Send up the flare. “That’s all you need to do,” I try to reassure myself.
“Just send up the flare and dig in until the helicopter arrives.”
I’m in The Division‘s Dark Zone, alone. Something that seemed like an okay idea at first, but was quickly growing regrettable. I bumped into a few agents, and we went our separate ways without incident. I expended most of my ammunition getting the few bits of loot bouncing around in my backpack. It’s this backpack – this beacon – that has me holding my breath as I watch the extraction timer tick down, painfully slow. “Was that movement?” I ask myself, as my eyes bounce back and forth in a panic between the minimap in the corner of the screen and what’s in front of my solitary agent. I pulse the area, “No hostiles detected,” it says. This does little to assuage my nerves – I’m not prepared for a drawn-out fight.
I can feel my heart pounding in my chest. I know if a group of agents shows up at my extraction zone, I am at their mercy.
I hear the helicopter approaching, and the welcome sound of the drop rope descending.
I emerge from cover and beeline for the rope, frantically mashing the proper button until I see my loot is extracting. “Come on!” I plead.
Wild-eyed, I spin around, looking for hostiles – for the Rogue agents surely waiting in the shadows. But there is no one.
The sound of the helicopter’s rotors fade away. I was alone the whole time.
This is the genius of The Division‘s Dark Zone. You’re not only fighting real players and AI players, you’re also fighting yourself. Many people viewed the game mechanic with suspicion when The Division was first announced, fearful it would become a complete player-versus-player (PVP) bloodbath instead of encouraging co-operative play. Some of those fears were validated in The Division‘s closed beta – 87 percent of players went Rogue (killed another player) at least once, but those numbers declined in the open beta, down to about 50 percent.
You’ll run into all manner of players in The Division‘s Dark Zone. Conveniently, they can be classified by type. Here’s how I look at it:
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The Noob doesn’t even know what the Dark Zone is. They bought The Division because everyone was talking about it, but don’t understand exactly how it works. The Noob wanders into the DZ, and doesn’t recognize it as an area filled with both hostile NPCs and neutral, real-life players. Wasting no time, The Noob shoots anything that moves, which is often a player, goes Rogue, and is subsequently killed off. Only then may The Noob understand what had just occurred – and sometimes it takes a while. The Noob often does not understand the concept of “friendly fire,” either.
The Rabbit fears anything that moves in the Dark Zone. Was that a shadow? No? Yes? It doesn’t matter. The Rabbit runs in the other direction – probably fearing for the precious piece of contaminated green loot in their bag. Most players new to The Division fall into this category, until they spend some more time in the Dark Zone, and get more comfortable with the experience. For The Rabbit, it’s all about survival.
The Buddy can be your best friend, but you never fully trust them. The Buddy adopts the policy of joining in with other players for survival. These players often stick with a group for a significant amount of time, helping in conflicts and reaping the associated rewards. Yet, they are never in your group, and could go Rogue. Most never do, however, preferring to be the remora suckerfish to your group’s shark. The Buddy is happy to help, and make easy pickings, if you’re the next type of player.
Similar to The Buddy, The Backstabber may roll with you for some time, but when it comes time for extraction – the temptation to steal your items becomes too much, and they attack out of opportunity. These are the worst kinds of Dark Zone players, since they wait until your guard is down and some semblance of trust has been established, to strike. Even if they’re not successful at killing you, they often make you miss the extraction and force you to relocate before they respawn and beeline for their death location, seeking vengeance – and their dignity back.
“What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.” That’s the favorite quote of The Jerk. These agents won’t hesitate to go Rogue at a moment’s notice, if they suspect you’re carrying some juicy loot. They’re also the kind of player to try to drive up their Rogue level, in an effort to gain more Dark Zone credits. This means camping spawns, hiding up stairs, leaving severs, or any number of underhanded tactics. You don’t want to come face to face with The Jerk, and most of the time you won’t know who they are, until they go Rogue.
Rather than play cooperatively against the Dark Zone’s many and often-challenging enemies, The Trolls are a group of players who would rather turn the Dark Zone into a free-for-all, engaging everything that moves, and relying on their strength-in-numbers. Alone, you are powerless, and it’s advised that if you see a group of four Rogue agents headed your way, find a safe place to hide. The Trolls will show you no mercy.
The Punisher is the Batman of New York City. It doesn’t matter what he or she is doing. Extracting an item? Fighting a boss? It’s all irrelevant when that Rogue skull indicator appear on the map. “They must pay,” says The Punisher. These kinds of players are drawn to Rogue icons like moths to a lightbulb, except they’re heavily armed moths seeking vigilante justice. You also might know them as the server police.
The Dark Zone is a great place, and it brings out some of our most basest instincts. That’s what makes it fun. If you held off on purchasing The Division because you’re intimidated by the Dark Zone, give it a chance. You’re guaranteed to be surprised.
Which kind of player are you? Which do you like, or hate? Tell us in the comments below!