I've spent the week shooting a lot of "looters" and "rioters" in The Division. It's been fun, overwhelming and a little morally questionable.
Over the last couple of days I've accumulated a handful of tips that I'd like to impart, things that I would have liked to have known when I was first starting out. These are just beginners' tips — I'll have more advanced tips in the future, and will likely update this post once or twice. Here goes.
Don't sell your gear; break it down.
As you play, you'll find yourself regularly picking up new guns, armour, and mods. Most of them won't be as good as the thing you're using, and your inclination will be to sell your extra stuff off at the vendor for some quick cash. Don't do that. Instead, break down your extra gear in your inventory. The parts you get are vital for crafting, which is a good way to get great gear as you delve into the game.
Use your parts to craft higher quality parts.
You'll get a lot of green parts at first, but you can actually craft higher level parts out of your low-level parts. For example, five green weapon parts can be converted into one blue weapon part, and on up the chain. Convert all of your green stuff into blue stuff, and you'll have what you need to craft some valuable weapons.
Save your crafting materials for later.
In general I'd say you should save your crafting materials for later, when you're at or close to the level cap. I'm not there yet, but I keep finding enough random good gear in the wild that I can't imagine I'd keep anything I crafted for more than an hour or two. I'm guessing it will be better to have a huge stockpile of crafting mats when I really need them later on.
Get your rewards at the reward vendor.
Once you unlock your HQ you'll find a "Rewards Vendor" standing in the back of the building. If you preordered the game or used UPlay points to unlock any gear, he's the guy to talk to to get it.
Upgrade your Base of Operations wings whenever you can.
You might lose track of your supply counters and forget to upgrade your HQ's various wings. Don't do that! Each upgrade unlocks a new ability and some bonus perks that are always active.
Check the situation board when you visit a safehouse.
It's easy to forget to check the situation board at each safehouse. Be sure to stop off and check in, as you'll unlock a bunch more sidequests and other map locations.
Do story missions and side missions to quickly level up.
If you want to level up quickly, focus on main story missions as well as the turquoise "side missions" that turn up around the map. Both offer substantially more XP than other optional challenges.
Visit the Dark Zone.
While I recommend spending some time getting familiar with the game in the PvE open world, I definitely also recommend getting into the Dark Zone. Not only is it the most interesting and exciting region in The Division, it's where you can get lots more loot much faster. Also, don't worry about the whole PvP aspect too much. Some rogue players might kill you from time to time, but so far, most of the people that I've met have wanted the same thing I've wanted: To grab stuff and get it out safe.
While in the Dark Zone, don't be afraid to talk.
I know, proximity chat with strangers is a little awkward. And if my experience is anything to go by, most of the people you'll run into in the DZ are oorah shit-talkers who don't seem particularly nice. BUT, if you're down to strike up a conversation with the people you meet, it can lead to interesting conversations, alliances and agreements.
Play with a friend, if you can.
The Division is fine solo, but it's much more fun with a friend or friends. If you can find people who'll play with you, do it. The in-game matchmaking has some quirks, but it will get the job done, too. Plus the Dark Zone is plenty of fun solo, but it's a whole other proposition once you've got someone watching your back.
Don't shoot dogs.
Come on, man.
If you're playing solo, bring a turret.
The tech tree's turret ability has been invaluable for me when I play solo. I don't really use it to do damage to the enemy, but rather to cover one of my flanks while I personally cover the other one. Closing off 45 degrees of enemy advancement is crucial to beating tough enemy onslaughts.
Speed up the heal ability's cooldown between battles.
If you just need to recover a block of health between gunfights, try un-assigning and re-assigning the heal ability. It will dramatically speed up the cooldown. If you're feeling gutsy you can try this in combat, but remember that the game doesn't pause when you hop into a menu.
Don't forget your consumables.
In addition to medkits and explosives, you also carry around a bunch of different types of consumables. Water gives you bonus damage against elites, canned food increases healing powers, and you even have explosive and incendiary bullets. I keep forgetting I have access to these and scraping through tough fights without using any consumables at all. Don't be like me!
Grab collectables and echoes.
You get XP for getting collectable pieces of "intel" around the city, and for watching the nifty ehoes that play out in certain areas. Be sure that you press X a second time on an echo after activating it; I watched a lot of these and then left without collecting them, before realising that you have to press X twice: once to activate the echo, and a second time to collect it.
Enjoy two helpful shortcuts.
Hop directly to your inventory by holding down the start/options button. The game told me this in a loading screen tutorial and it blew my mind.
If you no longer need your turret, cancel it by holding down the shoulder button assigned to the ability. It will destroy your current turret and speed up the cooldown on the next one.
Don't reload; switch weapons instead.
Lately the enemies I've been facing have been really aggressive, mercilessly flanking me and keeping me constantly on the defensive. If an enemy breaks past one of your flanks and you empty your clip on him, don't pause to reload. Swap to your secondary weapon or sidearm to finish the job. Most guns in the game take a bit of time to reload, and a quick follow-up volley can be the difference between life and death.
Mind the drop.
Your character in The Division takes fall damage pretty easily, so keep your eyes out anytime you're preparing to drop off a ledge. If there's an exclamation mark above the button prompt, that means you're going to take some damage from the fall.
Always help civilians.
Jokes notwithstanding, if a civilian comes up to you asking for help, give them whatever they ask for. They will drop a piece of clothing or other gear, and whatever you get will surely be worth giving up an energy bar or a medkit.
So, just some starter tips to help you out if you're getting going on the game this weekend. I'll have more in-depth pointers as we go. If you have any tips of your own, I hope you'll share them below.