Despite my many hundreds of hours of time in The Division 2, I'm far from one of the strongest players. I also don't have the build diversity that many of the top agents can boast, though I have tried and enjoyed many different items.
My style of play has always leaned towards dealing damage. I play solo a lot, as well as in random matchmade groups, so I always focus on the need to actually defeat enemies. My go-to loadouts could always deal damage, but I was really vulnerable to taking any.
That's where this build comes in. Based on the Heartbreaker gear set, it'll help you deal good damage while simultaneously ensuring that you're not going down quite so easily. The best part is that it's something all players can get in on.
All the gear I'm going to talk about is easily attainable, and while naturally, your results will improve the higher the stats you get, it's not those that are the focus. The talents and perks related to the gear in this build are what set it off and will help you march on toward that more difficult content much more easily.
Before we begin
Some little notes before we get into it. Firstly, my own agent has maxed out the SHD watch at level 1,000, so don't read too much into the numbers if you're below this. As I've already mentioned, this build is centered around some key perks and talents that will help you, whatever level you're at.
If you need to acquire any of the gear pieces mentioned here, you can do so through targeted loot on the map. Either hit the missions that the items you're seeking are already attached to or matchmake into Countdown and set the targeted loot yourself. None of it is locked behind any projects. All items can be obtained without taking on any projects.
Also, you should experiment if you choose to follow this setup and tweak it to suit your style of play. It's quite an aggressive build that rewards playing in such a way, but don't take it as gospel. If you want more armor, for example, in place of damage or critical hit chance, then go for it. Treat this as a base guide to build upon!
Specialization - Technician
Starting at the top, you'll want to enable the Technician specialization for this build. The image above shows how I have it configured currently, but there are a couple of key points you need to make sure you enable.
The first is the Linked Laser Pointer, as this is going to be applied to our weapons to help stack some bonus damage. The other important thing to remember is to ensure the damage bonuses are applied to the weapon types you're using.
In this build, I'm using an assault rifle and an SMG, so points are applied here. If you switch it up at all, just remember to change the allocated points. Otherwise, you're missing out on important damage bonuses. Sadly, you do have to give points to rifles even if you're not using one, as without it, you can't have the Linked Laser Pointer.
Gear: Four pieces of Heartbreaker, Coyote's Mask, Ceska knee pads
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One of the key parts of this build is the Heartbreaker gear set. You want to run four pieces, in particular the chest piece and the backpack, to take advantage of the talents on each. Both talents only apply when you have four pieces of Heartbreaker applied, and they're both really useful.
Heartstopper is the brand set bonus, applying pulse for five seconds to enemies hit with headshots. Furthering that, weapon hits on pulsed enemies add a stack of 1% bonus armor and 1% weapon damage, up to a maximum of 50 stacks. Two stacks are lost every second, which is why you need to be pretty aggressive to keep them up.
By running the backpack and the chest piece, these numbers go up even more. The number of stacks doubles to 100, thanks to the chest, and the bonus armor is doubled to 2% per stack, thanks to the backpack.
This reliance on pulsing enemies is why you need to run Technician and have the Linked Laser Pointer attached to your weapons. It applies pulse without the need to hit headshots, so you'll keep ramping up those stacks much easier.
For gear mods, I'd recommend using critical hit chance and critical hit damage over more defensive choices. You should be good for armor with the Heartbreaker set and the bonus armor you'll generate, so bump your damage as much as you can.
To get Heartbreaker gear pieces, either farm missions where the brand is the targeted loot or hit up Countdown and set it as your preference.
There are other masks you could use to get some serious damage bonuses, but I always fall back to the Coyote's Mask. Not only does it apply bonus damage to you, but if you play in a group as you may well do on harder content, it applies bonus damage to your allies, too. Everyone benefits.
Being an exotic, it is a little harder to get than some of the other items here, but you can still target it. When added to the game, it was on the season pass way back in the early days of the Warlords of New York expansion. But it's since been added to the standard loot pool. You can target masks in Countdown as one method of trying to get it or keep farming the Jefferson Trade Center mission. Coyote's Mask is a possible drop from the final boss, Coyote.
