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Intelligence Annex: Welcome to the Dark Zones

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Intelligence Annex: Welcome to the Dark Zones

January 17, 2019

Intelligence Annex: Welcome to the Dark Zones

Dark Zones

First on the list is the Dark Zone, or rather Dark Zones! Three Dark Zones are available in The Division 2—DZ East, South, and West—and you can access them early in the campaign. The Division 2's Dark Zones are PVEVP areas with enemy factions roaming the areas. Similar to The Division, our focus in the Dark Zones is to create social interactions between players characterized by tension.

We have implemented a three-tiered progression system for Rogues in The Division 2. There are two ways for players to engage with our new Rogue progression – world interaction and toggling:

  • Rogue Status—This early stage in the Rogue loop is new to The Division 2, with a focus on theft and greed. Once Rogue, players see nearby opportunities to complete new Rogue actions—stealing other players' loot, hijacking Supply drops, and cutting ropes to name a few. Performing any of these actions will toggle you Rogue. Here, the ultimate goal is gaining access to the Thieves Den—a hidden instance that houses vendors only accessible by Agents in this Rogue state. The entrance location varies and appears when you execute enough Rogue actions. After exiting the Den, players return to SHD status. If a player kills another player while in this new Rogue state, they will go Disavowed.
  • Disavowed Status—This stage is the most familiar to fans of The Division. Killing players raises the attacking Agent's disavowed level, and killing enough players raises the disavowed Agent's status to Manhunt. SHD Agents can eliminate Disavowed Agents to claim their bounties.
  • Manhunt Status—This is the final stage in the Rogue loop in which players have to clear their status at a SHD terminal in order to earn rewards. In The Division 2, you have a choice of three random terminals active in the Dark Zone to clear your Manhunt status. You also have the option to Increase Notoriety at any terminal, effectively raising your rewards but requiring you to cash-out at the next terminal. General terminal areas are visible on the mega-map for SHD agents while a Manhunt is active, but precise terminal locations are only revealed to the Manhunt player. This creates a cat-and-mouse style gameplay loop where SHD Agents can track down Manhunt Agents and attempt to claim their bounty.

Matchmaking in the Dark Zones occurs in two separate brackets. On the one side, players are matched in level buckets (1-10, 11-20, and 21-30) and normalized to the same power level. On the other side, all players who have reached World Tier are matched together and normalized to the same World Tier. For players above the normalized power level, bonus statistics are applied to reward you for your time.

We have also altered the Dark Zone matchmaking assignment to help solo players play in Dark Zones mostly comprised of other solo players. This is not a hard rule, and players are free to form groups inside the Dark Zones.

Intelligence Annex is back, this time breaking down the dangerous, untamed regions known as the Dark Zones in The Division 2.

The most notable change coming in the sequel is the introduction of three Dark Zones, each delivering a unique narrative and fostering new playstyles:

  • Dark Zone East—the largest of all three Dark Zones, players utilize long sightlines in over-grown governmental parks.
  • Dark Zone South—the smallest of the Dark Zones, emphasis is placed on close-quarters combat. Sightlines are easily broken with large interiors and choke points.
  • Dark Zone West—split into two parts by a large canal, Georgetown is characterized by medium-range engagements and features European style architecture.

Server Capacity

With three new Dark Zones also comes improvements to server capacity and overall size. In The Division 2, we created smaller chunks of Dark Zone for a maximum of 12 players at any given time. While we reduced the maximum player capacity by half for The Division 2, we reduced the overall size of the Dark Zone by thirds to increase player density. The quality of your encounters in the Dark Zones are improved, making your experience more fulfilling.

What's more, each Dark Zone reacts to player activity and engagements as you traverse the zone. If you are taking part in an activity in the northern section of a Dark Zone, events will begin appearing elsewhere to create draw in those areas and balance out the region. You need to be cognizant of your surroundings, as every Agent knows situational awareness goes a long way.

DZ_East_Factions

Perk System

In The Division 2, your Dark Zone Level matters more than ever. Senait, the new Dark Zone operator at the Base of Operations gives you access to the new Dark Zone Perk interface—a tree of bonuses that unlock every five Dark Zone levels. While these perks are not power based, they improve your Dark Zone experience based on your playstyle. Ranging from extra space for contaminated items, increased rewards for Rogue agents, or additional opportunities for loot, you have the power to select from a pool of perks that best suit how you enjoy playing The Division 2. Death as a Rogue in the Dark Zones comes at a great cost of experience, though. Maintaining your Dark Zone level and, more importantly, these perks are a priority in The Division 2.

Extractions

We are excited about a few big changes coming to extractions in The Division 2. While loot was static from the moment it dropped in The Division, it takes on a more dynamic role this time around. Firstly, only the rarer and more scarce gear upgrades found in the Dark Zones will be contaminated and require an extraction. The rest will flow straight into your inventory. Secondly, weapons and gear roll at the power level of the player who successfully extracts them. Contaminated gear is your best chance at finding upgrades within the Dark Zone. This creates more gearing opportunities for you as any stolen loot will always roll to your level.

DZ_East_Ambush

Normalization & Matchmaking

A big change from Manhattan's Dark Zone is that the three Dark Zones in Washington D.C. will utilize normalization to level the player field. If you are new to The Division 2, normalization reduces the peaks and valleys between players who have high survivability or high damage output. While balancing is a factor to take in account when crafting your build, remember that your build choices are still unique and offer a variety of gameplay options. AI are not exempt from normalization either; they adhere to the same normalization rules players do.

Matchmaking in the Dark Zones occurs in two separate brackets. On the one side, players are matched in level buckets (1-10, 11-20, and 21-30) and normalized to the same power level. On the other side, all players who have reached World Tier are matched together and normalized to the same World Tier. For players above the normalized power level, bonus statistics are applied to reward you for your time.

We have also altered the Dark Zone matchmaking assignment to help solo players play in Dark Zones mostly comprised of other solo players. This is not a hard rule, and players are free to form groups inside the Dark Zones.

Checkpoints

Checkpoints are mounted with indestructible turrets to avoid checkpoint camping. These weapons target any Rogue or AI that crosses its path, so keep your distance!

Occupied Dark Zones

We have one more new feature on the list dedicated to our most dedicated PVP crowd. Today, we are introducing dynamic, server-wide events called Occupied Dark Zones. During these events, all expected Dark Zone rules change. The concept of SHD and Rogue are completely gone; you are simply a player trying to reap the best rewards in our most hardcore environment. This translates to no Rogue states, a limited notification system, friendly fire active, and no normalization, allowing you to utilize every ounce of your build.

While one Dark Zone is Occupied, the other two operate under expected behavior. These end-game events are designed to be some of the greatest risk/reward opportunities in The Division 2. Are you willing to accept the risks?

Thanks for joining us for today's Dark Zone improvements! There is still more information to come for our most dedicated Dark Zone players, so stay tuned. Be sure to join us over on the Official Forums or on the community Reddit to discuss today's article; we would love to hear your thoughts!

We will be releasing these articles regularly, so remember to keep an eye out!

/The Division Dev Team

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This may even encourage a confirmed PvE player like me to enter the DZ and EVEN GO ROGUE! (though only light-Rogue) 


In 2010, a crack commando unit still evading prison for a crime they didn't commit promptly escaped from another maximum security stockade near the Manhattan underground to the Washingon D.C. swamp land. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them....maybe you can hire The Division 2 Team.

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