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Intelligence Annex #12: Into the Storm

09/11/2016 05:00 PM

Agents,

The Division has always been a game about surviving in a hostile, disaster stricken New York City. In Survival, we’re taking it one step further. Stranded in the middle of a raging snow storm with only a sidearm and no skills available, you have to use every resource you can find in order to survive one of the most hostile environments in The Division. You’ll have to scavenge for food, weapons, water, drugs and clothes, all the while trying to finish your assigned mission – find the rumored antivirals to the Green Poison virus deep in the Dark Zone and extract them.

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You’re not alone though. Other agents roam the snow covered city, some of them ready to go rogue in order to keep themselves alive. If you’re lucky you might already be in a team, or you might be able to form one with other stranded agents. The streets are crawling with Rikers, Cleaners, Rioters and LMB. And it’s hard to shake the feeling that someone is watching your every step from the shadows…

In this Dev update, we’ll take a look at the major features of Survival. We don’t want to give out too much information though, as we want you to explore and discover the expansion for yourself. There’s a few surprises awaiting you out in the snow storm; it’s dark and full of terrors, after all.

The survival fantasy goes further than the game itself and if you want inspiration listen to our interview with Alex Irvine, author of the The Division tie-in book/survival guide New York Collapse. Or pick up the book itself; it’s a fantastic read if you want to know more about the lore behind the game and learn a lot of actual survival tips on the way.

Have you already been trying out Survival on the PTS? If so, please fill out this survey and tell us what you think! It’s incredibly important for us to get as much feedback as we possibly can. Thank you!

The mission

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the antivirals to the Green Poison said to be located in the Dark Zone. Time is of the essence, so the decision is made to send you in despite a heavy storm currently covering Manhattan in snow. After a disastrous helicopter crash, you’re stranded in the middle of that snow storm with almost zero visibility, no gear, no skills, a single med kit, no protective clothing and just a sidearm to your name. The mission is everything though, so you have no choice but to face the weather and get to the Dark Zone.

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In Survival, the whole of Manhattan is available, even if it looks completely different to what you are used to. A game of Survival can support up to 24 players scattered across the map and is available in both a PvP and a PvE mode, so you can choose if you want the added danger of potential rogue agents (and the ability to go rogue yourself) or not. Matchmaking teams and solo players are put in separate matchmaking brackets to level the playing field.

Dead winter

Dressed only in a torn hazmat suit, at the start of Survival you don’t have any protection against the elements. In order to live through the blizzard, you will have to find sources of heat – be it from fire, shelter, the warm safety of a hideout or warmer clothes. While appearance items are only for show in the regular game, in Survival they stand between you and death from inevitable hypothermia. Every appearance item you find or craft will have a cold resistance stat, which measures how much it protects you from the cold. Getting your hands on a beanie or a sweater is like finding a treasure. A new pair of boots will not only look stylish; they might also save your life.

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As you roam through Manhattan, remember to keep your eyes open for burning fires or places where you can light your own. These will help you keep your body heat up and help you stay alive for a little while longer. Hideouts and shelter will also offer respite and give you time to breathe before heading out into the cold again. As you progress through Survival, and get your hands on new clothes, the cold will become easier to manage. But it’s always there, as there seems to be no end to the snow storm in sight.

Hunger and thirst

Moving through the snow storm is exhausting, and in order to keep your strength up you will need to find sources of food and drink. While you don’t risk actually dying from starvation or dehydration, the two states have different effects on you. Thirst lowers your vision, making it harder to spot loot containers, while hunger will make your health regenerate slower. On the flip side to that, staying topped up will give you corresponding buffs to vision and health regeneration.

If you’re running low on food, perhaps a fellow agent has a few cans in their backpack. The question, of course, is if they want to part with them voluntarily or not…

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The ticking bomb

Dealing with hunger and the cold is a struggle in itself, and dodging hostiles is a challenge, but those are not the last of your problems. There’s an infection burning through your body, and while its effects aren’t immediately noticeable it will kill you before dawn if you don’t find a way to deal with it. Medication and pain killers will halt it temporarily, so in order to prolong your life you will need a steady stream of them. The more medication you use though, the more resistance to it you will build up until you’re essentially immune. In order to ultimately survive you will have reach that extraction helicopter.

Crafting

Crafting is key in Survival. Not only will you craft things like weapons and clothes, you will also have to craft your skills in order to use them again. You have to look for materials, and deconstruct any gear you find that you don’t need. You’ll also need to constantly prioritize and figure out exactly what’s vital and what you can survive without. With the level of danger rising the moment you finally set your foot in the Dark Zone, you want to be prepared – while also not wasting too much time, considering that the clock is ticking as the infection is slowly spreading through your body.

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You will also need to craft a basic virus filter to survive the contamination in the Dark Zone and a flare gun to be able to call in the final extraction.

Rewards

At the end of the round, whether you make it out alive or die on the way, you will be ranked according to how well you did. This rank is based on several factors, including how far you made it, how long you survived, and how much equipment and resources you gathered. Higher the rank, the more rewards you will receive. Also, the higher rank you reach, the more bragging rights you get. So try to push yourself and learn the ins and outs of Survival, so you can share your accomplishments with the world.

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Conclusions

With Survival, we’re adding one of the most requested features to the game and add an actual game mode for the fantasy a lot of people already have of surviving in a post-disaster New York. You will be challenged in brand new ways and have to re-think the way you’re currently playing The Division. Enemies that currently feel like a walk in the park will feel dangerous again, drops that you would have scoffed at in the main game will make you jump with joy. Appearance items will feel as valuable as a weapon. The Manhattan you know will be transformed into a menacing wasteland, even more than before.

In short, Survival is the ultimate The Division survival fantasy. You will need all your skills and wits to survive. Go out there and find those antivirals, agent. We’re counting on you.

/The Division Dev Team