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Video Game / The Division

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Welcome to the quarantine zone.

"When society falls, we rise."

Tom Clancy’s The Division is a Third-Person Shooter Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game open-world under the Tom Clancy brand (such as Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell, note  by Ubisoft Massive, announced at E3 2013. Released on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 8th, 2016.

In the year 2001, the American government carried out a secret simulation designed to test how well federal services could cope with a bio-terrorism attack on home soil. The results of "Operation Dark Winter" revealed that America was far more vulnerable than previously thought, predicting a complete societal collapse within five days. This led to the creation of "Directive 51" as a safeguard against a real Dark Winter scenario, secretly signed and put into effect by the President in 2007.note 


Years later, in the near-future, a deadly virus is unleashed within New York City and soon pushes civilised society to the breaking point. The Strategic Homeland Division, otherwise known as the SHD or simply "The Division", calls to action a number of highly-trained, self-supported sleeper agents situated all across America. Their duty is to investigate and contain the crisis at all costs before it can spread any further.

The Division involves an interesting gameplay mix of Watch_Dogs (user interface), Ghost Recon (tactical, squad-based mechanics and cover playing a significant role in gameplay), and Borderlands (RPG Elements, Skill Scores and Perks and Incredibly Durable Enemies). The game also introduces "Snowdrop", a new proprietary engine that Ubisoft will use for The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games. Ubisoft revealed the game through a seven-minute trailer, consisting of nothing but gameplay and improvised dialogue from demonstrators.


A promotional tie-in movie series is streamed online done in cooperation with Youtube and Rocketjump.

Dark Horse published a comic called The Division: Extremis Malis.

There are plans for a live-action movie, which is currently in pre-production with Netflix having the rights to stream the movie online.

The Division 2, a sequel set in the aftermath of the Green Poison outbreak and taking place in Washington D.C., was released on March 15, 2019.

The Division: Resurgence, a free-to-play mobile game, was announced on June 6, 2022, with some official footage following soon after. The game is slated to take place between the first two Division games and is mostly an Updated Re-release of The Divison, with a few gameplay elements returning from The Division 2 like Specializations.

The Division provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: When players shoot out the gas tanks of Elite-level Cleaner Mooks, instead of flailing around helplessly, they start sprinting towards the nearest player.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts:
    • Vendor prices are very high starting out, and loot doesn't sell anywhere near their buy price. Thankfully, there are other ways to obtain loot, turning the Vendors more into a way to fill out one or two pieces of gear that you haven't had good loot drops on lately.
    • The Recalibration Station upgrade lets players re-roll a piece of gear's bonuses. However, every use of it on the same item causes the next re-roll on that item to cost more.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Played straight in some instances and averted in others. Enemies will not notice you immediately and can take a few seconds to spot you, and even in combat they don't magically know your exact location at all times, and in cover-rich areas it's possible to sneak behind them while they're busy firing at your last known location. At the same time, they can see perfectly fine through obstructions such as fog and smoke which block your own line of sight, and at the start of combat all enemies will be instantly alerted to your current location, even if combat starts with you instantly killing a lone enemy with a suppressed weapon, or throwing a grenade.
  • Alternate History: The American government made plans to covertly insert operatives in 2007, after the signing of Directive 51, throughout the country in case of a terror attack that can cause the collapse of the US after the results of a terror attack simulation in 2001 showed the possibility of the collapse of American society.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The "Enemy Factions" Trailer presents the four factions of New York this way: the Rioters/Looters preying on the weak unarmed survivors, the Rikers (former inmates of Rikers Island Correctional Facility) indiscriminately killing Looters and law enforcement alike, followed by the Cleaners cornering a single Riker and burning him alive, culminating with a Last Man Battalion fireteam swiftly wiping out a Cleaner crew with cold precision.... which the trailer ends with a montage of The Division themselves ploughing through all of the above.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Tons of clothes. Enemies will sometimes drop clothing. Civilians often give you clothing for giving them food, drinks, or med kits. You can loot clothing from dresser drawers inside homes and apartments throughout the city. Two Security Wing expansions are dedicated to giving you clothing, via the Procurement Team which rewards you with one free item every 12 hours, and the Supply Line Vendor where you can buy them. Gathering all intel for specific categories also gives you clothes. There's even Promotional codes, U-Play Club rewards, pre-order bonuses, season pass rewards and DLC for clothes. Just because NYC is in the middle of a crisis doesn't mean you can't rescue it in style.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Once you unlock the Canine Unit upgrade in the base, completing all of the side activities in a district will reveal all of the undiscovered collectibles in that district, meaning you won't have to comb every square inch of New York City if you want to find all of them.
