The Division: What To Do When You’re Level 30

In our review of The Division I wrote that I was happy enough at level 26 and that reaching the level cap of 30 did not matter much to me. Well, I have been conscripted back in to pass on my wisdom. I had to clamber up the XP tree after all and see the endgame for myself. It seems a little bare when compared to the mostly-fun climb up but there is some good stuff to focus on. Here are some of the things you could be doing while waiting for the next campaign expansion to come along.

Money, money, money

The hook that Ubisoft hopes to embed deep in your cheek once you hit level 30 is the chase for Phoenix credits. These are a special currency that let you buy high-end and specialised gear from the new vendor who has materialised in your Tech Wing. He sells several high-end pieces of armour and the blueprints for many high-end weapons like the Liberator, an assault rifle with severe critical hit bonuses, and the high-end Vector, a submachine gun with potentially monstrous talents. There is also a special vendor in the Dark Zone, located in the block furthest to the Northeast, in the highest difficulty area, who trades in high-end goods for Phoenix credits instead of the usual Dark Zone funds. Let’s look at a few ways to get these special credits.

Enemies with names

Killing named enemies will net you 1-3 credits, which you can scavenge from their corpse. These can be found both inside and outside the Dark Zone, however, the named baddies in the “normal” part of the city do not respawn for days at a time. In the DZ, named enemies will constantly reappear at the purple “landmarks” to get themselves murdered and remurdered. The trade off is that they are much more difficult than those outside the walls and will likely require a team to bring them and their goons down, especially the further north you go.

With this in mind, it isn’t always wise to push as far as you might like in search of more enemies. You won’t get any more XP for harder mobs and it will take even longer to fell the big guys. However, the latest patch (v. 1.02) has slightly increased the amount of Phoenix credits you get from enemies of level 31 and 32 found in the Northern quadrants (3-5 credits), as well as improving the rate at which named enemies drop high-end items like the Midas – a golden uzi that was so good it had to be recently nerfed.

Generally, you can saunter around in the 2 or 3 most southernmost DZ districts (DZ01 to DZ03) visiting and revisiting the same named enemies without too much trouble. If they do drop high-end loot, scarper to an extraction point and try not to die.

Daily missions

Like Destiny, there are also daily tasks for you to get stuck into, which award Phoenix credits for completion. There are usually three daily missions, revisiting the same story missions as before but demanding a higher difficulty. Playing through on ‘hard’ these will offer 15 Phoenix credits, some cash and a blueprint or other reward. Playing through a daily ‘challenging’ mission (see below) will get you 20 Phoenix credits as the daily reward plus another 30 just for having the stones to do it. All in all you can normally get 80 credits each day just by following this set menu.

Challenging difficulty

After hitting level 30 you will unlock the ‘Challenging’ difficulty. This new difficulty offers 30 Phoenix credits per mission. And when coupled with the daily mission reward you can get as much as 50 Phoenix credits. This is the highest payout you can currently get for a single mission. However, only four of the story missions can be played on this difficulty at the moment: Lincoln Tunnel Checkpoint, Warren Gate Power Plant, Russian Consulate and Lexington Event Center (these all have an orange beam of light coming out of them on the map). Of these, I’ve found Lincoln Tunnel Checkpoint the easiest and quickest to complete, with the Russian Consulate being the most heinously difficult.

These missions will require a solid investment of time, effort and teamwork. You will have to face down the swarms of ultra spongey enemies so a four person team is more or less a necessity. Some of the battles become cripplingly difficult in challenging, like the Russian Consulate or Warren Gate Power Plant missions, both of which constantly see you fighting waves of nigh-invincible heavies and dangerous shotgun troops in incredibly tight corridors and stairwells. But it’s also some of the most tactical fun with friends the game is offering. If anything, it’s worth taking them on just for that. Unlike playing the daily missions on Hard, they can also be repeated for the same amount of Phoenix credits every time.

Dark Zone up

The current cap of the open world is level 30, but in the DZ it is level 50. In a bizarre, strong-arming move, Ubisoft have made virtually all the weapons sold by Dark Zone vendors require you to be at least level 30 on both ranks, with many also requiring a level 50 DZ rank. The special vendor in the north of “the Zone” basically only sells to the best of the best, for example.

Personally, after reaching DZ rank 30 I have found that much of the equipment on offer at DZ vendors is already outdated by the time you achieve the rank and it is better to earn Phoenix credits and spend them on the plans from your HQ’s high-end vendor, allowing you to craft them yourself. But for those with their hearts set on hitting DZ rank 50 you will have to spend a lot of time farming the mobs of the Dark Zone and avoiding death. We cover how best to do this in our guide to the Dark Zone.

