Here are some tips on how to survive the Dark Zone in Tom Clancy's: The Division even if you are still wearing purple 30 gears. This will give you tips on gear building, talent and skill builds and some strategies to keep you alive and killing in DZ.
Before going into the DZ, doing LMB related missions on hard mode will get you some decent purple gear. After obtaining a good amount of purples, you should think about this: "What am I supposed to be in DZ?". You can be a tank, damage dealer or utility master. Now I know what you are thinking "I am a solo pleb I can't pull tank or utility thing off my DPS will be so low" but you are WRONG. The DPS you need in DZ to kill stuff is AT MOST 80k. Any amount over that will help of course but that is ENOUGHLY ENOUGH.
When you ran daily hard missions and maybe the challenge (do it once except power plants even if you have a low gear for 50 PC and 1 HE item) and with 30 PC bonus uPlay gives you will have enough Phoenix Cash to buy a single weapon blueprint. That's your way into the big league. With ****load of materials you get during leveling up and doing hard mode missions you will have more than enough to craft a few 31 High-End weapons. There are two obvious choices here ATM: AK-74 or Vector. Pick the one you like (Vector for close combat and AK for mid range-general purpose) and you will have a huge damage boost. Try to aim for low requirement talents for first 2 and hardest possible for 3rd. Stable, Competent and Brutal in this order can be the greatest.
Back to the actual gear and not weapons... You should decide on what to be, which only depends on you. If you have a group with at least 1 person who is building electronics and a tank, go for DPS. If you want to avoid people as much as possible and grind DZ rank and protect valuable allies, go for tankiness. If you want a self-sufficent build with much benefits to the team, go for electronics.
"Going for X" doesn't mean that you can get full of one stat and leave others. A regular DZ player must have at least 60k HP which is around 2000 stamina, 10-15k skill power and 80k DPS. To obtain these stats you should have a holster with three main stats (ONLY ON HOLSTERS) and try to have as many mods slots on your gear as you can. Maximum of 7 mods one can have on the gear with exceptions of zero on gloves, two on chest and mask. People rumored to have three mod slots on chests but I haven't seen before so I can't confirm or deny it.
After obtaining these stats from hard missions and crafting, you may get to the Dank Zone without much to fear.
Most of Talents look bad but they are actually super good and may save lives during combat. Most of Talents helpful for both PVP and PVE.
Adrenaline - Use a medkit while not at maximum health to receive an overheal. / Works supreme with HE mask talent "Rejuvenated" and prevents medkits to go waste.
Triage - Heal an ally with a skill to reduce skill cooldowns by %15. / Synergizes well with Support Station and a little with First Aid, specially powerful in PVE.
Battle Buddy - Revive a downed agent to reduce incoming damage by %50 for 10 seconds for both players. / Supreme if you are in a group and mostly PVE'ing. Otherwise its meh.
Critical Save - Use a medkit at low health to increase damage resistance by %40 for 10 seconds. / So good that doesn't need an explaination.
Combat Medic - Use a medkit near allies to heal group members and proxies within 20m by 40%. / Great in a group PVE, non existent in solo.
Tactical Advance - Complete a cover to cover move to increase weapon damage by 2% per meter covered for 10 seconds. / Most underrated but OP talent in game. Supreme in PVE.
Evasive Action - During a cover to cover move incoming damage is reduced by 30%. / Another underrated talent because people don't think of using cover-to-cover. Specially good in PVE and synergizes with most HE holster talents.
Steady Hands - Enter any cover to reduce recoil by 25% for 10 seconds. / MUST HAVE for every person on the planet.
On the Move - Kill a hostile while moving to reduce incoming damage by 30% for 10 seconds. / Most of plebs you encounter both in PVE and PVP will be moving, so this will save your life in a long term combat.
Precision - Headshot a hostile to pulse them for 10 seconds. / Unlike people rumored this doesn't give any damage bonus. It only reveals people like a regular pulse on headshot. Yet very useful in PVP if you don't have Pulse on.
Desperate Times - Reach low health to increase blind fire accuracy by 20%. / Good ability in PVE for blind cover fire but underwhelming in PVP.
Stopping Power - Suppress a hostile to increase headshot damage by 25% for 10 seconds. / Great in PVE (specially with an LMG) but useless in PVP.
