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The Best Leveling Guide in Tom Clancy's: The Division (Level From 1 to 30 in 8 hours or less)

So we all know that The Division's update will arrive next week and, we think this is the perfect time to share "The Best leveling guide for The Division". Why? It's because we think many agents now are creating ther alternate characters just to run Incursion 4x a week for the best gear.


Massive did state that the first run per week will yield the best drops in the Incursion. So basically, we assume that we can only earn level 32 set gear once per week and, High-End Gear/Weapons past that. Which is why creating alts as many as you can will give more chances of gaining HE loot every week.

Now about the guide. Many leveling guides on the web will give say that they are the best leveling guide out there but will just give you basically the normal process of leveling in the game which will take about 15 hours or so. However, this guide will give you the nitty-gritty details on how to level up super fast. When we say super fast, that will only take you 8 hours or even quicker if you got the skill.

Proof:

Pic 1 - NYC Map showing remaining uncompleted Missions/Encounters
Image credit to TrevorHolmes

Pic 2 - Character at 30 with Supplies and Base Progress

Image credit to TrevorHolmes
So, here's how this works:
  • Run through the beginning Brooklyn missions and travel to Manhattan (this takes at most 30 minutes).
  • Enlist the aid of a Chivalrous Friend at level 30 to assist you for an hour. Take note that this is a very important part of the leveling process. We call it the buddy system!
  • Have your Chivalrous Friend join YOUR group, and then have your friend Fast Travel to the upper-rightmost Safehouse (The Crypt, in Midtown East).
  • Once he/she is there, you can Fast Travel to him/her, then unlock the Safehouse, read the map and talk to the JTF Missions guy.
  • From here, sheepishly follow your buddy as he runs through the Side Missions with his geared character (these take at MOST 3-5 minutes each). Watch your level skyrocket like a liberal’s blood pressure at a Donald Trump rally.
  • When you finish all Side Missions in a zone, proceed in a clockwise manner to the next Safehouse in line (clockwise is down the right side of the map, for those of you youngsters that haven’t seen an analog clock before).
  • Unlock the next Safehouse and repeat to your heart’s content.
Details:

Leveling up will happen QUICKLY.

If you've done this with a friend, starting at Level 06, you will hit 09 after the first Side Mission. Expect the growth rate to slow, as when you gain levels the experience needed to hit the next level increases, along with a decrease in XP given for Side Missions as you move through zones. Regardless, you can expect to gain at least a level per side mission until you hit roughly 17 (which is where we stopped to take a break). For those counting at home, though, you can level up from 06 to 17 in about an hour, running maybe 8-10 Side Missions. Things will naturally slow down, as we’re basically taking a backwards route through the XP path, but this first part will be very fun.

The Issue of Supplies. 

Completing Side Missions grants a bunch of credits (SchruteBucks) and XP, but no Supplies. Thus, should you want any abilities/talents/perks, you will need to do Missions/Encounters eventually. Then why waste time with this strategy? Much of the time spent Leveling a character to 30 is spent cowering in cover along the way, plugging away with underpowered weapons flinging bubble gum wrappers and used condoms in place of bullets. Some missions can take 30+ minutes to complete, not because of level design/mechanics, but simply because you are Shit. No, it’s not your fault, blame your Dusty Kneepads and your Green FAL. With this method, you can skip the growing pains, get to a solid level with better gear/weapons, and run through Missions much faster. Besides, you will need to do Missions at some point eventually to hit 30, so a good time to switch is when Side Missions XP starts to decline below normal Mission rewards.

Specific Upgrades to Purchase

Situation Room (Security Wing): Increase XP gained from all activities by 10% - 500 Supplies Counseling (Medical Wing): Increase Credit Gains by 10% - 200 Supplies

These are essential and shouldn’t be overlooked, later Side Missions can give upwards of 75,000 XP and 5500 Credits. It would definitely be faster in the long run to do Madison Field Hospital and Lincoln Tunnel Checkpoint before running Side Missions to unlock these Upgrades. With Situation Room achieved every 10 Side Missions gives you one for free (mindblown). It might be enticing to skip this and jump straight to the Side Missions to level up quick, but grabbing that extra early XP will let you skip a bunch of Encounters to hit 30.

Finer Points

Your buddy can unlock Safehouses for you. He has already unlocked them, so can Fast Travel to Safehouses you haven’t unlocked yet (which is why you need to Fast Travel to him to get there quickly). You’re actually not even needed for this process, as he can also unlock the Safe House and speak to the JTF Officer/read the board. It takes at max five minutes to teleport to all 13 Safe Houses and unlock every dot on the map.

Encounters are a last resort, and should be accomplished after everything else. They award significantly less XP. Don’t even start these until you’ve completed all the Missions/Side Missions worth doing. Skipping over the early zone Encounters can save you valuable game-time, as they award the same amount of Supplies as the higher-zone Encounters, but much less XP.

Hoard Supplies, don’t spend them! Remember, you are leveling your Alt with Incursions in mind. You can sit tight with a solid amount of supplies (around 2000 each) without spending them until Incursions comes out and we know what Talents to go for. Once you have a strategy that works, buy the requisite Upgrades and worry about maxing your Base later.

Don’t Do Early Missions Unless Necessary. Remember, this guide is focused on leveling as fast as possible. Trim every action that doesn’t make optimal use of your time. You need to do the opening three to unlock the Base, but past that you can skip 5 Missions that aren’t worth the time. Do the Level 18 Mission instead, as you’ll get better XP. The game upscales enemies to five levels under your character (so if you do a lvl 08 Mission while at 22, you’ll face lvl 17 enemies). Avoid all the early zone stuff like it’s covered in Green Poison.

