The Division: 5 Reasons the Dark Zone is The Worst Endgame

It’s not quite killing The Division but the Dark Zone is simply not fun.

Posted By | On 16th, Jul. 2016 Under Article, Feature


Let’s cut straight to the point – if you play The Division and intend on staying with the game, you have to head to the Dark Zone sooner or later.

Why? Because it’s the best place to obtain loot based on the amount of time it takes. We’ll get into why that is in a bit but for all intents and purposes, the Dark Zone is the primary endgame in The Division. It’s also the reason the game is suffering. Glitches can be fixed. Loot drops and the quality of said drops can be fixed. However, when a game’s mechanics are tailored to waste any number of hours you’ve invested and leave you with less than what you started with, there are problems. Let’s take a look at five reasons why the Dark Zone is the worst endgame, possibly among all the loot-based games out there.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

Funds/XP Loss on Death

The Division

Take your average competitive shooter, say Overwatch. Blizzard Entertainment is currently making a ton of effort to ensure that Competitive Play for its shooter isn’t unrewarding, to the extent that for season 2, it will be removing the Sudden Death rounds from close games. The logic behind the same according to principal designer Scott Mercer is that, “We definitely want players to feel like if they had a tie, their time wasn’t completely wasted.”

Meanwhile, in The Division, it’s possible to lose XP and funds in the Dark Zone every time you die. Sure you can rush to the location of your death and pick up any funds/keys dropped but it’s a tedious exercise every time you die. Also, if whatever killed you is still around, then you’re not making it out alive a second time around. As for the lost XP, which is necessary to rank up and purchase blueprints for weapons and the like in the Dark Zone? Yeah, that’s gone forever. Having fun yet?

Overpowered NPCs

The Division_Incursion

When The Division first released, the Dark Zone was a pretty “meh” place for loot. Subsequent updates made it so that named enemies dropped guaranteed High-Ends which further expanded to Gear Set drops, Sealed Caches containing Gear Set pieces, high Gear Score weapons and whatnot. Here’s the problem though – as a PvPvE zone, the Dark Zone’s NPCs never felt impossible to fight on your own (with the exception of the LMB in DZ05/DZ06 but it was still manageable if you were geared out).

Not anymore. The current +231 Gear Score makes it extremely difficult to play solo in the Dark Zone with just any build. Worse still, even with friends you’ll have a hard time managing in DZ01 to DZ03 if you’re singled out. Enemies are capable of downing you in a few clips, never mind the shotgunners who can down you in a few shots from down the block. But that’s what happens when NPCs are level 33 onwards – don’t even get us started on DZ05/DZ06 which contain level 35 enemies and which are nearly impossible for most teams. It would help if the enemies didn’t have health pools in the millions, lob grenades by the hundreds and require thousands of bullets to kill but alas.

All The Best Loot

The Division_Dark Zone Supply Drop

Of course, you may be asking – why not just leave the Dark Zone alone? If it’s really a blight on The Division in its current state, then why not ignore it? The main reason is due to the loot. All of the best endgame loot can be obtained in the Dark Zone. More importantly, it’s designed in such a way that you can obtain great loot much faster than from playing Challenging missions, Heroic Incursions, 3 Phase Underground missions, etc.

The other issue is that it’s the source for all endgame loot. If you want a Sentry’s Call or Striker’s Battlegear, arguably two of the best sets in the game, then you just can’t farm the Underground with friends or embark on High Value targets – they simply don’t drop there. Besides, why play a Heroic Underground mission with three punishing Directives on when you can just, oh, loot a Supply Drop in the Dark Zone? Not only will it give you a high GS set piece but it’ll likely be something else besides Firecrest or B.L.I.N.D. The ratio of effort/time to loot gaining means that everyone will be funneled into the god-awful Dark Zone eventually and it simply sucks.

Rogues and Griefing

The Division

To make things even more insultingly challenging for players, both solo and groups, is the addition of rogues. Rogues are essentially the PvP elements of the Dark Zone – real players who can gun you down at a moment’s notice. You never know who’s friendly and who’s not, thus leading to a constant sense of tension. The problem is that when rogues kill you, they can steal your stuff. PvP in the Dark Zone isn’t based on who has skill – it depends on the one with the better equipment…or in the current meta, whoever has the highest Toughness and is capable of one-shotting you with a Sticky Bomb since you didn’t think to put two pieces of Final Measure on for Exotic Damage Resilience.

