Our Favorite Character Builds In The Division

by Matt Miller on Mar 12, 2016 at 07:00 AM

This feature was originally published on March 9, 2016.

We’ve spent much of this week diving into Ubisoft’s take on a post-apocalyptic New York City, where a devastating illness has left civil order in ruins. If you’re getting started in exploring the city and leveling up, you’ve probably already noticed that Ubisoft has avoided traditional classes for its characters, and instead is allowing players to freely establish their own character build. The freedom is a lot of fun, but along with several weapon varieties, it can be confusing to know how and where to focus. We’ve experimented and chosen five of our favorite builds to let you customize your Division agent in awesome ways.

In order to work toward the builds described below, a little planning is in order. Take the time to look at your Abilities screen in the menu, so you understand how skills (active abilities), talents (modifiers on your actions), and perks (passive abilities) come together. Note that unlike in many progression-based games, these abilities do not unlock along a linear tree. Instead, the upgrades you purchase back at base determine which ability you get next. 

To obtain the next ability or skill mod that you want, you have to scroll through the available upgrades and look at their results. For instance, to obtain a fully modded First Aid skill, you need to purchase the Clinic and the Intensive Care unit. In most cases, we’ve left out mention of perks, as there’s little choice involved here; all perks are active at all times as soon as you acquire them.

As far as weapons, our suggestions below are only guidelines. Many of the guns in the game are multi-purpose. We don’t recommend sticking with an older, underpowered gun rather than changing weapon archetypes when a better gun arrives. Instead, the weapon recommendations are meant to coincide with the ability recommendations when you have an applicable choice in your inventory. 

These five character builds are designed for leveling up to the endgame. As such, some options (like equipping all four talents) won’t be fully available until later in the game. We’ve listed our top recommendations first in each category. 

The “Ready For Anything” Balanced Build

If you’re looking for a solid all-around build that works well in multiple situations, consider the “Ready For Anything.” It’s our top choice for solo play. It also translates easily to team play when your friends come online. If that ease of use and flexibility sounds appealing, this is the character build for you.

This balanced build starts out with the First Aid skill, and adds the Booster Shot mod. This allows for quick heals of both yourself and your allies, and adds in a handy damage increase every time it’s deployed, helping you bring down enemies faster. For your second skill, choose the Turret with the Active Sensor mod. The turret ensures a solid distraction for enemies, and the pulse function helps you track enemy locations. For your signature skill, we recommend the Survivor Link security option, which provides damage resistance for hard fights, as well as speed – a necessity for this multi-role build, where you’ll frequently be moving between short, medium, and long range. 

Lots of talent options should work well here, but consider this combo. Take Evasive Action for increased protection when moving between cover, Critical Save for better med-kit efficiency, Adrenaline to further boost med-kit efficiency, and Steady Hands for better aiming options while in new cover points – ideal if you’re moving around the field a lot.

For weapons, a marksman rifle is a must, letting you take out enemies as soon as they spawn through a distant door. Inevitably, you’ll end up in close to medium range as enemies charge. Flip over to a submachine gun to mow those fools down.

For your main stats, this build is flexible, and supports a relatively balanced approach to maximizing Firearms, Stamina, or Electronics, depending on your preferred playstyle.

Next Page: Check out the best options for a medic build, or charge up front with our heavy build.

The “Doc” Medic Build

Some players want to keep the rest of the team fighting, even at the cost of their own damage capability. Not ideal for solo play, this “Doc” build will go a long way towards keeping your team alive and functioning through hard fights. We’re more concerned here with keeping the team up and fighting, and less focused on personal healing options for yourself. 

The Support Station skill with the Life Support mod is your best friend here, allowing you to throw down a wide-range regenerative health field that also auto-revives downed teammates. For more immediate healing needs, tack on the First Aid skill with the Overdose mod to increase your healing efficiency. Unsurprisingly, you’ll also want the Recovery Link signature skill as soon as possible, which offers a powerful heal and cure for your allies and revives anyone nearby that is downed. 

For talents, grab the Battle Buddy option first to increase your survivability during revives. Combat Medic extends your med-kit usage to heal group members as well. Pick up Evasive Action to help keep you protected when moving between cover points as you race to protect and revive your allies. Finally, Strike Back will help you recharge your skills faster, particularly in hairy situations where you’re taking a lot of damage.

Weapon choice for the “Doc” is all about clearing out areas where you need to reach your allies to provide healing aid. As such, get good with a shotgun that can waste any bad guys who get too close to your healing work, and an assault rifle to help knock out medium-range attackers – this weapon is just to throw in some damage when healing isn’t required.

For your three main stats, focus on Electronics first for high skill power, followed by Stamina, and then Firearms.

The “I’m On Point” Heavy Build

If you want to be at the front of the fight, with high survivability and potent damage-dealing potential at close range, you need to try the “I’m On Point” build. 