    • In combat, the player can tell that a marksman-class enemy is aiming at them when they see a bright, distracting light shining their way. The shine is created by the reflection of light off the outer lens of the marksman's rifle scope, and is meant to alert the player to the massive amount of damage they're about to receive if they don't take cover soon. This is, however, taken to somewhat silly levels when the player sees light reflecting off a sniper's lens in areas completely without light, such as a dark garage or a snowstorm.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Throughout the game, you'll find many collectibles which detail scenes that happened in the days leading up to the Dollar Flu as well as plenty of reports from all four enemy factions.
  • Augmented Reality: What the Division uses is of the Spatial variety.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Combining smallpox, ebola, the flu, and other diseases together is something that is not possible. Its super-lethality and ability to spread without killing their hosts until it spreads also is a quality that makes it even less likely. However, there wouldn't be a game without it.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Keener manages to escape from the Agent and the JTF, taking with him all the research and materials he needs to create more viruses like Green Poison.
  • Battle Royale Game: The Downloadable Content "Survival" game mode is this, although it deviates a bit from standard battle royale fare. Instead of having a shrinking playable area, players have a limited lifespan due to an injury that infects them with sepsis, although said lifespan can be increased by looting and using antibiotics or syringes. The objective also isn't to be the last one standing; instead, players are required to infiltrate the Dark Zone and extract themselves (plus a box of antivirals as an optional objective) via helicopter to safety. To prevent players from just simply sneaking their way to victory, clothing must be looted to deal with below-freezing temperatures that get progressively worse the closer one is to the Dark Zone. The last major difference with "conventional" battle royales is extensive use of PVE elements, featuring enemy NPCs from the main campaign and a Wolf Pack Boss guarding Dark Zone helicopter landing pads as a gear check.
  • Big Applesauce: The setting of the game.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Larae Barrett had rallied the prisoners at Rikers together, and sought to take over the city with an Eat the Rich and The Social Darwinist mentality. Joe Ferro is a Knight Templar Well-Intentioned Extremist, who turned his fellow sanitization workers into pyromaniacs to try to cleanse New York of the dollar flu. Charles Bliss meanwhile, is the leader of a Private Military Contractor, and when things went to hell, he turned against his former contractors, and took over the UN General Assembly to become a Visionary Villain. All three of them are credible threats in their own right, but they are nothing compared to Aaron Keener, as he not only survives past the end of the campaign, he also has taken a virologist hostage and even took Gorden Amherst’s research and equipment to create a new plague that he intends to use to seize power.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The 2nd Wave Division Agents bring back some stability to NYC, and Dr. Kandel has a significant research collection on Green Poison to share with governmental agencies to begin working on ways to combat the outbreak. But the perpetrator of the Green Poison/Dollar Flu, Gordon Amherst, is dead by his own hand as part of his Omnicidal Maniac plan to kill off most of humanity rather than brought to justice. And Aaron Keener and the remaining Rogue 1st Wave have Amherst virus manufacturing equipment, and is still holding Vitaly Tchernenko hostage, with plans of forcing Tchernenko into possibly making a brand new viral outbreak and be the sole holder of the cure to that as a means of threatening the world to obtain power for himself. And he's trying to convince the 2nd Wave to also turn Rogue and join him.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The outcome of gunfights almost never left a drop of blood at all. You can inflict "Bleed" status effect yet without the icon the baddies still look clean. There is also how you often blow up gas tanks of several enemy types but they fall over clean and unharmed. Blood does still exist though especially on dead bodies, but not much and often translucent or dark enough to be mistaken as shadow, puddle, or oil. The game itself still rated M due to some cutscene featuring cruelty and also some characters having strong language.
  • Brand X: The game utilizes a lot of this to avoid otherwise referencing real-life brands, because trying to get deals for all the real-world brands on display in Manhattan would have cost as much as the rest of the game's AAA budget combined. As noted below, this is even applied to government agencies (presumably on the idea of No Celebrities Were Harmed) - CERA stands in for FEMA and even the New York Fire Department is called "FNYC" instead of "FDNY".
    • Notably averted for the Turtle Bay safehouse: it's an Ubisoft office.
  • Braving the Blizzard: The framing device for the Survival DLC. The harsh snowstorm ravaging NYC is just one of several hazards players have to deal with in a session of Survival.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Present in the "regular" areas of the map where you can progress the campaign, and in the Dark Zones, to an extent. There's also the Underground, allowing up to four players to roam through a randomly-generated section of subsurface Ney York.
  • Coming-Out Story: Two of the Phones you can find are under a section called "Out," which has a survivor of the outbreak leave a message to her mother that they're gay and that they may not get a chance to tell them being stuck in the city. The second part is from the person's mother telling them they support their life choice.
