The Division 2: Warlords of New York — Making the Perfect Build
The Division 2 is seeing something of a renaissance of builds with its latest expansion, Warlords of New York. As we discussed in our big changes and how they work article, Talent and Attribute choices have been trimmed. However, with new additions to those rosters and four new Skills to boot, build variety might be at its highest yet.
We could talk for hours about potential gear combinations, the value of one concept over another, the minutia of where to put that one last point. But and rather than tell you what's best, I think it better to arm you with the knowledge of how to create your perfect setup using the tools the looter-shooter now offers.
Choose Your Focus and Subfocus
Where the vanilla Division 2 build meta was almost entirely focused around damage, with the new changes, you have a whole host of options to choose from. Tank, support, area denial, add clear, single target DPS — you name it, you can probably build it.
To make the most of your time, though, you'll want to pick a primary and secondary focus for your build. Focus, in this case, means what your build is best at above all things. Your sub-focus ideally supports your primary focus in some way, either by augmenting its effectiveness, increasing your survivability, or adding value to your squad if playing co-op.
To my mind, there are three primary foci and three secondary.
- DPS: When you want to deal excessive amounts of damage.
- Skill: When you want your tools to do your work for you.
- Defense: When you to be all but invincible.
- Recovery/Healing: When you want to keep your armor/skills at max no matter what.
- Arena Control: When you want to say who goes where and when.
- Single/Multiple Target: When you want to know how much to focus on.
While these aren't the only foci you can build around, they are the most common topics of discussion. Your choices here should also take into account whether you want to concentrate on PvE content or Dark Zone PvP. The Division 2 is, of course, centered more on PvE, but there are plenty of great ways to dominate in the DZ if that's your thing.
Once you've got an idea for your build, now comes the tough part: grinding the gear and perks to perfect it.
Building the Build
Let's say you want to make a bread and butter build: single-target DPS with a heavy focus on light machine guns and sniper rifles. Where do you start the gear grind? Armor, weapons, Skill mods, or Recalibration fuel?
There are a ton of choices, but approach it like you would a test in school: get the easy stuff out of the way first, so you've got plenty of time to really work on the time-consuming tasks.
Here's a quick step-by-step of how you can build your build:
1. Find Your Perfect Weapon
In our example, we want the best Sniper/Marksman Rifle and LMG combo we can get our hands on. We also want to maximize damage to a single target, so our perks of choice need to play around that theme.
Critical hit chance and straight damage bonuses are ideal here, though how we go about building that damage should vary. For the sniper, we want ultimate single-shot potential, so headshot damage is critical. Our LMG, on the other hand, should probably be a slower burn: a Talent based around damage stacks could be our best option there.
2. Fill Out the Talentless Gear Slots
As of Warlords of New York, only backpack and chest gear comes with Talents, so our next step is finding the perfect set of Talentless gear we can.
Remember that even gear without Talents has Attributes. Not everything you find is ideal for what we need. We're focusing on single-target DPS, so we want Weapon Damage as our Core Attribute and some form of red, Secondary Attributes. Again, which kind we want will depend on the weapon, but you can never really go wrong with Critical Hit Damage/Chance and/or Headshot Damage.
We might also add one or two points into Skill Power or Defense for a little added survivability, but only that many, else we risk going too far away from the central concept of the build.
3. Grind for the Best Gear Talents
Here comes the tough part. There are a lot of gear Talents to pick from, and we only have a couple we want. Vigilance or Unstoppable Force are good options for the backpack. Obliterate and Glass Cannon could offer good values as well, though the latter only if we're confident in our ability to recover.
4. Pick and Optimize Skills
Our choice of skills will depend on how we want to maximize our DPS, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Shock Trap is an excellent option to keep our enemies still for sniper shots, and Sticky Bomb could be a good option for damage over time or short burst damage.
Your choice would be personal preference, but we'll be going with Shock Trap and Flame Sticky Bombs here. That choice made, now we need the best possible mods that increase both duration and damage as appropriate.
5. Maximize Survivability
Damage might be our primary focus, but we can't do any if we're dead. That's why I suggested putting a couple of points into Defense Attributes, probably best placed in Talentless gear.
We should get armor up and invest in Health boosts where we can find them. If we're feeling particularly safety conscious, swapping out a damage Skill for a healing one is also an option, but only for solo play.
The actual grind for your gear isn't as difficult as it once was. Focus on the Targeted Loot sections on your D.C. map, and hit those missions, Control Points, and other world activities as you like. Don't forget about recalibration either, as you can extract god-roll stats from otherwise garbage gear.
You don't necessarily need the perfect roll right away. Getting close to the gear you want and switching things up where you're grinding will take the monotony out of the grind.
Perfect Your Playstyle
With your build in place, now's the time to perfect its use, and the only way to do that is to use it. Spend time going through content of varying difficulties to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. As you discover what your build does best, make modifications as necessary.
I don't recommend going straight into Heroic difficulty, even if your build can handle it. Without the initial refinement and adjustment period, you're bound for failure regardless of how powerful you might be.
Don't be afraid to make wholesale changes at this point. Swapping out one Skill for another or even deciding on a whole new set of Talents isn't out of the question, either. So long as you stay true to your build's core concept and you feel comfortable with the playstyle, you'll do just fine.
Again, there are too many build combinations in The Division 2 to cover all the best ones, and what you want out of a build will not be the same as someone else, even if your playstyles are similar.
Hopefully, this guide's given you a good idea about how to go about creating a character and playstyle that works for you, but if there's something I've left out, let me know in the comments.
And while you're here, check out other Division 2 and Warlords of New York articles over on our guides hub. Here are a few to get you started: