During E3 2018 The Division received its 1.8.2 update and with it the first four Shields. Shields are a new form of achievement in The Division, achievements that challenge players to prove their mastery of specific aspects of the game and reward them appropriately. Twelve Shields in total will be made available in The Division between June and February 2019 and the more that players complete, the more rewards await them in The Division 2.

Division Shields Require A Grind

Twelve Shields, each with a unique goal, spread out month to month would seem to imply that dedicated players will be returning at least once a month between now and next February. A handy datamine of the upcoming Shields shows that may not be the case, though. While only four of the Shields are available to acquire right now, many of the forthcoming Shields can be worked towards immediately. And players are going to need that build-up time, because these Shields can’t be completed in a weekend or two. Dozens of hours, if not well over a hundred, will be required. If you’re looking to earn The Division‘s Shields, start now.

And even starting now, it’s going to be a substantial grind for those who haven’t been playing The Division for an extended period of time (and even for those who have). One Shield, the Commendation-requiring Talon Shield for September, requires a staggering amount of work. Another, the Marshal Shield for collecting Exotics, relies entirely on RNG and likely requires players to fill their storage until a proper recording system launches later this year.

the devision commendations

Finally, before even considering starting, it’s important to know that The Division‘s Season Pass is required to complete several Shields. That’s not a surprise, but still important to be aware of before diving in.

How To Complete The Shields In Division

For those brave Agents who are still dedicated to the cause of earning their Shields, it’s time to look at the specifics of what needs to be done and the best approach to reaching completion. For new players that includes power leveling up to 30. Focus on Story Missions and Encounters, and then grind out Gear Score. A good rule of thumb is to constantly do as challenging of content as possible. And luckily Shields will give players a wide diversity of content to decide from.

Certain Shields should be prioritized over others, however, given how much of a time investment they will be. So it’s important to understand what the goals are for each Shield:

  • Avenger – Available Now – Eliminate 10 Named bosses in Manhattan, 10 in the Dark Zone, and 10 in West Side Piers –
  • Deadeye – Available Now – Complete all weekly High Value Targets (HVTs are contracts purchased in the Base of Operations with a currency known as Target Intel. Players must reach level 30 and finish all Encounters and side-missions in a district, thereby gaining access to Search and Destroy missions which reward Target Intel.)
  • Hazard  – Available Now – Clear 25 Landmarks in the Dark Zone
  • Shepherd – Available Now – Unlock the Base of Operations – The “gimme” Shield. Unlocked through playing The Division‘s Story Missions.
  • Sacred – July – Complete 10 phases, get to level 10, and kill 10 Hunters in the Underground – The first Shield to require the Season Pass, Sacred likely won’t be retroactive so don’t rush into it before the July update. Each Underground Mission features three phases and Hunters have a chance to spawn in each phase. Get used to grouping up when Hunters spawn (screen glitches, skills go disabled) to ensure completion by reaching level 10. This should be straightforward, so check for Underground-based Commendations to complete while finishing the Shield.
  • Phoenix – August – Extract 5 items, survive for 5 hours, and kill 5 Hunters in Survival.
  • Talon – September – Attain a Commendation score of 3000 – This is the big one. Commendations are like mini-achievements in The Division, each worth only a small amount of score. That means that players will have to complete a lot of Commendations across a wide variety of content. There are 285 total “Default” Commendations for a total of 5365 score in the entire game. Completing this Shield will likely take the longest for players, especially those starting The Division fresh.
  • Rebel – October – Get to wave 15 in Resistance – Another expansion Shield, this one from a free update, can be completed with somewhat relative ease by lowering the difficulty. As with other expansion Shields, a better focus would be on Commendations that can be completed in Resistance while also trying to reach wave 15.
  • Fang – November – Complete every available mission on Legendary difficulty – Here’s where a bit of risk becomes involved. Prior Shields likely won’t be retroactive, meaning they can only be completed after they launch. Fang and the final three Shields seem like they should be retroactive, but that isn’t officially confirmed.
  • Prime – December – Collect 3 full Classified Gear sets – Here’s the second tough Shield that will hopefully be entirely retroactive so long as players keep their sets. Classified Gear drops are rare – either a 1% or 3% drop rate from different types of content. Don’t focus on this Shield until necessary and keep as many Classified set items as storage allows until this Shield is completed.
  • Marshal – January – Acquire all Exotic Armor and Weapons – Another RNG-heavy Shield that players will hopefully finish naturally through playing content as they please, but will likely require grinding as necessary.
  • Chieftan – February – Achieve the highest optimized Gear Score – The Division’s Gear Score caps at 291, though certain items go higher than that (and others lower), but the cap for this Shield is reportedly 290. Odds are that anyone still pursuing a full collection of Shields by February 2019 will be able to easily reach 290, because they’ll have full sets of Classified Gear and Exotic Weapons already.

Note that only the first four Shields are officially confirmed. The other eight have been datamined but are subject to change without notice. That said, Massive seems to have wrapped up development of The Division already, so changes are unlikely.

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Just to reiterate the key points for Shield hunters – always complete Commendations, always hunt for Exotics, wait for the expansion Shields to launch before going out of your way to do them, and deprioritize the “easy” Shields because they’ll likely get completed while pursuing the others.

As should now be abundantly clear, completing The Division‘s Shields is intended for only the most dedicated of fans. Not only are players required to dabble in every aspect of the game, often at the most challenging difficulties, but they must also wrestle with RNG drops for the most of it.

Are the rewards worth it? That’s going to depend on the player. Each Shield completed rewards the player with an in-game Audio Log, a Vanity Patch, and a Shield Cache packed with an Exotic Weapon, two Classified Gear Set pieces, 2,000 Phoenix Credits, 500 D-Tech, and three Cyber Keys. But of course, the rarest of rewards comes with the launch of The Division 2:

  • Tier 1 – Weapon Skin
  • Tier 2 – Outfit/Vanity Patch
  • Tier 3 – Emote/Backpack Dye
  • Tier 4 – Backpack Trophy/Emote

Ubisoft and Massive have yet to make clear how many Shields are required for each Tier, but a spread of 1-4-8-12 seems likely. The question The Division players have to ask themselves now is whether or not it’s worth it. If you’re already planning on playing a lot more The Division, then go for it. If not, it’s definitely a lot of time investment for relatively little reward. But we can all agree that whoever is wearing that Tier 4 Backpack Trophy in The Division 2 will be one badass Agent.

The Division is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The Division 2 releases on March 15, 2019 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Resources: Commendations, Exotic ItemsGear Sets, DZ Landmarks