Want to build yourself a great character in Tom Clancy's The Division? While the MMO shooter doesn't have traditional classes and you can swap skills and talents whenever you like, you're probably still interested in playing a specific role on your team. We've put together some suggested character builds based on skills, skill mods, talents, and stats to help you become the most effective Division agent you can be.
First, a little explanation about skills, perks, and talents, and how you unlock them.
Base of Operations
After a couple brief starter missions, you'll arrive in Manhattan and head to the post office, which has been re-purposed as your Base of Operations. Each player has their own private version of the post office to unlock and upgrade as they like. The base contains vendors, a stash box, a crafting table, and a huge collection of NPCs who never shut up. It also has three different wings.
There's the Medical wing, the Tech wing, and the Security wing. The missions for these wings comprise your main story missions, and completing them gives you points to spend on upgrading those wings. What's more, there are encounters and side missions related to those three wings. You can easily spot them on the map, coordinated to the colors of those wings (green for Medical, yellow for Tech, and blue for Security). So, if you haven't quite leveled enough to tackle the next main story mission yet but are still hoping to find more points to spend on, for example, the Tech wing, look for yellow encounter icons on the map: completing them will award you with precious points for that wing. Putting your mouse cursor on these icons will also tell you exactly how many points you'll earn and what other rewards are being offered.
Spending those points lets you upgrade the base's wings, and upgrading the wings unlocks new abilities called skills, talents, and perks. It's important to note that earning XP from combat and exploration will level you up, but leveling up doesn't unlock new abilities. Leveling up only allows you to equip higher level gear. Upgrading the three post office wings is how you'll unlock new abilities. Here's how those abilities work.
Abilities: Skills, talents, and perks
Skills are active offensive and defensive abilities that involve gadgets. They are assigned to a key (or a button for you controller-users), you manually activate them, and they have a cooldown period between uses. Those cool rollermines and auto-turrets from The Division trailers? Those are skills. Each skill can also be modded for greater and different effect. You start with a single slot for skills, but you unlock a second slot later, and a third for a signature skill.
Signature Skills are special skills you can unlock with a boatload of wing points, and can be equipped independently from your other two skills. They have an extremely long cooldown, but they're extremely powerful and can really help define the role you want to play.
Talents are passive. You assign them to a slot (beginning with one, but eventually you'll have four) and they activate when you do certain things in certain situations. For instance, there's a talent called Demolition Expert that activates when you kill an enemy with an explosion, which then increases all explosion damage by 40% for the next 15 seconds.
Perks are also passive. They don't require activation or a slot: when you unlock a perk, it's yours for good and will be a permanent part of your character. Perks can do things like increase how much XP you earn, give you additional inventory slots, and improve your base in various ways.
Here's a nice (though currently unfinished) little browser-based utility for examining The Division's abilities, created by Miodec.
Stats and attributes
While your abilities will define your role, improving your stats will make you better at it, and that's where you need to focus most of your attention. You have three main stats: Firearms, Stamina, and Electronics. Firearms affects your damage, Stamina determines your health, and Electronics affects your skill power (all those gadgets you'll be using). The attributes of the gear you equip then determine the value of those three main stats. When you're trying to determine which piece of gear you want to use and which you want to sell or disassemble, keep a close eye on its attributes.
The attributes of your gear may also affect your skills. If you've got a couple of skills you rely heavily on, examine all the new gear you find to see if it contributes a bonus to those skills.
Let's get to the builds.