Watch Dogs Guide: Combat Skills Tips

Want to survive enemy attacks and have superior firepower? Then, check out this guide on Combat Skills in Watch_Dogs!

Everyone needs to defend themselves. Being a hacker in Watch Dogs is no exception. Sometimes, your expert hacking skills just aren’t enough to get the job done. Sometimes, you need firepower.

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These skills make you an expert on several weapon types, explosives, and slowing down the battle so you can focus more. These skills will give you a huge advantage in battle when hacking just won’t cut it.

For more tips and guides on Watch Dogs, be sure to check out the Guide Directory.

This guide will cover everything in the Combat Skill tree including:

  • Combat Skill Tree – Every combat skill and unlock requirement.
  • Combat Skills Tips – Suggested skills to get early on.

Combat Skill Tree

There are 3 separate branches in this tree, each with a skill you must unlock before moving on:

  • Focus
  • Quick Switch
  • Steady Aim
Focus Enhancement
  • Focus  (1 point) Slows down time for you. This lets you shoot people or escape more easily.
  • Stealth Sprint (4 points) Reduces radius of detection when sprinting in combat. (Requires Focus)
    • Critical Focus – (5 points) Recovers focus when health gets critically low. (Requires Stealth Sprint and completing one Criminal Convoy)

  • Improved Focus (2 points) Increases duration of Focus ability. (Requires Focus)
    • Slowed Focus (2 points) Slows down time even more. (Requires Improved Focus)
      • Maximized Focus (5 points) Increases duration of Focus ability greatly. (Requires Slowed Focus and completing 10 Chess Challenges)
Weapon Skills
  • Quick Switch (1 point)Switch between weapon faster. (Requires catching one criminal through the Criminal Detection System)
  • Pistol Expert (2 points) Increases fire rate of pistols. (Requires Quick Switch)
  • Shotgun Expert (3 points) Increases shotgun damage against vehicles. (Requires Pistol Expert)
    • Sniper Rifle Expert (5 points) Increases stability of scope with sniper rifles. (Requires Shotgun Expert)
    • Auto Weapons Expert (5 points) Increases precision of burst-fire with automatic weapons. (Requires Shotgun Expert and reaching wave 5 in the NVZN mini game)
Misc. Combat Upgrades
  • Steady Aim (1 point) Lowers weapon recoil.
  • Demolitionist (3 points) Increases the amount of explosives you can carry. (Requires Steady Aim)
    • Expert Demolitionist (4 points) Increases the amount of explosives you can carry even more. (Requires Demolitionist)
      • Enforcer Combat Takedown (5 points) Lets you do a combat takedown on Enforcer-class enemies. (Requires Expert Demolitionist)
  • Bullet Resistance (2 points) Reduces damage taken from enemy bullets. (Requires Steady Aim)
    • Blast Resistance (3 points) Greatly reduces damage taken from explosives. (Requires Bullet Resistance)
      • Rapid Reload (4 points) Improves reload speed of all weapons. (Requires Blast Resistance and completing 5 Gang Hideouts)

Combat Skills Tips


I highly recommend getting Bullet Resistance first. Obviously you need Steady Aim first, but Bullet Resistance should be your next skill.

  • Reducing the damage taken from enemy bullets helps a lot, especially when you need to get close to someone to knock them out instead of killing them.
  • Your overall survivability goes up and you get access to Blast Resistance and Rapid Reload. 
  • Getting Blast Resistance afterwards, helps you survive all the grenades enemies throw sometimes.
Stay Focused

The focus upgrades can turn bad situation into your advantage.

  • Getting the Improved Focus branch before the other is best.
  • This gives you more time in focus and slows down time a lot.
  • Using this when overwhelmed evens the odds, and lets you escape certain doom.
Vehicle Destroyer

Personally, I just blow up most vehicles with the grenade launcher. Sometimes you don’t want to kill everything that moves. That’s where Shotgun Expert comes in.

  • Shotgun Expert increases damage done to vehicles, so you can take them out faster.
  • You also aren’t blowing everything up, so you can stop people in vehicles without killing them.

That wraps up the Combat Skill guide for Watch DogsIf you’d like to see more guides and tips, please visit the Guide Directory.

If you have any questions, or other tips you’d like to share, let me know in the comments!

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After gaming for 25 years, Synzer leveraged his vast knowledge of RPGs and MMOs into a job as a games journalist, covering the games he loves. Five years later, he's still writing about Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and Knights of the Old Republic. Synzer has a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing. You can see him in action on his YouTube channel ( and Twitch (