Tom Clancy The Division

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All observations are for Tom Clancy's The Division (TCD) #1. I haven't played Division 2.

I started playing TCD Feb. 11, 2021 (PC, Win10). I got it for US$9.90 from GamePlanet via IsThereAnyDeal (ITAD). If you haven't tried ITAD, give it a shot!

As of this writing (2/27), I'm Level 27 and have seen most of the map outside the Dark Zone. For whatever reason, I'm doing all the rest of the map before entering the DZ.

Here are some tips, and some problems I encountered.

Backed into a corner on Medical Supplies!

By the time I was maybe level 20, I began to realize I had a problem: My Medical Wing was at 70%, but I was only up to Filter Level 2 (FL2) / Virus Protection Level 2 with only 160 Med Supplies in the bank. I could not go into the three Virus Research missions that were the only place to get more because they needed FL3. If you enter, your mask wears out in 10 seconds, and you slowly but surely take health damage. The med wings that I did not yet have were: Intensive Care (400 supplies), HazMat Unit (400; increases FL), and Pharmacy (200; +FL).

Basically I had painted myself into a corner!

By Level 26, I was getting desperate. So I tried brute-forcing the Virus Research mission in Madison Square Park (Flatiron District, Safe House: Madison's Stand). I figured its open-field nature meant I could keep bouncing back to the entrance to recover health and mask before plunging back in. The map gives you 8 minutes to find 3 virus scanners, initially.

In theory it was workable, but in several attempts I just couldn't find the third scanner before time ran out. I only had 40 seconds (including the mask's initial 10) before I had to get out, use a Medkit, or ... die.

So it's back to Madison's Stand again, run back to the park again, then try madly searching for the third scanner again while the clock is ticking and you keep bouncing back to the entrance. Sigh. For all I knew, there was going to be a gunfight after the scanners were done; how was I going to survive that and not die to the virus?

In frustration I cried Uncle and searched for a guide. I found PowerPyx's All Virus Research Encounters Walkthrough on YouTube. Madison Square Park is at timestamp 5:43. I could see exactly where the three scanners were, that there is no gunfight after you find them, and that you have 7 minutes to upload the virus data. After watching the video a couple times, I finished this mission easily. It was just like PowerPyx's YouTube. I only needed 1 Med Kit for the farthest scanner.

As for other possible solutions:

  • Maybe the other two Virus Research missions are even easier to brute force, especially after watching a walkthrough. I got my med supplies; didn't bother to check.
  • I looked for, but can't seem to find, any way to buy or otherwise procure Med Supplies than Virus Research.
  • If you go to the Mission Overview tab of your map, you see that the Russian Consulate missions gives 500 Med Supplies. It's Level 27, on the far side of NYC, and I haven't done it yet. I don't even know if it might need FL3. But it's a possibility.

One thing you can't do is, play a Virus Research mission again. If you return to one you've already done, the scanners won't activate, etc. Forget it.

Almost spoke too soon!

Around the time I wrote the previous section, I was wandering into Kips Bay (Safe House: Southpaw) and seeing what's up in the area just north of there, Murray Hill (Safe House: The Grindhouse).

Wouldn't you know it - just as I'd heroically raised my Filter Level to 3 (FL3), right on the edge of Murray Hill is a Virus Research mission that needs FL 4. It's not in an open area, so bouncing back to safety isn't an option.

So I was in the same position again - one Virus Protection level short of being able to continue upgrading the Med Wing. Catch-22 deja vu, sigh.

After exploring, I found another mission that gives 60 Med Supplies. It was only a rescue civilians mission (or something like that) in the northwest of Murray Hill. No filter needed, and it got me up to a balance of 200 for the Med Wing. But alas, both of my remaining upgrades need 400 Med Supplies (the HazMat Unit gives a filter upgrade).

So it looks like it's going to have to be the Russian Consulate mission after all (+500 Med Supplies). Whatever... I'm level 28 and it's 27, anyway.

After the Consulate, I could get to FL4 and had 360 Med Supplies toward that last Med Wing upgrade (needs 400) to get the whole Wing to 100%. Turtle Bay (Safe House: The Firewall) has another (FL4) Virus Research for 60 Med Supplies in its northwest corner. Thus finally I could just do a frickin' Virus Research mission without worry - plus finish the Med Wing. Yay!

I wonder how many other players screwed themselves on the filters? It all works out in the end, but it would have saved me hours of real-life time to not have to try to figure out how to get past the filter impasse. It's not trivial.

So ... there you have it.

Review of TCD1

After playing 130 hours, getting to level 30 (22 in Dark Zone), World Tier 5, gear rating 274, I've grown tired.

TCD1 has a fun mechanic. Takes a while to get good, but once you do, you feel quite involved.

If you're sticking to solo and don't want to keep getting killed in the DZ, eventually you hit a place where you've done all the missions you can by yourself. Anything else is going to need mp (or maybe a DLC). For example, I could do daily missions on Hard setting, but not Challenging. The latter is more like endless waves of enemies. And what's the use of re-playing missions you've already done, if only to get some tiny new variation on the same old weapons, etc.?

It's also one of the modern games like Destiny 2 that just keeps throwing in countless time sinks of gear variations to play with and find. So much so that it's almost impossible to figure out what's better in the endgame without a spreadsheet. (Which it doesn't provide, nor does it include an easy way to export this data. Nor any way to export data ... thus it's in the same sucky league as almost all other games, too.) A lot of the endgame scenarios are too much for someone just wanting to have fun solo (but probably would've been fun mp).

I guess it was worth $10, shrug.

One hilarious / sad thing is that the very first out-of-box experience, when first starting to play, was the game flashing up about twenty seven popups of Rewards Received. (Special free skins, clothes, etc.) Each popup took about 5 seconds, so I had to sit there and take this for about 2 minutes straight, as the very first exposure to actual gameplay. How nuts is that?

The popups probably once worked great for those who bought the game when it first came out. But if you deliberately and specifically waited until it's been out for years (so all bugs are worked out, and reviews and player aids are in), then you are simply beyond the scope of what the devs were considering. I bought it five years after it came out; hell, Division 2 came out two years ago. The devs are focused on Release Day One; forget the rest. Thus, all those new Rewards dropped in over many days and weeks upon first release then pile up in a ridiculous train wreck if you buy the game much later. Of course it would be too much to ask devs to have the foresight to simply present a scrollable table or list if there were more than x new popups when the game is first played.