The Division: The Crafting System Explained

One of the handful of things The Division does not bother explaining to its players is the crafting table. This can cause a lot of people to basically ignore it for the entire beginning of the game. Luckily, the crafting options are far more exciting in the later stages than they are early on. And if you have been hoarding materials like fabric, tools and weapons parts, then all the better. But it can also be worth your while at a low level. Let’s look at how to make the most of this unassuming mechanic and the peaceable little trooper working behind that desk.

What are blueprints?

Blueprints are required to craft weapons, armour and mods. Every side mission (the pale blue hexagons on your map) will earn you a blueprint of some kind – all of which are ‘specialised’. This means they can be quite enticing for a low level player. Other blueprints can be bought from vendors. In the late game, the high-end vendor in your base and the special Dark Zone vendor (found in the northern-most quadrant of the DZ) will sell some of the best high-end blueprints for Phoenix credits, the special endgame currency. These are extremely desirable, and are arguably a far better investment than buying high-end weapons outright.

Just having the blueprint is not enough, however. You also need crafting materials – fabric, tools and weapons parts. These can be found scattered all over the place in the purple areas of your map, or gained through upgrades or deconstructing weapons. You should make some use of all these methods.

Collecting materials

There are three upgrades to your Base of Operations that provide a trickle of crafting materials. The Medical Wing’s Pharmacy gets you 1 fabric every hour, the Field Engineering upgrade in the Tech Wing gathers 1 ‘portion’ of tools in the same time, and the Gunsmith in the Security Wing nets you 1 set of weapons parts. Sadly, these do not accumulate as the hours go by. The boxes fill with a single helping and stay like that until you collect. You would need to collect all three items every hour to get the most of this. Generally, I have found that if you are in the base for a short break, it is worth gathering them. But going back every hour on the hour is a chore for how little you receive. You will get far more material from dismantling all the junk you no longer want or need, which brings us to our next point.

Deconstructing weapons and gear

Breaking down the gear you do not want into tiny pieces is, by a long shot, the most efficient way to go about collecting materials. Get a big backpack and get into the habit of picking up all the crappy loot left behind by enemies. This way you will effectively get fabric, tools and weapon parts during the course of every fight and mission. To break down the items, go into your inventory and individually assign each piece of crap to ‘Junk’ (left trigger on gamepad, or the ‘V’ key). Once you’ve marked everything you don’t want, hold down the button to deconstruct everything (L3 on gamepad, or the ‘X’ key). Do this as a matter of course and you will always have a decent supply of materials, even if you don’t go off on scavenging runs all the time.

But that is only getting me standard materials.
The crafting dude says I need ‘high-end’ weapons parts!

Aha, do not despair. Yes, there are different types of materials, just like weapons and gear – Standard (green), Specialised (blue) and High-end (gold). BUT: you don’t need to rely on scavenging the right colour of materials. The crafting table lets you make ‘specialised’ materials from multiple ‘standard’ ones, and so on – an action hidden at the very bottom of the crafting menu. For example, you can make 1 blue fabric from 5 green fabrics, and 1 gold fabric from 5 blue ones, and the same for all other materials. Basically, it works like a little production line. This is why gathering and deconstructing items is still useful, even at level 30.

What is Division Tech?

Now we’re talking. Division Tech is basically a universal resource that can be used to craft any other material. It can be found in the Dark Zone but know that you need the Division Tech upgrade from the Tech Wing to use it. Once you’ve got that and collected some of the stuff, go to the bottom of your crafting menu where the resources live. Some resources will say “Fabric (Dark Zone)” or “Weapon Parts (Dark Zone)”. These are the materials you can craft with Division Tech. The amount of tech required is displayed, usually converting at a rate of 2 Division Tech for 1 fabric/tools/etc. This makes Division Tech a great supplement when crafting. But know that it still comes in multiple flavours: standard, specialised, etc. And unlike other materials you can’t build one flavour out of the other. Having trouble finding Division Tech? Upgrading your Tech Wing with the SatComms desk will reveal all the places you can find this good stuff on your map of the Dark Zone.

