The Division 2 has been an absolute blast to play thus far as I continue to work on my review. It has been a great time taking back DC with my closest gaming friends, using advanced tactics and coordinating together. However, due to my weird work schedule sometimes I end up playing a good chunk of the game by myself. I will not lie, the game is certainly more challenging when playing solo then when playing with a team. I have seen quite a few of the people I follow on social media say this so it got me thinking. Is the game actually really hard, or does it come down to playing the game a little differently and changing up your tactics when you play solo versus in a group? While I believe solo play can definitely be more challenging, however, it’s not impossible. I have gathered some quick tips that will hopefully help you have a more fun experience while playing solo.
1. Weapon Choices
You will get a lot of loot and a wide variety of weapons through your time with The Division 2. Now quite often while playing loot based games players will often grab the highest damage gun from their inventory and use that as their main form of offense. While this isn’t a bad strategy, there are a lot of aspects that you will have to examine while choosing what weapons you will choose to liberate the streets of DC with. Sniper rifles and marksman rifles offer massive damage output but offer typically very low RPM (Rounds Per Minute) and often have very long reload times. This can be balanced out by having a good Assault rifle that offers decent damage and hosts a manageable reload time.
The biggest mistake players can make is having two guns with very long reload times. While in short conflicts running a sniper rifle and an LMG may workout in a solo situation. If a group of enemies is pushing you but both of your weapons require reloading and have long reload times you can quickly find yourself overrun. The best way to counteract this in my experience has been to run an SMG that is good for enemies that end up rushing me while I am reloading. Then alternating between a decent magazine based marksman rifle or assault rifle. Experimentation is key, finding what works for you is the most important aspect of these games. When setting up your weapons before a mission remember the 3 key aspects of damage, RPM and what your reload patterns will be. This will be the key to your survival.
2. Choose Your Skills Carefully
If any game, whether you are playing a tradition RPG or an MMO any player knows how important skill point spending can be in the early aspect of any game. The Division 2 is no different as it hosts a variety of skills that all have different situational usages. However, when you are playing in a solo situation, there are situations you will find yourself in all to often that can often be frustrating. This is where carefully choosing your loadout is one of the most important aspects of The Division 2. From my personal experience, the first two skills that you will want to unlock are The Hive and The Ballistic Shield. While you can make a strong argument for both the turret and drone for the early game, I found these specific skills quintessential to my success in solo play.
The Hive most importantly has a revive variation that allows you to get yourself knocked down, which essentially gives the player a free “death” without having to respawn. The Ballistic shield has 3 variants that you can choose between at the start, I encourage you to pick the one that best suits your play style. The ballistic shield is a great back-up tool when you find yourself getting pinched or have an enemy flank you without your knowledge. It buys you a few precious seconds to get your bearings and be able to adjust to where your new attacker has positioned themselves. A Ballistic shield is an amazing tool for traveling from cover to cover if you are trying to conserve your armor in particularly tough situations where moving can cause you to lose a good chunk of your armor.
3. Cover and Constant Movement Are Your Best Friend
The Division 2 while being a loot based shooter in terms of genre, at its core however its a tactical 3rd person cover shooter. While playing solo, you should not start to initiate contact with enemy units without first being behind cover to start, and have a planned route of movement both forward and backward. The AI improvements in The Division 2 comparatively to many previous Ubisoft titles are substantial. Enemies are VERY aggressive and will work together to get the better of you. While attacking a group of 6 enemies, 4 of those enemies will hunker down behind cover and pepper you will bullets. While the other 2 will split and try to outmaneuver and flank you.
This is why having a plan heading into a combat scenario is very important, understanding your cover is 90% of the battle. If you see a couple of enemies hunker down at a distance and then see a few trying to flank you. Maneuver in the direction of the enemies flanking you and dispose of them, then worry about the enemies taking potshots. Some players spend to much time worrying about the enemies at a distance only to be downed by rushing enemies on the flank.
This is also why having a retreat plan is almost essential especially in later missions. Sometimes there are too many enemies on the flank and you simply need to fall back to stop being overrun. This is especially important when dealing with bosses or heavily armored foes. In a basic rule sense, don’t get too comfy in one spot and always be on the lookout for enemy movement.
4. Attack Conflicts On Your Own Terms
While this may seem redundant especially in terms of my previous category, but it is amazing how few players seem to understand the importance of positioning before engaging. Leaving as little of your body exposed while also having a good firing position is highly important in The Division 2. Quite a few of the control points early on in the game have unique cover opportunities if you keep your eyes peeled for them. Always be on the lookout for high ground to be able to fire down on. Some buildings offer this opportunity, also always be on the lookout for cargo trucks, as you can often hop up on the roof and get some great angles from on top of the cab. Eliminating as many enemies as you can through a quick means is always optimal. If you can take out a group of 4 enemies by tossing a grenade prior to engagement, then toss the grenade prior to opening fire on your unsuspecting foe.
These are just some basic tips for playing The Division 2 solo, I hope that this piece has helped you in some way. Leave a comment if this guide helped you, and don’t forget to check back later this week for my review of The Division 2.