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MGS5 has an expanded base and recruitment mechanic first seen in Peace Walker. As you recruit more people, you can unlock perks and develop new equipment, etc.

The naive solution would be to try and recruit anyone and everyone, but there are a few issues with this:

  • Most random soldiers seem to have low stats (initially, you cannot view soldier stats before recruiting them)
  • There appears to be a population cap per division (e.g. R&D, Support, etc.)
  • Using the Fulton Recovery System isn't guaranteed to succeed, you have limited supplies (but can request more), and it costs resources per use.

What strategies can I utilize to recruit an army of skilled soldiers for my Mother Base?

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  • Soldiers with high skills out in the field are rare. Without the scope the best way to determine an estimate of a soldiers skills is to consider their attire. Soldiers that wear high rank hats for example will have better skills than those who wear common hats. However, the scope is your key source of information on soldiers abilities and skills. Upgrade it as soon as possible, check what requirements you are missing, such as a lower than needed level in a particular ability branch of your Mother Base and do what you can to increase the level. Keep in mind that you also get volunteer soldiers after completing missions, so extracting is not the only means to get skilled soldiers.

  • The population cap per division as well as the overall cap can be raised by building base structors for that division, building a command base structure raises all divisions population cap. Base structures cost resources and GMP, try to go through different interiors and side outposts in free roam to find the materials needed to upgrade your base.

  • Fulton costs relatively low GMP to use in the field, try to store up on GMP when you know you will need it for Fulton (and resupply drops). You can build up GMP through doing missions, side ops, and operations with your soldiers. Other ways to gain GMP include extracting animals. Try to do missions sneaky and quickly for big GMP points (multiple hundred thousands), so long as you don't spend your points on upgrades that you don't need right away, you will have plenty of points to spare for Fultons. You can also increase your storage capacity and success rate by increasing your Support division in MotherBase.

  • 3
    High terms of hats (no, not TF2!), which kinds indicate higher ranks? It seems like berets indicate a step above average joes, but what else? Also, do you have any relevant info about interrogation? I've heard that can sometimes point out skilled soldiers, but haven't tried it yet myself. Either way +1 – two bugs Sep 3 '15 at 18:50
  • 3
    The hats thing is primarily just the one example of berets that I can find now. Yeah about interrogations it's true also, sometimes they will reveal the location of a skilled soldier which should get auto-marked on your HUD and map. I'm sure as time goes on this answer will need to be improved, but currently these are the common tips. – RenaissanceProgrammer Sep 3 '15 at 19:00
  • You can use fultons as much as you want, even if you dip into the negative GMP range. If you want to quickly recover some GMP afterwards, selling a few resources is enough. – Jeff Mercado Sep 5 '15 at 0:47
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The answers here seem not very good. Having played the game a lot, I've found the following:

Recruit everybody. At the start of the game, you will only be able to recruit E-C level soldiers (C's being rare). Better soldiers get posted based on your own rank.

Fire the bad ones. As you progress through the game, you will begin reaching your population limit. While expanding the base is the right thing to do, as you go, you will need to start setting a limits for minimum skill. Don't recruit anyone at that point below a certain level (unless you have to or they have very special development skills needed to progress).

Do not spend MB coins on people. Do not spend MB coins on completing dispatch missions early. You will need these MB coins to expand your FOB's. Per value, that's the best usage because you can drastically increase your population.

As for acquiring the best people, I've found that the best skilled people are spawned in missions. Bases (OKB Zero, Power Plant, Airport) have the next best. Outposts typically don't have very good soldiers. Sending your team to expand via dispatch missions is also good. And complete all missions with an S rank to get a good supply of S soldiers.

Also, I've only got a basic understanding of morale. The easiest way to increase morale is to keep a high amount of money. Do not spend down to 0 GMB. Only buy the weapons you need. You can purchase most low level weapons to find your favorites, but then expand in a controlled capacity (max out 1-3 weapons). Don't go into the field armed to the teeth. Control your support costs by customizing a low level weapon with required upgrades. You spend a ridiculous amount of money taking out high level weapons, and usually a well-modded low level weapon can do everything a high level weapon can.

Specialists, at least with a moderately high level, do not have guaranteed higher stats. Hats indicate classification of soldier, most primarily what weapon they will use, but not necessarily their skill. Mark all enemies and find out their skill. D-Dog is helpful when kidnapping an entire base.

Recruitment is a slow process, and the game seems to limit how fast you can raise at the start.

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There is a way you can encourage more strong units to appear, when you perform missions, replay a mission you have alread completed, and go in Loud, get seen, shoot loads, and use grenades, to get the security ratings up.

Next time you start a mission on the map those 5 icons should be white or red, means your more likely to come across a strong unit.

  • That will certainly give the enemies better equipment, but does that actually affect the soldiers’ skills? – Rory O'Kane Oct 23 '18 at 15:02
  • Replaying missions using a generic mother base soldier can upgrade their skills. Overall it's not as effective as finding new soldiers in the field but anything helps, right? – PausePause Aug 23 at 19:37
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Another two different ways:

1) You can replay Mission 29 (Metallic Archaea) and fulton the soldiers of the airport. Kill all the Skulls and when the mist desappears the will fall unconscious. This soldiers receive a medal for being close to death in battlefield, raising their levels even more EDIT: you can replay the Code Talker rescue too.

2) Buy them on the online rewards with MB coins. There you can trade your MB coins with S or more skilled soldiers

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One method touched upon by two bugs in the comments is that you can interrogate soldiers so they mark on your map where the "Specialist" soldiers are. If you're low on fultons, in a hurry, or being very particular, I highly recommend this strategy. Specialists typically have higher stats than their comrades, and there is usually at least one per camp.

You can interrogate soldiers through two methods:

  1. CQC choke hold an enemy by pressing and holding the CQC button (default R2 on PS4 controller). Continue to hold this button then open the communication menu (L1, likewise).
  2. "Hold up" an enemy, either by approaching stealthily and drawing your weapon at close range, or by drawing your weapon during a multi-hit CQC combo. Again, open the communication menu while maintaining your weapon draw to reveal the interrogation options.

There are two options, one will get them to mark on your map some nearby soldiers you have failed to already mark. The other will get them to mark a point of interest, be it some processed resources, rough diamonds, or their nearby specialist.

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It makes sense to just recruit every soldier you find. In the end the difference between an E level soldier, and no soldier is greater than difference between an E level soldier and an S level soldier. There are lots of ways to raise the cap on staff at mother base. I've been recruiting everyone and I still haven't hit the staff cap.

  • I don't think this answer is accurate. I haven't tested thoroughly but the difference between an E level and an S seems to be quite large. As I've progressed through the game I've recruited many people and upgraded my Mother Base and FOB thoroughly (finishing out my level 4 upgrades), but space is very much still an issue. If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd love to see it. – two bugs Nov 2 '15 at 13:33

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