Underground Leveling

The best methods for leveling and acquiring gear have been determined through extensive data collection for our Underground Leveling Guide.

  • For solo players or speed leveling
    • Hard (2 Phase + 2 Directive) – Normal mode is slightly less efficient but it is still decent.

  • For earning 268/229 gear and weapons (groups of 4 only)
    • Heroic (2 Phase + 3 Directives) – half as efficient for XP but you get much more loot.

             Patch: 1.3


    Stop Deconstructing – Start Selling

With the 1.3 update it is no longer useful to deconstruct your gear. The best loot in the game now comes from drops rather than crafted items. This means that you want to focus on earning credits so you can afford to recalibrate the items that drop.

             Patch: 1.3


     Triage + Reclaimer = Win

The Triage player talent also reduced the cooldown of your consumables such as explosive ammo, or water. A player using the Reclaimer gear set can benefit from this if you use your First Aid ability on them so they can reduce their cooldowns and apply more consumable buffs to the team.

             Patch: 1.3


     Pulse Counteracts the Fog of War

Directive: Fog of War - The mini-map is disabled. Directional threat indicators do not show targets unless pulsed or marked. Target indicators are only visible while the target is under the reticule.

Even though the mini-map is disabled with the Fog of War Underground directive, you can still see the enemy locations as if the mini map were still there when your enemies are Pulsed. This makes the Pulse ability very powerful in reducing the difficulty from using this directive. This may be a bug but it works for now.

Using Pulse with Fog of war With Fog of War active and Pulse recently used

             Patch: 1.3


     How to Gain Access to the Underground

Mission: Secure Quarantine Center - This is the mission you need to complete to gain access to the underground. It can be hard to find on your map so here is the exact location.

How to get to the Underground.

             Patch: 1.3


     Turn the Tide

On the Move - Kill a hostile while moving to reduce incoming damage by 30% for 10 seconds.

This talent can be activated by killing a hostile deployed skill such as a turret. This is especially useful against Dark Zone players who commonly use Shock Turrets.

             Patch: 1.3


     Showstopper Shotgun
The Showstopper Talent is an exclusive talent for the Showstopper (Automatic Shotgun) released in update 1.3. This weapon drops from the Dragon Nest Incursion and the daily Heroic mission.

Talent: Showstopper - Your accuracy with this weapon is increased the fewer shells you left in the magazine. show stopper reticle comparison

             Patch: 1.3


     1.2 Gear Set Locations

Note: all gear sets have a small chance to drop in any activity, however they have significantly higher chances to drop in the activities listed above.

1.2 gear set locations

             Patch: 1.2


     Smart Cover Accidental Disable (Bug)

Your teammates Sticky Bomb (Flashbang) and Critical Save (player talent) may deactivate your Smart Cover. You can try to mitigate this effect by placing your Smart Cover away from where your team may use their Flashbang or by not using those abilities.

             Patch: 1.2


     Cut the Rope at Your Own Peril

Cutting the rope while on manhunt will extend your rogue timer back to the full 5 Minutes.


  • 7% of all Dark Zone extractions have an attempted “rope cut”
  • 3% succeeded in cutting the rope
    • 20% of players who cut the rope die before picking up the loot

             Patch: 1.2


     Aiming with Shotguns

For those playing on console you may notice some benefit from un-shouldering and re-shouldering your shotgun between shots. Upon re-shouldering auto aim has a tendency to pull your weapon towards your targets head.

             Patch: 1.2


     1.2 Gear Tips

Final Measure

You must throw grenades first to receive the “grenade pick-up” buff so start combat by throwing a grenade.

Hunter’s Faith

The 2-set is geared towards Marksman Rifles and to maximize this benefit you could use two of them. You can earn stacks at a faster rate using an assault rifle but you will deal less damage to your target.

Lone Star

Since ammo capacity is doubled with the 2-set you could use two LMG’s to gain the maximum benefit from the +1000 LMG Damage from the 3-set. Since LMG’s have the longest reload time you gain the most benefit by skipping their reload. Remember to avoid using magazines with reload speed with this set.

Predator’s Mark

To gain the maximum benefit from the 4-set you would need to switch targets after landing 10 bullets so that the bleed is able to deal its damage. If you keep shooting the same target then the 4-set is not very good except for chasing down rogues in the Darkzone. Bleed resistance will be even more important in the Darkzone for this reason.

