'The Division' Survival DLC Guide: The Best Tips, Items, Weapons & Skills To Succeed

Tom Clancy's The Division
Tom Clancy's The Division has blown past Destiny's first week sales record. Find out just how successful the game's opening week was and when fans can expect the next update for The Division to go live. Photo: Ubisoft

The Division Survival DLC arrived on PC and Xbox One back in November with the 1.5 update, and players are still struggling to establish a pattern for success. After a month with the expansion, here’s our guide and tips for the best items, weapons and skills to make it out alive.

Which Items Matter Most : At the start of Survival, you’ll be infected with a virus that kills you in an hour if you’re not properly medicated. That’s important, but if you’re fast, it’s not as critical as you might think. In order to make it to the Dark Zone and extract, your best strategy is to stock up on water, warm clothes and food in that order.

Quenched thirst allows you to see gear through the stormy weather, and that can pay dividends as you come across tougher enemies in PvE or PvP. Warmth is a dwindling stat that sneaks up on you quickly, so when given the chance to craft, use fabric to build anything with the highest rating possible. If you’re really in a pinch, you can actually light yourself on fire with an incendiary grenade. Just make sure you have the packs or food to recharge health. If time does start to run  thin and you need meds, check the map for pharmacies closer to the Dark Zone.

Early Crafting Priorities : In addition to prioritizing warm clothing over gear, you’ll also want to focus on crafting two things as soon as possible. For one, a Virus Filter is necessary to enter the Dark Zone, so get that requirement met quickly. Another priority should be getting an inventory slot for medical items. After that, gear around the low 70s to 80s work fine enough and can be found in the environment and on other players.

Your Progression Depends On How You’re Playing : Survival can be accomplished in PvP, PvE whether it’s solo or with a group. Your method to extract, however, depends heavily on your setup. Crash sites and landmarks are guaranteed ways to grab lots of loot in the open world, but they should only be scavenged if you’re solo and well-leveled or if you’ve got a skilled crew that can mow down opponents quickly. Be patient. Don’t be lulled into that loot trap until the time is right.

Landmarks can be especially effective if you find you’re decently equipped but still not ready to handle the Dark Zone. The enemies there are tough, but they drop good loot if you manage to withstand the rush. Using Xs on the map is also a nice scavenging tip. If you see that many of your fellow lobby members have died in a certain spot, it means the items there are up for grabs. Those places may be worth investigating on the side of the above-mentioned hotspots.

The Best Weapons And Skills : You’re not going to have a ton of choices when it comes to weapon or skill selection in Survival, so we apologize in advance for being vague. That being said, LMGs or SMGs are solid all-around weapons to fill out your primary slot. They’re powerful, and they work in a variety of situations. Crafting any weapon of that type will suit you well. For secondary, snipers are effective in PvE, and shotguns are great for PvP action.

Skills like Pulse, Heal, Ballistic Shield and Turret are among the best choices no matter which subset of Survival you’re playing. They offer a balance between health and defense that should allow you to withstand enemy encounters. Get those unlocked as early as possible.

Taking Down Hunters : After crafting your flare gun and preparing for extraction, you’ll be confronted with a special enemy class called Hunters. One of them spawns for each player who enters the extraction point. Taking them down can be really difficult because they can use First Aid Heal, but the score reward for doing so is immense. This is where the Ballistic Shield comes in handy, but it’s going to be tough no matter what. Killing Hunters is only an option if you’re supremely confident.

The Division is available now on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Xbox and PC has Survival now, PS4 is expected to get it as a free update around Dec. 21. While you’re here, be sure to check out our 1.5 update guide too!

What do you think of the tips in this guide? What’s your method for tackling the Survival DLC? Tell us in the comments section!

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