So how do you build a good weapon/mask/mod?

Basically, luck. Once you have the blueprint you want and all the materials, you will be able to build your Thing by selecting it and holding the space bar (or ‘A’ on gamepad). But the exact stats and talents it receives will often come down to chance. High-end named weapons will “roll” damage within the range displayed but they will have preset talents, like the Liberator, which always rolls the talents “Competent”, “Dominant” and “Talented”. Unnamed weapons, however (your AK-47s, your M1A Rifles) will roll both their damage stats and one to three random talents, depending on the condition of the weapon (eg. superior guns get two talents, high-end guns get three). The same rules more or less apply to pieces of gear, except that only high-end gear has talents, and only ever a single one of these.

The good news is: once you have the blueprint, you have it forever. You can keep building and rolling the same item for as long as your resources allow you, like a sad gambler at Vegas, just waiting for that perfect roll.


Even though the stats of any gear you get is mostly down to luck, you can still change the outcome after the fact. The Tech Wing’s recalibration desk upgrade is one of the most useful things in your HQ. It allows you to re-roll a single attribute or bonus of each piece of gear (but not weapons). Be aware that this costs money and high-end gear can only be recalibrated with Phoenix credits – making any change to your best stuff a very expensive alteration. It is sometimes more affordable just to roll gold weapons again at the crafting table.

We have lots more tips and guides for The Division right here


  1. Viral Frog says:

    Woo! I was going to take to Google when I got home today to figure out the whole crafting shebang. Now I don’t need to do that! Thanks Brendan!

  2. funkstar says:

    You should probably note the crafting ratios (5 green into 1 blue) are going to be changing in two days to be 10 green into 1 blue IIRC

    • Premium User Badge

      geoffreyk says:

      Perhaps this series of articles were all logged at an earlier date and scheduled to trickle out on a regular basis, but this aspect of the game has the most changes coming in the patch on Tuesday (April 12, 2016), all of two days from posting.

      The endgame has been very tilted toward crafting being the only means to the best equipment, resulting in a lot of farming for materials (especially yellow div tech, which is a huge bottleneck right now). As of Tuesday, they’re dramatically increasing the rate at which high-end drops occur, and simultaneously making it much more expensive to craft: as funkstar mentions, the conversion rate from blue and green materials to higher levels is getting a lot lower, AND the number of high end materials required to craft an item is getting a lot higher. The developers have explicitly stated that they intend to invert the current state, making drops the primary means of gearing up, with crafting being how you fill in the gaps in a build.

      One other minor impending correction: high end recalibration costs are being changed too. (I’m fuzzy on the details, and don’t want to risk switching tabs to confirm.)

      • potatopowered says:

        ^^Exactly…rendering this “guide” even more useless than it already is…

        Hopefully, the dev gnomes will focus upon adding more substance to PvE areas beyond a few raids to allow those of us who realize that stepping into the Derp Zone minigame is every bit as tedious and arguably even more annoying than grinding missions for the proverbial “phat lewt.” Not that I’m holding my breath–they seem to be following a well-worn template for Destivison.

      • Philopoemen says:

        There’s a few changes – less materials from deconstructing, more mats to craft higher-grade materials.

        But the one that has not really been talked about, and is arguably the impetus for the crafting changes, is that named enemies will have a 100% chance to drop High-End loot – the better the enemy, the better the loot.

        This means end-game gearing will come from shooting stuff, rather than repeatedly opening boxes.

        Not sure how accurate that is, but it was reported by Forbes, so giving it some credence.

        • Premium User Badge

          geoffreyk says:

          You don’t even need to put your faith in Forbes (not that I wouldn’t); that’s what the devs explicitly stated in one of their recent announcements, and what I was alluding to regarding them switching things around.

  3. GWOP says:

    Sorry for being off-topic, but are we done with The Sunday Papers?