             Patch: 1.2


     Hard Target

Strafing back and forth is common in most first person shooters because it causes your enemies to miss shots. Aiming Down Sights (ADS) in The Division causes your character to move so slowly that strafing is not effective and your enemies are able to land easy headshots. If you are at close range you should consider using hip fire and running around your enemies in a circle. If they are trying to use ADS they may not be able to turn their camera fast enough (depending on their sensitivity settings).

             Patch: 1.2


     How to Prevent Survivor Link

EMP grenades can prevent your enemies from using survivor link. It is best to use grenades while your enemies are standing still before you engage them or when they are stunned by a shock turret.


             Patch: 1.2


     Rogue Healing Train

When you are running from enemies as a rogue in the Darkzone you can keep your allies at full health by using the Triage talent (reduces the CD on your abilities by 15% each time you heal a target). Make sure that your team runs in a single file line and have the person at the front of the pack drop a heal so that everyone runs through it. This turns a 20 second cooldown First Aid (Overdose) into an 8 second cooldown. With high armor builds and a proper running route this strategy will make your team nearly un-killable.

             Patch: 1.2


     Watch the Ropes – Time your ambush/escape!

When you are on top of buildings in the Darkzone it can be hard to safely watch for enemies which may be coming up the rope. If you adjust your camera angle properly you can watch for enemies at the bottom of the ropes to time your ambush or escape.

Good Camera Angle:

watching ropes while rogue

             Patch: 1.2


     Bleeds Prevent Enemies from Sprinting

The Harmful weapon talent, Sticky Bomb BFB, and Predator’s Mark 4-set will make your enemies bleed. When your enemies are bleeding they are unable to sprint. You can use this against rogues in the Darkzone to prevent them from getting away. If you wish to go rogue then make sure to get some bleed resistance to prevent this.

tip about bleed damage

             Patch: 1.2


     Shock-Blocked: How to Un-Shock Yourself

The heal from your First Aid ability can remove negative status effects (commonly used to remove bleeds). This also works against shock turrets but there is a trick to it. You must use the first aid ability in the moment before you are about to get shocked (because you can’t heal while shocked) so that the heal goes off after you are affected by the shock status effect. It might be tempting to save your heal to use it after the shock expires but that only works if you are still alive.

             Patch: 1.2


     Level Faster in the Darkzone – Don’t exceed rogue rank 1!

Going rogue is a great way to earn XP and DZ credits in the Dark Zone. The chart below shows you how fast you can level at each rogue rank. Notice that it is actually twice as fast to level at rogue rank 1 (25 minutes per level) as it is to level as rogue rank 5 (50 minutes per level). Another advantage of not exceeding rogue rank 1 is that the penalty of a death is much lower. Higher rogue ranks are even worse when you consider the additional time it takes to hunt down 4 more targets and the timer countdown delay that you will experience from being shot.

tip leveling by going rogue

             Patch: 1.2


     Shock Turret Is Bad for Leveling as a Rogue

If you are trying to level fast in the Dark Zone then you should only be going to Rank 1 Rogue status since it is most efficient. As a Rank 1 Rogue you want to avoid using Shock Turret as an ability since it counts as an offensive action and will reset your rogue timer to full duration. Pulse (concealment) is a good alternative since it will reduce the damage your team takes while not resetting your timer to max duration. When leveling as a Rogue its best to get a kill and then “play passive” to simply outrun the timer.

             Patch: 1.2


     Your Buff Bar Is Really Useful

The Smart Cover symbol can be difficult to see on some walls. As you advance along the Smart Cover wall check your buffs to make sure you are still in range and receiving that 75% damage reduction. Before you make that aggressive play to dump your mag into the enemy just take a glance at your buffs to make sure that Pulse is still active. If you are concerned that your teammate isn’t keeping their Pulse up 100% of the time you can watch your buff bar to see how often they reapply it.

example fo a buff bar

             Patch: 1.2


     Predatory Talent Heals You for 13.5% of Enemies Health

This talent is not clear in its description but it can actually fully heal you when you kill a target since it scales on the enemies health and not your own. This allows you to clear through groups of enemies faster in the dark zone since you can play more aggressively. Upon getting a kill you receive the health over a period of 5 seconds and numerous players have experienced an “instant revive” if they die during the 5 second healing period.