Become a collector

Hey, it’s not all about the money. Now that getting your level up is not such a priority, you can afford to take in the sights (sounds) of New York. Use the Canine Unit upgrade on the security wing to reveal all the collectibles in a region by clearing all the side missions and encounters. Then stock up on the world’s back story. It’s arguably a much more interesting use of your time than murdering the same man over and over again.

Turn it off and come back for the expansion in June/July

This is also entirely fine.

For more tips for The Division check out all our guides here


  1. BobbyDylan says:

    What to do before you reach lvl 30:

    Uninstall the game.

    • popej says:

      Woh ho ho ho.

      That is just outstanding, absolutely outstanding. Well done indeed. You are to be congratulated. Devilishly good humour it has to be said.

      • vahnn says:

        He’s right, though. This game is horrendously boring. Probably the AAA title I’ve fallen off the fastest, and that’s saying something. I apologized to the friend who gifted it to me. He said don’t be sorry because the game really does suck.

  2. President Weasel says:

    Collect bobble hats. It’s what the cool kids are doing.

  3. Blackcompany says:

    “Dailies” are just harder versions of the missions you have already performed? Wow, that’s…terrible.

    So basically, there isnt anything at all to do once you hit level 30 beyond the Dark Zone? Its just running to get loot to get better loot…

    • Poolback says:

      Most looter games works like that. If you don’t enjoy the actual gameplay, having more loot is not what is going to keep you playing. If you do enjoy the gameplay, finding better loot is just the cherry on top at the end of a fun gaming session.

      • Blackcompany says:

        Fair enough. Good point, too. Its not as if this is a problem unique to The Division.

  4. Poolback says:

    Level cap in the Dark Zone is 99, not 50 !

  5. Ethaor says:

    It looks like there’s so many things to do for hours on end. It’s really not the case at all. It’s all just a tedious unsatisfying grind from now on with hardly any reward.

    The special phoenix vendor sell only a few weapons (blueprints), of which only maybe 3 are currently viable. The result is everyone is equipped with the exact same stuff. to make things worse 9 out of ten players use the same SMG overpowered weapon.

    Doing daily missions in hard quickly gets boring as there’s hardly any challenge even with randoms. It’s just a chore for a bunch of phoenix.

    As for the challenging difficulty that rewards more phoenix credits, every single AI is a tank that needs a full 4 player squad to unload several mags at it, not fun. Phoenix which you can spend to get slightly better gear to be slightly better at it.

    As for the Dark Zone, well good luck grinding your way to 50, there’s nothing to do in it besides running from one place to another hoping other players didn’t wiped the place clean first. Unless you’re on of those Rogue players. Though Rogues usually rank between 50 and 100 and will most likely just wipe your team out in a few seconds every now and then just because they saw you and they can.

    Not that grinding for tens of hours to reach such high ranks would give you access to game-changing gear, there’s really no reward for it.

    Going to level 30 is quite an enjoyable experience if not original. Past 30 and a few days the game ends for most people. Division is not one of these games where max level is where the game starts.

  6. deadlybydsgn says:

    “Endgame” has become a dirty word to my ears.

  7. MiniMatt says:

    Worth noting that phoenix credits are account wide, and you have 4 character slots, so if you really want to level up another three characters you can quadruple your phoenix credit income from dailies.

    Now I’ve nothing like the patience for that, but I did take a second char up to 30 – it’s quick enough, and still fun, to do a second time. And your main will be shoveling level 30 purples into the deconstructer grinder, so it’s easy to kit out your alt in respectable enough gear.

    But it ultimately all boils down to grinding in order that you can grind a bit quicker. And I’ve just about reached the end of my tolerance for that. Fun ride though, and I got my money’s worth.

    The Dark Zone seems to me rather hellish now. At best you’re faced with a chunk of people who were quick enough to take advantage of early exploits and gather godly stacks of phoenix credits & division tech. At worst, well hacking seems to be rising daily – and not just the “oh he killed me, he must be a hacker” type, but the “teleporting from chest to chest & instant unloading of 100,000rpm sniper rifles” type.

    • Perjoss says:

      If you’re able to complete the Lincoln tunnel in challenge mode there is little point making a new character. You get 30 phoenix credits per run and it doesn’t even have to be the daily mission, you can just keep running it on any day for 30 credits per run. I’m not sure if this is how they intended it but its quite easy to stack up lots of credits if you don’t mind repeating those missions.

  8. Whiskey Jak says:

    “our guide to the Dark Zone” link is broken.

  9. Flea says:

    I did the latter – I turned it off. And I’m probably not going to come back for the expansions. I had fun up until level 30. I played part of it solo, part of it co-op with my brother and it was a fun ride despite the fact that this game has no variety whatsoever.

    Then I tried the Dark Zone and it reminded me why I never liked playing PvP in any of the MMOs I’ve played so far. I managed to get a few kills and collected maybe 3 or 4 superior items. I saw a couple of guys waiting for the helicopter and thought I’d join them and send these few lousy items to my stash. We killed a few bad guys, the helicopter came and when we all got to the rope to attach our items, the two of them emptied their magazine into me and took my stuff. The two of them being Dark Zone level 58 and me being Dark Zone level 3 or 4. The two of them having absolutely no need for my gear which was way below their level.

    If that’s something that someone considers fun, then by all means, enjoy the Dark Zone and PvP. Enjoy killing people who are 50 levels below you, but that won’t be me anymore…

    • Wisq says:

      Yeah, I’ve never liked PvP in MMOs basically for that reason. If it was mostly on-level people duking it out in equal numbers for actual game rewards, it’d be potentially quite interesting. Instead, you get bands of high-level players who will happily nuke low-level players for no reason other than that they can. It’s a form of trolling, except that unlike most games, it’s actually sanctioned and encouraged.

      The ideal system to me would be a ranked system. If you kill someone of a different rank, your own rank moves closer to theirs. That’s positive if you kill someone of same or higher rank, and a negative if you kill someone of a lower rank. You’d need to tie that to some sort of incentive system — some sort of perks or powers that you gain/lose based on rank — but the net result would be a disincentive to go after players who were much lower than you. (Also, it’d be nice if groups of players were instanced by group size, so soloing / smaller groups are viable. But I should probably just find people to group with.)

      I’m also less fond of the Division’s system in particular, where people can go rogue at any time, and the tag / penalty is very short-lived. Ideally, PVPers would gain some sort of tag (if not full “rogue” status) for at least a few hours after their last PvP kill, depending on how often they’ve been doing it. I realise that not knowing who to trust is part of the Dark Zone experience, but the current system allows people to harass and kill you, then run away or get killed themselves, then continue to harass you (with the constant threat of attack) in the hopes that you’ll open fire on them and let them (or their buddies) kill you without penalty and for more reward.

      In any case, while I do sometimes enjoy the tension of not knowing when someone might attack me, and do like the freedom afforded by PvP systems, I’m really not a fan of how most of them are implemented, and I don’t think I’ll be doing a ton of Dark Zone stuff until I’ve got a decent group to roll with. (Hopefully they’ll start dealing with the hackers, too.)

      • caff says:

        The ideal system to me would be a ranked system. If you kill someone of a different rank, your own rank moves closer to theirs. That’s positive if you kill someone of same or higher rank, and a negative if you kill someone of a lower rank.

        This is a great idea. Why has no-one ever done this?! (Or have they…)

        • aepervius says:

          The problem is that if you scratch under the surface it isn’t sucha great system. Because then fight COULD be initiated by lower level player and then what happen ? And remember : initiating could be unwillingly, think of you unloading a SMG into a mob in teh DZ, then a high level rank player put himself into your way to get a few bullet, then unload its own into you because you “initiated” fight. And if you are immune as a low rank then you can grief higher level player.

          Even a system in which you obliterate ranks and make everybody equal would not work.

          Basically as soon as you introduce pvp, you introduce griefing. No way around it. Some PVPer find that thrilling most of us don’t which is why PVP MMO server usually die quicker and leave only PVE server.

          I am betting the DZ will die slowly, and the division too, because of this. Unless they introduce *shudder* raiding and similar MMO like mechanics for 30+…

          • Premium User Badge

            Qazinsky says:

            There is some symbol at the southeast of the map that’s called “Incursion” or something like that. It have a set item as reward and it only says coming soon, I get the feeling that could be an attempt at raiding.

  10. Wisq says:

    A word of warning about the Dark Zone:

    Hackers are indeed a thing, and so far, there hasn’t been a ton of effort to stop them. We’re talking guns that fire way too fast, people teleporting around, etc. Being caught hacking typically results in a three-day ban, i.e. basically nothing.

    The net result is that you’ve not only got the malicious people hacking, but also many of their victims looking up how to hack in order to defend themselves. The result is that the “hacking disease” is spreading, much like the story’s own smallpox variant.

    I’m not saying it’s unplayable (yet), but expect at least a few very, very unfair kills by people you have almost zero chance of defeating legitimately. This is not just people whining because someone has better gear or tactics or skill or internet connection than them; this is people doing the impossible on a regular basis.

