10 Things You Need To Know About Tom Clancy's The Division

Division poster header

Tom Clancy’s The Division was released a few weeks ago, and already it’s one of the next-gen platforms’ strongest titles. Made by Ubisoft and available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows, The Division takes a rolling pin to a few different genres and bakes up a nice soufflé of action, survival, and story. It’s a taut third-person shooter and role-playing game, set in one of the best-realized, most meticulous virtual environments this side of a Bioshock title.

The Division is set in Manhattan in the wake of a catastrophic plague. Baddies have overrun the weakened city, and you, an elite Division agent, must work with others in law enforcement and the military to help gather the great city’s resources and put it back together. It’s set in winter, and you will spend a lot of your time fighting. If this sounds good to you, give it a shot. This list is for those who haven’t played the game yet or are just getting into it, to provide you with some basics that may be of some interest.

So with that, sit back, relax, put on your over-the-ear 7.1 surround-sound wireless gaming headset, and enjoy Screen Rant’s list of 10 Things You Need To Know About Tom Clancy’s The Division…

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10 Much of the Environment is Destructible

The Division Street Shot

A lot of objects in the open world of The Division are satisfyingly interactive. Tires of cars and tractor-trailers long abandoned can be shot, which leads to a satisfying "pop," floodlights can be hit to flicker, and there are occasionally gas tanks to blow up.

But to go along with the hours of mindless tomfoolery that can go down in the snowy sandbox of The Division, there are things to be careful of. Namely, most points of cover (barricades, cars) are destructible. And enemy AI aren’t Storm Troopers — they actually are pretty accurate, especially as you level up. Don't count on being able to just hunker down and pick off the opposition ala Gears of War. Additionally, the AI are pretty sophisticated (read: unpredictable) and so they are known to flank positions.

9 It's a Third Person Shooter...And an RPG

The Division is marketed as being a third-person shooter, and it is pretty good at playing one. The controls are geared for battle, with weapons, explosives, and life-sustaining health kits all available within arm’s reach. Sweeping through the snowy, eerie streets of Manhattan, players come upon enemies pretty regularly, whether it’s a couple of them acting shady in a nearby alley, or an army of thugs that are part of a larger mission.

The game works well as a shooter, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Enemies are more difficult to take down as one progresses through the missions. This leveling-up aspect, combined with the fact that it is an open world where one can just walk into missions (of varying difficulty, nonetheless) makes it actually quite a bit more like a role-playing game than anything else.

We recommend playing through the story first, before getting into side missions. The core missions provide the most experience points and treasure, which will help and make the game more enjoyable later on.

8 It's Best Played as a Squad

Full Squad in The Division

Get some friends in on the action in The Division. Having a squad lends all kinds of benefits to one's ease of progress through the game. And, it just makes it a lot more fun.

Having a team allows you to go up against difficult enemies with better chances of coming out the other side in one piece. This sounds obvious, but even when working in a group, the AI in this game is pretty rugged. Going it alone may win you bravery points, but could lead to a lot of unnecessary anxiety/rage quits as well. In a team, there are all manner of tactics to be used. Employ suppressing fire to move troops up in heated battles. Moving as an ideally four-person team, you can break off into two smaller cliques and flank the opposition. The game runs a whole lot smoother (and is thusly more enjoyable) if you've got a few squadmates at your back.

7 Complement Your Squad

Empire State Building in The Division

To buttress the fact that it's an RPG, you can change your class on the fly to be of best use to your team. Every team needs at least one medic, and having a dedicated scout/sniper never hurts. There's a pretty robust array of weapons and gear to choose from, which makes it tempting to suit up by what role will be best for an upcoming confrontation. The game features a backpack feature, which allows you to keep stowed a slew of different gear, to be plucked out when the time is right.

With four people, you can have a dedicated sniper, medic, close-quarters tactician (read: guy with a shotgun), and a grenadier. This is a pretty standard setup, but be ready to get creative. Some missions call for weapon change-outs to match a more unorthodox setting – a blitz up a tight building, or hunkering down in a city tunnel. Two (or four) of the same thing may be better than one in certain situations.

6 Don't Be Too Quick to Sell

Third Person Shot in The Division

It may seem tempting to offload those kneecaps you haven’t been using since you discovered those fancy new ones in that alley, but don’t be so restless. In the pared-down, brutal world of being a lone soldier in a snowy, fractured metropolis, it would make sense that one would want to keep a crisp profile, holding onto only the most useful items and losing the rest in the snow. In fact, there are vendors located at each command post in the city, who will buy and sell equipment.

