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New York is in trouble. A devastating epidemic sweeps through the city and in the wake of the disease basic services fail one by one. Without food and water, the streets are in chaos and new factions rise to profit from the mayhem. Amid the chaos, a classified unit of self-supported sleeper agents known as The Division is activated and tasked with one mission: take back New York. Fighting to piece the city back together one block at a time, the agents of The Division will combat the chaos driving New York to the brink and be face not only the effects of the deadly virus, but the rising threat of those who unleashed it. New York is in trouble. And it's up to you to save the city.
The Division takes place in mid-crisis Manhattan, an open world with destructive environments that are free for players to explore. The player's mission is to restore order by investigating the source of a virus. The gameplay is similar to other third-person-shooters, in which player character can carry three weapons, and explosives like sticky bombs and smart mines to fight against enemies. Players may take cover behind objects during firefights to avoid taking damage from enemies, and to give them a tactical advantage when attacking. As the game is set in a third-person perspective, the character model is visible.
As players progress, they earn experience points and currency. They can use these points to customize their character's appearance, upgrade weapons and gear, and learn new talents and skills. Players have to complete missions to learn active talents such as the ability to throw healing grenades, deploy automated gun turret or use radar pulse, which can tag enemies. The game features a dynamic, time based weather system which may bring benefits or disadvantages to players. For instance, storms can hinder player's visibility and make aiming difficult. The game also features a day-night cycle which will change the behaviors of enemies in the game.
The Dark Zone is the player-versus-player competitive multiplayer mode featured in The Division, where a lot of high-end weapons are left behind when the military retreats in the game. It is separated from the main campaign and has its own progression system. Players discover valuable items inside a Dark Zone. However, these items, known as "contaminated loot", can be taken by other players in the zone, and will not be permanently attached to the player's character unless they are extracted from the zone through a helicopter. Players can be accompanied by several co-operative partners and other neutral, player-controlled agents. These people, however, can turn against the player at any moment, going rogue. Players' level and ranking may drop if they die too often in the zone. Unlike the previous E3 Demo, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Staten Island will not be in the final game at launch.