             Patch: 1.2


     Farm the Same Mission Faster

After completing a mission that you wish to repeat you can teleport your entire group back to the entrance (must be party leader).

Step 1: After the boss dies make sure everyone gets their loot.

Step 2: Open your map and find the mission you just completed.

Step 3: Hold Y (XBOX One) to reset the mission. This will teleport your group back to the entrance where you can immediately walk back in and start killing enemies. You can even keep set bonuses such as Tactician’s Authority up during the loading screen (which is almost instantaneous since it’s such a short teleport distance).

             Patch: 1.2


     How to be the Group Leader Every Time (never get kicked)

Step 1: Go to the mission/incursion and stand outside of it.

Step 2: Go to “Group Management” in the menu.

Step 3: Change the party “Privacy”.

Step 4: Change the privacy to “Open Group” – this will allow players to join your party automatically.

Step 5: Walk into the “no-respawn” zone – this will cause players to start joining your party.

Step 6: Check to make sure you are promoted to the group leader by checking the bottom left corner.

Step 7: Watch your party fill up automatically and wait for your team to load into your mission.

             Patch: 1.2


     Line Up your Shots While Behind Cover

Even while you are fully protected behind cover you are able to aim using the hip fire reticle. Place this reticle on your targets head and then ADS. Your crosshair will be exactly where you had it and you can immediately pull the trigger and return to cover with minimal exposure time. This is especially useful in challenge mode difficulty and against snipers.

             Patch: 1.2


     Is Striker’s Battlegear Intended to be used with Shotguns?

The Striker’s 4-set bonus requires +72.5% accuracy to gain any damage bonus. This is very difficult to achieve with most weapons in The Division with the exception of Shotguns. Additionally, each pellet that lands on your target will provide the damage increase so a single trigger pull can add 8% damage from the 4-set. You may be able to make use of this gear set by stacking the 4-set with good accuracy from your shotgun and then swapping to a Marksman Rifle to take advantage of the damage bonus (remain accurate to keep your stacks).

             Patch: 1.2


     Level Faster in the Darkzone using Bonus XP

Look for items with bonus XP (or recalibrate) such as your Mask (12%), Chest (24%), and Kneepads (48%). You can also equip 4% XP gear mods in each mod slot of your gear which can provide 24% bonus XP from 6 slots (realistic) or 32% from 8 slots (hard to get). Using this strategy you can reduce the number of kills needed to level from 1-99 by over 15,000 kills!

 kill per level needed with bonus xp
xp leveling

             Patch: 1.2


     Heal Multiple Times from the Same Heal

You can run through the healing circle (or mist) multiple times and you will receive a new heal each time you run through it. If you are using the Triage talent then your cooldowns will reduce by 15% each time your teammate runs through the same heal. If you heal while in combat you should try to strafe out of your heal and then back into it while you are shooting.

             Patch: 1.2


     Low on Credits?

If you need more credits you can sell your named weapons to the vendor for 4x more credits. Note: Deconstructing a named weapon does not provide extra materials.

selling weapons

             Patch: 1.2


     Explosive Ammo has 100% Crit Chance with the M44 Marksman Rifle

With most weapons explosive ammo does not always trigger and deal damage. There is a formula based on either the weapon type or the rate of fire which controls how often explosive ammo is allowed to deal damage. However with the M44 explosive ammo triggers damage with every shot since it is such a slow rate of fire weapon. You can use this to your advantage in the Dark Zone to get one-shot kills.

             Patch: 1.2


     Level faster in the Dark Zone using bonus XP!

Look for items with bonus XP (or recalibrate) such as your Mask (12%), Chest (24%), and Kneepads (48%). You can also equip 4% XP gear mods in each mod slot of your gear for a combined effect of up to 24% bonus XP. Using this strategy you can reduce the number of kills needed to level from 1-99 by over 15,000 kills. If you can get a kill every 20 seconds on average that equates to 83 hours of playtime. Bonus XP also applies to Rogue XP.

Clear Your stash faster

             Patch: 1.1




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