The Division is an online third-person cover based shooter set in a post-apocalyptic New York. The player is part of a elite government agency known as The Division. They have no rules and are humanity's last resort. The player, along with other members of The Division, must investigate the source of a virus outbreak that brought Manhattan to its knees. Next to the action based gameplay there are many RPG elements such as upgrading your weapon, skills and talents. This is done through unlocking additional wings in your home base and gaining experience.
The game puts a high concentration on player-versus-player combat with the addition of the Dark Zone. It is an open world area where players may fight NPCs and each other for enhanced loot. Upon killing another player your agent is labeled as "rogue". A player cannot equip or use his loot until he is extracted from the zone using a helicopter. The player will drop all the loot he has acquired on death. This can create some very tense conflict situations where teams of players can be fighting over the same prize. Dying in the Dark Zone can also affect rank and level.
The game contains dynamic weather and lighting that effect game play in various ways. Enemies will behave differently in morning and night environments and weather effects may reduce visibility. The game always requires an online connection, but can also be played solo. There is also a single-player campaign with missions for the three different characters: Medical, Security and Tech.