Survival Guide – Everything you need to know

Update 1.5 has brought the new Survival game mode. It is essentially a “Survival game” within The Division that has entirely different mechanics than the normal game. Here is everything you need to know. If Hunters are giving you trouble, make sure to check out our 10 Tips for Dealing with Hunters Guide.

Finding the Entrance to Survival

Head underground from the Base of Operations and you will see the Survival entrance on the right wall between the HVT vendors and the Recalibration Station. (see below)

Survival Entrance

Select a Mode

Survival has two game modes:
  • PvP (can be attacked by players) – 1.2x score modifier
  • PvE (cannot be attacked by players) – 1.0x score modifier

Survival Game Modes

Survival Gameplay Mechanics

  • You start with no abilities (but you can craft them)
  • You start with basically no gear (but you can craft it)
  • Cosmetic items now have stats (cold resistance)
  • You start with a medkit (and medkits are a rare commodity)
  • You can self-revive using medkits if you go down
  • You get hungry/thirsty/diseased, these appear as status effects under your health bar and you can alleviate them by using food/water/medicine (on your consumable wheel)
  • Rogue Status does not exist in the Survival game mode. If you are in PvP mode all players can freely attack you at any time both inside and outside of the Dark Zone without indicating a “Rogue Status”.

How to Play Survival (objectives of the game)

You have an infection and the cure is found in the Dark Zone. You do not need to retrieve the Antivirals from the Dark Zone to extract but they are worth a significant amount of points toward your final score. The basic steps are as follows:

  • Find/Craft Gear to increase your fighting abilities
  • Find/Craft cold resistance clothing
  • Find medicine (and use it) to battle your virus
  • Find food and water (and use it) to prevent hunger and thirst
  • Craft a Basic Virus Filter so you can enter the Dark Zone
  • Craft a Flare Gun to call in the chopper for extraction
  • Defeat a Hunter that will try to prevent you from extracting

The Crafting Bench

Each Hideout has a Crafting Bench. Cold Weather Clothing, Weapons, Gear, Attachments, and Mods can all drop by killing enemies so if you want to be very efficient you should only craft these items if you have excess materials, or if a certain slot is very underpowered compared to the rest of you gear (such as low item level gloves). You will want to craft two skills when you can and the healing skills are very strong since medkits drop infrequently.

Survival Crafting Bench

Getting Supplies - Loot Boxed Everywhere

Most of your crafting materials will come from loot boxes found scattered around the ground. There are certain areas where you will find lots of these loot boxes (Shelters, Helicopters, Landmarks). You will want to open everything you find because you will need a lot of crafting materials.


Check the map for Shelters, they generally have an abundance of supplies and they are areas that warm you up.

Helicopter Crash Sites

This was confusing at first. The Helicopters generally crash up high on buildings and bridges and the loot will be scattered on the streets below so don’t waste your time trying to get to the actual chopper just look around at ground level.


There are landmarks outside of the DZ that contain many loot-able objects which are guarded by tougher enemies. The enemies usually drop gear so they are helpful both for gearing and crafting. Try to shoot the enemies from a long range to start combat so you don’t get overwhelmed. When you don’t have healing abilities, long range is your friend.

Finding medicine/water/food

  • You can kill NPCs for medicine
  • Kill other Players for their medicine (in PvP mode)
  • Find medicine in loot crates

Finding and crafting Gear

  • You can kill NPCs for gear
  • Kill other Players for their gear (in PvP mode)
  • Find Gear in Loot Crates
  • Craft gear at a Hideout

Finding and Crafting Cold Resistant Clothing

  • You can kill NPCs for clothing
  • Kill other Players for their clothing (in PvP mode)
  • Find clothing in loot crates
  • Craft clothing at a Hideout

Cosmetic items serve an important function in the Survival game mode and you want items with higher cold resistance numbers. If the “Current Environment Temperature” is lower than your “Lowest Supported Temperature with Equipped Clothes” then you will Get Cold and eventually need to Warm Up.

Survival Clothing

Getting Cold

As you spend time outside you will get cold if your cold weather resistance is not strong enough. There is a bar that indicates your “cold status” at the top right of your screen. This barrel is unlit but you can lite it to set it on fire and stand near it to warm up.

Survival Getting cold

Warming Up

You must always be thinking about where you need to go to warm up or else you will begin to freeze. Stand near fire to warm up all the way.

Survival Warming Up

Here are some of the ways to warm up:
  • Get into a Hideout
  • Get into a building (random hallways and stores you can just walk into)
  • Lite a barrel and stand near it (these can be dark and hard to see)
  • Stand next to a burning car (get right up against the fire)
  • Throw an incendiary grenade out and run in/out of the fire quickly one time (you will catch fire and take damage but you will also warm up – do this when your HP is high)
  • Let a flamethrower enemy set you on fire (untested need to confirm) Don’t forget you can check your map to see nearby fire locations.

Survival Fire Map


This will take your health away and eventually kill you unless you find warmth.

Virus Filter

You cannot enter the Dark Zone without this item. Craft it as soon as possible but also make sure that you have enough gear to handle the enemies in the Dark Zone. I was able to do this at 74 Gear Score but I would recommend gearing up more than this.

Survival Virus Filter

Dark Zone

Contaminated Zones can kill you unless you craft the upgraded (level 2) virus filter. If your friend accidentally walks into a contaminated zone and becomes unconscious, you should have enough time (5 minutes) to find the nearest Safehouse to craft an upgraded filter so you can enter the area to revive.

There are loot-able objects everywhere that will contain Weapon and Gear Caches. Try to fill up your Dark Zone inventory before you extract (if you have enough time).

