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The Case Against Crit in v1.5

The Case Against Crit in v1.5

Wondering if Critical Hit attributes are worth the investment? Well I have good news! Total from #theorycrafting channel on The Division on Discord decided to write up a very thorough explanation of why Crit in v1.5 of The Division is nolonger a generally good investment. He was kind enough to allow me to edit and share his work with all of you.

Written by Total

Edited by DocHolliday324


Critical Hit has a very high opportunity cost and nearly every slot that Critical Hit Chance or Critical Hit Damage are available to roll, there is an alternative that is more effective at increasing your DPS or offers valuable utility.

Critical Hit Critique

The first problem with critical hit is simple, it’s two stats for one damage bonus. To get a high amount of effectiveness out of your critical hit chance you need a good deal of critical hit damage and vice versa. In itself this isn’t terrible as the critical hit damage bonus could make up for the opportunity cost of rolling some or a lot of critical hit chance as it mostly did in 1.3 and before. This problem also used to be mitigated by pulse which gave large amounts of critical hit chance and damage for a relatively low cost to the entire group, pulse is no longer what it used to be.

The second problem is that critical hit damage along with headshot damage are now additive, but the other stats are not. This means point for point stats that are still multiplicative like Enemy Armor Damage, Damage to Elites, Out of Cover damage, and All Weapon Damage(a catch-all to describe unspecified damage given by gear sets, gear talents, weapon talents, agent talents), are significantly better than critical hit damage or headshot damage. This list of other damage sources is not exhaustive, there are others that are also separately multiplicative that need to still be tested and verified. In 1.3 and before critical hit damage was a large multiplicative layer that would provide an excellent base to further stack up large amounts of damage. Being additive didn’t completely ruin this, but it made the value of large amounts of critical hit damage significantly less.

The third problem with critical hit damage is that the values were drastically reduced in v1.4, making stacking large amounts of critical hit damage impossible without giving up essential stats. If getting the large 200%+ amounts of critical hit damage that was possible in v1.3 and before was possible in v1.4 / v1.5 crit wouldn’t be in such a bad place, but massive decided that it needed to be nerfed on multiple fronts.

Fourth, the critical hit chance cap. Critical hit chance caps out at 60% and there’s absolutely no way to go above this cap. This means that in the long term the dps increase from critical hit damage is at most 60% effective.

Alternatives to Critical Hit Attributes

With these problems of critical hit chance and critical hit damage in mind, let’s take a look at what other attributes would produce better results instead. All information is gathered from the gearsheet made by Spydr101.


Possible attributes: Critical Hit Chance, Damage to Elites, Health, Health on Kill, Exotic Damage Resistance, and Skill Power.

Since there’s no armor on mask this choice isn’t as simple, however, the decision is simpler if you have a specific goal in mind.


Damage to Elites is multiplicative making it the clear winner when facing NPCs (Non Playing Characters)


For pvp, a strong argument can be made for Skill Power since it increases the effectiveness of healing skills. Also, a decent argument for Exotic Damage Resistance if skillpower builds ever become popular again. If neither of these appeal, Critical Hit Chance is the best option left, as flat Health and Health on Kill provide paltry returns on investment, maximum of 151 stamina and 4% Health respectively.


Another slot where only one major attribute can be rolled and since armor is available here nothing else is even worth considering.


Three major stats are available: flat weapon damage (various types), Critical Hit Chance, Damage to Elites, and Health on Kill. Since the flat weapon damage gives comparable to 1000 firearms worth of damage, it’s worth taking despite the poor scaling on firearms. Most people favor one of their primary weapons so it is safe to assume they select a weapon damage type that matches.


Damage to Elites is the best option for your second attribute and either Health on Kill or Critical Hit Chance for your third.


Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage seem like the best options here.


Armor, need I say more?


Give you a hint: It has five letters and starts with an A, ends with an R, and has RMO in the middle.

Gear Mods

The choice here is simple: Armor.It is absolutely the best possible attribute to pick whenever possible. Since gear mods can only have one attribute, there’s no room for anything but armor. See for yourself in the following Armor Damage Resistance% and Effective Health Points per Damage Resistance % charts below.

Source: Spydr101

Weapon Mods

These will be a little more challenging due to the variety of guns and the variances with their Accuracy and Stability attributes. For more information on what guns you might want to take optimal range check out this guide on divisiontips.com.


Primary attributes: Critical Hit Chance, Critical Damage, Headshot damage, Accuracy, Stability, and Optimal range.

