Tom Clancy's The Division 2

Hardcore FAQ and tips for levelling

Content of the article: "Hardcore FAQ and tips for levelling"

Finally completed WONY with my hardcore character, and I thought I'd post a FAQ with some tips I utilised when levelling up my character, as there doesn't seem to be a lot of info out there, and the same questions seem to come up regularly on this sub.

If you're thinking of starting a hardcore character, hopefully you'll find this helpful!

Hardcore FAQ:

What is a Hardcore character?

A Hardcore character only has one life – if you die, you lose that character and all their gear & weapons, and have to start over from scratch. A Hardcore character can only be chosen at the time of character creation, and death is permanent, even if you die to circumstances beyond your control, e.g. an in-game bug, disconnection, delta error, etc., Ubi support will not help you get your character back.

How does Hardcore differ from the normal game mode?

Apart from only having one life as mentioned above, you don’t have access to a stash – only what you carry in your inventory. Other than that, the Hardcore and normal game modes are functionally identical.

Are the additional rewards for playing a Hardcore character?

Yes, but cosmetic only. You get a ‘YOLO’ cap for reaching level 2, and patches for getting to gear score 500 and completing the Dark Hours raid as a Hardcore character. There is no patch currently for doing the Ironworks raid as a Hardcore character, and there are also no additional rewards for completing the WONY expansion at the moment.

Is the loot better in Hardcore?

No, the drop rates are exactly the same as normal mode. You may occasionally get blessed by RNG.

Are blueprints and materials shared across Hardcore characters?

Blueprints and materials are currently shared across both Hardcore and normal characters, so it’s not necessary to go out and farm them all again on a Hardcore character. You still need to reach WT1 to be able to purchase the share options from Inaya however.

Can Hardcore players group with normal players, or other Hardcore players?

You cannot group with normal players, but you can group with other Hardcore players (there’s an achievement for completing the raid on a hardcore player). You can also matchmake with other Hardcore players, but I’ve yet to successfully matchmake with any other players (probably due the low Hardcore player count, and my region)

If you get downed / die in a group, can you be revived by other players?

If you are downed (i.e. crawling) you can be revived by other players. If you die however, you cannot be revived. You can also be revived by civilian leaders when attacking control points (you can use the ‘call for help’ function while downed to get their attention) – please note that they can bug out if coming to revive you and they get hit by a status effect (e.g. fire), resulting in them ignoring you once the status effect finishes.

Does “objective failed” in a mission or activity mean death to my hardcore character?

No – you will simply go back to the last checkpoint in a mission, or the activity will fail and you’ll need to move onto the next one.

Is progression through the game different for Hardcore players?

No – For the main story campaign, you still need to clear the three strongholds to unlock world tier 1 and trigger the invasion, then clear each invaded stronghold to advance world tiers, and finally complete Tidal Basin to unlock world tier 5. For the WONY expansion, once you start it, you’ll be locked to New York until you complete the final mission on Liberty Island.

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I’ve heard that the Keener / Liberty Island mission was bugged, making it impossible to complete. Is this still the case?

This was fixed in maintenance on August 18th, 2020. Basically a bug could occur during the fight with Keener, where his defender drone would despawn, but he would keep the buff, making him invincible for the duration of the fight.

Will I automatically get killed if I disconnect or the game crashes while in combat?

No – but when you break the connection or the game crashes, it takes time for the server to realise you’re no longer connected, and it’s entirely possible to be killed by NPCs within this window of time. Turrets & drones, which draw aggro away from you, can be helpful in keeping you alive during this time (as long as you have one up), so might be worth running with.

If my Hardcore character dies, will I lose all my unlocked specialisations or SHD watch levels?

Yes – you basically lose everything and have to start again from scratch.

If I get killed by another player in the DZ, is that death permanent?

Yes, which makes going into the DZ a very risky proposition. That said, the level 30 DZ’s are usually pretty empty, so they can a viable farming option – you’ll probably want to observe the map before jumping in to see if landmarks are being engaged, extractions called, etc.

Tips for levelling up:

1-30 / WT1 – WT5:

  • While you don’t have access to a stash, you do have access to the in-game deliveries (basically anything you extract from the DZ on a normal character). You can retrieve these on your Hardcore character and sell them, giving you a bankroll to buy items from vendors.
  • Utilise vendors to keep weapons and gear current – it’s much more important for survivability than it is in the normal mode game.
  • It’s worth picking up the revive hive as your first skill, unless you’re planning to level using a skill build – otherwise go with the drone.
  • Stick to zones that match you level and beware of open world activities close to borders of high level zones (e.g. Downtown East & Judiciary Square), as stray shots can aggro high level NPC’s, who can effectively one shot you.
  • Unlike main missions, side quests scale to your level and reward about 1/3 of a level upon completion – you’ll get more mileage doing them after level 20 where the number of XP needed for each level jumps up.
  • Since you can’t get access to shared blueprints until after you reach WT1, it’s worth doing some side quests earlier on for specific weapon attachments – e.g. after completing the American History Museum, a side quest opens up offering an extended mag with an extra 10 bullets for 5.56 AR’s.
  • Join an open clan if you aren’t in one already – you’ll get access to an additional vendor, and clan caches are a way of getting chest and backpack talents early.
  • Clear everything behind you before clearing everything in front of you (especially true for activities with multiple waves of enemies such as resource convoys and supply drops, as these take longer to clear).
  • Chest runs can be a good way of updating your character’s gear while levelling – the underground to the west of The Shop safehouse and the circuit around Lincoln memorial contain a tonne of chests and can be completed quickly. Note – chests become much less valuable after completing WONY as they only spawn items at normal level difficulty. Chests inside mission areas will still spawn items relative to the mission level however.
  • Once you hit lvl 30 and WT1, you’ll get access to specialisations. It’s important to level up your preferred specialisation before moving onto WONY, because after you hit lvl 40 in WONY, you won’t gain any additional specialisation points until you complete the campaign (note – you’ll still get 3 points per level from 31-40). You won't receive proficiency caches either until the campaign is finished.
  • Spend some time gearing up before moving onto WONY – from levels 31 – 35, most of the gear that drops will be green (one minor stat only) or blue (2 minor stats, no talents), so might actually be worse that what you’re wearing. You won’t start to see many High End drops until you get closer to level 40.
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WONY: 31-40:

