Watch Dogs 2 complete Skill Tree breakdown

Need more tools for hacking equipment and evading guards? Here we show you the full research skill tree and explain the best options.

Need more tools for hacking equipment and evading guards? Here we show you the full research skill tree and explain the best options.
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Watch Dogs 2 (reviewed here) has all the hacking mayhem you could want in its open world San Francisco, letting you cause chaos in your wake as you access street lights, play with people’s phones, remotely activate vehicles, and use drones to devastating effect.

Pulling up the Research app in your phone gives access to the skill tree, which lets you pick new abilities from seven different lists. Which options you pick will determine whether you are going through the campaign as the Trickster, Aggressor, or Ghost play style (and you really should be doing Trickster). Below we cover all seven skill trees and their various options.

Looking for more help with Watch Dogs 2? Check out our complete beginner’s guide. For those wondering about rumors of the Watch Dogs 2 vagina shot and tales of full frontal nudity, yes, they are true.


Unlike the other research branches, this one doesn’t unlock cascading skills. Instead, the first node increases Botnet resources by 4, while each additional branching node past that point increases Botnet resources by 2.

 Botnets Skill Tree

City Disruption

Auto Takedown – trigger gates and steam pipes on nearby enemy vehicles

Robot Exploits – create a distraction for robots (hold LT for more distraction options)

Traffic Control Exploit – Auto Takedown skill now hacks traffic lights to cause accidents and stop pursuit

Massive System Crash – all city infrastructure shut down for 30 seconds

System Crash Upgrade Blackout – turn off all power and lights (while useful for stealth, this is less helpful than it seems, since it limits hacking options)

Security System Shutdown – exactly what it sounds like, this one shuts down security systems

Botnet Savings City Hacking – reduces Botnet costs while hacking city infrastructure

 City Disruption Skill Tree


Sleight Of Hand – increased reload speed for stun gun and pistols

Advanced Slight Of Hand – increased reload speed for two handed guns

Steady Hands – lessened sway on scoped weapons

Keen Eye – extra damage with sniper rifles

Strong Grip – increased stability with two handed guns

Target Weakness – extra damage against armored targets and vehicles with shotguns

Steady Aim – increased range with stun gun

Fast Finger Trigger – pistol rate of fire increased (fires as fast as you press the button)

Stun Amp Up – decreases charges needed to stun armored enemies

Marksmanship Skill Tree

Remote CTRL

Environmental RC – remote control lifts and cranes

Proximity Scanner – equip Quadcopter with more powerful scanning and tag NPCs through walls (this is incredibly useful and should be purchased quickly)

Expert RC Engineering – decrease cool down time for RC Jumper and Quadcopter

Remote Gadgets – RC Jumper and Quadcopter can drop IEDs and Zappers

Taunt – add speaker to RC Jumper for luring enemies

Speed Boost – increase speed for RC Jumper and Quadcopter

Enhanced Spring – increase RC Jumper’s jump height for reaching new areas

Remote CTRL Skill Tree

Social Engineering

Create Distraction – send signal to phones or guard headsets for distraction so you can execute a melee attack or sneak by, also cancels 911 calls

Gang Attack – assign a target to a gang

Gang Skirmish – use higher level gang members to attack target

Gang War – call on highest level gang members to attack target

Improved Profiler – flag civilians with large bank accounts (very useful if you need more money)

Massive Communication Disruption – trigger ALL distractions within range (incredibly useful for escaping situations)

Botnet Savings – reduce Botnet costs when hacking individuals

APB Suspect Located – plant evidence and send police to arrest target

APB Wanted Criminal – upgraded version of Suspect Located that marks target as a dangerous criminal

 Social Engineering Skill Tree


Electro Shock Device – knock out target temporarily

Explosive Device – explode and kill targets

Expert Tinkering – reduce cool down time on Tinkering abilities

Electro Shock Optimization – carry and place up to 5 ESDs at once

Tweaked Blast – Tinkering abilities have larger area of effect

Explosive Optimization – carry and place up to five explosives at once

 Tinkering Skill Tree

Vehicle Hacking

Vehicle Directional Hack – move cars in specific directions for attack or disruption

Hijacker – hack locks to avoid car alarms (a must-have for stealing vehicles)

Chopper Retreat Exploit – force helicopters to retreat when you are being pursued

Engine Override – burst of vehicle speed that drains Botnet

Massive Vehicle Hack – hack all vehicles in area to cause mass chaos

Botnet Savings Vehicle Hack – reduce Botnet cost on hacking vehicles

 Vehicle Hacking Skill Tree

What direction are you planning on moving through the skill tree, and what do you think are the best Watch Dogs 2 research options?

About the author

Ty Arthur

Ty splits his time between writing horror fiction and writing about video games. After 25 years of gaming, Ty can firmly say that gaming peaked with Planescape Torment, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a soft spot for games like Baldur's Gate, Fallout: New Vegas, Bioshock Infinite, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. He has previously written for GamerU and MetalUnderground. He also writes for PortalMonkey covering gaming laptops and peripherals.