This guide is to help you unlock all the safe houses regardless of your level. I unlocked all the houses when I was around level 8 or 9.
Safe House Overview
In the game, there are multiple safe houses throughout the city inside and outside of the Dark Zone of Manhattan.
The ones circled in red are all the known safe houses in the PVE area.
Your main safe house is the Base of Operation which is the Post Office at 34th Street right across Madison Square Garden, but as you venture out Manhattan, there are safe houses in each district of Manhattan such as Hudson Yards, Times Square, Hell's Kitchen etc. where you can resupply ammo, buy items from vendors, and unlock missions for that district.
Unlocking the Safe Houses
When the game released, I knew that eventually you will have to unlock all the safe houses outside the Dark Zone aka the PVE zone (Play vs Environment). Then I thought why not do it early? Because you can roam anywhere. At the same time you can encounter early rare item loots in PVE areas, update all the mission boards for each safe houses in the area, and get an early sneak peek of how the PVE map looks like.
There's a catch to unlocking the safe houses at a early level.
Since the West Side of Manhattan is filled with easy level NPC, you won't die as much as long as you are around the same level with the district you are entering, but if you enter a district that has a higher level than your player level, there is a huge probability that you will either get 1 shotted, or if you're lucky enough to survive, 2 shots.
To unlock them, basically you have to get to the location of the safe house, but you avoid them by sneaking around them because of two reasons:
Higher level NPC (Bigger chance of killing you)
Unlock the Safe Houses faster
Let's say there is are enemies nearby and chances are that they are a higher level than you, you might want to avoid them because of the reasons above that I just mentioned and in most places the enemies spawn, there are alternate routes like:
- Walk a different street
- Secret passageways in buildings
Use those surrounding environment to protect yourself. Worse case scenario if there isn't any optional routes that I listed above and there is an enemy you have to pass through, you have to pass through them LIKE A NINJA. As long as they don't suspect you, you can pass through them freely.
For starters, I recommend starting from the BoO and start heading either north to Hudson Yards or around Chelsea since the NPC around that area is low level. For me, I ventured out from BoO to the north. If you are heading in either direction, the routes will be explained in the next section.
Hudson Yards Route - Option #1 (Recommended)
This was the way I went to start unlocking all the safe houses across Manhattan. For people who didn't really play the Beta or want to get experience, I really RECOMMEND going this route.
The route goes the following:
This shows the safe houses you should unlock from the West Side of Manhattan before heading towards the East Side.
You head in that order since the higher you go up the East Side, the higher the level will become. Ultimately the Level 30 area is Midtown East.
Garment District Route - Option #2
I haven't tried this route personally, but it should work either way since the skill level in the area should be the same as your PVE level if you are leveling up in a normal or slow pace. Regardless you should follow the Hudson Yards route after unlocking the safe houses in that area. Then you can fast travel to one of the safe houses in the Garment District and then continue your unlock progression by heading east.
Dark Zone Route - Option #3
You can either do the first or the second route, but if you REALLY REALLY want to cut the travel time, you can enter the Dark Zone to make your way from West to East. Note there will be some safe houses especially around Kips Bay and Gramercy Park where you have to travel in the PVE area since they are stretched out in location.
I haven't tried this route either, but this would work as well.
Instant Unlock Route - Option #4 (READ THIS ONE CAREFULLY)
Now the title may sound confusing, but instant unlock? YES. You can instantly unlock the safe houses, but there is a condition. You can use this route to save time for your friends to travel to the safe house, but that person must have that safe house unlocked. Once that condition is met you can teleport to them and then the safe house can be unlocked.
If any of these condition aren't fulfilled, you have to explore the area and unlock the safe houses by yourself.
Once you have unlock all the safe houses, you able to:
- Fast Travel to Safe Houses that are unlocked in the PVE area (Excluding the DZ Safe Houses)
- Explore new areas
- Earn XP for exploring new areas
- Update the mission boards and situtations that is going on in the area. (JTF Officer and Mission Board)
- Get an achievement from uPlay
In the end if you unlock all the Safe Houses in the PVE Area, this is how the map looks like with updated missions on the maps. Some of the mission icons are missing in the bottom left corner of the maps since I already completed them, but if you haven't done so, they should appear on your map.
You should be able to earn a significant amount of XP from exploring the area and unlocking safe houses.
I will be updating this guide to including visual references for people who wants a more easier explanation to this guide and video will be made as well to accompany the visual images of how this can be done.