To give it even more of a kick, I've added a critical hit damage mod.
For the knee pads, I've gone with a pair from Ceska Vyroba. You could also swap the knee pads and run the Heartbreakers if you have those and substitute for a Ceska holster.
I recommend one piece of Ceska, though, because you get that 10% added critical hit chance. Mine are also rolled with weapon damage, critical hit damage, and headshot damage.
Weapons: Kingbreaker, Dark Winter, and Busy Little Bee
The Kingbreaker is a weapon I didn't like much when it first dropped, but in this build, I've come to adore it. The reason it's so good in this build is the synergy you get from its talent, Perfect Flatline. In line with that, you'll need to add the Linked Laser Pointer as your under-barrel mod to ensure that every enemy you hit is pulsed.
You'll get 20% bonus damage to pulsed enemies, which, with the mod mentioned above, will be all enemies. This is as well as the bonus assault rifle damage provided by the Heartbreaker set. My Kingbreaker also has the max 15% assault rifle damage stat and 10% critical hit damage, so it's getting quite a solid boost.
As you build your Heartstopper stacks, the damage will continue to grow. In my current iteration of this build, I've been able to top out at more than 1.3 million damage critical hits, which, combined with a decent fire rate, means you get solid DPS from the Kingbreaker.
The secondary weapon is probably more open to personal choice, but there's a good reason I've gone with the Dark Winter. You could also use a Vector if you don't have it. Firstly, it accepts the Linked Laser Pointer, so you can apply Pulse to enemies and take advantage of the perks on the Heartbreaker set. The talent on the Dark Winter also gives you a 50% critical hit damage bonus for 10 seconds if you kill an enemy with a critical hit, which you'll do quite often.
The second is also linked to Heartstopper, and that's the sheer fire rate of the thing. With the backpack talent, you can stack up to 100 times on your bonus armor, and using the Dark Winter will stack those really fast.
If my stacks have dropped off during a transition, for example, when out of combat, I will always open up with the Dark Winter and empty a few clips into the next set of enemies I come across. This builds up those stacks again, generating bonus armor and weapon damage very quickly, and once they're built up, you can either keep going or switch to the Kingbreaker. Once the stacks are there, it's easy enough to keep them up, but a fast SMG like the Dark Winter is the best way to get them going.
If you want a Dark Winter, farm SMG-targeted loot. It can additionally drop from named item caches that can be bought from the Countdown or Global Events vendors.
The pistol is entirely down to personal choice, but as I recently (finally) got my hands on the Busy Little Bee, I'm currently trying it in this build. The reason is its talent, adding a stack of 20% damage for your main weapons for each enemy you hit with it up to 10 times.
It only kicks in when you switch back, and for 10 seconds, your damage will be increased, relating to the number of stacks you had. It just adds a nice little kick at times, but it's certainly not an integral part of the build.
The only essential skill I would pair with this build is the Crusader shield. Because you're going to want to be aggressive and keep pushing enemies to keep your stacks up, the shield adds another element of survivability to help you do this.
In the second slot, you can run whatever you desire. A revive hive is a good shout if you're running solo on higher-difficulty content, and I'm also a fan of the striker drone to help with a little autonomous crowd control. You shouldn't need to run a healing skill with the amount of armor you'll be generating, but if it makes you more comfortable, go for it.
Go forth and experiment!
The key to this build is balancing damage and survivability, which makes it a perfect go-to as you start to attempt more difficult content. The output will scale as both your agent's stats do on the SHD watch and as you get better mods or optimize the stats rolled on your gear. But the basic principle is the same regardless of the stats you currently have.
It does require you to be a little aggressive to build and keep the stacks, but with bonus armor generating all the time, you're less likely to go down as quickly. It's also a great build for speed running in the frequent leagues when time is of the essence. As long as you keep landing hits, your bonuses will stay active, and your damage output on the Kingbreaker will continue to grow.
But the best part of perfecting a build is experimentation. Try your own tweaks and see what works best for you!