Flare Gun

To craft the flare gun you will need Division Tech, make sure to grab some in the Dark Zone so you can extract. The only way you can avoid crafting this item is if another agent calls an extraction and you jump into his extraction helicopter (there are 4 seats per helicopter). Crafting a flare gun is worth a lot of score even if you don’t need to.

Survival Flare Gun

Dealing with the Hunter

One hunter will spawn for each player in an area. All of the Hunters must die before you are able to extract. Hunters can use combat roll and they are also able to use a First Aid heal. They seem pretty effective at dodging grenades as well. Ballistic shield seemed effective since I could choose to only fight if my ballistic shield was available which minimizes the risk of dying. You really need to go “all in” on the Hunter otherwise he will instantly heal up all of the damage you did to him. It is possible for another player to kill your Hunter for you. Killing a Hunter is worth a lot of score so if you can do it then you should. For more indepth information regarding how to deal with hunters visit our 10 Tips for Dealing with Hunters Guide.

Jump on the Chopper

There are 4 seats so there is plenty of room for the whole squad.

Survival Chopper

Deaths In Survival

If you get downed, you can revive yourself with a medkit or a teammate can revive you free of cost. If you are killed while you are down you go into an "unconscious" state. While you are in this state your teammates can revive you at the cost of 1 medkit and you can remain "unconscious" for up to 5 minutes. At the end of this time period you will die and fail Survival. You will still earn score for your performance which will award you with loot.

Tips for Winning

  • Killing other players is a great way to get ahead in PvP mode. They drop crafting materials, gear, clothing, medicine, etc. Wait for them to get into combat before ambushing them for an easier kill.
  • When playing PvP there is less risk dying in the first 10 minutes since you haven’t made much progress yet. You can play more aggressive hunting down players to go for some easy loot that will give you a good start and put you ahead of the rest of the players.
  • Most players will probably be working their way towards the Dark Zone. If you want to play PvP mode for the bonus score but avoid player interaction you may want to stay very far away from the Dark Zone for a while until other players on your server die off.
  • Crafting a weapon before you enter the DZ can really bump your power up. You will slowly get access to higher level crafting patterns.
  • Use your map to scan the area and make a plan, remember that areas with good loot are more likely to have players competing for that loot and trying to kill you (in PvP version)
  • Engage NPCs from a good distance. Since you won’t have abilities you can’t rely on them for healing. Stay on cover and limit your exposure. Try to always have a medkit for combat.
  • It’s better to use a medkit before you die rather than using it after you have already died to revive yourself. Consider crafting medkits if you have extra supplies especially before fighting the Hunter at extraction.
  • Make sure you always have atleast 1 of each consumable type and use it immediately when you get debuffed (thirsty/hungry/diseased)
  • As a solo player you may want to do PvE only. The 1.2x modifier will not be worth it for PvP mode considering the amount of failures you may experience (if you fail 50% of your attempts you would need a 2x modifier just to break even compared to PvE) Premade groups may have more success with PvP mode.

Group Play

When playing in a group you are competing for the same resources. You want to spread out for better efficiency. Have 2 people searching the left sides of the street while 2 people search the right side. If someone finds a loot area have the second person on that side run past to continue searching (like leap frogging).

Sharing Loot

Goups can share the following items
  • Gear
  • Weapons
  • Any Consumable (medicine, food, water)

Groups cannot share the following items
  • Crafting materials
  • Cosmetic (cold resistance)
  • Survival Equipment (virus filter, flare gun)

Crafting materials can be exchanged indirectly by crafting an item, giving the crafted item to another player, and then allowing that player to deconstruct it back into raw materials (this is not very efficient). The better way is to be on the lookout of the materials your teammates need rather than indiscriminately picking everything up.

Your Shared Loot can be Stolen!

If you drop an item near another player (not in your squad) they are able to pick it up and steal if from you (even in PvE mode). Be careful when sharing items.

Score Table and Chart

Much of the score you can earn is dependent on your ability to reach the Dark Zone and extract successfully. Winning is the most important thing for scoring high. The following table shows you a breakdown of your score.

Craft Virus Filter 300
Enter Dark Zone 400
Craft Flare Gun 500
Retrieve Anti-Viral 600
Complete Extraction 700
Combat (depends on enemy level)
Kill Normal Enemy 10-50
Kill Veteran Enemy 20-100
Kill Elite Enemy 30-150
Kill Named Enemy 50-250
Score Per Hour Survived 300
Revive Player 200
Thirst (5xThirst%Above50%) 5
Hunger (5xHunger%Above50%) 5
Disease (10xDisease%) 10
Cold (30xLowestSupportedTemp) 30
Equipped Items (5xGearScore) 5
Medkits (in inventory) 100
Medicine/Painkillers (in inventory) 40
Consumable Food (in inventory) 40
Consumable Drinks (in inventory) 40
Extract with First Chopper 500
Extract with Second Chopper 400
Extract with Third Chopper 300
Extract with Fourth Chopper 200
Extract with Fifth Chopper 100
Never be Downed (still alive) 750
Never Dead (unconscious) 500
Defeat Hunter 400

Survival Bracket Score Requirements

Higher Scores lead to better bracket placements which award you with better rewards.

Survival Bracket Score
Rank 1 (Novice) 600
Rank 2 (Trained) 1750
Rank 3 (Skilled) 4000
Rank 4 (Expert) 7500
Rank 5 (Master) 10000

Survival Rank Rewards

Survival Rewards Gear Cache Weapon Cache Survival Cache
Rank 1 1 0 0
Rank 2 1 1 0
Rank 3 1 1 1
Rank 4 2 1 1
Rank 5 1 1 2

Survival rewards

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