  • Utilise WONY vendors to keep weapons current while levelling
  • I recommend NOT capturing any control points while doing the campaign – it will drastically reduce the number of open world activities that spawn, which will severely restrict farming for gear and XP. It does mean you won’t complete the zone projects, but these only reward XP and a bounty, and you’ll get better results farming specific activities (see below).
  • Gearing up – definitely worth spending some time gearing up before the final mission Liberty Island, as this is significantly more difficult than any mission before it. There are 4 ways to acquire gear while levelling up on WONY:
    • Vendors – actually decent now since the last patch, and their inventory will level up along with you. Similar to DC, joining a clan will give access to a 3rd vendor, so definitely worth doing.
    • Crafting – blueprints and crating materials are shared between hardcore and non-hardcore characters (if you purchased the options before starting WONY), and crafting also got a buff last patch making it a worthwhile option if you have the materials. Can be expensive.
    • Missions – missions can be farmed once completed, however you will only have access to Hard difficulty until the campaign is completed. Wall St is the best option here with 4 bosses and multiple chests (daily reset).
    • Open world activities – these will continually spawn if you don’t capture any control points, and can effectively be farmed. Here’s how I rate them (best to worst)
      • Elite territory control – 2 additional waves of enemies, then a boss. 3 activity chests plus the boss loot make these a great source for gear.
      • Public Executions – one additional wave, rewards both an item and a bounty (if you save both NPC’s). These bounties can range from normal to heroic, so check before jumping into one, but are a great source of cash, loot and XP
      • Elite patrol – no additional waves, rewards 1 item. Very fast to complete.
      • Territory control – 1 additional wave, 1 activity chest, fast to compete
      • Hostage rescue – 1 additional wave, rewards crafting materials and a bounty – just ok
      • Propaganda – 2 additional waves of (triggered / timed) enemies for 1 item – just ok.
      • Elite resource convoy – 3 additional waves and 2 items, enemies can spawn behind you, additional patrols can turn up if you don’t clear fast enough – avoid.
      • Resource convoy – 2 additional waves, enemies can spawn behind you, no items, only crafting materials – avoid.
  • Keener fight – you’ll want to be reasonably tanky (4-5 blue cores) for this one, and if you can disrupt (jammer pulse) Keener when he jumps down from his shack and unload into him, you can drop him fairly quickly. Shotty and shock ammo (there are multiple crates in the drone / doggo fight area) are great here.
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Tips for putting together a hardcore build:

  • Build for survivability – since you only have one life, defensive stats play a much bigger role in hardcore builds. Blue cores, armor regen, hazard protection are worth investing in.
  • You can get 3% armor regen with 3 pieces of Gila, 2 pieces of Golan and the named kneepads Emperor’s Guard (Murakmi). Note – the kneepads are DZ exclusive so it might be worth waiting for them to show up at a DZ vendor and farming DZ resources on your normal char to mail to your hardcore char.
  • Generally you’ll want weapons that engage at range where possible – AR’s / LMG’s / rifles / MMR’s. Sweet Dreams is good backup weapon for its insta-kill melee against non-elites
  • Revive Hive is an obvious choice for a second life – most players run with this.
  • Shield – another popular option for the extra layer protection, and synergises well with talents like Vigilance
  • Skill builds are quite viable if you’re running something to take the aggro (e.g. drone / turret)
  • Unbreakable on the chest (or the Tardigrade exotic) is a must – however it can fail to proc on armor regen builds if the regen tick happens at the same time the armor breaks (I’ve had this happen several times).
  • Several specializations offer strong defensive bonuses, pick one that suits your play style, or is strong against the ememies you’re going up against:
    • Gunner has 10% armor on kill and bonus armor when using a armor kit
    • Demolitionist offers immunity to grenades once per minute and 20% Fire resist (great counter to suicide rushers and airburst grenades)
    • Sharpshooter offers an armor kit that clears status effects and bonus armor in cover.
    • Firewall offers the best armor kit in game (200% heal over 10 secs), a CC (burn) on armor break to enemies within 5M, and bonus armor when going cover to cover

Obligatory Hardcore WONY completion flex pic:

Yep, I actually ran a skill build in the Keener fight.

Good luck agents!


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