So Tom Clancy’s The Division is out, and guess what; it’s a lot of fun! However, if you haven’t played the beta, you may find yourself getting a bit lost with certain aspects of the game that aren’t explained too well. We’ve spent quite some time with the game across both PC and PS4, and here are some tips that could benefit newcomers.

Unlock Safe Houses As Soon As You Can

In The Division’s version of New York, there are no vehicles to roam around in, which means you have to rely on your two stumps (unless you have a partner who you can spawn/teleport on) to explore the game world. This can prove time consuming, especially if your mission is on the opposite side of the map. While there’s no way you’re getting out of that long trek, the first thing we would recommend doing once you reach said area is to unlock the safe house there. Not only does this enable fast travel to that location, but you’ll gain access to the vendors there, be able to restock your weapons, and you’ll also obtain a whole bunch of side quests and encounters, resulting in a crap ton of XP.

Go After Those Collectibles

This one’s fairly obvious, but if you come across collectibles, grab them. Picking up any sort of intel, be it phone recordings or Echos, grants you 300 XP for literally doing nothing. We also recommend working towards unlocking the Intel Discovery perk in your Security skill tree as this highlights all the undiscovered intel on the map, helping you become a better scavenger.

Help Out Civilians In Need

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Yes, it’s the apocalypse and it’s every man for himself, but showing compassion in The Division for your fellow humans can bestow you with bonus XP, weapon drops, and fashion accessories. Just because it’s the end of days, doesn’t mean you can’t dress well.

Always Deconstruct Your Junk

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Whether you’re doing missions, encounters, side missions or Dark Zone runs, you’re going to acquire a lot of loot. While your first instinct may be to sell your loot, we’d advise against it. It’s easy enough to farm the basic currency in this game and you’re better served deconstructing your junk to receive crafting components, which can help you craft some of the best gear in the game later on. Also, since crafting components don’t take up inventory space, it’s a great way to ensure you always have enough space to pick up everything you find.

Crafting

Seeing how easy it is to find and buy gear and weapons, the lonely crafting table is often overlooked. Given how much the game has to offer, it’s easy to see why people might have missed out on the benefits of crafting. The various blueprints you can find around Manhattan often give you the ability to craft some very powerful weapons or gear, especially when you hit the higher levels.

If you constantly find yourself with underlevelled gear, maybe it’s time to hit the crafting table. Also remember that each time you craft, you get gear with varying stats and bonuses and if you’ve been deconstructing your junk, you’ll have no shortage of resources to keep crafting gear till you get the set that’s perfect for you.

Don’t Judge Loot By Its Color

The Division, like modern RPGs and MMOs colour codes its loot, so green is average, blue is good, purple is great and gold is epic. In most cases, you’d be tempted to blindly ditch green in favour of blue, but in The Division, it isn’t that simple. For one, green weapons may actually outperform their blue counterparts, so compare your weapons before making rash decisions. Even when it comes to gear, take some time to see how every piece of gear affects your three primary attributes – Stamina (health), Firearms (weapon damage) and Electronics (skill efficiency). For all you know, that green piece of gear you were about to junk may boost your Firearms skill more than a blue piece.

Collect As Many Blueprints As You Can

You won’t be crafting anything without blueprints. The easiest way to collect blueprints is by doing side quests and missions, which will often give you a blueprint as a reward. Once you hit the higher levels, you’ll start receiving purple blueprints for your efforts and each time you craft, you’ll get a slightly different gear from the same blueprint, so it’s worth trying it a few times till you get something that’s tailor-made for you.

Kill All Animals

There’s no room for judgement in the apocalypse, so if you really, really want to level up fast, kill every animal, bird or rodent you come across. And by animal, I mean dog. There, I said it.

Play In A Squad When Possible

This one is a little obvious but it’s worth saying time and time again, you should play in a squad when you can. The matchmaking system is excellent and will find you players close to your level. Now here’s another thing that a lot of people end up avoiding – talk to your squadmates. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing with friends or random gamers, you’ve got to keep communicating, the game utilises an excellent Proximity Voice Chat that allows you to hear and speak to Agents near you. The systems are in place and work very well, make use of them to get ahead of the curve.

