While planning a clandestine operation in the heart of Bolivia, it’s advisable to have at least a semblance of competence before, during, and after your mission. Here are five vital tips to learn, so your assaults go smoothly:

1.  CARTEL DESTABILIZATION

Ghost Recon: Wildlands cartel destabilization chart

This diagram of the Santa Blanca Cartel is as important as your Tacmap, as it allows you to keep track of which Buchon (boss) you’re after, where everyone is, and which buchon is actively involved in a particular type of cartel activity group (Security, Smuggling, Influence, or Production). This map also shows the clusters of each cartel group, so you can conquer via group instead of province.

You’re able to tackle underbosses, and finally El Sueno himself more quickly if you focus on a particular activity. Plus, underbosses (who are more difficult to initially on your Tacmap) show up here once they’re unlocked. You can also use this Menu to check additional rewards (such as Skill Points and weapons) given for taking out the boss of each province. You can replay missions from here (for the extra XP). 

2. ACTUAL RECON

Wildlands guide - different times of day

Obviously, for specific mission tactics, refer to Prima's official Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands guide, but there are some general pre-planning activities, and elements to be aware of before the mission begins.

Time of Day:  This affects the effectiveness of some installations (for example, enemies move to mess halls to eat, head to barracks to sleep, and are more easily neutralized if they are congregated in a particular area.

Installations Recon: Use your binoculars, drone, or physical (but unseen) presence to ascertain a complete list of installations in the combat zone, and their exact location pertinent to your objectives. This is important, as if your objective states you have two minutes to rescue a friendly entity, there’s little need to spend time counting SAM launchers. It’s important for you and your team to “tag” these installations so everyone is aware of them, and the varying threats they pose.

Enemy Tagging: At the same time as installations are being reviewed, Ghosts should be moving to various parts of the mission area (if it is especially large) and using binoculars or drones to pinpoint enemies (including infantry, snipers, captains, lieutenants, and heavy soldiers), installations, vehicles, and collectibles. Then refer to your Tacmap and agree on the best way to approach the enemies.

Path Planning: Lastly, before the actual insertion is attempted (through hiking, biking, drone use, airborne fly- bys, or binoculars), spend some time checking the perimeters of the location for gaps, quick routes, underground pipes, buildings to use as cover, or routes to aggressively drive through if you’re unconcerned about stealth. The obvious entrance to a base is rarely the one you should take.

3. INSTALLATIONS THREAT ORDER

Wildlands guide - installation location

Prior to engaging the enemy, figure out which building or installation needs to be accessed, deactivated, or destroyed. Here is a general (but optimal) order of which installations to neutralize, and when:

A. Drone Jammer: Do you want to use a drone to tag enemies and installations? Then locate the drone jammer first, and make plans to deactivate it at its handle, remove the Power Generator so this deactivates, or destroy it with weapons fire or explosives.

B. SAM Launcher: Do you want to use helicopters or airplanes in this mission? If not, these can be ignored. If so, these must be destroyed using explosives only.

C. Power Generator: Does this location have drone jammers, lights, normal lighting, and alarms? Then shut this all down at the power generator, which can be deactivated at the handle, shot with more powerful weapons, or destroyed with explosives. As removing the power generator has multiple beneficial effects, it’s usually worth doing every time. Disabling the Power Generator deactivates SAM launchers and automatically opens armored gates as well.

D. Alarms: Do you want reinforcements to arrive via air once the enemy engages in combat with you? If you don’t, destroy the panel on each alarm tower with gunfire or sniper fire. Or shut down the generator powering these.

E. Mortars: These manned locations are annoying as when you’re spotted, you’re pelted with incoming explosives. Mark the enemy at the mortar, and remove him with haste, remembering that the shells he’s using are explosive, so blasting him at close range can get you killed. Are you trying stealth? Then you may not need to focus on a mortar enemy, though a suppressed sniper shot is usually the best plan.

F. Lights: During nighttime infiltrations, these can blind you. Either shoot out the individual light bulb panels (not recommended), or deactivate the generator powering them.

G. Miniguns: These stationary heavy weapons are found inside towers, firing posts, and small nests, and can be unmanned or manned. They cannot be destroyed, but the enemy manning them should be removed. Note the enemy may try to reuses this weapon, or not use it at all (as a show of strength or deterrent). See if it is tactically advantageous to remove the minigun foe if one is available. Then leave a mine in case it is reused.

4. ENEMY HIERARCHY

Wildlands guide - Enemy Hierarchy

So, you’ve tagged all the foes using a drone or binoculars; you can then see which ones present the most danger, or should be tackled first. They are as follows: 

Snipers in tower or on rooftops. Then foes manning minigun emplacements. Next, take out foes on the outskirts of bases (as appropriate; see Caution below). Then foes in cover behind pill boxes or firing posts, followed by heavy, armored foes with machine guns. Then move on to captains and then regular infantry. Check the Factions chapter of the official guide for reasons why.