About your Chivalrous Friend: You should only need him for that first hour (getting your character to 17-20, whenever you start slowing down and decide to start tackling Missions). He can go back to picking his nose and you can start speed-running through Missions and collecting Supplies and XP. Before doing that, though, swap to your 30 and ramp his Alt up as well. Then, you can do Missions with two players without having to Matchmake with Randoms. And you don’t need to buy him socks for Christmas. Set your group to Private and run the Missions with two players only, as enemy numbers start to scale up to unnecessary levels with 3-4 players and you really just want another guy there to pull enemy fire and revive you should you go down. DO NOT SOLO MISSIONS, as every time you go down you are respawning and killing the same guys again. This is akin to spinning your tires in quicksand soaked with maple syrup. Don’t do it.

Statistics

Below are the list of exact 12 Side Missions you can run to get a character from level 03 to level 19 in one hour (on the dot, timed).

  • Bounty: Sergeant Belden
  • Bounty: Trigger Mike
  • Bounty: Bergeant Mesely
  • Bounty: Captain Craig
  • Rescue: Midtown East Civilians
  • Missing Person: Bernard Gamble
  • Procurement: Lab Data
  • Rescue: Murray Hill Civilians
  • Rescue: Turtle Bay Civilians
  • Supply Drop: Turtle Bay Medical Supplies
  • Supply Drop: Penn Plaza Medical Supplies
  • Supply Drop: Murray Hill Food Supplies
The above Missions are all Side Missions in Midtown East, Turtle Bay, and Murray Hill. Completing a full zone is much better than bouncing around, as you get the "Return to Safehouse" bonus which is often equal to a Side Mission or more. Using the XP table from the Division Wikia, you can see that to level a character from 03 to 19 requires 1,021,200 XP. Note that while it may seem crazy to hit level 19 ("two thirds" of the levels) in an hour, keep in mind that the total XP required to hit 30 is actually 4,017,600 XP. This means that though you are at 19, you are only 25% there. From this point, you can do missions starting at Police Academy and going forward. These 7 Missions will grant increasing XP totaling a little over 1,000,000 XP. You will fall behind the suggested level at some point, so start with Encounters and work your way around again. Always remember to work in a clockwise, reverse order to the "normal path" to maximize XP per time spent. These late-level Encounters will still reward around 43,070, roughly equal to Stusyvesant Side Missions. At the end, the right side of the map should be clear, leaving the left side as untouched as normal. (See above screenshot).

The following table shows the exact mix of Missions/Side Missions, and Encounters to get to 30. Side Missions are the best XP for time invested, as they give roughly 25% of Main Mission XP in 16.67% of the time. In addition, completing all Side Missions in a Zone “usually” gives a Return to Safehouse Mission with XP often comparable or over the XP given by a single Side Mission. These are essential for speed leveling, as you are basically getting the last level and a half for free.

  • ******* The Crypt Safehouse
  • 215,350 Five Encounters @ 43,070
  • 155,460 Two Side Missions @ 77,730
  • 152,030 Return to Crypt
  • ****** Go to Firewall Safehouse
  • 270,120 Four Side Missions @ 67,530
  • 261,870 Seven Encounters @ 37,410
  • 105,430 Return to Firewall
  • ***** Go To Grindhouse Safehouse
  • 214,320 Four Side Missions @ 53,580
  • 148,350 Five Encounters @ 29,670
  • 53,580 Return to Grindhouse
  • ******* Go To Southpaw Safehouse
  • 156,750 Three Side Missions @ 52250
  • 74,610 One Side Mission @ 74610
  • 145,250 Seven Encounters @ 20750
  • 73,350 Return to Southpaw
  • ******** Go To Stuyvesant Safehouse
  • 170,280 Four Side Missions @ 42570
  • 118,230 Seven Encounters @ 16890
  • 59,770 Return to Stuyvesant
  • ******* Go To Gramercy Safehouse
  • 101,670 Three Side Missions @ 33890
  • 52,250 One Side Mission @ 52250
  • 47,590 Return to Gramercy
  • ******* Go To Madison's Stand
  • 119,700 Four Side Missions @ 29925
  • 29,925 Return to Madison's Stand
  • *** Madison Field Hospital
  • *** Subway Morgue
  • *** Lincoln Tunnel Checkpoint
  • 94,600 Police Academy (16)
  • 118,900 WarrenGate Power Plant (18)
  • 133,000 Lexington Event Center (20)
  • 160,280 Rooftop Comm Relay (22)
  • 166,200 Queens Tunnel Camp (24)
  • 194,560 Grand Central Station (26)
  • 209,580 Russian Consulate (27)
Total: 3,803,005 XP (plus bonuses)

This strategy illustrates the effectiveness of optimizing time spent by ignoring low XP mssions. Avoiding BoO Encounters that give 690 XP in favor of late-zone encounters that give 43,070 XP instead saves a tremendous amount of time and can give you the “still-full” map at 30 like shown above.

If you don't want to read all those word above, the leveling guide we're mentioning here sums up like this: 

  1. Grab a level 30 frien,
  2. Have him join your fresh Manhattan Agent
  3. Fast travel to The Crypt
  4. Do Side Missions in clockwise order
  5. Then Story Missions once you have better gear/weapons and Side Missions start to slow you down. Do the intro Manhattan Missions first
  6. Then skip to Missions that are slightly under your level and progress from there.
  7. Don’t spend Supplies on anything except for your two desired Abilities and Situation Room/Counseling until Incursions comes out and you know what to purchase.

So that's it! Good luck agents!

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Credits: Special thanks to TrevorHolmes for sharing this really informative guide.