    From the sounds of it, this was a console game and the PC version was an afterthought yet again. It’s perhaps a better port than the usual fare, but it still really shows that it was a port. A lot of client-side stuff that shouldn’t be, voice comms being always-on by default, awkward keybinds that combine functions together in annoying ways and that also extend to the menu system, etc.

    • Pulstar says:

      Ubishite are probably the lousiest big publisher when it comes to combating hackers. Their track record proves it.

  11. Philopoemen says:

    I solo’d from DZ rank 1 to 50 in order to get access the higher level DZ items, which I found were underwhelming compared to the stuff you already get from the special vendor in your base. Plus it required gold division tech, which is rare as hens teeth.

    The other bit is grinding from 1 -50 means that you only want experience…only each death causes you to lose experience. Couple that with everyone in the DZ running about with Vector SMGs and it gets uninteresting.

    • Sarracenae says:

      i did the same, i’m currently 52 and have no real desire to lvl any more as there is no reward, what’s the point of the 99 soft cap?

      Anyhow, the main thing i noticed about the dark zone was how badly the gear vendor ranking works. From about lvl 19 the vendors only sold lvl 30 gear so you literally could not buy anything with your DZ credits. Then by the time you hit 30 the stuff you have is better than the vendor lvl 30/30 stuff so again you don’t spend it. Then there is nothing again between 30 and 50 so you guessed it there is nothing to spend DZ credits on. Once you hit 50 you’ll have 200k DZ credits unspent, so you just run around all the safe rooms and buy all the blue prints, but you can’t really make much as you won’t have many gold division tech, as you say they are rare as hens teeth. You’ll have loads of blue and green which you can’t upgrade however.

      You’ll quickly realise all the loot is purple and is basically crafting material so not worth fighting over. If a gold drops you get excited, then loot it and realise it’s a rubbish roll, i have for example the worst Midas in the world. Someone else mentioned it somewhere but there is a fundamental floor with a looter shooter, where the loot is 99% of the time terrible compared to the crafted item you rolled 20 times to get a decent roll on. If they expect you to get 20 guns to drop in order to get a decent one then most people will be waiting forever, and this takes out any loot excitement it’s just disappointment after disappointment.

      I’ve enjoyed the game, and think it’s very close to being a very good game, but it’s got alot of flaws. Somethings they might be able to fix, we shall see.

      • Exsanguinated says:

        How can the loot system be so broken in a lootem up?
        Farm the the DZ… nothing, (seriously you might get better drops not playing the game at all!)
        Farm the crafting table; slightly better; but an insane amount of rng. (not worth the pain.)
        So, the way this game stands, only exploits will reward players; and those doors are being slammed shut. Slick move.

      • Bladderfish says:

        It’s fair to say that the DZ progression is incredibly bad thought out and implemented. As you say, levels 1 to 30 mean nothing, and by the time you get to 30, you have everything you need, and just want to get to 50 so you can buy something worthwhile.

        I don’t understand why the developers didn’t “space out” the bought loot more, allowing, for example, one to buy a high-end holster at level 15, a high-end chest at level 20, or a high-end gun at level 40. Seems like such a simple way to fix the progression. Although this doesn’t address the primary flaw that the DZ is incredibly basic.

        Still, the patch next week will hopefully improve things.

  12. Everlast says:

    Your link to “our guide to the Dark Zone” apparently wants me to create a wordpress site…

    Is that step 1?

  13. Neutrino says:

    When the game was first announced I thought/hoped this was going to be a combat game with context, like CSGO with persistent factions or something. I always feared though that instead of that it would instead be WOW with guns. Everything I’ve heard so far about levelling, critical hit chances and loot it seems as if it’s very much the latter.

    A shame, I think a more hardcore version of this would have been a game with potential. But what’s been realized sounds awful.

  14. Pulstar says:

    Beanies, beanies and more beanies. Shift+del.

  15. Misfit_Division says:

    What about wait for the free content uppdate of 12th april ? It’s been announced since a week at least.

    One new mission with big challenge in PVE (first incursions of many to come), random equipments supply drops in PVP Dark Zone), gear sets with bonuses when you equip few of the same set or the full set , more gold loot (1 gold loot per named NPC), new named weapons, daily/weekly assignments with special rewards.

    We will also get trade system, even if it’s a basic one (you have to be in the same group when the item falls and there is a timer of few hours if i remember right).

    One month after game released, they at least put new free content to the game and they probably won’t stop here for more free content later. The update is probably worth playing the game.

    Hopes they will add a better anti-cheating system too :)

    link to