Released this week on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC; Ghost Recon Wildlands is the latest shooter from Ubisoft. It lets players create their own member of the Ghosts special operations unit and join the war against one of the most powerful drug cartels in the world; the Santa Blanca. Players are part of Operation Kingslayer, a joint effort to eliminate the cartel. As a member of the Ghost team, you’ll be the tip of the spear, completing combat missions across what is arguably the largest open-world map Ubisoft has ever created.

As you fly into Bolivia during the beginning of Ghost Recon Wildlands, you won’t have access to the wide variety of advanced technology the Ghosts are best known for. Since you’re in hostile territory, the game requires you to build up your own pool of resources by exploring the open world and completing missions. So, if you’re looking to establish a foothold and be ready for late-game operations as soon as possible, here’s a few strategies to help you get started.

Build Your Arsenal

When you first arrive in Bolivia with your team and local CIA contact Karen Bowman, you won’t have access to a very formidable arsenal of weaponry to use against members of the Santa Blanca cartel. Instead of being able to purchase new weapons or unlock them immediately by reaching certain milestones, Ghost Recon Wildlands requires you to locate them in weapon crates scattered about the game’s massive open world. Usually, you’ll find these crates at vantage points or heavily fortified military compounds. But, always keep an eye out while roaming around for weapon parts found in small briefcases. These briefcases will reward you with additional silencers, stocks, scopes, magazines, and attachments for your weapons that’ll improve performance. The bigger the collection your build, the more options you have.

Grab Every Skill Point

Just like every weapon available in Ghost Recon Wildlands, your personal character has their own set of abilities, which you can upgrade to increase your individual performance in the field. While many of these abilities aren’t necessary if you are playing with a full team of friends in co-operative play, a few of them are going to be required if you want to remain effective in combat against some of the game’s tougher enemies. So, you should always be collecting skill points for your reserves when you level up and unlock additional abilities or upgrades. Every major area of the map is covered in skill point pickups marked by a blue arrow; you just have to interrogate a lieutenant or speak with an informant to uncover their location before walking over and claiming them as your own.

Always Collect Supplies

Like most open-world experiences, Ghost Recon Wildlands comes with its own set of collectible resources you can find while exploring the various locations laid across the map in crates, barrels, and small computer stations. Referred to in-game as supplies and sorted into four categories, resources are used along with skill points to unlock all the abilities available for your character. This means you’ll need to maintain a steady supply of each the further you get into the game. While marking small boxes of medical supplies or gasoline will yield enough resources during the beginning of the game for low-level abilities, you should plan to hit a couple supply convoys or complete side missions which reward large amounts of supplies to unlock many of your late-game abilities at the top of your skill tree. Just remember to think before you shoot, because you must keep the supplies intact to reap the rewards.

Upgrade Your Drone Immediately

Scouting a target location for hostiles is one of the most important aspects of the core gameplay loop in Ghost Recon Wildlands. If you don’t pick up every enemy location before pushing into an objective, you’ll often find yourself surrounded by more hostile targets than you can handle before things go bad. This can be made worse if you’re loading in from a previous checkpoint. To recon hostile territory, you’ll initially have access to a tiny remote-controlled aerial drone which will mark targets for your teammates so that you can formulate an appropriate plan of attack. Unfortunately, the range and battery life of the stock drone you receive at the beginning of the game is extremely limited, only allowing you to scan a few targets near your position before cutting out. Since the drone is valuable as a recon tool, put your first couple of skill points and resources into abilities to increase its range and battery capabilities. A better drone will give you a leg up on your enemies.

Photos via Nicholas Bashore