    • Blackcompany says:

      Would also like to know this…

    • webwielder says:

      If you want a picture of the future, imagine Tom Clancy’s The Division articles stamping on Horace’s face — forever.

    • slerbal says:

      Yeah, I’d also like to know this. They are one of the main things I read on RPS…

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Rock Paper Shotgun is phasing out Paper in favour of the more profitable material Division. RDS.

    • anHorse says:

      In the grim dark future of Sunday there is only The Division

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        “Lift and separate, divide and conquer”
        -Sunday Tzu.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Don’t worry, they’ll get bored of The Division soon enough.

    • wu wei says:

      That was the only thing keeping me coming back. Been reading RPS almost since the start and I just don’t recognise it anymore. I’m out.

  4. GernauMorat says:

    I would also like to know this

    • GernauMorat says:

      Supposed to be a reply to GWOP above. Edit function etc.

  5. ZombieFX says:

    Its called WatchDogs Online for reasons.

    Simple put: if you bought or support this game… you hate gaming.

    RPS obviously does exactly that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      You’ve caught them! The RPS staff hate video games. They only do games writing for the sex, drugs, and massive sums of cash.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        OP is being absurd, but I can see where he’s coming from when we have 3 weeks with no Sunday Papers and Graham says stuff like this:

        “Graham: I’ve crossed into that latter stage of a games journalist’s (normally short) career. If I were a musician, this is where I’d quit my band, retire to my ranch, and produce a series of poorly received instrumental albums of world music. Since I’m not a musician, it’s instead triggered by having a child. Now whatever I write will have a single, omnipresent undercurrent: I do not have time to play games; the games I do play are on a mobile phone held in one hand and not on a PC; I am very tired.”

        • BobbyDylan says:

          As a gamer who’s approaching this phase of life myself (hopefully, if all goes well, in 7 months time), I find such insights valuable. But even sans child distraction, I find myself becoming less interested in the kerfuffle around developer activities and more interested in the simple enjoyment I can get from games.

          • Hillbert says:

            the benefit of kids is that they reach the age where we can all play various games together.

            And I can lambast my eldest for being too interested in getting kills on Star Wars Battlefront and not defending the uplinks to allow the y-wing bombing runs.

    • Sandepande says:

      No, I hate people posting crap like that.

  6. manio22 says:

    Aren’t you bored with it yet?

  7. DeadCanDance says:

    What a waste of writing with this awful game.

    • that_guy_strife says:

      + 0,7

    • Cerzi says:

      Catches those search terms nicely though.

      Unfortunately RPS have basically eschewed traditional games journalism in favour of making decent money. Fair enough, it no doubt makes good cash for the effort required these days.

      I guess the sad part is that a lot of the old readers who followed from way back in the PCG days have been a bit alienated, as a large part of the readership now comes from Google searchers instead of those who have been here since before SEO became so fruitful.

      It’s the way of things, and I know I’m not representative of all the old PCG fans. I’m just nostalgic for the days where RPS blog articles more frequently had intrinsic value instead of being measured largely by how much revenue they can catch.

      • Asurmen says:

        Yeah, sure. The once on awhile series of articles on one game means RPS no longer does games journalism and is only after the money. That’s totally a logical conclusion.

        • slerbal says:

          I don’t think it is just about this one article though. I’ve noticed a sharp decline in the number of non-subscriber articles, as in posts that are not simply announcements of a game/early access/release or “news”. I started reading RPS in the beginning for the original team’s varied writing, articles, thought pieces and the like (including the Sunday Papers) and that stuff increasingly isn’t posted.

          This isn’t a complaint. The RPS team can do what they like, as can I and increasingly I visit the site less and less. I think ultimately it is due to burn out and an increasing focus on SEO type stuff.

          Tis a shame and I’m sure John/Alec will disagree, but that doesn’t make me wrong. I loved RPS but it (and I) have both changed. It was a good run and I’ll still check in from time to time to see release posts, but that’s about it.

