The Dark Zone is The Division 2’s premier player versus player (PvP) mode and one of the best ways to get loot in the game. In a Dark Zone, players can take on AI enemies to find loot. They can also turn on each other to steal that loot and make it their own.
To unlock the Dark Zone in The Division 2, you’ll have to level up the game’s first settlement, The Theater, to level three. Once it’s there, you’ll receive a new recruit, Senait Ezera, who gives you the mission to unlock the Dark Zone. (You’ll need to be at least level 10.)
Dark Zone East is the first region you’ll gain access to. It’s the lowest level and easiest of The Division 2’s three Dark Zones. It has both the lowest level players (from levels 10-19) and AI enemies.
Just like in the first Division game, your primary goal in the Dark Zone is to fight AI enemies. To do this, you’ll roam around the area until you spot a group of enemies, take them on, and hope they drop loot when you kill them.
Some drops will be standard loot like you’d find in The Division 2’s main areas. You can equip this immediately. But the mode’s best loot will always be contaminated, meaning that you’ll need to extract it from the Dark Zone before you can equip it.
To extract loot from the Dark Zone, you have to carry it to a designated location. While you have the loot, you’ll wear a bright yellow pouch on your back that other players can see.
Once you get to the extraction area, you’ll call in a helicopter and a timer begins counting down to its arrival. During the countdown, waves of AI enemies will attempt to stop you from extracting, but they’re only half the threat.
Extracting is also the perfect time for other players to start taking shots at you in an attempt to steal your hard-earned loot. Any player in the Dark Zone that isn’t in your squad can attack any other player. This is called going rogue.
To go rogue, players have to activate a toggle that indicates their hostility and makes them visible to other players. This means that you’ll have a little bit of advanced warning if someone is going rogue nearby, but it might be hard to spot while you’re extracting.
Once you’ve defended yourself and your extraction area from rogue agents and advancing enemies, the helicopter will arrive and you can place your contaminated loot on it for extraction. After it’s safely extracted, you can continue through the Dark Zone or head to an exit.
Your stash in the Dark Zone checkpoints connects the Dark Zones to the rest of the map and allows you to collect any loot you extracted from your latest Dark Zone trip.