Tom Clancy's The Division 2

A week with a low tier Exotic. Chapter 6 and final: Ninjabike Messenger Kneepads

End of the line, folks! Our last entry of this series, and our second Exotic Kneepads.


As usual, I'm not big into numbers, so if I make any mistakes along the way, corrections are welcome. I want to center my post around player experience, rather than number crunching.

The format I aim to follow is:

1- General Comments on build options and Exotic requirements

2- Builds and pieces used and tested

3- Where does the Exotic stand today and proposals

4- Tl;dr

1- General Comments on build options and Exotic requirements

So, one obvious use here is to reward you for being highly mobile as you vault over obstacles or do cover to cover moves.

The problem with that is that in this game standing in the open is usually met with a swift death, so cover to cover is a better alternative.

Speaking strictly on its functions, I find two critical weaknesses on them.

As a provider of bonus armor, the amount it gives you is pretty poor considering Matador grants 23% or 20% for a "regular" Adrenaline against Ninjabike's 25%. Sure, Ninja has technically no cooldown but it also doesn't stack.

Now, you could argue that it frees up a talent slot so you can use something else in your backpack, or that it doesn't have to compete with Matador/AdRush but work with it, and that is completely true but it does compete with Fox's Prayer and while FP exists, it's difficult to justify using anything else in a gun-related build except on very unique scenarios. This is a point I will be bringing up constantly and I refer to it as the Fox's Prayer Problem in my mind (FPP).

The one thing these Kneepads do very well is in the reload part and while I have comments on that, I consider it the best utility of all exotics.

Obvious choices came up: Chatterbox to retain the RPM Boost, Backfire to bypass Bleed but these two had a big problem for me because neither Chatterbox nor Backfire have Multiplicative Damage attributes (ie: no DTOOC/DTA) but LMGs really did shine due to their slow reload speed and that they already possess DTA/DTOOC. I also throughly enjoyed the KSG Shotgun for the same reason.

2- Builds and pieces used and tested

My approaches were quite varied: run of the mill AdRush/Intimidate since the whole "Parkour!" motif was there it seemed like a high mobility build made sense. That quickly went out the window because of just how incredibly cumbersome running for objects to vault over is. This effectively cut my enjoyment for Backfire and Chatterbox rather fast. For Backfire specially, since it's a gun that rewards you for being engaged to the enemy, but if you have to make a run for it to avoid losing your armor, it goes against that engagement principle. But mostly, it's the lack of multipliers that killed it for me.

But it was really, really fun with Shotguns that reload shell by shell llke M870, KSG and Super 90.

I had quite the blast with a Spotter/Opportunistic Send-Off build, with the Ninjabike serving as the reload, because again: instant reload and Shotguns already have DTA and DTOOC. To put it short, this was: Badger Backpack, Improvised Gloves and Holster, Waker and Harris Chest and Grupo Sombra mask (57/175 CHC/CHD). I think this one is interesting but I didn't stick with it for too long other than a few runs in the DZ and to appreciate the fast reloads and think how good they could be for an LMG.

Next I decided to settle for something different and I stayed with it for the rest of the week and loved it. I also received a lot of positive comments from people I played with because it was some good support.

-Grupo Sombra Mask (CHC/CHD/CHD)

-Improvised Gloves (CHC/CHD/CHD)

-Improvised Holster (CHC/CHD/CHD)

-Walker& Harris Chest (CHC/CHD/CHD)

-Petrov Backpack (CHC/CHD/CHD)

-Chest Talent: Obliterate

-Backpack Talent: Leadership

-Weapon: Stoner LMG (CHC/CHC/Stability)

-Weapon Talent: Strained

-56/192 CHC/CHD

Core Distribution can be anything you want. I kinda liked 2R/4B but the opposite also works 4R/2B. You want to have some Blues.

Now, before you think this sounds incredibly outlandishly shitty, allow me to explain the logic here so you can extrapolate that into perhaps something less shitty?

The Stoner is a huge magazine LMG, which means Strained will be full quite quickly and will boost most of your shots, which pairs very well with Obliterate. When you need to reload, you just vault or do cover to cover, preferably the second, and you will be giving your group a hefty bonus armor buff with Leadership.

I heard a lot of praise for this build because of that and the sustained damage to enemies like Warhounds and Tanks, and while I did not feel particularly strong, I did feel my playstyle had changed considerably in a way that substantially helped others.

3- Where does the Exotic stand today and proposals

It has great utility but it's hindered by its reliance in two cumbersome mechanics like Vault and Cover to Cover. It also competes with Fox's Prayer and I would rather use them instead. What it does besides the reload, ie Bonus Armor, is also on the weak side considering it doesn't stack.


-Also include Combat Roll into Parkour.

-Bonus Armor increase to 30% for 10 seconds (cooldown: 8s)

These two simple changes would make it pretty great. Combat roll is a more integral and intuitive movement all agents are accustomed to. The fact that you cannot stack it like you can do Adrenaline Rush, should be somewhat compensated by the fact that you can overwrite it if it ran out already because there's a 2s overlap between duration and cooldown.

4- Tl;dr

Ninjabike Kneepads have a lot of potential and I'm sure they would be a beloved piece of equipment if they were buffed a bit. As it is today, is nearly unjustifiable to use them versus Fox's.

That is all, agents! This wraps up this series of posts.

Closing Comments(!)

I really appreciate that you all took the time to read, participate and even try some of my experiments with these items. Obviously my experience isn't that of all players, but I think I can say I speak for many of us that a wide range of Exotics really need buffs to justify their existence, and deep diving into them and try to conceptualize what those buffs are in the hopes that someone at Massive or Ubisoft Bucharest is listening is what I always hoped.

…but, before you go

Here are some random musings on other Exotics that I can't really consider low tier but still need minor tweaks:

-Chatterbox: add either Weapon Damage or Bonus Armor on Kill

-Diamondback: it needs a bigger magazine size. I think 8 would be a good compromise.

-Sawyer Kneepads: as long as Fox's Prayer exists, nothing in this slot related to weapon damage will have a chance to thrive in the game.

-BTSU Datagloves: change repair to Efficiency at 10% so more setups benefit from them.

-Pestilence: spread the stacks between 3 enemies on kill, so you can potentially damage more enemies and build more stacks.

And I think this is really it now.

Happy trails agents and see you in DC and NYC!


Chapter 1: Backfire

Chapter 2: Merciless

Chapter 3: Sweet Dreams

Chapter 4: Imperial Dynasty

Chapter 5: Acosta's Go Bag


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