. What makes Dark Zones in The Division 2 more interesting is the ability to go Rogue, which offers a much riskier, but also more rewarding, approach to the game.
How do you go Rogue, do you ask? Simple. Either you break into a chest, steal contaminated loot from an extraction point, or simply toggling it on. Once you’re Rogue, you’re basically marked on the map and your enemies know where you are.
What is the point in going Rogue, do you ask? Firstly, your kills get you XP, where normally you’d get it per session. Secondly, there are increased chances for stronger loot in chests. Two big reasons to go Rogue. Of course, there’ll be a bounty on your head, and whoever kills you gets a big bonus to their XP and in-game currency.
But wait, there’s more. There are three levels of going Rogue, each with increasing levels of difficulty for the player while being more rewarding at the same time.
- Rogue. Your standard Rogue level, where you get the benefits mentioned above. You get this by breaking into a chest, stealing loot at an extraction point, or just by toggling it.
- Disavowed Rogue. Your location is slightly more visible to other players on the map. You get this by killing another player whilst as a Rogue.
- Manhunt Rogue. Your location is now revealed to all players on the map, and your bounty is rather sizeable. You get this by going on a killstreak whilst as a Disavowed Rogue.
There are four main ways to clear your Rogue status, should you get tired of being one for some reason. You can either be killed (which will make you lose all your bonus Rogue stuff, so you probably want to avoid this one), letting your Rogue timer run out without doing any Rogue actions, visiting the Thieves’ Den, or by hacking one of the several Manhunt terminals situated across the Dark Zones.
And that’s not all Massive has done with Dark Zones. Now there’s also Occupied Dark Zones once you reach the endgame.
Occupied Dark Zones are basically occupied by one of the three opposing factions in the game, so you’ll not only be fighting against enemy players but also against beefed up AI ones as well. While you’ll know who your teammates are, friendly fire is always on, so you’ll need to be extra careful, and what’s worse is that you will no longer be able to tell who Rogues are (though you’ll know if you’re one for sure). Occupied Dark Zones seems to be the pinnacle of The Division 2‘s multiplayer, with radically increased difficulty and rewards.
Accompanying Dark Zones will be the all-new Conflict, an organized PvP mode that features classic PvP-centric styles. Currently, there are:
- Skirmish, your standard-fare team deathmatch
- Domination, what looks to be an area control-type mode
These seem fairly straightforward and should offer a clean fight for players who want a palate-cleanser to the wildly chaotic Dark Zones.
With the private beta coming out on February 7, you’ll probably be looking out for these two multiplayer modes.
When you sink your teeth into Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 once it fully releases, it’ll ensure that you’ll keep biting for a long, long time.
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 officially releases on March 15 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.