By OldManLight 6 Comments
I've been playing Tom Clancy's The Division for a week today. Like most people I've been grinding character levels and dabbling in the Dark Zone. My strategy for the Dark Zone (DZ) after walking through the gate and establishing my own personal safety from other players has been to start looking for packs of enemies i felt i could win the fight against, looking for chests to loot, and cautiously making alliances with other players when i comes time to extract. Up until today, i've fallen prey to "Rogue Agent" players who will turn their guns on you at an advantageous time for them to help themselves to your hard earned loot. Today something different happened.
I walked through the Southeast gate of DZ01, the easy zone I've been farming over the past week with some decent success, and immediately i was confronted by 3 players with red skulls next to their names. This being the mark of a Rogue player. Players with this mark have killed another non-hostile player or have sufficiently damaged them to the point where they are given up to 90 seconds of "Rouge status" per kill. Rouge status means they are able to be killed by other players with no downside to the player killing them and the player or players who successfully do are given bonus experience points and are able to help themselves to the players loot with no rogue penalty.
So as I'm confronted by these 3 other players, one that even is bearing the "Manhunt" badge where they've killed 5 or more players on a single rogue streak, i immediately take cover and wait. They don't attack, as a matter of fact, they just look at me and gesture emotes. Having just walked into the DZ, i had no loot to lose, and no DZ keys that are used to open bigger chests around the area, so i figured I'd try my luck and walk out.
The next thing i know, they've sent me a group invite and party chat invite. I joined both. They explained the following to me. "Hey, we're a hunter squad. We hunt other players. Rogues mostly but sometimes we just rob solo players." "What the hell, I've got time, I'll check this out." is what i told myself. The next thing i know, we're off and running. Mostly shredding through AI but then we arrive at an extraction zone. "Good, here comes a guy all by himself" We don't immediately go hostile on him. We help clear the extraction of enemy AI picking up loot as we go and wait for the timer to tick down. Once the rope drops from the extraction chopper, "NOW!" one of the hunters says and the poor solo player is focus fired down in a second as he attempts to extract his hard earned loot. He falls to the ground, his loot drops and is quickly picked over like a dropped sandwich at the beach in front of a pack of seagulls. Everyone laughs and we move on. I'm not going to lie. The first time it was kind of funny. But then this continues for about 30-45 minutes until all 4 of the people in the squad (myself included) have killed so many other players that we all have earned man hunt status where you are given a full 5 minute timer from the last time you killed someone and if you survive, there's a good payout in the form of DZ currency and XP.
Sadly once we had cleared our manhunt timer the first time. We bit off more than we could chew. A force of at least 6 players descended upon us and quickly destroyed us all. The cost of dying was great. I lost roughly 9000 DZ currency. More than 8300 XP, and several DZ Keys (all of which i had earned while being rogue). At this point, my DZ extraction stash was full so there was no incentive to jump back in with these people so i politely excused myself from their way of playing the game. I know in my heart what i engaged in was nothing more than organized trolling in a game that seems built for it, but at the same time, i wanted to experience a different way of playing the game.
I still intend to play the DZ the way i have the past week. I don't think Hunter packs will become the norm for me but at least i know some behaviors to look out for. If a player is toting a shotgun in an extraction zone or seems to be watching you awfully closely, he may be up to no good. Also, be wary of AoE weapons in close quarters as those are exploited by these players to turn you rogue accidentally. They also like to wander into your field of fire so watch your sight lines in gunfights too. Also if you see a group of 2-3 player with rogue status, just know there's probably a 3rd or 4th slightly out of view or maybe that isn't rogue as timers can become asynchronous if one or more of the players doesn't engage in the slaying of a non-rogue player. They just get a partial time penalty and this can be used to throw you off the scent of him being in with the rogue players.
Hope to see you all in the DZ sometime. Suspect everyone and keep yourself at full health as much as possible, if you need to, change extraction zones to avoid robberies.