Start with the Ballistic Shield skill, and mod it with the Assault Shield option – this turns your sidearm into a potent killing force when your ability is active. For your second skill, consider equipping the Seeker Mine with the Gas Charge mod; trigger the mine just before you plan to charge into the fray, as the explosions and gas can clear the way for your berserker rage. In instances where that kind of foolhardy charging is ill-advised, switch out the Seeker Mine for the Mobile Cover option, and mod it with Countermeasures. This option lets you charge up front and then deploy a strong piece of cover in the thick of the action. Your signature skill is Survivor Link, making you faster and sturdier.

For talents, start with On the Move from the Security set, which helps reduce damage while moving, ensuring you can stay alive as you charge the enemy. Since you’ll be using your ballistic shield and sidearm a good bit, pick up the Repo Reaper talent, which does an excellent job of ensuring you never run out of primary ammo in the thick of a fight. The Critical Save talent should help keep you alive with extra damage resistance after a med-kit usage. Strike Back is a good final choice, increasing the times you can deploy your abilities; you’ll likely be taking a lot of damage, and this choice takes advantage of that fact. 

Weapon choice is all about up close and personal. Try a shotgun along with a light machine gun for maximum damage-dealing potential at close and medium range. Unlike some other builds, your selection of sidearm for this build is also very important, so pay close attention to what goes into that third slot.

For stats, go for Stamina first for survivability, Firepower for damage, and then Electronics for those supporting abilities.

Next Page: Strike from the back with our sniper build, or carry the team with our support build. 

The “Death From Above” Sniper Build

You’d rather hang back from the action and take out single targets with great prejudice, even while the rest of your team holds the front line. You want “Death From Above.” 

Start your build with Smart Cover, and mod it with Trapper; this skill is ideal for dealing with your counterpart snipers on the enemy team, as it lowers their damage and increases the damage they take. Also roll with Pulse equipped, which you should mod with the Recon Pack. The increased range from that mod is key to long-range encounters where you need to keep track of enemy locations, and pull back when enemies get too close. The Tactical Scanner is an equally valuable mod to Pulse, increasing your damage-dealing potential against single targets. You must take the Tactical Link signature skill as soon as you can to up both damage and critical-hit chance.

As you begin to employ talents, start with One is None, which helps to conserve bullets when you achieve a headshot. Tech Support helps to extend your Pulse and Smart Cover options whenever you kill a hostile target. Shrapnel, Wildfire, or Fear Tactics all help extend your high-power single-shot damage to other enemies nearby your target by adding a chance for a bleed, burn, or shock effect. And for your fourth slot, Precision is a great choice for those times that your normal Pulse ability hasn’t yet recharged. 

It should go without saying, but “Death From Above” is virtually impossible to employ without a strong marksman rifle with good zoom capability. Frankly, your second weapon matters much less if the rest of your team is doing a good job of keeping enemies off you, but an assault rifle isn’t a bad way to go in case enemies charge your position.

For stats, go all in with Firepower, followed by Electronics, and then Stamina.

The “I’ve Got Your Back” Support Build

Maybe you’re not the greatest shot, but you’re also not interested in just being the party healing cleric. You’re a shoe-in for the “I’ve Got Your Back” build, in which you’ll constantly bolster your allies, even while pitching in to suppress foes and doing some damage when you can. Your help may be frequently invisible, but it’s also invaluable.

Start with the Turret, and mod it with the Active Sensor to help pulse the targets that it hits. That turret is going to help a lot in your support goal of high suppression of enemy targets. For your second skill, you’ve got two choices. For higher visibility of enemies, add in the Pulse skill, and mod it with the Scrambler to protect your allies from enemy pulse scans. If enemy visibility isn’t an issue (or someone else on the team is already rocking Pulse), you may also consider the Sticky Bomb for your second skill, and mod it with the Flashbang effect to dramatically diminish the fighting capability of any enemies caught in the blast. Unlike the obvious signature-skill selection for the other builds on this list, any of the three options are good for this support-oriented class; look for holes in your party. If there’s no designated healer, the Recovery Link is an obvious choice. If many other party members are trying to hold back and do damage at range, choose the Tactical Link. And if you are just having trouble staying alive, the Survivor Link is the way to go.

As mentioned above, in the middle of a fight, your biggest offensive strategy should be suppression so that the rest of your teammates can line up their long-range shots, or advance if they’re in front. As such, your first two talents are built to aid your suppression capabilities – take Shock and Awe, followed by Stopping Power. Combat Medic is also a great option, adding some healing capability, especially if you’re conscious of buying up perks that increase your med-kit inventory. Most of your teammates are going to be focused on killing enemies, so your secondary job (behind suppression) is taking out enemy-deployed skills, like turrets. With that goal in mind, take Death By Proxy as your final talent to boost the power of your skills when you destroy enemy-deployed skills. 

Weapon-wise, come back once again to your goal of enemy suppression; your primary weapon should be something with a large magazine size, like a submachine gun. When that’s out of ammo, or when you need more range, switch to a secondary light machine gun. 

Your stat priority is Electronics first, followed by Stamina, and so long as your teammates are doing their job, you can leave Firearms lower.  


What other character builds have you enjoyed? What are your favorite skills and talents? Share your character build in the comments below.