5. SILENCE TO VIOLENCE

Finally, it’s important to know the (very) general methods to approach most missions. This involves trying stealth-related tactics to get as far as you can into a combat zone (ideally to mission-completion), until one of your team is compromised, and then switching to more aggressive tactics as necessary. Therefore, it’s tactically advantageous to be quiet when taking down foes. The following lists the actions you can take, from quietest to loudest.

Ignoring Enemies

Wildlands guide - ignoring enemies

There’s nothing quite as quiet as simply ignoring foes. During missions, you don’t have to neutralize absolutely everyone, so if the enemy is likely to be seen dying, isn’t close to a target, or is part of a cluster of foes, they are best left alone or watched and tackled when they are more easily able to be defeated.

Stealth Takedowns

Wildlands guide - stealth takedowns

The quietest way to remove foes is to creep up behind them, grab and then take them down to the ground. After the grab, the type of takedown depends on the angle you’ve approached the enemy at. So, expect a strangle or rifle-butt to the back of a foe’s head if you’re approaching from behind, or a head-grab and ground-pound if you’re heading in from the flanks. Do this before you are seen, and no one hears this.

Suppressed Sniper Fire

Wildlands guide - suppressed sniper fire

Utilize a sniper rifle with a suppressor, and you can target enemies from extreme range. This is extremely useful for removing snipers on roofs and towers without other foes knowing, but can be applied to any enemy in or around the combat zone. As the suppressor can reduce damage, it’s not worth keeping on the weapon once you’re discovered, but for covering other Ghosts entering a base while remaining hidden, it offers unsurpassed protection. Note that the weapon isn’t completely silent, so nearby foes may be alerted (but not violent) if they hear a foe fall.

Suppressed Fire

Wildlands guide - suppressed fire

Many weapons with shorter ranges than sniper rifles can be fitted with a suppressor (even shotguns!), allowing you to attempt mid to close range takedowns in relative silence. There’s still a small amount of noise (compared with stealth takedowns for example), and foes are more easily able to see their compadres taking a face full of bullets, but if you’re picking out lone foes throughout a base, this works well, and keeps the stealth plan going.

Distraction: Items

Wildlands guide - distraction items

When available, use the Diversion Grenade or Flare Gun to create a non-violent distraction. Though the enemy has gone from not knowing you’re here to being suspicious that someone is around, this is a great idea if stealth is about to be, or has just been compromised. Use distraction items so foes investigate a different area, causing noise without the enemy turning hostile. You can also lob in Flashbangs to confuse the enemy, but this is slightly more violent and starts more frantic movements and enemy hostility afterward.

Weapons Fire: Sniper Fire

Wildlands guide - sniper fire

Targeting enemies from extreme range without a suppressor is still more subtle than carving up enemies at closer ranges. Though the shot is heard, there’s less the enemy can do about it if you’re behind a rocky outcrop 200 meters away. Assuming you’ve halted the enemy’s ability to call air reinforcements (by taking out all alarms), there’s little the enemy can do except attempt to reach you, which can act as a distraction so the rest of your team can enter from a different location.

Weapons Fire: Distraction

Wildlands guide - weapon fire distraction

Opening fire on the enemy with the express intention of not killing every single one, but to attract them to another part of the Mission Area is also a good idea if you’re trying to get enemies away from one part of a location (where the target is, for example). Just be sure to remain in cover, or lay explosive traps, or let your team know when you’re about to take the violence up a notch.

Weapons Fire and Projectiles: Explosions

Wildlands guide - explosions

There’s something rather entertaining about shooting a single sniper round into a propane tank, watching it burn, then explode and viewing the enemies as they investigate. You won’t win any stealth awards, but this can get enemies out of cover, act as a distraction, or commence a more violent firefight. Expect a similar outcome if you prep an area with a trap (C4, mine, lobbed frag grenade).

Melee Takedowns

Wildlands guide - melee takedowns

These are the same as Stealth Takedowns, but occur after the enemy has seen you and is about to open fire, shout, or already has done. Sometimes (if you’re close enough, the enemy is confused, or you’re reloading) it is preferable to charge an enemy with the intention of grabbing and neutralizing them, instead of relying on weapons.

Weapons Free

Wildlands guide - weapons free

Has it all kicked off? Then there’s no need to worry about tiptoeing around the area; get into cover, attempt to advance toward the objective or enemy cluster you’re here to kill, and take everyone out that you need to. Execute flanking maneuvers, shoot down from height to gain viewing advantages, and make the takedowns swift and brutal. Headshots and correct loadout weaponry are vital depending on distance and enemy type.

Overly Aggressive Action

Wildlands guide - overly aggressive action

Have you tried other tactics, or aren’t worried about the enemy overwhelming you? Then you probably haven’t attacked a large Unidad base yet. In any case, if the situation calls for it (and heck, even if it doesn’t), why not cause as much mayhem as possible? Careen through a camp in an armored SUV with a turret minigun blazing. Strafe the ground from a gunship until everyone wearing cartel colors is a bloody mess. Charge in with shotguns blazing. Sometimes a more brutal plan gets the job done. Just make sure you try it once more subtle means are exhausted, and once you’ve spent some skill points to toughen yourself up.

BONUS Combat Tips

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