Beginners' Tips For Playing The Division

Beginners' Tips For Playing The Division

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.

Beginners' Tips For Playing The Division

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.

Beginners' Tips For Playing The Division

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.

Beginners' Tips For Playing The Division

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!

Beginners' Tips For Playing The Division

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.

Beginners' Tips For Playing The Division

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.


    Don't break down everything. You will need money to upgrade gears in the early levels. I would suggest selling and breaking down alternatively.

    Early game crafting gives bad stuff since you will be higher level than what the recipe gives you.


    If you see a nice gun in the store and you want to buy it, check if you are about to level up. Do not buy if you are going to level because the weapon at the shop will scale to your level. Go do a few mission and come back for a higher level of the same weapon.

      Does the crafting automatically scale? or do you have to build up your crafting skill like in other MMO's?

        You collect blueprints along the way, often pertaining to your level at the time picking up the blueprint. There's no crafting skill, just how many blueprints you have.

        I would say it's good to sell things from time to time, and you can still break down enough items to keep a fair amount of materials. You can also unlock a perk for each wing that grants you 1 of each material per hour. On that note it's good to have plenty of money so that you can re-assign stats to your gear, if you're into specialising a certain playstyle.

        As @fruitlewp said, crafting doesn't scale but it depends on the blueprints. If you get a level 20 classic M44 carbine blueprint, you can only craft level 20 M4 carbine blueprint.

        The item level that is dropped depends on the area level, if the area is level 10-15, you can only get maximum of level 15 items dropped BUT chest items does not follow that limitation and give you your level or your level +1.

        I find that selling for money worth more than crafting into materials because crafting is still not viable and I'm level 20. I find buying equipment to be much better option, not to mention you gain 1-2 level each time you finish all mission in one area, you level so fast that crafting equipment falls off and buying equipment is the quickest gain of stats. Not to mention you can even buy items that has the wrong stats and change it with Recalibration centre, which let you choose a stat in an equipment and roll it to something else but you can only reroll one attribute on one equipment, once you roll it will be locked to that attribute only.

        I find it much much easier to get equipments you want from buying than waiting for it to drop.

        Potentially you can do deconstruct path until level 10, then start selling to prepare for the mid level as the difficulty spikes up and you really need those gear to progress without being too hard.

        You don't want to get stuck with low level weapons in high level area.

    I shot a dog to see if it would die. It did, was ashamed and gave my cattle dog a hug.

      I did the same and instantly had to rethink life as I know it....

    i shot a explosive trap and didn't see the dog around the other side of the car, i regret playing this game :(

    I can't find out whether this game actually has a story or if it's more like Destiny's "don't worry about the story, just concentrate on the pew pew pew!"

      It does. One of the missions around level 18, kinda explodes and propels the story.

        Cool, might pick it up. I didn't get Destiny because of lack of a story. I like shooters like Borderlands.

      It does, and quite a deep one really... A lot of it is revealed by picking up the collectables scattered across the map.

        The Intel Files have some of the best voice acting I've heard in a long time. Not to mention, they build the gravity of the situation *extremely* well.

          I like how some of the phone messages linked to each other. The one I like best is the heavy breathing one. Laugh my ass off once I got all 3 of them.

    Shoot all dogs and rats and birds, damn virus carriers!
    Disturbingly Rats have more HP than dogs.

    Last edited 11/03/16 11:24 am

    further to the "Upgrade your Base of Operations wings whenever you can" point, when you are first walking in the main base of operation it shows on the wall in front of you the percentages each wing has been upgraded, most people have probably noticed that, but what I didn't notice at first was that above the percentages in smaller text is how many resources you have sitting in that wing. Cheapest things are 200 resources so if you have over that, go upgrade before you leave again :)

    I'm on PSN under drx913 if anyone wants to add me to roam the zone.

      Sometimes it would be wise not to use all the points as you can and try to choose the upgrades you really need first. Important perks like Extra EXP, extra credits and extra DZ credits are important, Virus Filter needs to be upgraded from time to time so you don't get locked out of Virus missions.

      Getting the signature skill early helps a lot too. The healing signature skill is a must for groups tackling Hard missions.

      It takes awhile to fully upgrade them to 100% so pick the skills and the mod you want first.

    I always shoot the dogs that are threatening civilians, then the civilians are all like "This guy's lost his mind" and run off. Pretty sure if I was the person about to be torn apart by a angry dog and someone shot it to save me, I'd thank them. Apparently water and energy bars are worth more to these people...

    So can anyone tell me if I should just be leaving any blue weapons I like behind in favour of green weapons with higher level but shittier perks? I mean obviously once there's a huge difference I would anyway but it seems kinda lame to always be throwing my blues away for boring greens.

    "Save your crafting materials for later." yeah nah stuff drops so frequently and blueprints you get are tied to the level they dropped at, use them while you can!

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