Always Open Locked Doors

There are a lot of locked doors all over Manhattan and these locked doors house treasure troves that will give you a very good cache of loot. You need lockpicks to open the doors, and they can be very tricky to find. As far as we know, you get lockpicks from random drops, both in the PvE Zone and the Dark Zone. Once you have them though, don’t be afraid to use them and unlock any locked doors you come across. If you’re playing with friends, then only one person has to open a door for everyone to access the loot inside, just ensure you have a squad watching your back.

Experiment With Your Abilities

If you follow your initial objectives, the heal ability is the first one you’ll unlock. Your abilities can help get you out of a tough situation, turn the tide of a battle, or even help you completely dominate your opponents. While at first glance the ability tree doesn’t seem very comprehensive, keeping you restricted to two active abilities, you’ll soon discover just how in depth the ability system is. Based on which abilities you take into battle, you can radically change your play style and what your character can do.

A sticky bomb and turret can help make you an offensive force while a support station and mobile cover can see you play the medic keeping your squadmates alive. Of course, you can mix and match how you please and even change your abilities on the fly in a battle. Make sure to know how each of the abilities works to make you even more effective on the battlefield.

The game also gives you several Talents and Perks to buff you up. Perks are always active once unlocked but you’re limited to a certain number of Talents based on your level. These talents can provide big bonuses that supplement several different playstyles. Whether you’re looking to boost your damage output or shore up on health, your talents can help you out.

Learn Your Menus

You know how you keep picking up Soda, Water, Energy Bars and all those special kinds of ammunition and grenades? Well, they do serve a purpose beyond being exactly what some random civilian in need requires. This one is sort of glazed over in the game, which is why a lot of people missed it, but you can access various menus (using the D-Pad on the PS4, and ‘V’ on PC) that let you utilise all those items you’ve collected. These items can bestow bonuses such as increased damage against elite enemies, fire damage, and healing, among others, and can give you an added edge in combat.

Oh, it’s also where you find your emotes. Make sure to check out all the options you have there because you never know when you’ll need to bust out the jumping jacks!

Know and Exploit Weak Points in Bosses and Grunts

As you progress through the game, enemies become tougher, which means you need far more bullets to kill them. But instead of complaining how many of them are just bullet sponges, play smart. Certain enemy types, like The Cleaners for example, holster the fuel tanks for their flame throwers on their backs. Shooting these tanks with a powerful weapon (like the sniper) can cause it to combust immediately, engulfing an enemy (and those around him) in flames. You can (and should) apply this same strategy for well armoured bosses who carry explosive satchels on their backpacks.

Try And Reach Level 30 As Quick As You Can

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While you’re free to head into the Dark Zone pretty much whenever you like, it’s best to wait till you’ve levelled a bit before heading in. Though most players are cooperating now, once more people hit the level cap and get their endgame gear, you can expect to see more rogues roaming the Dark Zone, so you’ll want to go in ready for anything.

What’s more, once you hit level 30, you’ll be perfectly ready for the incursions and Dark Zone events that will be added. Enemies also scale with you, making sure you won’t feel overpowered unless you’re actively attempting the lower levelled missions on normal difficulty. Once you hit level 30, you can access everything in the Dark Zone and even earn Phoenix Credits to purchase the best weapons in the game. There’s a lot of incentive to hit the level cap as early as possible.

Know How To Power Level

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Getting to level 30 isn’t very difficult if you know how to get there. The main missions net you the most experience but Side Missions, especially attempting the ones in higher-level areas, will net you enough experience to level up very quickly. The main missions can take a good amount of time to get through whereas you can breeze through most side missions, especially with a competent squad, ensuring all of you keep leveling up as quickly as possible. There are several ways to squeeze in some extra experience points in the Division but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your two biggest sources, the main missions and side missions.

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