A to Z 2016 : WINGS OF A BOO

I've talked a handful of times about the various Wings of your Base of Operations (BoO), and which of your friendly companions manage which section, but I wanted to highlight each Wing separately. This also allows me to feature a brief overview of what each Wing offers agents in terms of Abilities: Skills, Talents, Perks — things I felt would have taken too long to go in-depth with during this A to Z series. I'll try to keep this brief-ish...

Each Wing of a BoO can be upgraded at a pace dictated by a player, building different sections to unlock new features that they feel makes the most strategic sense. Eventually, everyone will have the entire Base of Operations and its Wings restored to full capacity, but until then it's a varied trajectory.

To upgrade, players must accrue supplies for each branch (by completing Missions, Encounter, and other tasks), which is then used as a currency to pay and unlock said upgrades. They can cost anywhere from 200-1000 supplies. Each advancement unlocks a series of either Skills, Talents, and/or Perks.

Medical Wing & Skills

The Medical Wing is ran by Jessica Kandel, who is currently attempting to study and create a cure for the Green Poison virus. Upgrading the Medical Wing will grant players with a variety of abilities that offer bonuses primarily focused on healing and support (like First Aid allowing you to heal yourself and allies in a specific radius). You'll also receive the benefits such as increased virus protection (to explore contaminated zones), additional slots for medkits, and access to crafting materials and consumable supplies.

Skills offer your agent a range of tactical options. Medical Skills will offer ways to heal yourself and/or your team, while also offering some support to the group (like Pulse featured above, for example, highlighting enemies making them visible to allies). Tech Skills offer an array of attack/assault and crowd control abilities (like a turret or sticky bomb). Security Skills allow players the ability to tank and focus on defensive tactics (like Mobile Cover, allowing the creation of a makeshift cover for a player and/or their teammates).

Each skill has three modification options (and a Master mod eventually, which I honestly haven't ever used yet, so not too familiar with), which grants players the ability to fine-tune just how that particular skill works. The above Pulse has the "Tactical" mod equipped so it not only identifies nearby enemies, but grants you and your team a bonus to damage against those that are highlighted.

Every branch has a Signature Skill as well. These are really strong abilities with longer timers than standard skills. As one would expect from the normal skill loadouts, Medical focuses on reviving and healing, Tech on damage output, while Security aims to boost defenses.

It's also important to note that most of these skill abilities are directly tied to an agent's Skill Power (Electronics). So how effective and powerful they are relies heavily on that factor! Also, you can have 2 Skills and any single Signature Skill equipped at any given time (once allowed).

Tech Wing & Talents

The Tech Wing is supervised by Paul Rhodes, who is utilizing his knowledge as an engineer to restore the basic infrastructure to New York City. Upgrading the Tech Wing gives a player access to abilities focusing on assault and crowd control tactics (like the "Turret" skill featured above). Other benefits you may receive include increased inventory slots, enhancements to consumables, and the ability to swap stats of certain gear.

Talents are abilities players can unlock that offer their agent a wide variety of character enhancements and bonuses, generally triggered when performing specific actions and/or under certain conditions. These really allow players the ability to even further define their role in the game, customizing and optimizing their playstyle. Furthermore, many of the bonuses, while still rooted in their main Wing Skill focus (for example, Medical Wing being healing/support), some Talents branch out beyond that granting a slight mixture into other roles. This includes Medical Talents allowing defense boosts and Security Talents offering damage boosts.

The amount you can equip at any given time increases as you level (to a max of four) and are always active when selected.

There are also Talents available for weapons and gear. High-End weapons can have up to three talents (some of which have requirements to activate — a specific number of Firearms, Stamina, and/or Electronics), while High-End gear can have one (though now Set Gear grants additional bonuses determined by how many pieces of that specific Set type an agent has equipped). One caveat with Named High-End weapons is that the Talents present are static and not randomly generated. This plays a role in them not being as sought after as a dropped or crafted non-Named weapon with a really good combination of Talents.

Security Wing & Perks

Roy Benitez, leader of the Joint Task Force, helms the Security Wing of the Base of Operations, organizing strikes on the various enemy factions roaming the streets. Upgrading the Security Wing allows players to access a variety of abilities focused on tanking and defense. In the above picture, Smart Cover doubles down by offering damage resistance and damage output, as long as agents are using the enhanced cover. Benefits awarded over time for upgrading specific sections include XP Boosts, an Apparel vendor, and Special Ammo enhancements.

Perks are unlockable abilities that aren't equipped. Once obtained they are always active. For example, the Situation Room perk grants a permanent 10% experience point (XP) boost, which I highly recommend unlocking as soon as possible. Many perks give players bonuses and enhancements to already existing game elements and mechanics, like increased storage/inventory slots, upgrades to consumables and special ammo, and the ability to collect Crafting material.

Once all standard Perks are activated in any single Wing by a player, a powerful bonus Perk is unlocked!

All Systems Go

There are many reasons why I like the current Ability system, but the main one is that at any given moment, players are able to swap and exchange their current equipped Skills and Talents. This allows players to change their loadout on the fly, tactically adapting to new situations as they develop. It gives the feeling of being fluid. However, I do think it hinders the desire to create multiple agents, which would be mitigated if players had to stick to one specific Ability tree in either and/or all categories. But this system does avoid someone making a permanent character build they didn't like or accidentally screwed up (though, there are usually systems allowing the ability to recalibrate ability trees).

Either way, most of the options have a place for specific builds, while some (mainly weapon talents) seem completely worthless. I've noticed that almost all available Skills have been used fairly often with the exception of the Ballistic Shield and Mobile Cover (the latter an exception for exploiting glitches). That's two Security Skills, so hopefully in time they can either be improved or replaced with much better options.

As for the Wings of the BoO themselves? I think it's a great way to offer players temporary customization of their agent as they level. And it's pretty awesome seeing parts of your BoO become populated and active as you upgrade each section of a branch. I'm really hoping it's something that can be expanded upon as well!

There are plenty of things to unlock as you make your mad dash to Level 30. It may seem like a lot of information at first, but it's really not that bad. And once you get familiarized with the layout of your Base of Operations, you'll have no issues finding specific vendors and/or areas offering hourly goodies like crafting materials, consumables, and special ammo.

As you've likely already discovered, each Wing and all things associated with it are color coded — Medical (Green) | Tech (Orange) | Security (Blue) — making it all the easier!

Have you unlocked all 10 sections of a Wing? Have you upgraded your Base of Operations to 100%? What is your current favorite Skill/Talent loadout? Do you have a favorite Perk? Which Signature Skill do you use the most and why? Which Skills, Talents, and/or Perks do you feel serve no purpose and should be removed/replaced? What kind of Abilities (of any category) would you like to see added to The Division?