I always liked the idea of the Dark Zones in The Division. A section of Manhattan, quarantined from the rest of the island and home to the very worst threats and best loot in the game. A dog eat dog world, where it was every agent for themselves and a knife in the back was only an extraction away. Intriguing, right?
The only problem is, Ubisoft didn’t bank on particular spanner being thrown into the Dark Zones: Namely, the fact that people can be absolute bastards. If you ever set foot in a Dark Zone, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Chances are, there’d be that one guy who would hound you inside there, always going rogue and always waiting for you to respawn so that he could fire more grief into your face.
While some of those issues were ironed out in the months after The Division was released, there’s no denying that Ubisoft had to rethink the concept entirely for The Division 2. In a new developer diary, Ubisoft Massive detailed just how Dark Zones are going to change as players return to that PvPvE sandbox in pursuit of some contaminated but powerful gear.
Here’s a breakdown of the new Dark Zones (thanks VG247), if you’re in the mood for a quick read:
Dark Zone Design
- Washington DC will have three Dark Zones
- Each Dark Zone can support up to 12 players per session
- The areas which players can explore are Dark Zone East, Dark Zone West and Dark Zone South
- Each Dark Zone offers a different style of combat, such as Dark Zone East being ideal for marksmen and snipers, while Dark Zone West is better suited to more medium and close range battles thanks to its suburban design
- Each Dark Zone will have its own introduction mission that will allow players to explore them without fear of being shot by a rogue agent
Dark Zone rules
- All weapon and gear in the Dark Zones will be normalised so that no one player has an overpowering advantage
- AI mobs will also have normalised loadouts
- Solo players will be matched with other solo players as often as possible
Occupied Dark Zone states
- When a Dark Zone enters an Occupied State, one of three zones will be singled out
- In this state, friendly fire is turned on
- Ubisoft calls this the best mode for gung-ho players, as weapon loadouts and gear return to their maximum state and normalisation of said equipment is disabled
- Rogue agents will be able to lockpick supply crates, hack SHD terminals and steal gear from other players before an extraction is completed
- Going Rogue now also results in one of three statuses being applied to players: Rogue, Disavowed Rogue and Manhunt
- While contaminated gear will return in The Division 2, not every piece of equipment you find is riddled with viruses
- Gear that is contaminated will require exraction, with these weapons and armour pieces having stats that will boost the player who found them
- Basically, if you take down a high level player before they can extract the gear and steal it, you might find yourself earning a very high level piece of equipment
And that sounds pretty great! Whether or not Ubisoft has managed to find a way to balance going Rogue and blatant griefing remains to be seen, but it looks like The Division 2 has learnt plenty from its predecessor, using the experience gained in that game to craft a better sequel. Should be interesting to see just how much of this is applied to the sequel, when it releases on March 15.
Last Updated: January 18, 2019