The grind to Dark Zone rank 50 is either fun and easy, or a pain in the ass. For the most part, it was fun and easy for me. Then again, having a party of four tends to do that. Ubisoft Massive locked some of the best gear in the game behind DZ 50. But that’s about to change. And it’s mostly good news.

The Division developers held a ‘State of the Game’ stream this morning and expanded on some of the changes coming to Dark Zone and its gear. Right now, gear can only be acquired at rank 30 and 50. Ubisoft Massive is changing it up by offering gear in five tiers – 15 / 25 / 40 / 75 / 90. I know what you’re thinking. ‘More grinding?’ I’ll get to that in a second.

Here’s how the new tiers break down for current gear.

Gear purchased at rank 30 is moving to rank 15. And the gear purchased at 50 is moving to 40. Damn Massive, could you have made these changes about a week ago? I just hit rank 50.

Did you know: 41% of all characters created have finished the story, according to Ubisoft. And 37% reached level 30.

Another big change coming is “some” of the gear that needs Division Tech to build will no longer require it. Those blueprints will be moved from the Dark Zone to the Base of Operations. No word on which blueprints this affects, but Massive did say whenever new blueprints are introduced – some of the old ones will be shifted to the Base of Operations.

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Ok, let’s talk the new Dark Zone rank requirements for gear. Yes, more Dark Zone gear is coming in the Incursion update this month. And yes, it will require Dark Zone ranks 75 and 90. You better get busy grinding if you want to see these. My rank 50 is starting to look pathetic.

Those of you already above level 90? Nice job, but I don’t even want to know what your playtime looks like. For everyone else, grab three friends and start killing everything you see. Going Rogue and surviving is by far the fastest way to level up.

With the introduction of new Dark Zone gear, the developers are also changing up how Dark Zone brackets work. Instead of pooling all the level 30s together, there’s going to be two separate pools. Players with a gear score above 160 will be placed in one group. And players with a gear score below 160 will be placed in another.

What does a 160 gear score look like? Think mostly High-End (yellow) gear equipped. The separate pools should help with lower rank Dark Zone players getting hammered in the Dark Zone. Until they hit 160. Then they can feel the wrath of people who have played for 10 days already.

Gear score also replaces a player’s level once they hit 30. Now, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of gear the person has when they kill you.

I like most of these changes/tweaks. Two player pools should give those of you just now entering the Dark Zone a much better experience. And more loot is always a good thing.

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I’m a bit more mixed about the new Dark Zone rank requirements. It’s not the rank that bothers me, it’s getting there. The Dark Zone just needs some more variety. Wiping out entire servers of players is a blast, but we need something more. Will supply drops be the answer? It’s a step in the right direction. I wouldn’t mind seeing world bosses pop up in the Dark Zone where everyone works together to kill it. Maybe add the APC we’ve heard about in the Incursion?

What do you think of the changes coming to the Dark Zone later this month? Too much grind? What kind of features would you like to see added?

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