  • Competitive Multiplayer: The primary purpose of the Dark Zones, where Agents are free to fight one another. Updates have also added various competitive modes. Perhaps unusually, a simple 'Team Deathmatch' style mode was not the first competitive mode added.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • So much that most enemies are basically bullet sponge aimbots. They're also unaffected by fog and darkness.
    • Elite class enemies, and named/gold rank enemies are capable of removing and throwing back any Sticky Bomb that a player lands on them, much faster than a standard enemy. That's not the cheating part. What is the cheating part, is when the Gold rank enemies are able to Catch and Return them instantly occasionally. Thankfully, this is less true for quick fired Sticky Bombs (double tap the assigned button for the skill), and the Proximity Mod, which will detonate on impact with an enemy.
    • In the Daily Mission mode, one mission will be assigned as "Challenging". Grenadiers in that mode gain throwing arms that would be the envy of football quarterbacks, baseball outfielders, and Olympic throwing sport athletes everywhere. They turn grenades into guided missiles, which they will throw precisely at your position from a football field's length away, far further than you're capable of.
    • While we're on the subject of abilities and grenades, enemies are not beholden to the same cooldowns and ability durations as you are. Destroy an enemy combat engineer's turret? They'll just put a new one up in a few seconds. And theirs last until it's destroyed by you or you're dead, waiting for a revive or respawn. Grenadiers, especially higher ranked ones, can just spam them constantly.
    • Rogue Division Agents (the NPC enemy type, not Rogue Players), are capable of hacking some of your own abilities, and turning them on you and others. It's terrifying if its something like an ally's Dragon's Breath flame thrower turret, and having it begins firing on any friendly agent hiding in cover next to it. Making this example worse, while the owning player can still manually cancel an active ability, even if it's been taken over by a Rogue Agent, the Turret skill also has a Master mod that causes it to explode like a grenade when it's manually shutdown, which is still active in those situations, damaging nearby agents. Player Agents, are completely incapable of taking over any other Agents' skills like that.
    • The Last Man Battalion in Legendary difficulty missions take things up a notch or eleven from Challenging missions. The LMB and the Hunters have obviously been trading notes, because the LMB can do the following in Legendary missions:
      • Sprinting and rolling around like madmen hopped up on speed
      • Downing the player with one melee attack (even better - they do it without an axe, unlike the Hunters)
      • They all have vastly more health than their Challenging difficulty counterparts
      • Boss-level rogue agents employ all the skills Hunters use (including Sticky Bomb, First Aid and Support Station)
      • Boss-level medics are capable of using First Aid, giving them the possibility to undo several agonizing armor bars' worth of damage in an instant
      • If that wasn't enough, certain Legendary missions implemented in later patches have the LMB flat-out accompanied by a Hunter near the end, which notably has several times more health than even the heavily-armored Resistance Hunters. Oh, and all that health is one long health bar like Survival and Resistance Hunters, so you can kiss all of your Enemy Armor Damage bonuses goodbye. If they're also packing healing skills, then strap in for a very long fight.
  • Crapsack World: Society within the city collapses within the first few days of the outbreak, leaving New York City as little more than a post-apocalyptic wasteland. One Urban Exploration audio diary has a survivor lamenting the eerie silence - noise meant traffic and life. Now the city is quiet and unsettling to its former residents.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Directive 51 serves as this.
  • Cruel Mercy: In the Live Action tie-in mini series Agent Origins, "Ashes" episode. The Division Agent featured is an FDNY firefighter who finds his apartment building under attack by the Cleanersnote  He fights off two of their flamethrower-wielding members, shooting one dead and knocking the second (who has a flamethrower) into a pile of exposed and body bagged corpses, cracking the guy's gasmask lens in the process. The fireman/agent, despite his rage at what the Cleaners have done, just walks away from the panicking murderer, leaving his attacker to deal with his fellow Cleaners.
  • Cyberpunk: Bits of this such as the hi-tech wristwatch-like devices players can use to access their weapons and gadgets, as well as the whole Augmented Reality aesthetic.
  • Damager, Healer, Tank: While there's some cross-role play between the three trees, especially as they get further along with Talents and Skill Mod unlocks, they generally fall into these categories.
    • Medical fulfills the standard role of a "Cleric" in a traditional MMORPG, providing healing, buffing, and debuff removal abilities.
    • Techs fulfill the role of Rogue, Mages, and Debuffer that Damagers usually are. Amongst their skills are high damage, Area of Effect abilities, debuff and Damage Over Time modifications (I.E. making turning their explosive abilities into tear gas or flash bang effects, or into incendiary grenades), deploying a "pet" turret, and flat bonuses to damage and critical hit.
