For the past few days, players have been diving into The Division, Ubisoft’s newest entry into the Tom Clancy franchise. Set in New York after a virus outbreak, The Division puts players in the shoes of a SHD agent, activated to get the crisis under control. It’s an interesting premise, and one we plan to discuss on Inverse after we’ve spent some more time in the game’s world ourselves.

Like many other gamers, I’ve been knee-deep in The Division for the past couple of days – building two characters and developing each with a different focus. At this point, I’ve cleared almost half of the game and learned about systems at play – so whether you’re currently playing The Division or looking to pick it up in the future, here’s a few tips to make your experience more enjoyable for the first few hours.

Complete the Area from Alpha and Beta Testing

Once you boot up The Division, you’ll briefly play through the introduction in Brooklyn, before you’re transferred to Manhattan for the rest of your adventure. (This puts you in the same area we had access to during the alpha and beta testing phases earlier this year). These missions remain largely the same; getting your base of operations up and running and securing resources for the three wings in your base. You can also access the same side missions we did during the alpha and beta, which aren’t too difficult. During your first few hours, you’ll want to complete this entire section of the game – including all of the scattered side missions. Since these missions are familiar and easy, they’ll help you establish your character with a wide selection of gear and skill upgrades. Plus, they’ll also supply a flush amount of currency once you reach the fresh areas of the game come level 10.

Complete the First Mission for Each Wing of Your Base

No matter your character’s specialization, it’s essential to complete the first mission for each wing of your base. These missions unlock second abilities for the medical, tech and security wings — and you score a big experience bonus to boot. When you open each wing, you can access their upgrades. Each wing requires supplies, which you’ll obtain with side and main missions. These give you modifications for your main abilities, talents and perk rewards. While they may not seem like much, extra medical kits or an ability to reduce active skill cooldowns at low heath really revive your team during a rough patch. Not to mention, if you’re a fan of making things look pretty like I am, you’ll want to complete these missions to start populating your base with characters and shops. The more the merrier.

Unlock the Safe Houses

Each of the different areas in the game contain a Safe House. There, you can stock up on supplies, participate in matchmaking with other players, and buy new equipment. But, these hubs also serve as fast travel points to guide you around the map and provide intel on side missions in the area. Once you start clearing new areas on your map, you’ll want restock your ammunition after a few tough encounters with your buddies – which makes it worth a short trek to unlock each safe house before you start clearing each zone of the game.

Spend Time in the Dark Zone

At the moment, most players are holding off on the Dark Zone and opting to hit the level cap of 30. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. The Dark Zone is an integral part of The Division and becomes available around level 10. More importantly, it’s split into different level areas starting at level 10-12, which means that every few levels you should raid the Dark Zone to for good loot and explore the right zone for your level. Plus, you’ll be able to improve your DZ rank while undergoing the leveling process. This will reduce the amount of grinding in level 30 Dark Zone areas. The Dark Zone is one of the most interesting concepts in The Division, one that deserves your attention as soon as you can give it.

Photos via Nicholas Bashore, thedivision.ubi.com