One is None - Headshot a hostile to have a 50% chance of not consuming a the bullet. / MUST HAVE for everyone. This talent gives the bullet back to your CURRENT clip so you won't need to reload as much = DPS boost.
All that was mentioned above were general purposed talents but ALL talents have their use. Chain Reaction & Sticky Bomb, Sharapnel & Damascus, Wildfire & Airburst comboes and much more can be used aswell for increased effectiveness. Repo Reaper and Police Up are generally for PVE and may be useful while farming to avoid restock.
Skills have much less choice than talents in my opinion but they are the keys of surviving in DZ. I will try to give multiple choices again but they are mostly straightfoward.
First Aid - Heals all allies within a small radius. The device can be used on location or launched to a distant target. / A supreme self-sufficency tool. Overdose or Booster Shot mods are very good. Overdose if you like more HP to live (it heals more than others AND overheal) or Booster Shot for damage bonus and resistance. Overdose scales better with electronics while Booster Shot doesn't so that may help you to pick.
Pulse - Sends out recon pulse that marks hostiles and allies through walls and covers. / A MUST HAVE for every group/solo. Gives critical hit bonusses and reveals enemies within radius. It also reveals rogue agents and non-hostile agents in proximity so it is also perfect for PVP/dodging. Tactical Scanner for more damage and Scrambler for PVP dodging (people can't see you with pulses if you pulsed them).
Support Station - Drops a support station that heals allies and can be used to revive downed allies. / A great ability for long combat sustain in PVE and soloing because of the revive. An awful ability in PVP due lack of mobility and low HP pool of the device. Life Support or Ammo Cache are great for PVE but if you really want to use it in PVP, go for Immunizer mod.
Smart Cover - Reinforces a cover, increasing the users damage and decreasing the incoming damage for all allies behind it. / All except Recharger mod are useless so use that one. Makes you almost invulnerable with huge damage boost if you have enough electronics. Still a good choice if you are low on electronics. Meh for PVP but can be great in pros' hands due its master ability prolonging its effect duration by 5 seconds after you leave cover. Something important to think about in PVP.
Sticky Bomb - Fires a bomb that sticks to most surfaces and explodes when detonated remotely. / Flashbang mod is supreme even if you have low electronics. Duration is stable and only cooldown lowers with electronics. Gives a supreme crowd control ability for both PVP and PVE. Try to not put it in front of a cover if it is between your enemy and you. Won't effect that way. Also doesn't work from stuck on wall. Try to aim on flat terrain.
Seeker Mine - Releases an automated mine that seeks out hostile targets before exploding on proximity. / Gas Charge mod is another great way to CC players and mobs. This one explodes on its own so you don't have a say in who will get the blast. Still much more reliable compared to SB. Can be detonated by enemy while moving so try to suppress them until it explodes.
Turret - Deploys a stationary turret that attacks nearby hostiles until it is destroyed or its battery runs out. / Dragonbreath and Zapper mods are good. Zapper recently got nerfed but still both are useful to CC enemies. In PVE most mobs don't destroy them but in PVP they are very easy to kill. Still may do 1-2 CC's before its down.
Ballistic Shield - Equips a portable Ballistic Shield that absorbs damage. The user can only use their sidearm while the shield is active. / All three mods have their own use. It is a great tank choice if you have electronics. If you don't, it will break too easily.
Mobile Cover - Creates a temporary cover for one person, which provides standard cover protection until destroyed. / There are a lot of places to use as covers so I don't find this useful at all in DZ but for the buffs it gives it may be used. Still very underwhelming compared to Smart Cover which also can't be destroyed unlike Mobile Cover.
Recovery Link - Heals and cures the users and nearby allies. Revives downed allies within range. Can "overheal" beyond maximum health. / Good in PVE, super bad in PVP. Underwhelming against Survivor Link.
Tactical Link - Increases damage and critical hit chance to the user and all nearby allies. / Supreme in PVE but bad in PVP because it is crushed by Survivor Link.
Survivor Link - Makes you almost invulnerable with %80 damage reduction onto your current. Gives immunity to crowd control effects (which is VERY important) and extra movement speed. One and only choice in DZ.