If you’re on PC and your gun doesn’t handle like shit, Headshot Damage is the best choice. You get around the same damage bonus with HSD as Critical Hit Damage without having to invest in Critical Hit Chance and as long as you can aim, you can reliably increase your overall DPS.

If you can’t consistently hit headshots or have parkinson’s disease, you might want to opt for a mod that has Accuracy or Stability as its primaries, since missing your target is the biggest threat to your DPS. If Accuracy or Stability are not giving you the handling you need, then you should invest in Critical Hit Damage or Critical Hit Chance.


Primary attributes: Critical Hit Damage, Accuracy, Stability, Reload Speed, and Optimal Range.

If you can hit and your gun doesn’t have serious reload problems you might as well take Critical Hit Damage, otherwise invest in Reload speed, Accuracy or Stability as needed.


Primary attributes: Critical Hit Chance, Reload Speed, Rate of Fire and Magazine Size.

Magazine size is by far the best choice in this, having to reload less can be critical to your survival. Rate of Fire would be the secondary choice as it’s an effective multiplicative damage boost.


Primary attributes: Critical hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Headshot Damage, Accuracy, Stability, Increased Threat, and Reduced Threat.

I would only consider getting Reduced Threat or Increased Threat for PVE play within a party where you are really squishy or have teammates that are really squishy. If your teammates are squishy, having to stop to pick them up from DBNO (down but not out) state is disastrous to your DPS and can be the difference between surviving a fight or not.

If playing solo PVE or PVP, I would follow the same advice given for scopes above.

Are Savage Gloves still relevant?

These have been a popular item since the game released in March 2016 when the Savage talent provided a decent Critical Hit Chance bonus and before v1.1, allowed you to surpass the Critical Hit Chance cap of 60%. Up until v1.3, the Savage talent combined with a good Critical Hit Chance attribute roll were enough to allow pulse to carry you to 60% cap.

However, post v1.3, the Savage talent now only gives a 7% Critical Hit Chance buff and other items have increased in their usefulness, especially the Skulls MC Gloves. Many will generally only opt for two High-End items beyond 4 pieces of a gear set for their build and due to the importance of armor, Robust for PVE or Barrett’s for PVPare at the top of the list

This leaves one Hight-End item and there are a number of good choices to pick from:

  • Shortbow Championship kneepads
  • Sturdy holster
  • Specialized backpack
  • Resourceful backpack (shield builds only)
  • Decisive gloves (shield builds only)
  • Rehabilitated Mask
  • Rejuvenated Mask
  • Tenacious Mask.


Specialized or Sturdy are great choices as the gains from Specialized is roughly equivalent to 880 Electronics (varies based on your build) and the 15% armor bonus of the Sturdy talent can be pretty impressive when combined with other defensive skills and talents.

The extremely short fuse time on Shortbow Championship kneepads is not to be underestimated in either PVE or PVP but considering their rarity and low drop rates, I wouldn’t focus on developing a build around them unless you are fortunate.


Rehabilitated and Rejuvenated are pretty good choices due to how common status effects are and the high amount of stamina you should have.


The value of Savage gloves has diminished significantly and we would only consider them where there were no better options available.

Weapon Talents

Since the choices here are complicated I’ll try to explain why you want to take the “top tier” of talents more than anything else.

Tier 1

Tier 1 talents directly impact weapon damage.

  • Competent
  • Unforgiving
  • Uncomplicated
  • Responsive
  • Destructive
  • Provident (Alpha Bridge Marksman rifle only)

All of these save Destructive share something in common, they offer Weapon Damage which is a multiplicative attribute. Destructive gives Enemy Armor Damage which is multiplicative as well and with the release of v1.5, is relevant in PVP combat. For those that are unfamiliar, Enemy Armor Damage reduces your enemy’s armor by 30% of your Enemy Armor Damage attribute total. Provident is the “bee’s knees” for one shot builds with the M700 currently.

Tier 2

Tier 2 talents are the rest of the talents that do not directly weapon damage. I have selected a few to discuss in further detail.

  • Skilled Skilled allows you to have your Signature Skill available for use nearly every 30 seconds.
  • Brutal Brutal gives a nice reliable 12% headshot damage
  • Ferocious Ferocious gives a nice amount of Damage to Elites, but its attribute cost, contextual usefulness (pve only), and lower value (10% vs Destructive’s 15%) puts it down a tier
  • Accurate / Capable if needed for weapon handling
  • etc

Critical Hit Talents

Picking any of them has the opportunity cost of not picking another talent that gives All Weapon Damage or provides useful utility.