    • Security fulfills the role of "Tank", though less in the way of "Draws the enmity/aggro of enemies to themselves" and more in the way of "Provides damage reduction/nullification for themselves and others". The other major feature of the role is self-sustain, via Heal on hit/kill, or when their ballistic shield is hit and generating ammo for themselves.
  • Down in the Dumps: In effect, almost the entire game takes place in a trash dump, since it's been weeks at least since any garbage scows left Manhattan. Besides, the sanitation workers have gone rather batshit and seem to think they have better things to do...
  • Dystopia: Things certainly look bleak, as local law enforcement can't even hold off stragglers following societal collapse. The prologue also shows that the virus affected all countries aside from America.
  • Elite Agents Above the Law: The Strategic Homeland Division, who are glamourous elites, and are given the authority to do "whatever is necessary" to restore order where they are deployed, including the "elimination" of all threats to their mission.
  • Elite Mooks: Come in three King Mook varieties, all of which have the same health as regular enemies, but use Body Armor as Hit Points to significantly increase their durability; purple-tier "Veteran" enemies have 1.5 times their health as armor, gold-tier "Elites" have 3 times their health as body armor and do much higher damage than regular enemies, and named Boss in Mook's Clothing enemies that have 5 times their health as armor and can therefore survive several times as much damage as normal enemies.
    • The game also has a number of "specialist" enemies with special abilities that generally only show up as Veteran or Elites; the Cleaners have engineers that can deploy turrets, the Rikers have lieutenants with 50% more health/armor that throw flashbangs and fight with SMGs, and the Last Man Battalion has turret-deploying combat engineers, health station-deploying combat medics, and white-phosphorus grenade-tossing squad leaders.
  • Emergency Weapon: Your sidearm functions as this. It's a pistol (or, alternately, a shotgun) with unlimited ammo, so even if you empty out both your main weapons, you can still fall back on this. They can hit really hard, but have relatively low range and fire rate. The shotguns are even more powerful, but can't accept weapon mods, unlike shotguns usable in the main weapon slots. With the right talents, however, any kills with your sidearm adds 30 ammo to your main weapon.
  • Enemy Mine: Patch 1.8 opens up not only a new zone, but also has the factions now coming together to take on the Division which they view as a bigger threat.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Rioter and Rikers factions have a variety of different voice sets consisting of White, Black, and Latino voices (though the actual character models all appear to be light-skinned, although it's hard to tell since they're all wearing face-concealing masks). The Cleaners are all Brooklyn Rage types, while the LMB also seems multiracial but uses a single neutral vocal set.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The volunteer JTF Officer manning the Flatiron District safehouse is actually the Don of the local Mafia. However, despite being a criminal himself, he cannot abide by the Rikers' unnecessarily violent actions.
    • An audio file shows a Last Man Battalion mercenary considering leaving the organization due to the LMB's willingness to murder civilians.
    • In a possible fit of irony, one Underground Audio Log tells us that the LMB felt that one 'visionary' private's plan to blow up the bridges and collapse the tunnels so the Battalion can ransom travel out of the city off to individuals with the means to pay is a little too much. If only because they were understandably worried about being cut off/stranded even more than they already were.
  • Evil vs. Evil: If the factions aren't fighting you, they're fighting each other. For example, if you break up an arms deal, the Rioters and Rikers will turn on each other.
    • The fact that this is no longer the case in Update 1.8 is ominous indeed. In the West Side Piers, the surviving elements of the various hostile factions within the city have put aside their differences and are now fighting side by side. This can't be good for the JTF or Second Wave.
  • Fanboy: The JTF agent in the Hell's Kitchen safehouse gushes over how much of a badass the Agent is.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Any Agent who turns on their team in the Dark Zone is this, especially if they're wanting to keep whatever loot they find all to themselves. It lasts for as long as you're in the Dark Zone after turning on your team.
    • Aaron Keener and his "First Wave" Division agents went rogue after being abandoned by the chain-of-command, allying themselves with the Last Man Battalion and attempting to acquire the technology behind the viral outbreak in a bid for power.
  • Faceless Mooks: Every enemy in the game wears some form of face-concealing headwear, whether in the form of scarves and hoodies for the Rioters, balaclavas for the Rikers and LMB, or full-on hazmat suits for the Cleaners. This is obviously to save on having to model different faces for the enemies; in fact if you look closely you'll see that every enemy type of the same class has the same face.
  • Fake Difficulty: The game is somewhat notorious for this.
