The Division: Best Build For A Solo Character

Some folks don’t like other people. If that’s you, you probably intend to play The Division without a group of close pals or a bunch of random cohorts shouting at you to revive them. Firstly: I hope you are okay, you are missing out, no man is an island, et cetera, et cetera. Secondly: I am here to help you stay in splendid isolation. Here are two strong solo builds you can create.

For both these builds you are going to want to prioritise Firearms, then Stamina, then Electronics. Don’t ask questions, just do it.

Self-sufficient Arsonist

Weapons: Marksman Rifle, SMG.

The Marksman Rifle is the best for quickly taking down enemies with headshots. A good rifle like the SRS A1 will let you down an enemy in two shots to the head but you have to be a good shot since it is bolt-action and fires more slowly than other rifles. An SMG like the Vector will come in useful when shotgun troops are rushing you, or when things get into close quarters. This loadout is good for any of the following builds but for the sake of variety I’m changing them next time.

Skills: Support Station (Life Support Mod) and Seeker Mine (Airburst Mod)

The Support Station is pretty much essential for solo play. You won’t always have enough medkits to keep you going so relying on a wide area of regenerative cover is a necessity. The Life Support mod is your only hope of revival if you happen to get knocked down. Some people might opt for the Ammo Cache mod instead, because you will be expounding more ammo than a team will collectively but if you’re a decent shot with that rifle you won’t need it.

The Seeker Mine with the Airburst mod will set big groups of enemies on fire. A lot of people say the Turret with the Zapper mod is great but this does not harm the enemies, just stuns them. What’s more, tanky machine gunners will simply run and stomp these quickly to death. The flames of an Airburst, on the other hand, will stop enemies from firing for a short time, prevent them taking cover AND hurt them continually until the fire is out. The idea is to keep them busy as you shoot or relocate, but if you can hurt them at the same time, why not?

Talents: Wildfire, Adrenaline, Strike Back, One Is None

Wildfire is here to compliment your Seeker Mine – it grants a 30% chance to set all enemies on fire within 10m of those already burning. For this reason, you should also prioritise the use of fire grenades over tear gas or EMP.

Adrenaline gives you an overheal if you use a medkit while at full heath, adding an extra green bar above your normal health bar. Seeing as you’ll be using the Support Station for most of your healing, this gives the medkits an extra function.

Strike Back is wonderful with the Support Station, since it increases the power of your skill whenever you have low health – exactly the moment you need it.

One Is None is crazy. When you land a headshot, it grants a 50% chance of not consuming the bullet. Considering how many headshots you ought to be landing with that rifle, you stand to save a large amount of ammo, another reason the Ammo Cache mod for the support station shouldn’t be necessary.

Signature Skill: Tactical Link

The damage buff granted by Tactical Link is going to make your sniper rifle shots incredibly powerful. In a boss fight (the moment you should always use your signature skill as a solo player) this almost entirely outweighs the benefits of the next best option, Survivor Link. The skill activates for 12 seconds, so you will have the chance for 3-5 shots to the head of any boss. Land all of these and you will tear a huge chunk out of their armour or health.

Murderer of Independent Means

Weapons: Assault Rifle, SMG

Focus on having an Assault Rifle modded and built to land as many critical hits as possible and making them hurt. Do the same with the SMG if you can and any gear. Weapons with the ‘Deadly’ talent are great for this, increasing critical hit damage by 20%. If you feel confident, you can choose to roll with a high-damage shotgun instead of an SMG.

Skills: First Aid (Booster Shot Mod) and Pulse (Tactical Scanner)

This First Aid skill will come in handy if you’d prefer to be on the move instead of sitting at a Support Station. Not only does it heal you up without using a medkit, the Booster Shot provides you with increased damage. This is something your murderer build will want to capitalise on.

The Pulse skill is all-round useful. It identifies targets and the Tactical Scanner mod gives you a massive 19% chance to land a critical hit plus 38% addition to critical hit damage. This in conjunction with the bonuses of the weapons and gear will make you twice as lethal for a short time.

Talents: Critical Save, Tactical Advance, On The Move, Evasive Action

Critical Save is useful for desperate times. At low health popping a medkit will increase damage resistance by 40% for 10 seconds. All the other skills here are about moving and murdering and keeping your damage high and your resistance up.

Tactical Advance will grant you 2% bonus damage for every metre you move during a complete cover-to-cover move. You have to move the whole way – no bugging out to change cover if you can avoid it.

Meanwhile, Evasive action will reduce incoming damage during your cover-to-cover move by 30%. You can see a theme forming here, I’m sure.

