If you’re anything like me, you had a good time with The Division, Ubisoft’s lukewarm take on an open world shooter, but found little reason to return to its trash filled streets after you’d put it down. Even if you’d gone through its campaign and plumbed the depths of the game’s Dark Zone endgame, the prospect of DLC was not very enticing. The first piece of paid for DLC, Underground, turned out to confirm my apathy instead of placating it. Procedurally generated missions (though apparently well varied) just seemed like more grinding to get items I only needed to grind at a harder level. It became cyclical and boring. Survial takes you out of the cycle, breaking up the loot filled endgame and providing an experience that reminds you what made it a good game in the first place.
What makes Survival so dope is the fact that each experience is arcade-y and rogue-like, starting you off from scratch without your precious, grinded-for guns and abilities. This means traversing a frozen Manhattan with only a starter pistol until you can build or find a better gun. But defending yourself from roving gangs (or other agents) is the least of your worries. Frigid temperatures are constantly forcing you to find sources of heat and scrounge for fabric or clothes. It also turns out you’ve been infected by the game’s pervasive virus and have only an hour to get from the outskirts of town and into the center of the Dark Zone to be extracted with the anti-bodies.
Survival is rewarding but also really hard, so here are some tips to help get you to extraction:
PVE Isn’t Always Easier
Survival comes in two flavors: Player Vs. Player and Player Vs. Environment. In PVE players can’t harm each other, which obviously means that players are able to put aside their differences, come together and face hordes of enemies as a utopian unified front. Wrong, this is the internet. Players might not be able to shoot you, but they will still wait for you to get torn up in a shootout and steal your loot. Even worse, there’s a lot more competition because people aren’t dying off as quickly, so resources become scarce. There have been times that I’ve been unable to find the proper materials to craft the gas mask that unlocks the Dark Zone for upwards of ten minutes. By the time I’ll find them, most of my hour will have been used up, ensuring that I’d never make an extraction. Don’t be afraid of PVP, it’s pretty great.
Chill on the Outskirts a Sec
After you spawn at the beginning of the game, stay in the area and try to pool together some resources that other players are bypassing. This tactic works particularly well in PVP, because while you’re taking the less desirable loot on the outskirts of the map, most of your competition sprints toward the middle, fighting over better materials and culling each other out. Five minutes of careful collection on the outside can make it much easier for you to prepare for the hardships you’ll face in the Dark Zone and ensure you’ll have less resistance when you make your way inside.
That Starting Pistol is Good
One mistake I used to make was wasting my precious time trying to look for a gun before attempting to get into a firefight. But you don’t need to! The pistol is fairly powerful, and once you get into the proper cadence of emptying your magazine into a guy, reloading, rinse, repeat, you’ll find that for most of Survival it’s all you need to succeed.
Use Medicine Regularly
One helpful item found near ambulances is the medicine, which stops your infection from spreading. This adds time to your session which alleviates the pressure of rushing to extraction before you’re ready. Look around ambulances on the streets and CERA tents to make sure you’re always maxed out on this valuable resource.
Extraction Brings Hunters. Be Ready
I breezed through an early session of this game and laughed to myself as I called a chopper for extraction. Easy, I thought wrongly. Within thirty seconds I’d been gunned down by a group of mask wearing psychopaths called “hunters.” Make sure you’ve got top notch gear and all the abilities you need before attempting extraction.
Hopefully these tips will help you get the most out of The Divisions excellent new expansion.