    • Elite-level shotgunners, LMG, and grenadiers are this. They don't use any different tactics from their lower difficulty versions. But because they now have extremely high health, and damage and resistance to being staggered from damage, and in the case of grenadiers the ability to spam their grenades constantly, they become a nightmare to deal with, especially in small spaces. Missions like Warren Gate Powerplant, Lexington Armory, and Russian Consulate are much harder because of these reasons
    • Falcon Lost. There's a reason why it's loathed by the player base, and why the preferred legitimate strategy is for players to bunker down into an area where APC can't shoot them. Combine the danger of high health Enemy Rushes, with an APC that puts anyone it hits in it's area of effect into "Downed" Status and bleeding out. Now add on the fact that APC, unlike the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter that Colonel Bliss uses in main game, is immune to any damage from the player, minus the C4 charges which are occasionally dropped by enemies and must be run directly to the APC. Which is also guarded by two .50 cal auto-turrets, and can only be shut down very briefly.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Par for the course of a Tom Clancy title.
    • ISAC, the personal assistant AI used by Agents to give them updates and alerts stands for "Intelligent System Analytic Computer".
    • ECHO stands for "Evidence Correlation Holographic Overlay system". In compiles together a collection of recordings to display a holographic still image with sounds, and highlighted people and object to provide information to Division Agents.
    • SHD, stands for "Strategic Homeland Division". Apparently it's supposed to be pronounced "Shade" rather than "Shield", to make it legally distinct from the other Strategic Homeland Division. When referring to the tech (the smart watch, the HUD contact lenses, the various equipment that make up the skills that Division Agents use, ISAC, etc), it's often referred to as "Shade Tech".
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In spite of the game being set very much in a realistic, modern-day America that's 20 Minutes into the Future at most, the game features RPG and Loot mechanics that clash quite a bit with the setting.
  • Genre Shift: Unlike previous Tom Clancy video game titles, The Division is more of an action shooter rather than a tactical shooter. Enemies generally require several bullets to bring down, compared to just a couple of shots in most other Tom Clancy games, and headshots generally only do about 50% or so extra damage instead of being an instant kill, unless using a dedicated sniper rifle. The game also has RPG-like elements similar to Borderlands, with the player and enemies having levels, and enemies that are significantly higher-level than your character can require a very large amount of damage to bring down. Like Borderlands, the game even has loot drops and uses the classic Diablo white/green/blue/purple/orange color scheme to denote item rarity, though they've since added red for 'exotic' items, and use a second shade of green for set items.
  • Giant Mook: The Heavies used by the various enemy factions, who are nearly 7 feet tall, heavily armored, and equipped with heavy weapons. The Rioter Heavy Gunners are only slightly larger than normal, while the Cleaners, Rikers, and LMB versions of Heavies are all a good foot taller than their comrades.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The activation of the Division is the threshold for the United States government, as it happens only when the situation in New York is beyond the means of the NYPD and the National Guard. The Division agents are given absolute authority on the ground and can use any means available to restore order in the city.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: Surprisingly, despite the fact the various factions are brutal and ruthless to the extreme — almost all of them are humanized and are shown to have been driven to their actions by an impossible situation. The only exception are the Rikers, who are simply bloodthirsty Sadists taking advantage of the chaos.
    • The Division and JTF, who are ostensibly the good guys, have a bloody history where they were responsible for mass human rights violations in the Dark Zone; these actions resulted in the crisis becoming uncontrollable.
    • The Cleaners are Well Intentioned Extremists who are trying to do their part to get rid of the virus, they're just willing to burn people to death to do so. Most of them are shown to have lost loved ones in the early stages of the virus.
    • The general Rioters are just average citizens driven to looting and killing due to the hopelessness of the situation. There's even a series of audio logs where we listen as someone steadily becomes a Rioter out of sheer hunger and desperation.
    • The LMB are former soldiers and private security men who are also trying to control the outbreak, they're just using more force to do so.
    • Aaron Keener and the first wave agents he commands were sent into this mess hoping to help people. In response, they were left to die by their command. It's little wonder they turned rogue.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: While thankfully nowhere near as devastating as Dollar Flu, the 2020 outbreak of Covid 19 forced worldwide lockdowns and caused a staggering death toll. In addition Riker's Island ended up with a disastrous outbreak as well
  • Hazmat Suit: The Hazmat Suit, available in the Hazmat Gear Set, increases the player's overall resistance to viral contamination when equipped.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Heavies are tough enough to soak multiple mags from most automatic weapons, though this is usually because most Heavies are also purple or gold rank mini-bosses. The Heavies of the LMB, which is the only faction that fields Heavies as regular troops rather than mini-bosses, only have about twice as much health compared to regular soldiers and can be brought down with about a full mag or so of assault rifle fire (though the trade-off is that you'll be facing a lot more of them).
  • Health/Damage Asymmetry: Basic enemies typically have from around 50% more to twice as much health as the player's toughness (health + damage resistance from armor), with Elite Mooks and Heavily Armored Mooks being significantly tougher.