On The Move will give you another 30% damage resistance for 10 seconds if you kill somebody while on the move. This is more of a tanky insurance policy for if you have to run the traditional way but need to fire at the same time.

Signature Skill: Survivor Link or Tactical Link

I would recommend Tactical Link for the same reasons as the prior build, and considering the amount of investment this build puts into critical hit damage, upping the chance of landing these hits by 50% is a huge boon. Survivor Link on the other hand makes you even tankier, which might get you out of trouble but won’t help too much on those spongey boss fights.

Obviously, feel free to mix and match and improve on these to fit your playstyle. One thing you should know is that, whatever your build, you are going to find it impossible to complete any missions on the ‘challenging’ difficulty. So if you get to the endgame and want to earn them Phoenix credits, you will need to find some friends. I’m sorry.

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  1. Wicked Fox says:

    ‘Murderer of Independent Means’ is great. Thank you.

  2. GenialityOfEvil says:

    I did the second build naturally through the course of playing. It’s not particularly well suited for taking on large groups in the Dark Zone though, especially when you start getting multiple heavy armoured elites.
    I also found that your sidearm can do a lot of damage if you find the right one, the game pretty consistently trades magazine size and RPM for damage. My current purple pistol does about 40,000 dps with 5000 damage.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Yeah, I think everybody naturally converges on the same few builds. As enemies get more and more spongy it all comes down to DPS boosts and heals so your gun does more damage and anything with its own attack value becomes useless.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Philopoemen says:

    Re: Challenging missions, you can solo them if you gear towards Protection from Elites/Damage to Elites – but it’s hard. After running about DZ06 solo, the same tactics work.

  4. Axess Denyd says:

    Some folks don’t like other people. If that’s you, you probably intend to play The Division without a group of close pals or a bunch of random cohorts shouting at you to revive them.

    Actually I’ll just not play The Division. I don’t like other people, so I won’t play anything that requires interacting with them.

    • ZXDunny says:

      I like other people, but my gaming time is personal time and as such I have never seen the value in multiplayer gaming.

      • GenialityOfEvil says:

        Plus, people play games at different paces. In Left 4 Dead everyone’s being pushed at the same speed by some masterful level design, but in games like The Division and Borderlands you’re free to explore. That can be antithetical to the way someone else, more used to Battlefield or CoD, plays.

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      keefybabe says:

      I’m of the generation that played games to GET AWAY from people.

    • DeadlyAccurate says:

      You never have to interact with other players if you don’t want to. You won’t even see them except in the safe houses, and if you turn off chat (text and voice), you can even pretend they’re just NPCs with weird names. And you never have to play in the Dark Zone if you don’t want. There’s 30+ hours of PvE gameplay that doesn’t have anything to do with other people.

      • Axess Denyd says:

        That sounds much better.

      • KDR_11k says:

        Definitely. You can beat all the missions at normal difficulty without other players or using the DZ. The endgame seems to pretty much require coop and going into the DZ, additionally if you want to spend those DZ credits you earn there you need to get at least DZ level 30 for a few things and 50 for the majority of things so if you do decide to get into the MP stuff after beating the main game you’ll have some grinding ahead of you before you can even spend the first cent you earned in that Dark Zone (or redeem those Phoenix Credits at the DZ vendor who has better deals than the vendor in your base).

        Also coop seems far, FAR easier than solo from the little I played it, while in solo you have to do all those things to make the yellows stop shooting you for a second or two in coop they can only target one player while the other three get to land free hits.

        Of course higher difficulty only means that enemies get even spongier. Normal in SP and Challenging in MP are roughly comparable experiences, you’ll often have enemies running towards you that you simply cannot kill before they reach you so you need to run away frequently and you need to use a lot of stun attacks to make some of them stop shooting. I guess people who MP’d through the normal difficulty would see a new side to the game there since enemies probably die so fast you never need to retreat or figure out their weaknesses but solo players are already used to that.

        • DeadlyAccurate says:

          I’ve played both 2- and 4-player co-op, and the main story missions are much tougher the more players there are. You get a lot more armored purple and yellow enemies the more people you have.

        • nearly says:

          I imagine it would be a slow and fairly miserable progression at 30 without Dark Zone. You could do daily hard modes solo, but that’s only going to be enough for maybe an item every few days. And then you’re stuck with the non-DZ blueprints which aren’t as good and won’t cover every slot.