Tactics and Politics
To survive in DZ, gearing enough or picking right talents ONLY won't save you. Most gunfights end in seconds or if someone goes Rogue on you, you won't have a chance unless you predict their movement and dodge the burst. You need to act friendly (even if you ARE NOT friendly) and show your good intentions to people (even if you ARE NOT good). To earn the trust and support of fellow agents you should try the following... I said try because *****s are *****s and sometimes this won't save you aswell:
- Try to revive downed people and assist them in fights.
- Healing now works on non-hostile agents so healing people may earn their favor.
- Try to not rush on the boss when there are people around since you need to damage once to get the loot.
- Try to not chase accidental rogues if you are not geared enough.
Now we learnt how to not be an *******, there are ways to completely dodge human interaction. First of all, EXTRACTIONS:
Extractions are both funniest and saddest part of the game. There are multiple ways to dodge a robbery in extraction zones but as always it MAY NOT work.
- Try the least used spots for extraction:
Yellows are the safest, oranges are okay and reds are most crowded and most likely to be ganked.
- Try to combine your extractions with others': Check out your map for information on other extraction locations and their timers. Having two choices if you have luck and picked a less crowded spot will save your extraction and lure people to others'.
- Survivor Link to extract. You most likely won't die during Survivor Link which is good against both mobs and players during extraction. Also you won't lose control during attaching so it will go smoothly.
- Do not be followed by fellow agents: After doing one extraction, hunters like me will try to have as much info as possible from your gear to killing speed and extraction rate. By extraction rate I mean how often do you go for it because if you go after 3-4 bosses each time then you decide you do it after 1st boss you most likely carry something of value.
General PVE'ing and avoiding players... It is never certain that someone may go rogue on you. It can be by accident, for loot or just to see you in tears knowing that you lost xp for him to get NOTHING. These tips may keep you alive:
- Try to not use a route or a pattern: Changing locations will make you less of a target. Even if you are new in DZ with 1-2 people you may go up to DZ04 without much hustle. If you want to dodge a loot robbery, do not be seen in same places by same people.
- This is a map of bosses with population-based rating, yellow being least crowded, orange is medium and red is the most crowded:
If you noticed, edges have less population and center has the most. Classic pleb routes...
If you noticed, edges have less population and center has the most. Classic pleb routes...
-Change server to lose people: If you can't manage to keep track of hostile people or possible threats, occasional server change may help a lot. But as always there are downsides for this since you gotta learn how the life works in the new server.
- Try to not run things in Youtube videos or Twitch highlights: People have lots of info on gaming nowadays because people share good farming routes and stuff but also predators do watch. I know most used routes and try to ambush people at the end to get the goodies. This one is similar to the 1st tip and may sound stupid, but it is NOT.
- Try to locate regulars: Most people who go rogue for fun and may kill everyone on sight I call "regulars". Regulars mostly stay in a region (south or central parts for most kills) then try to run north to finish manhunt or keep fighting them. If you learn people's patterns in a server you can easily avoid them.
- Try to not step on big guys' toes: If you see a well prepared and geared group (you can notice from killing speed) try to either be friends or avoid them. This situation has two ways to end: One you losing all the gear after they backstab you at the end or the group helping you clear much faster than you can on your own or with your group so you profit. It is a gamble you choose. If you don't wanna sack the good rotation and have faster clears, try to be friendly with the better group.
-Try to use underground: Subways are mostly less-crowded and have a lot of mobs if not a few bosses. Also they have great cover potentials and a DZ 30 chest which may drop HE now.
-North = Strong: There are 6 parts of DZ which is increasingly harder to the north. Try to stay in first 4 zones to avoid high geared people and 32 lvl mobs which may one shot the newcomers.
- Do not go rogue: Have some time in DZ and learn to analyze people from their killing speed, healing amount etc. before going rogue. NEVER go rogue if you are outnumbered. NEVER go rogue if you are not sure about players' signature cooldowns and yours are down for sure. NEVER EVER go rogue on people at south because you will most likely be swarmed by other players.
- Do not ACCIDENTLY go rogue: There are so many ways one can go rogue by accident. People throwing themselves in between gunfight, people throwing themselves into grenades... you name it. If there are people around, try to not use AoE harmful stuff (CC grenades won't get you rogue, you need to deal %30 of players' HP as damage) in crowded places. Try to anticipate players' movements. If they move in front of you in a rush when you shoot they are up to no good. Just leave the area or hit the boss once and let them take some bullets.
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