  • House Squatting: While exploring abandoned factories, office buildings, and apartment buildings, there is visible evidence everywhere of people squatting before either finally succumbing to the outbreak, being murdered by roving gangs or moving on to the government-run quarantine zones.
  • Incredibly Durable Enemies: Zigzagged. In the beginning of the game, regular enemies take about 5-7 torso shots to kill, which is consistent with most other action shooters such as the F.E.A.R. or Killzone series. After around level 10, though, even basic enemies will require over half a full magazine of assault rifle fire to kill, with Elite Mooks requiring a full mag or two, bosses taking several dozen bullets to kill, and Giant Mook bosses withstanding up to 200 rounds of assault rifle fire before dropping. And that's on normal difficulty. By Level 25-30, basic LMB soldiers can take up to a full 30 round mag of assault rifle fire from a green gun to bring down. Later on, things start to get (somewhat) sane again, before ramping back up to insane durability as you roll into the highest difficulty content - which is basically Harder Than Hard for its own sake.
    • Notably, this also serves as a very strong incentive to get better gear; in the endgame, even the highest level enemies can be eliminated with a couple of headshots from a decent high-level sniper rifle.
  • Informed Attribute: At the end of the game, the lead rogue agent, Aaron Keener leaves a message to the player character, saying that he "wasn't sure which way you'd go", due to the player supposedly acting one way when his handler is watching and another way when "off the leash". This is meant to be a reference to the Dark Zone and the player's capability of going Rogue, but if the player either never went Rogue or never even entered the Dark Zone then the line makes no sense.
  • In Name Only: The "Tom Clancy" moniker is simply a placeholder, since the man himself is no longer among the living with The Division. While Ubisoft likely added the "Tom Clancy" name to give the game some brand recognition, Clancy's game company, Ubisoft Red Storm, is one of the developers making the game.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Unlike Borderlands and Destiny, which are totally honest about copying Diablo/World of Warcraft to the point of openly using the same gameplay terminology, The Division insists on using its own terminology for well-known loot-game elements. Rares are now "Superiors", Legendaries are now "High-End" (though they still use the same color scheme as every other loot game), Raids are "Incursions", and now Achievements are "Commendations".
  • Item Crafting: Doing missions from JTF district heads give you blueprints for gear you can craft with the appropriate level for the zone you get them in.
  • Kick the Dog: Pretty much the purpose of the videos that you get whenever you finish one of the Missions. You are given a video that details the various crimes the Rioters, Rikers, and Cleaners have engaged in. They also engage in a lot of these in ECHO logs as well as in the briefings for missions.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Cleaners, who believe in containing the virus by burning all potentially-contaminated material (be it trash, dogs, or people) with flamethrowers. You can do the same thing with fire grenades and the Dragonbreath Turret mod.
    • The Dragon's Nest Incursion takes it up to eleven with the Dragon, a modified firetruck that shoots FIRE instead of water!
    • Also the Fire Crest Gear Set, which grants the user better damage to enemies that have been lit on fire, increases how many incendiary grenades they can carry, and increases the effectiveness of the incendiary turret.
  • Limit Break: "Signature Skills". Long cool down, short duration abilities, that give you and your nearby teammates a huge buff that can turn any battle in your favor when activated at the right moment.
  • Made of Iron: Bosses, Giant Mooks, Elite Mooks, and even regular enemies that are several levels higher than you can all soak very large amounts of bullets before going down. Bosses in particular can anywhere from several dozen bullets, up to almost a couple hundred bullets (for the Giant Mook bosses), to bring down.
  • Mirror Boss:
    • The rogue "First Wave" Division agents have access to the same special equipment and deployables as you do (mostly turrets, seeker mines, EMP grenades, and the ability to "hack" your own deployables and turn them against you), and will use them when you fight them. Besides the named bosses fought in the campaign, you also rarely face them as Elite Mooks in the Dark Zone and Challenging Mode.
    • The Hunters in the "Survival" DLC game mode are an even more extreme example. They operate like Player Characters rather than A.I. NPCs, having Player-like mobility and damage rules (including having damage resistance rather than a separate armor bar) and even have two random Skill abilities (from a possible list of 5) as well as 3 medikits to heal themselves. The Hunters basically serve as a Mirror Boss at the end of a round of Survival.
  • Monumental Damage: A given, what with the setting and all. Some of the unfortunate landmarks include Madison Square Garden, the UN Building and Grand Central Terminal.
  • Mythology Gag: Inside the Base of Operations, at Faye Lau's desk you can spot Sam Fisher's iconic trifocal lens multi-vision goggles. Sam's goggles are also available to wear as a headgear option, to celebrate Ubisoft's 30th anniversary. Sadly, the Goggles Do Nothing; they're just cosmetic. No nightvision or infrared sight for you, as handy as it would be Underground...