  5. Bull0 says:

    It’s interesting hearing people talk about damage. I found that as long as my weapons and gear weren’t too out of date for my level I could reliably put normal enemies down in one headshot from a bolt action rifle, and strip most of the armour off armoured enemies. I did stack the Marksman stat though, forsaking health and tech power. This meant that I was a bit of a glass cannon, but that’s how I like it anyway. Led to tense, brutal firefights. I like the game, in case you can’t tell :)

    • Bull0 says:

      by marksman stat I mean Firearms stat, by the way.

    • KDR_11k says:

      You’re always a glass cannon in this game, stacking health only has a very minor benefit. I find it harder to get one-headshot-kills at level 30 than earlier in the game though, even with much more focus on the firearm stat than I used to have.

      In fact I think there are some “break points” for enemy attacks so they can’t get you from full health to empty in one shot no matter how little HP you have, they always seem to leave you with a sliver of health. Was especially visible when a sniper hit me at two bars health and left me with half of one and again hit me at 3 bars of health and still left me with half of one.

      • sg1969 says:

        do you think that has something to do with RNG during combat? In typical RPGs your hits don’t always do the same amount of damage, there is always some variance. Also, it could simply have been a critical hit you received on the second shot?

  6. PoundCoin says:

    Small point: Adrenaline.

    confers a overheal if a medkit is used when NOT at full health.

    Not if used at full health like stated.

  7. KDR_11k says:

    I favor the flame turret for lighting on fire, the airburst mine often missed its target for me since it seems to cover random small spots around its explosion and enemies run away so fast that the blast doesn’t hit them either. Though the gas mine and flash sticky are better for disabling enemies, both make sure the enemy doesn’t hurt you for a while. Unfortunately damage dealing abilities become completely useless later on because you”ll be fighting mostly purples and yellows and damage abilities do less than one second’s worth of sustained fire.

    Personally I favor LMGs over SMGs if I can get one at my level, they’re good at sustained damage dealing at all but the longest ranges, you can suppress well (especially for procs) and will rarely ever get caught reloading by some melee enemy. Later on it levels out a bit more because the weapon mods give everything a fairly large mag but especially earlier those 100 round mags are a game changer.

    Also when soloing yellows try using flame bullets, those will trigger a lot of stuns.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Oh and if you really find yourself needing lots of ammo refills try using sticky bombs and the “25% chance of complete ammo refill on skill kill” talent. May not work at higher difficulties or levels due to enemy HP scaling way faster than skill damage and purples having too much HP for skill kills either way but keeps you topped up in the mid-game.

    • dancindan2589 says:

      Just FYI, they actually patched the airburst seeker mine in the most recent update. It never misses now – promise. I stopped using it for the same reason as you, but have tested it extensively since the patch. Now it works flawlessly, and if you run a CDR build you can throw them out almost as often as regular grenades. You should try it!

  8. Tenerim says:

    Getting the “Balanced” perk on a semi automatic Marksman Rifle does wonders (preferably one of the 10 rounds in the magazine ones). You still do a lot of damage with each shot and the downtime between each shot is nearly non-existent since “Balanced” means your spread after each shot gets reset almost as quickly as you can pull the trigger.

    • Eravel says:

      There was a First Wave M1A for sale at the Adv. Weapons Vendor with both Balanced and Accurate two days ago :O

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        Qazinsky says:

        I got a purple level 30 one of these, damn it is a beast, hard dailies, this thing takes down purple bastards in two to three headshots with my firearms skill. Slap some stability attachments and a shiny 99% extended mag on it and you got something to work with!

  9. TwoToes says:

    poor old misanthropes

  10. dancindan2589 says:

    I’ve found that a build based on firepower and skill power is extremely good in both solo and group play. Personally, I run Ammo Cache Support Station and Airburst Seeker Mine as my skills (Ammo Cache also gives CDR) when soloing. I use the Caduceus as my primary (more CDR, plus heals) with lots of crit mods, and I use Survivor Link for my signature skill. For talents I use (can’t remember names) increase talent duration on kills, lower cooldowns at low health, overhead with medkit when not at full health, and pulse enemies on headshot. I find that even on solo hard mode my survivability is decent (just have to play intelligently), skill cooldowns are non-existant, I have almost constant high-damage CC active, I never run out of ammo, and I do enough damage to kill anything but a named boss before it can kill me. It works in the DZ and in challenging-mode groups as well -and it’s fun as hell to boot. Oh, and for my secondary I have a crit-based marksman rifle. (Semi-auto, can’t remember what model of gun.)