It’s gotten to the point where rogues simply roam the Dark Zone, griefing other players and setting back their progress just for kicks. Does Massive try to make it tougher for rogues to steal your loot (and no, sending some random loot to a “private” stash doesn’t help)? Nope. It actually introduces a mechanic called rope cutting to further ensure you lose. Did we mention it’s possible to get eight friends into a single Dark Zone instance and go around slaughtering everyone? Or camp a single spot and never die? Or simply run away forever and aggro NPCs on to pursuers to kill them? Or how about matching with you, kicking you out, murdering you and stealing your stuff?

Poor Substitute for PvP

The Division_Dark Zone

All of this highlights one major issue with the Dark Zone – it’s a PvE zone that should be used by players for endless farming but is besotted with awful PvP elements. The Dark Zone itself isn’t even PvP – it’s little more than a gank fest where players simply roll up on you, steal your stuff, mock you and then leave.

Damage between weapons isn’t normalized like Destiny so the one with the better gear or the Tanktician meta is the one who emerges on top during battles. And it’s a shame because The Division actually could have some decent cover-based PvP, pitting squads of four players against each on objective modes in a variety of different settings (the Dark Zone is varied enough and has so much potential for PvP battles). Instead, what we get is this. GG Massive. The developer did recently increased damage players can deal to each other but that’s not a long-term solution for this uneven-style of PvP, which only drags down the potential power you can wield in PvE, by a long shot.

There’s probably something I missed out on but I’d prefer to suppress the bad memories. Do you like the Dark Zone in its current form? Hate it? Let us know in the comments below.


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  • Troy Marcel

    It made me hate the game after playing Dark Zone.

  • Paul Adams

    After a brief time in the DZ, I ended up selling the game after getting my platinum. I’m a casual player and the constant tension of random players wasn’t worth it anymore. The developers could have made a “passive mode” like GTA, then the player could choose how they wanted to play.

  • Neil Murphy

    You must be a complete loser lol, for anyone who reads this post it is by no means a true reflection of the game, you this game is about strategy and team work using the skills and weapons you have at your disposal. It is a multiplayerg game and its refreshing that it’s has quite a high difficulty, one of the best games ever made so ignore this losers post.

    • lopo

      Well it seems like your one of the people who go in the game with group of 4 and gank people from behind when they are fighting with npc’s. Then you just run away like a little girl. And you dont even get that much timer for rogue that these guys you ganked get a payback chance. I have long history of fps games and sorry i do not see this game as a multiplayer game. You dont see other players on radar so they always pop up behind you and you have no chance to defend your self. And dont talk about skill if you have sentry build with good stats on every item and take on people in zone 1 to 3 cause your to weak in strategy to take on people in zone 5-6 and the heavy bots in there. This game isnt skill/strategy based. It’s totally gear based and group play based. If your solo or in with one friend you cant progress your game and get better gear cause all the nolifers will gank people in lower zones there for you cant get advancing your gear up so you can think to play player versus player even.

  • Ryan Burgess

    I use to love the dark zone, don’t hate the rogue part, but hate how massive hasn’t adapted to an ever changing game. A group of us used to scale down and go into lower brackets to help people have a good experience in the dz. Now I don’t even step foot in there, haven’t since 1.3. Now not to mention the 20% damage PvP buff. I’m assuming this was there “remedy” to tankticians, but in my opinion it only makes it worse. I hope the will actually fix a broken endgame but I’m not holding my breathe.

  • CUSP

    I completely agree with everything stated here. I’ve played the Division since beta, and I generally like the game, but these are the biggest problems the game faces. I think it should also be noted that this game is plagued with bizarre bugs that really get in the way of game play. It’s as though the paying community are the game testers but without feedback.

    Most of the game is fun, and even repetitive tasks can be rewarding, but there are still big problems regarding loot drops and game balance. Even top-tier players have a bad time with bully rogues. Twice-monthly supply drops are not going to address this issue, Massive/Ubisoft have a lot of work to do in a very short period of time to salvage this title.

  • Bruce Johnson

    people going rogue in the dark zone is not cool i hate this game now it is going into the trash one of the worse games ever.


 

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