      • bit.bat says:

        Aren’t you basically saying that they write articles the they think reflect people’s interests at the moment?

        • Cerzi says:

          Yes. But that’s the thing, they’re making articles about things people are interested in, rather than making articles that are interesting.

          When you want to rank well for something that’s being heavily searched for, you make content around that. This is why mainly see these kinds of “guide” articles for the biggest selling games, because they’re justifiable content that can hit common search terms. Also why there are often multiple posts with different aspects of a game separated into different guides, so that there’s a wider spread of search terms across multiple pages’ permalinks.

          • Asurmen says:

            Your first paragraph is contradictory. If they’re making articles people are interested in, then those articles are, by definition, interesting to those people.

          • Cerzi says:

            You misread – they’re making articles for GAMES people are interested in. That isn’t necessarily the same as making articles that people are interested in. Like, you could recognize that game X is extremely popular right now and dump out 100 bland, pointless articles based on game X, but that doesn’t make those articles inherently interesting just because they’re based on something that people like.

          • Asurmen says:

            I didn’t misread at all. You’re contradicting yourself.

      • Premium User Badge

        kfix says:

        I have a couple of issues with this comment, although it’s considerably more thoughtful than some of the feces being smeared across the comments section of these posts (no one is making you click, the Internet will not run out of bytes, by clicking you are adding your page views and therefore are part of the problem etc etc you idiots).

        I don’t think that RPS have suddenly and recently “eschewed traditional games journalism” – that’s why they started this site in the first place. If anything they’ve had to move back a little closer to a more traditional model to pay the bills, with more SEO focussed news articles and the like.

        Whether you like the current roster of writers and their output is down to your taste, and if you don’t that’s fine. I happen to think that RPS still has the best blend of quick and entertaining updates (Alice and Pip esp) with more thoughtful longer form pieces, even if I do miss some of the old talent.

        But for “old readers” to act snooty about RPS trying to make “good cash” (fucking lol) from a portion of their output aimed at getting a bit more volume on popular topics speaks to a lack of appreciation of the economics of online publishing these days. RPS is one of the few sites still paying decent rates for writers, but it’s hardly putting them in Mercedes or whatever the rich kids are driving nowadays.

        And I don’t want to be snooty myself, but your opinion on the financial choices that RPS has to make in these days of adblockers would carry more weight if you had a supporter tag.

  8. that_guy_strife says:

    Don’t really like those guides. It seems like the author has little experience of the game, as a lot of what I’ve read so far of the multiple guides is low-level or misinformative.

    This one isn’t so bad, but he completely left out electronic materials. There’s also no mention at all of what the patch on the 12th will change, which affects a lot of this. This guide will be almost entirely incorrect in merely 2 days.

  9. Hunchback says:

    This game is getting so much coverage on RPS that it’s quite insane. It must be damn good, too bad i can’t afford buying any games right now :/

    • Sandepande says:

      I wouldn’t say “damn good” but it is a competent, lovely-looking shooter. I like the atmosphere, myself, and the fights are nice, even if the enemies bleed numbers.

    • Cerzi says:

      I feel that when RPS rolls out these rapid-fire articles about a single game, it’s due to that game being searched for a large amount on Google, and therefore it’s about trying to grab a piece of that pie.

      In other words, don’t take the frequency of these articles as meaning the game is good, but rather that it’s popular.

      • lglethal says:

        And don’t make the assumption that just because a game is popular, that it isn’t good.

        Whilst I’ve not played the division, those people I know who have played it, have a had a great time. If your definition of a good game is one that your having a lot of fun is, then it passes that test easily. Just because a game could have been better (although there are currently a million different contradictory positions on what could have been done to make it “better”), doesn’t make a good game bad.

        • Cerzi says:

          I’m not making that assumption. Just because it’s popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, and vice versa. But I’m saying that its popularity is why these articles its exist, not it’s strength as a game.