Compared to destructive, they both offer 15% of their respective attributes, have similar attribute unlocking requirements (moderate firearms for deadly and moderate firearms & stamina for destructive). Hopefully you have at least the moderate stamina requirement so that’s irrelevant for comparison. Deadly gives a 15% additive damage bonus that relies upon critical hit chance, Destructive gives a 15% multiplicative (that is additive with other sources of enemy armor damage like innate from your assault rifle) that is contextual but since most enemies have most of their health in armor and the ones that don’t have armor go down in one shot, the context where it isn’t useful is small. Also with the addition of enemy armor damage in pvp in 1.5, destructive is now useful everywhere, so the choice of destructive over deadly is clear.


Fierce has a big drawback, it’s electronics unlock requirement, which means you must roll it in the 3rd talent slot, which is often occupied by Competent or Uncomplicated in an AlphaBridge build or Provident in a Marksman Build.


The issue with Vicious is that there are better talents available and it’s only good when at 2+ segments which is significantly better than it was at launch, but effectively only useful in PVE and specific PVP builds (one shot or regen / vampiric builds). Vicious would not be my first choice.


Pulse, the skill that used to make Critical Hit great. In the past, the Tactical Scanner Pulse skill mod would give a massive 40% Critical Hit Chance (CHC) and 100% Critical Hit Damage (CHD), combined with the relatively high values of Critical Hit Damage meant that it wasn’t necessary to stack Critical Hit attributes from other sources. In short, getting another 10% damage when you already have 100% in a category was only giving you 5% more effective dps, and so on. Pulse was obviously a little overpowered so Massive justifiably nerfed it to require people to actually invest in Critical Hit attributes.

Using Spydr’s Skillcalc we can see that at 253k Skill Power (the soft cap on Skill Power) you receive 26% Critical Hit Chance and 34% Critical Hit Damage from Tactical Scanner, peanuts in comparison to what it used to be. In the past, it wasn’t much effort to max out Pulse and reap the rewards but now it is much more difficult to get a real return on your investment. For the sake of comparison 110k Skill Power gives 15% Critical Hit Chance and 20% Critical Hit Damage with a 40 second cooldown, nothing to rely on.

Going All In

Assuming we build with Critical Hit attributes wherever available, we’ll end up with 10% CHC & 32% CHD from gear, 10% CHC from gear mods, up to 25.5% CHC & 64% CHD from weapon mods, along with 7% CHC from Savage, some amount of CHC & CHD from pulse (assuming you don’t take Precision which gives 7.5% of both), and 25% base CHD. Assuming you take CHD over CHC except on the magazine where CHC is the only available primary this leaves you with 35.5% CHC (using weapon secondary rolls of 3.5%) and 117% CHD before Savage / Pulse / Weapon talents.

This sounds great right? That’s actually quite a bit of damage even with the nerfs to crit you should be hitting pretty hard, however, you have given up 5 mods with armor, backpack armor, kneepad armor, magazine size, Skill Power / Damage to Elites on mask, handling primary rolls on mods, as well as a skill / speccing into skillpower for one person in your group and weapon talents that you roll into crit. The opportunity cost to speccing heavily into crit is simply heavy. Even if these doesn’t seem bad to you, you’re facing +41% effective damage before added CHC or +79% effective damage with Vicious/deadly/fierce and savage gloves. That in my opinion is too high of an investment for such a mediocre result.


DeadEYE changes the “Going All In” comparison a bit as you no longer have to spec into any Critical Hit Chance, this means you can grab 5 gear mods with Armor, Skill Power on mask, Damage to Elites / Health on Kill on your gloves, less need for Pulse, a non-Savage high end, and an agent talent other than Precision. However, at the cost of another 4pc set or two 3pc sets, Headshot Damage (<172%) and whatever you rolled CHD in place of on mods / armor. The Headshot Damage alone on snipers is more damage than you would be doing from the maximum Critical Hit Damage you could stack, assuming you could land the headshots. Deadeye also requires that you use MMRs which means the SCAR-H, M1A, or SVD while not the worst guns in the game they absolutely require that you shoot as fast as possible while being semi-automatic, landing a high percentage of your shots due to low Rate of Fire, not an ideal situation. In short you’re doing about the same damage as if you could reliably headshot, but without 2 x 3pc or 4pc gear set bonuses.


In short while Critical Hit does give you increased damage, nearly every slot where you can roll it offers an attribute with a better return on your investment. Want to ask questions, argue with me, or know about something else? Ping me(Total) in #theorycrafting on the division discord

The original article can be viewed directly on Google Docs.

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