  • New York Is Only Manhattan: The game starts out in Brooklyn but the rest is in Manhattan.
  • On-Site Procurement: Due to the nature of how Division agents operate, most of their agents are forced to acquire some of their gear through non-official means (e.g. purchased via black market/bartering, looted from dead hostiles).
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Unique enemies which respawn once every four hours in pre-set locations around the city. These enemies will never be below the level of the player and will always drop the highest-quality equipment which can be dropped by enemies at that level (blues for most of the game; purples after level 21; unique and set items at level 30+). There is one such enemy per zone, and a number spawn fairly close to safe houses, making it easy to reach them and kill them. While they are ostensibly very dangerous opponents, if you have reasonably good equipment and engage them from a range, all of them are easily dispatched. Moreover, after killing a few of them, it becomes much easier to farm the rest of them due to the gear they drop. The local intel-collecting missions are somewhat similar, being infinitely repeatable and also giving high-level rewards.
  • Percussive Shutdown: The animation for going rogue in the Dark Zone involves the agent punching the device on their backpack strap, presumably so the device stops monitoring them while they're off killing other agents.
  • The Plague: "Green Poison", a genetically engineered strain of the smallpox virus, that was spread via the exchange of currency on Black Fridaynote . Medical intel gained from completing the main story medical branch missions reveal it's been genetically modified with about a half dozen other virus strains, including H1N1, Swine Flu, Ebola, Dengue and others to not only worsen it's effects and increase the likelihood of it spreading, but also makes it extremely hard to develop a vaccine due to it being able to mutate rapidly.
  • Police Are Useless: As seen in the trailers, the NYPD can't hold out on its own against the rioters, let alone the Cleaners or Rikers. Justified in that the cops have likely lost a lot of men to the Dollar Flu even before the riots broke out, and that the collapse of the US has contributed to a lack of police presence in the state (And most likely throughout the country).
  • Posthumous Villain Victory: By the time the Agent has found Gorden Amherst, the creator of the Dollar Flu, in the final mission, he's already dead, killed by his own disease. Nonetheless, he got what he wanted, as the Dollar Flu caused civilization to collapse.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: As the game doesn't do much realistic damage modeling on characters, this trope naturally comes into effect. Moreover, elite enemies can take multiple headshots before going down, and will be none the worse for wear until beaten.
  • Properly Paranoid: The US Government foresaw the possibility of US bank notes becoming a vector for disease and formed Directive 51 as a response. Years later, the exact scenario they feared occurs.
  • Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice:
    • The JTF, Last Man Battalion, and "First Wave" Division agents attempted this during the early days of the outbreak in NYC in the central area, but it didn't hold on and they were forced to abandon guarding them, leaving some of their weapons and vehicles behind. The area is now walled off and known as the Dark Zone.
    • New York City as a whole has been quarantined, with all entrances and Exits blocked by the JTF.
  • RPG Elements: Players will gain experience from downing opponents.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: Manhattan is represented as a mild example of this trope. The city is largely intact and its people is still around, but almost everything shows signs of abandonment and decay.
  • Scenery Gorn: Manhattan. The streets are littered with broken down cars, bodies are strewn everywhere, buildings are in varying states of disrepair, and that's not even getting into the Dark Zone. From the moment you arrive, it's made very clear that things have gone seriously wrong.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Audio files show Bliss eventually turning against the rich Wall Street executives that hired him to protect their interests, pointing out how silly it was to risk the lives of his men to protect empty and useless buildings as New York crumbles all around them. Instead, he decides to retask them to trying to maintain order in the city. Too bad he takes it a bit too far.
  • Sentry Gun: One of the many gadgets at an agent's disposal, a small foldable sub-machinegun that tracks and fires on enemies within its line of sight. It can be upgraded for different situations. Certain enemies, such as LMB engineers also deploy sentry guns to use against you and the LMB on the whole tend to fortify their bases with up-scaled cannon-caliber versions that act as obstacles for the player. Later, you get to turn them against the LMB, and can use several to help take down Bliss.
  • Sequel Hook: Even with all of the criminal gangs defeated and New York on the road back to recovery, Keener escapes with the research and materials he needs to manufacture a new Green Poison, and promises that he will use it to create a new world order with himself at the top.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: Whilst the definition of 'fuel tank' is somewhat loose, if you see a red canister, then it's going to explode if you so much as sneeze on it. Taken to another level with the Cleaners; their basic grunts and Heavies have homemade napalm fuel tanks that, whilst being slightly more durable, are apparently far more explosive. Just beware that trying this trick on yellow/gold Elites will turn them into Action Bombs instead; they'll try to rush at you before their tank explodes.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Applies to the LMB faction, who are the only group to field medics. Their Support Stations can heal NPCs and (for Elite medics) even replenish their armour bar.
    • Elite and Legendary difficulty medics have Stations that can heal NPCs faster than your ability to kill them, meaning it is necessary to destroy the Support Station itself or lure enemies out of the Station's healing radius and then shoot them.
  • Shown Their Work: The developers took a lot of time to realistically portray New York City's landscape. Here's the comparison between real-life New York and the game. It's a bit scaled-down, with the sidewalks and streets especially being much narrower than their real-life counterparts, but is still a fantastic rendition of the Midtown Manhattan street plan.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: All Agents can choose one of three class specializations, as well as advance through a separate skill tree. Further more, because Skill, Talents, and Perks are unlocked via restoring and making additions to the Base of Operations rather than leveling, players can swap skills and talents (and thus roles) at any time
  • The Social Darwinist: Many of the villains have this as their world-view.
    • LaRae Barrett, the leader of the Rikers, has this with a strong dose of Eat the Rich, viewing the outbreak as an opportunity for the strong to rise up and take what's coming to them, now that the cops are no longer around to stop them.
    • The man responsible for the outbreak, Dr. Gordon Amherst, wants to jumpstart natural selection and wipe out 90% of the human race, with whoever survives having been deemed "fit to live" by his virus.
    • The closest thing the game has to a main villain, Division Agent Aaron Keener, also views the outbreak as a chance for the strong to survive and thrive, hence why he goes rogue, steals Amherst's technology, and makes a bid for ultimate power.
  • Super Hero Origin: A three part ECHO file series shows a man realizing that he's survived attacks from rioters, Green Poison, and many other things that would normally kill a man, and start to believe that he has superpowers. He then decides to put his theory to the test by leaping off of a skyscraper. The final ECHO in the series show that the man survived, and contemplates with his girlfriend on how to handle this discovery. What is extremely telling is that this final ECHO file is titled "Origin".
  • Third-Person Shooter: Third Person Cover-Based Shooter to be more exact. While players with sniper scope attached to their gun can use the Aim button then push the Zoom in button to switch to first person scope view, the rest of the game is played in Third person view.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: It's unclear exactly when the game is taking place; no dates are given. The guns in the game are all modern weapons, but the Division's "special" tech (which largely makes up your abilities) is somewhat more advanced that current cutting-edge military technology (with highly miniaturized drone weaponry and projected holography for the maps being the big super-tech points). Set Item fluff text added in Update 1.6 or 1.7 explicitly mentions things like nanotechnology and microservos, further elevating the tech level.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: As in the intro to this article, the premise takes the Dark Winter exercise and the Directive 51 issued in response to that and runs with it. The degree of "looseness" is Paranoia Fuel.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In the Dark Zone, it is possible to attack other Agents to steal their loot. You can also shoot random civilians and even stray dogs in the Beta without any real punishment, though helping civilians gives you XP and item rewards. In the final game you can't harm civilians, though they can still get gunned down by enemies.
    • The former has only gotten more extreme as time has gone on, players have leveled up and patches have been added. Now there are entire teams of high-level Rogue Agents infesting the DZ, killing every other player they come across and taking their stuff. It's reached the point where most players either ignore the DZ entirely (since they simply can't stay alive long enough to level up to where they can defend themselves, because of Rogues and massively buffed-up DZ enemies after the 1.3 patch), or become Rogues themselves.
  • Villain Ball: Bliss grabs this hard and with no apparent reason at the end of the game. He got clean away from the Division/JTF assault on the UN, but returns to attack the victorious JTF forces. A new speech added in version 1.2 tries to rectify this, by having him come back to rally his remaining troops to take back the UN even after the battle is all but lost.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: There's an incredibly large wardrobe of surprisingly fashionable attire that you can equip your Agent with, most of which is purely cosmetic. To put 'incredibly large' in perspective, you need 600 cosmetic items in order to qualify for the highest rank of the fashion-related 'commendation'.
  • Waxing Lyrical: One of the ways the host of "Wouldn't You Know It" starts a show is with "Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit? Heard about Pittsburgh, PA?"
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • The Cleaners want to control the spread of the virus, just like the titular Division, but they go about it by torching people alive.
    • The Last Man Battalion is a group of mercenaries originally contracted to the Department Of Homeland Security who believe the only way to save New York is with an iron fist, no matter the cost.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fates of the subjects of the many audio and ECHO recordings you collect is left unclear. However, considering the nature of the setting, it most likely wasn't good.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: A dead and dying New York is your winter wonderland to play in!
  • Wretched Hive: The Dark Zone is basically this. It's so bad that even the Last Man Battalion can't keep it under control!

Alternative Title(s): Tom Clancys The Division