In The Division 2 the key to your success in the Dark Zone is well... finding out how to get Dark Zone keys. Without them you'll struggle to unlock Dark Zone chests, containing some of the most lucrative loot in the game. The Dark Zone gear you unlock with Dark Zone keys is usable in the The Division 2 campaign too, so the risk of lurking in the Dark Zone for chests is very much worth it if you know how to get Dark Zone keys in The Division 2.
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You can get Dark Zone keys by killing Elite enemies
It’s not as clear as it should be, but there are a few surefire methods to picking up Dark Zone keys that can be gleaned from the first game. High-level or ‘named’ enemies should be your first port of call. These are the yellow enemies with silly names that crop up and lead a pack of goons from the various factions that inhabit DC. Simply wipe them out and you have a chance of picking up one of these elusive keys. You can usually find them in the compounds where the chests are, but they may also be part of a patrol.
You can get Dark Zone keys buy killing other players
Another method to picking up Dark Zone keys is wiping out other players who are holding them. The Dark Zone is PvP-heavy, and if you’ve ever tried to extract any loot from one of the designated zones there, you’ll know that it is staunchly dog eat dog world out there. Other players may work with you to help you out and share a pot, but most of the time you’re going to be dealing with rogues who want nothing more than to kill you and take your hard-earned loot.
Mitigate this issue by wiping them out first, and if you’re lucky, they will have been holding a Dark Zone key on their person, as well as whatever contaminated loot they’ve been scavenging during their adventures. Manhunts are a good option here - you can kill rogue players largely consequence free and there's more chance they'll have something on them from being evil.
You can pick locks to unlock a Dark Zone chest without a Dark Zone key
If you can’t find any Dark Zone keys (and we don’t blame you, they’re tricky to find) you can also just use a lock pick to open Dark Zone chests without a key. Beware though, this is Rogue behaviour and will eventually make you visible to other players if you keep it up. In our experience though, there is barely any demerit to this, as most players are out to steal and kill in the Dark Zone so the moral code is a bit flimsy.
The Keymaster perk makes finding Dark Zone keys easier
Dark Zone keys can also be picked up from loot crates as you’re scavenging, but it’s good to note that you can make this much easier by unlocking a Dark Zone Perk via the Dark Zone Officer in your base of operations. Advance to Dark Zone level 25 by rampaging your way through the quarantine and you will be able to pick the ‘Keymaster’ perk, a tier six offering that gives the player a 25% chance to acquire Dark Zone keys from loot crates. This should make your scavenging much easier, though it will take some grinding to get there.