In Tom Clancy's The Division, choosing the right gun, vest, mask and knee pads for your character amounts to more than the consideration of basic impact, range and armour ratings. Your currently equipped weapons and armour decides such things as your critical damage, resilience to status effects and even the amount of XP you gain from activities. If you want to rule the streets, you need to understand this stuff, so let's start with weapon and gear classes.

How gear is classified

The better your gear, the better your agent's attributes are. As with many RPGs, you can get a sense of how good an item is based purely on its colour.

  • Green items are Standard: no-frills stuff that low level agents rely on while learning the ropes.
  • Blue items are Specialised: items that start to affect performance percentages (e.g. critical hits) in some way.
  • Purple items are classified as Superior grade.
  • Gold items are High-End: these are the hardest to find and the priciest to buy but are also the most powerful.

Weapons

To understand the gains involved with these item rarities, it's easiest to look at weapons because they start to add Talents - performance boosting qualities that are unique to that weapon - from Specialised ranking and up. Specialised firearms provide one Talent, Superior firearms two, and High-End three.

To give an example, the Caduceus assault rifle sold at the Dark Zone Safe House vendor provides Coolheaded, Restored and Self-Preserved Talents. In list order, these reduce Skill cooldowns from headshots, remove all negative status effects from any kill, and heal the user with .8% of any damage dealt from critical hits.

It's important to note that gear obtained from vendors offers exactly the same performance stats to each agent that hands over their funds. Gear looted from chests and fallen enemies, on the other hand, will have unique 'rolls' - randomly-generated qualities that are unique to that item. Be warned: Talents are also locked behind level requirements, so a powerful weapon in the hands of a low-level player may not offer quite the same advantage as it would to a high-level player.

Weapon and Armour Mods

Primary and Secondary weapons - typically auto rifles, sniper rifles and shotguns - can be modified to improve performance. The mods are classed in the same way as all other gear. Rifles have the most slots to upgrade, adding Optic, Magazine, Underbarrel and Muzzle options to the stock weapon.

Unlike weapons themselves, vests, masks, knee-pads and weapon mods do not have Talents, but still bring benefits such as increased percentage chances or damage caused by critical hits, plus resistance to status ailments that include burn and disorientation.

Crafting

New items can be made from scratch using fabric, weapon parts, tools, electronics and Division Tech you've looted on patrol. They're constructed from blueprints to make weapons, masks, body armour, backpacks, gloves, holsters, knee-pads, and weapon/gear mods.

If you already own an item, this can be replicated, and higher level materials produce higher level gear. Materials of the same type can generate superior counterparts when combined under 'material conversion'.

The Character Attribute Rabbit-hole

Over time, agents are likely to become obsessed with tweaking Character Attributes in order to achieve small percentage gains in combat. In addition to more exotic weapons, there's the next XP level and Dark Zone rank to aspire to as well.

It's also about balancing gear to fit well-worn grooves such as assault, tank and support roles. It's not only about survivability and attacking strength, but also subtle statistics that steer the course of battle in useful ways. Even something as lowly as a holster can swing the balance in favour of firearms and stamina, meaning that experimentation with every last item of gear is a good investment of time.

- Our guide continues with a look at the XP and levelling systems in Tom Clancy's The Division.

- You can find the rest of our Tom Clancy's Division guide from the first page of this article.

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