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Watch Dogs: Legion guide: How to recruit the best Operatives

The best abilites, skills, perks, weapons, and Uniformed Access to look for

Watch Dogs: Legion guide: Recruiting the best Operatives Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft via Polygon

In this Watch Dogs: Legion guide, we’ll help you recruit the best Operatives. We’ll explain what you’re looking for in a recruit (their abilities), which ones to focus on, and which ones you can safely avoid (or, at least, save for later).

Operatives are really just abilities

Each Operative’s abilities determines their interactions with the world. You can use anyone for anything, but matching a character’s abilities with your immediate needs — sending an Albion employee to an Albion-controlled area, for example — makes completing missions much easier.

At the very beginning of the game, after the prologue and a quick introduction to using the Spiderbot, you’ll be faced with a choice of 15 Operatives, each of whom has one ability. Looking at these first 15 Operatives and their 15 abilities is a quick introduction to something you’ll be doing constantly throughout Watch Dogs: Legion. Since everyone in London is a potential recruit, walking down the street and scanning the people you pass is just a real-world (well, “real” world) version of that Select Your First Operative screen.

Like we mentioned in our team building guide, the trick here is realizing that the people you’re recruiting don’t matter as much as their abilities do.

Understanding abilities

Early in the game, a lot of a Potential Recruit’s abilities won’t mean much to you. Here are some tips to make deciphering these abilities easier:

  • Hacking in Watch Dogs: Legion is a catchall term for interacting with electronics in the environment (everything from vehicles to door locks to drones to cameras). Your hacks have a cooldown period before you can use them again. Most of the hacking abilities you see will speed up (or slow down) that cooldown.
  • Downloads are a specific use of hacking where you pull information off of a device. While you download something, you (or your drone or Spiderbot proxy) have to remain in physical proximity to the device. When someone has a Fast Download ability, you’ll have to stand still for less time.
  • Any ability description with “team” in it applies to your whole team, not just that Operative. These operate passively, even when you’re not playing as that Operative.
  • Weapons, Vehicles, and Drone Summons are unique to that Operative and won’t be available to the rest of your team. (As tempting as a cool car or flashy gun might be, opportunities to use them don’t come up more. More on this below.)
  • Drone Summons call in a flying drone that you can control. These drones, unlike the Spiderbot, cannot interact with the environment beyond hacking.

The best abilities

Building a useful team in Watch Dogs: Legion is about creating a roster of these abilities for you to apply to your various missions and objectives. With so many abilities and people to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

In no particular order, here are abilities to watch out for and prioritize when you're recruiting an Operative:

  • Uniformed Access. Uniformed Access means that an Operative can walk into a Restricted Area without raising any alarms. For more information, read our Uniformed Access and Restricted Areas guide.
  • Silenced weapons. As hard as you try to be stealthy and rely on hacking, you’re going to start shooting at some point. When you do, the noise from most guns will draw a lot of attention (of the bullet variety). However, if you can find someone with silenced weapons, you can be shooty and stealthy at the same time.
  • Fast Hacking. Since hacking is the main way you’ll interact with the world, anything that speeds up your hack cooldowns is constantly useful.
  • Police Contact and Priority Care. These abilities (and others like them) apply to the entire team. Just having an Operative with these abilities means that everyone on your team benefits from it. These abilities activate when your Operatives get arrested (Police Contact) or injured (Priority Care), and they reduce the time that those Operatives are unavailable. (This doesn’t work with lethal damage and permadeath, though.)
  • Crypto Skimmer. This ability just means that you’ll occasionally steal a little money (ETO) when you hack something. It doesn’t trigger often, but it’s nice get a little extra ETO for new clothes every once in a while.

Abilities it’s safe to to skip

Some abilities are clearly bad (like Flatulent) or just not worth investing the time to recruit. Others are more deceptive in their uselessness.

It’s OK to avoid these abilities:

  • Vehicles. It’s very rare to want for a vehicle. One is effectively always a few feet away, either parked or driving past. As nice as it sounds to have a supercar on standby, you’ll rarely need it.
  • Weapons. Unless you’re going for a full-on run-and-gun Rambo-type playthrough, you won’t be pulling out a grenade launcher or fully automatic rifle much (if ever). Stick to silenced weapons and the default DedSec weapons that every Operative carries.
  • Drone Summons. Except for the Construction Drone, the drone summon abilities just aren’t that useful. There’re always drones overhead if you really need one, and besides, drones aren’t as practical as your faithful Infiltrator Spiderbot.
  • Gas Immunity. Similarly, very few enemies use smoke grenades on you (because they mostly go straight to the shooting), so the Gas Immunity you get from bandanas doesn’t come up much.
  • Fast Downloads and Unlimited Range Key Steal. These two abilities modify your hacking a little — specifically how fast you download information and how big a Key Steal radius is. They’re useful enough, but only for very specific objectives that don’t come up very often.

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