But hold your horses. Instead of selling old gear to vendors (who will pay you next to nothing for your efforts) dismantle all of your old, junky weapons and other items. This will create a store of raw materials, which will add up and help you soon enough. Raw materials can be applied to building new clothing and gear and don’t have an effect on your mobility. Creating nicer things will help your armor, scavenging, and other attributes.

5 Different Ops, Different Tactics

Subway Map in The Division

To sate your curiosity: Yes, it’s a really good Tom Clancy game. No, it isn’t Splinter Cell. You won’t be hanging from drainpipes like Spider Man or checking your stealth-o-meter to see if enemies see you. Instead, think of The Division as embarking on Rainbow Six-like missions in the age when GTAV and The Walking Dead are two of our biggest cultural harbingers.

You won’t be doing too much sneaking around here. For the most part, you’ll be breaching some pretty hairy situations head-on. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t plenty of room for strategy, because there is. Points of cover will help, but it's just as important not to get comfortable. Rooting around the premises of an enemy stronghold could reap benefits, like a ladder to high ground, or a secondary point of entry. Perhaps you're stuck out in the open, in which case a satchel of grenades can come in handy. Thankfully, this isn't a game you can run through without much thought, as enemies are aggressive and unpredictable.

4 Heal Thyself

The Division Co-Op

The Division is one of the most merciless games out-of-the-box when it comes to taking damage. You start out with minimal armor, and even as you rank up, the defensive materials won’t change your lot dramatically. Cover and tactics then become important. But, you’re going to get hit sometimes. And if you don’t have any med kits or forget to apply aid, then you’re in for a world of trouble. Losing too much health relegates players to a forced-crawl position, wherein they must get aid administered to them or else.

Use med kits before you lose so much health that you're easy to drop, and thus become something of a liability to the rest of your squad. It’s great having teammates there to swoop in a save you when you’ve been downed, but if they are taken out en route to trying to rescue you, this causes everyone to have to restart, from a base a few blocks away.

3 The Dark Zone

The Dark Zone in The Division

If you go rogue in the "Dark Zone" — a cryptic, cordoned-off section of the snowy Manhattan landscape that exists where Central Park used to — you better be alert. And skilled. Out there you'll be hunting for packages of goodies, only to have to wait for air support to come extract them for you. The process of waiting with the treasure can take a while, but you won't be bored: Other (human) players also in the Dark Zone at the same time will be able to see where you are and will be reasonably able to surmise why you're not moving, so be ready to defend yourself.

This is another time when it helps to have a squad. In more collaborative times, teams can assist each other and reap the spoils together. Just don't count on it going down like that.

2 Loot Everything

Looting the Supermarket in The Division

Loot everything, always. Ammo and health go quickly in The Division, so always be on the lookout for restock bins, and other cases in odd corners. It's an open-world RPG, so restocking — and what is being restocked — is key.

Also, you will sometimes come across civilians in need. They will look obvious, usually walking down the middle of the street, stumbling. Help them. Don't just help them because you're not a monster, but because it can help you, too. Giving a bit of aid to a civilian in the form of a candy bar or soda will land you experience points and a mystery item. Usually a jacket or a hat — great for those chilly, apocalyptic New York winters.

1 Watch the Movie

The Division Tie-In Movie

There's a half-hour, live-action short film available for Amazon Prime subscribers called Tom Clancy's The Division: Agent Origins. It's actually a super-cut of four smaller clips, each made by the game's developers in collaboration with noted YouTube filmmakers. Each of the four segments tells a different story of a Division agent who is activated for duty along with a particular mission.

In Ashes, an agent must take on a group of flame-throwing thugs. In Escape, four agents must stop the opposition from jeopardizing innocent lives in order to obtain medical supplies. Pursuit also deals with important medkits, but here a single agent pursues thieves and must deal with a quandary. And finally, Conspiracies is the most lighthearted, wherein a couple of buddies are hanging out and speculating about shadowy government agents, when, a robber breaks into their home and makes things all too real.

It's a tidy collaboration, and an excellent primer to the world of The Division.


Have you played it yet? What do you think? Be sure to sound off in the comments section.

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