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    Qazinsky says:

    I prefer the first aid skill and the sticky bomb myself. Primary weapon, either a slow SMG, like the Aug or as for now, slow assault rifle, like the Ak47-looking ones I never remember the names of. Secondary weapon, some kind of sniper, either the classic bolt action 5 shot kind, or the 10 shot semi auto one. Sidearm is the semiauto pistol (M45A1 I think) that hits almost as hard as a magnum but with way better control, allows alot of mods and a mag you can extend from 7 to 13. I like the idea of a sawed off as a sidearm, but the trait that gives back 30 bullets for primary with sidearm kills don’t seem to work with sawed offs. I should probably try to substitute that trait for the 50% headshot save bullet trait, that’s what I am aiming for anyways.

    The first yellow weapon I got my hands on was an mp5 SMG and while the DPS was higher and the high crit SMGs come with should help that even more, I kill faster with slower, more hardhitting weapons. I think the game can’t keep up with the high fire rate and just fail to count some hits. I’m on a very stable 10mbit line with a cord straight to the jack so it’s not on my side.

  12. pockoman says:

    If you’re going solo, don’t use tech/damaging abilities. Electronics has a hard cap, which means turrets, bombs and grenades are far too weak without teammates to back you up, and not very good in general. For example, a high skill build’s BFB sticky bomb might do as much damage as a single headshot from a properly modded marksman rifle. In the beginning of the article it says Firearms>Stamina>Electronics, so why would we use a build that relies on electronics for its damage? We want to use skills that will benefit our guns, and give us more survibility. Using Recharger Smart Cover and an Ammo Support Station will give us near 100 uptime of heals and damage bonuses/resistance. You could argue that the flame/shock turret provides crowd control, which is helpful, but not as helpful as a constant 40% damage resist and 30% damage buff. This build is very PVE oriented, as it requires strong positioning and sitting still for a while, so in the darkzone I use a booster shot first aid for panic heals+damage and a scrambler or tactical scanner vision pulse, depending on how aggressive I want to play.

    Ammo Support Station (Skill Recharge, Heals, Ammo)
    Recharger Smart Cover (Damage Buff, Damage Resist, Skill recharge)
    Survivor Link/Tactical Link (if you’re confident)

    One is None (huge dps increase)
    Tech Support (Gives your skills 100% uptime)
    and two of these
    Critical Save (40% damage reduction for 10 seconds, lifesaver)
    Combat Medic (makes your medkits almost a full heal, only take this on top of Crit Save)
    Precision (pulses target on headshot, dps boost, works better on targets with a lot of health)
    Steady Hands (Very nice stability boost for ARs and MR, can jump in and out of cover to reproc. Your mileage may vary based on your weapons)

    Booster Shot First Aid (heals/damage boost)
    Pulse (damage boost/ gives you info, useful when extracting)
    Survivor Link (very op right now, if you have this ready, you win the fight)

    One is None (big dps boost)
    Critical Save (big help vs rogues/victims)
    and two of these
    Combat Medic (more heals)
    Adrenaline (more heals)
    Precision (more damage)
    Steady Hands (more stability=more shots connecting=more damage)
    Tactical advance (since you’ll be moving a lot more in the darkzone, you can get big damage increase from this skill)

    note that tech skills are much better vs other agents, as they will generally kill very fast or instantly, and have the added benefit of splash damage/dot. I don’t like to run them as they aren’t as good against ai enemies, and you don’t always have the luxury of changing skills in the DZ.

    This is my opinion from the ~50 hours I’ve spent playing solo, and is also probably reflective of my playstyle, so go ahead and experiment to see what works for you.

  13. Xquality_Arc says:

    Electronics build not good for pve/pvp solo? I’m running 1500/1600/3000 build, giving me 112k dps, 50k hp and 48k skill power. It’s good for both solo and co-op. I run the smart cover recharger and pulse tactical. When alone, I use the Survivor link mainly when I panic. But otherwise I use the Tactical link to support my team’s damage every 6 minutes (yes, the cooldown is only 360 seconds for the ulti because of the skill power, and not to forget how fast it recharges as I damage enemies). All my cool downs and skills are capped to the max. The smart cover gives me a 70.8% resistance and flat 50% dmg buff. Pulse gives me 100% extra crit dmg and 40% extra chance. For healing, I use the medkits and 3 talents that support the medkits. For the fourth talent I have the OP 50% bullet back on headshot. Here’s my montage (keep in mind I only had 37-50k HP in the gameplay footage, but the smart cover keeps me alive). link to

    There are obviously ways to make me obsolete, especially when I’m playing solo. But it’s possible, as seen in the video and a lot of fun. (: