Tom Clancy's The Division officially comes out tomorrow, but those of you who have pre-ordered the game and have been lucky enough to get it through your letterbox early should be able to get cracking on the live servers around about now. What to expect from the game though, not to mention our guide and assorted tips articles? Well, The Division represents Ubisoft's take on the sort of loot-dropping, quest-stuffed, MMO-inspired shooter experience that Destiny's done much to define as the default direction for the genre in 2016.
New York's in a state of post-apocalyptic panic following a viral outbreak, and your role as an agent of the titular Division is to do your bit to restore order following the inevitable social fallout. Expect plenty of levelling, loot, talents, skills and perks to play their part as you go about your business cleaning up the streets.
To help you get the most out of the game - and stay one step ahead of the competition - we're in the process of putting together a guide to the game that will cover quick ways to level up, the best armour and weapons you can get your grubby hands on, and how best to complete The Division's end-game content. Expect this guide to expand a great deal in the days and weeks ahead as we get to grips with the live game.
On this page:
Tom Clancy's The Division - Skills, Talents and Perks
Everything you need to know about the basics of The Division's player upgrade systems.
Tom Clancy's The Division - Beginner's tips, skill trees, zones and enemy types
Early tips and a guide to the game's fundamental systems.
Tom Clancy's The Division - Base of Operations, Wings and Vendors
All of the upgrades available from enhancing your Base of Operations.
Tom Clancy's The Division - How to level up fast and earn more XP
Our guide to hitting The Division's level cap as quickly as possible.
Tom Clancy's The Division - Dark Zone: loot, extractions and PVP
Surviving and prospering in the game's player-versus-player Dark Zone.
Tom Clancy's The Division - Crafting, blueprints, materials and more
Getting to grips with player-made gear.
Tom Clancy's The Division - Make more money and Dark Zone credits
How to get your hands on more cash and credits quickly.
Tom Clancy's The Division - General Assembly strategy
Most missions are easy. This one's not - unless you know how...
Tom Clancy's The Division - How to beat all of the side missions in the game
Tactics for every type of side mission in The Division.
Tom Clancy's The Division - How the end-game works
A run through all of the end-game content, with tips for farming lots of Phoenix Credits.
Tom Clancy's The Division - How to build the best loadout for solo and co-op play
Creating loadouts for Tank, DPS and Support roles in The Division.
Tom Clancy's The Division - Hudson Refugee Camp, Grand Central Station, Rooftop Comm Relay, Queens Tunnel Camp
Part One of our campaign mission walkthrough.
Tom Clancy's The Division - WarrenGate Power Plant, Police Academy, Broadway Emporium
Part Two of our campaign mission walkthrough.
Tom Clancy's The Division - Napalm Production Site, Subway Morgue, Napalm Production Site, Lexington Event Center
Part Three of our campaign mission walkthrough.
Tom Clancy's The Division - Russian Consulate, Madison Field Hospital, Lincoln Tunnel Checkpoint, Amherst's Apartment
Part Four of our campaign mission walkthrough.
Your base of operations has three main wings: Medical, Technical and Security. Within each wing are several departments, such as clinic and quarantine, that require resources in order to become operational. Once they are up and running, new Skills, Talents and Perks unlock which help to shape an agent's core capabilities before they fire a single shot.
Medical, Tech and Security Skills
Only two Skills can be equipped at any one time, and they're assigned to shoulder buttons on the controller. Skills can be "mastered" over time, which unlocks further benefits, but only after you've built all upgrades for the relevant facility.
The two Medical examples we've seen so far are Pulse and First Aid. Pulse sends out a signal to detect nearby threats, and when modified can also be used to highlight loot, increase damage to enemies, or jam a rival's Pulse signal. The First Aid Skill takes the form of a device that's dropped at your agent's feet, or tossed like a grenade to heal other teammates within a small radius.
Further down the medical tree are skills such as Support Station which is used to revive team mates, while Recovery Link can be used to heal or cure status ailments. Recovery Link is also classed as a Signature Skill - these take longer to recharge owing to their greater strength.
The Tech list begins with Sticky Bomb, an explosive that can be detonated manually or modified to explode based on enemy proximity. Tech gadgets are all weaponised Skills, which grant auto-turrets, mines and the Tactical Link Signature Skill which boosts damage and critical hit chances for the whole group.
Security Skills improve individual or group defence set-ups, beginning with a Ballistic Shield which absorbs a lot of damage but limits you to firing a sidearm while it's in use. Upgrading the Security Wing leads to Smart Cover, Mobile Cover and finally the Survivor Link Signature Skill - the opposite of Tactical Link in that it boosts damage resistance for you and your nearby teammates.
Health, Tech and Security Talents
Whereas Skills unlock after areas of each wing have been upgraded, Talents require agents to have reached a certain level before they become available. Four Talents can be active at any one time and there are 24 to choose from. Making the most of your Talents depends on the Skills you are most likely to use, and vice versa.
Health-related Talents listed under Medical serve to enhance an agent's physical status, or significantly degrade an enemy's. Health bars can be extended using the Adrenaline Talent whenever a medkit is applied, for example.
On the Tech side, an agent's combat effectiveness is enhanced by Talents that augment weapon behaviour (the damage caused, reload times and so on) and Tech Skills. How you typically prefer to attack and put pressure on opponents will determine your choice of Tech Talent.
For example, controlling areas for your buddies to move into would call for Demolition Expert, which ups the damage potential of the next grenade thrown by 40% for 15 seconds if the first one landed. If you need to gun down enemies quickly, Police Up gives a 25% chance to auto-refill all ammo types. Agents that capitalise on mobility in order to become a tougher target receive a 30% reduction to incoming damage reduction if Evasive Action is in play.
Situational awareness is where Security Talents come to the fore, although some of these could just as easily sit within the Tech tree. One is None, for example, gives a 50% chance of saving your bullet after scoring a headshot. Steady Hands reduces recoil when in cover, and Precision tracks an enemy who's been shot in the head for 10 seconds.
Medical and Tech Perks
Anyone familiar with the likes of Call of Duty and Destiny will be familiar with The Division's Perks system - permanent performance buffs to a character that suit a particular playstyle. Perks do not need to be activated, merely equipped, and their benefits are ongoing. The Inventory Tech Perk extends storage by 10 slots, for example, while Black Market Vendor enables Dark Zone purchases from your regular base. Perks provide definitel advantages, but are not game-changers as such.
Medical Perks like Protective Measures allow access to zones with a higher level of contamination, while Supplier provides automatic restocks of consumables like water, canned food, energy bars and soda once per hour. The Perks in this category typically serve to sustain your agent for longer.
Tech Perks are geared more towards players who enjoy crafting new gear, or eking out the most from existing supplies. Water and Energy Bar Perks increase the duration of their related effects by several precious seconds.
Once you've balanced out your own attributes with Skills, Talents and Perks, you still need to consider your overall team capabilities and adjust your loadout to suit. Those who regularly patrol together will want to reach out beyond their individual comfort zones and experiment in order to create a balanced fighting force. This becomes most important when it comes to efficiently conquering Missions on higher difficulties and in record time too. Expect forums to light up with this sort of optimisation chitchat in the weeks ahead.
- The next part of our guide covers Weapons, Gear and Mods in Tom Clancy's The Division.