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Metal Gear Solid 5: Build the best Mother Base without spending money on your FOB

Making sense of Mother Base and utilising it to serve your needs is an integral part of Metal Gear Solid 5. Let us help with that.

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Metal Gear Solid 5: How to build the best Mother Base for free

Metal Gear Solid 5 throws you in at the deep end when it comes to Mother Base management. Mother Base is your home, and while it may be possible to ignore it and focus on the main game, you’ll be putting yourself at a serious disadvantage and miss out on some of the best gear and equipment.

It's also possible to spend real-world money on your Forward Operating Base, but it's completely unnecessary as far as we can see. With careful planning and management you can build a great Mother Base without spending proper cash.

Managing Mother Base can be automated to a great extent, but there are few key things you will need to be aware of to direct the process.

Here are the general benefits of maintaining and growing your base:

  • Developing new equipment/gear and upgrade existing ones
  • Having a combat-ready staff that can be dispatched to finish missions and earn you resources and GMP (in-game currency)
  • Treating staff injuries and having better chances of fultoning injured recruits back to base
  • Expanding the range and versatility of the support you can be given in the field
  • Gathering valuable intel (enemy locations/activity etc) about each mission and every nook and cranny of the field

Now that’s out of the way, let’s go over what you'll need to be doing to manage your successful Diamond Dogs.

Early on in the game, you don’t get access to all of the different platforms, but when you do, you’ll need to focus on upgrading a few key ones first that will impact the way you play the most.

Next: Which Mother Base platform should you expand first

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Which of the Mother Base platforms to expand first

Before we begin, it’s important to note that certain items require some platforms to be of a certain level in order to be crafted. This is sometimes set arbitrarily and may take into account more than the R&D level. As such, it’s always best to shoot for an item or piece of equipment and plan that way.

Out side of these, your priority should be expanding the the R&D platform as soon as you have access to it. Simply select the Mother Base tab and select Base Facilities. This platform is crucial in upgrading your tools (which start out performing poorly) as well as developing entirely new ones. Almost all gear upgrades or research requires you to have reached a certain level for the platform, so make sure you devote your early resources to expanding the staff limit.

A cheaper way to increase the number of staff members on all platforms without expanding each one is the Command platform. Expanding it gets you space increases across the board. They’re small however compared to what you’d get for expanding each one individually, naturally.

Then on to the Base Development platform, which processes the materials you gather in the field. Expanding it means faster material processing and even more material gain from your field ops.

Support and Intel platforms come later. The first provides you with a wide range of ways to help you out in the field. These can be lethal (like bombardment), or non-lethal like smoking a location. Later on, it can go as far as manipulating the weather to create certain conditions.

The Intel platform is responsible for making it easier for you to see enemies by pre-marking them or noting them on the map. This goes for plants and other objects of interest as well. Expanding it means more accurate and frequent reports.

Finally, the Medical and Combat platforms should be tended to as needed. The Combat platform is responsible for sending out teams on missions. This is similar to the Brotherhood stuff from the Assassin’s Creed games where they get you resources by fighting certain battles. You can only have two active at a time, unless you expand into a FOB.

The Medical team is situational. If you send out units to combat regularly, they will need someone to heal them when they get back. Increasing its level makes this process faster. One thing to note is that it makes extracting injured recruits from the field more successful. This is one of those nice-to-haves, but far from crucial, since you can just carry people to the chopper.

You should also keep in mind that fuel is the most required of resources. Almost all expansion projects require it and it can be somewhat hard to find, so make sure you have it stocked as high as you can above all else.

Next: How to level-up Mother Base platforms

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How to level-up Mother Base platforms

While expanding a platform gives you more room, levelling it up is what matters. While getting more room to accommodate more soldiers automatically means your level will increase (provided you fulton recruits regularly), micro-managing each unit is the best way to maximise potential and sometimes, game the system.

Each soldier you fulton from the field comes with a set of attributes and in some cases, a special skill. You can find out each of their attributes when you scan them in the field using your binoculars. Each one has a rating from E to S shown under icons representing the different platforms. To do this, your scope has to be upgraded at least once. The more you upgrade it, the wider the range of attributes you can see.

Don't just fulton anybody, be smart and choose the ones that will serve your needs better. For instance, if you’re looking to level up your R&D platform, you will need to find the soldiers with the highest possible rating in that attribute. It will take you some time to get acquainted with the icons, but once you do, it won’t be a problem.

Here’s how they look like when they reach Mother Base:

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As you can see, the attributes vary from one to the next. Using this scale, you can easily decide which platform will be a better fit for which soldier. They're automatically being assigned by the game, but you can always override it to your advantage.

Let’s say you want to craft something that requires you to have Intel level 5, and your level is 2. You can easily move soldiers from R&D or whatever to Intel to gain a boost. It doesn't matter if Intel is their best attribute because it will all stack to push you over and get you to level 5.

Keep in mind that doing so will lower the level of whichever platform you borrowed them from. Platform levels are flexible in The Phantom Pain, so don’t downgrade the level of the ones you need in that moment. Once you get your Intel to 5, give the order to craft your item and once that’s done, move those soldiers back to where they were.

As for the special skills, these can be helpful for crafting certain items, like a gunsmith skill for crafting higher-grade upgrades or special field skills if you choose to play as any of them instead of Snake. Sometimes upgrades will be halted because you’re missing a certain special skill. Going over your mission and side ops rewards is a good way to track them down.

Some of these skills however are harmful like the Troublemaker skill, which increases the frequency of fights breaking out between members of the same unit. We will get to that part later.

Next: How to stop staff from fighting at Mother Base

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How to stop the staff from fighting at Mother Base

The more soldiers you bring back from the field to expand your various platforms, the more you’ll start seeing a message saying “fighting has broken out among staff”. There’s no actual fighting location where you can go to stop it, but you can prevent it from happening again in the Staff Management menu.

You need to pay attention to your screen when this message appears, because if it appears often enough, it will result in staff members being taken to the sickbay a lot, which brings down unit levels and is generally bad for morale.

Remember those recruits with the Troublemaker skill? Well, these guys are the ones causing it. The best way to counteract this is to pair them with others who possess the Diplomat skill, a skill designed to break fights.

Sometimes though the ones causing trouble are highly-rated, and losing them would mean downgrading the level of their unit. In these instances, you’ll need to weigh your loss vs gain. We would recommend sending them to the Waiting Room as you figure things out. Generally speaking though the higher rating doesn't make up for the loss of staff due to the fights.

In fact, send anyone you’re not sure of to the Waiting Room instead of outright dismissing them. Only dismiss the ones that are way lower level than anyone else. Remember that as you upgrade your scope, you will acquire better recruits, so don't be afraid to get rid of the old guard.

Next: how to build and defend a Forward Operating Base

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Forward Operating Bases: How to build them and how to defend them from invaders

FOBs or Forward Operating Bases are an extension of your Mother Base that will become available about a third of the way into the game. These are the ones that you can spend real-world money on.

This is an entirely optional part of the meta-game, but it’s one that you should consider. Establishing an FOB lets you deploy more than two combat missions simultaneously. But the biggest gain is the faster rate of resource processing and the staff room increase. Think of it as an online Mother Base.

When the option becomes available, your first FOB will cost zero MBs and some resources, but any others you build in the future will cost you from 1000 to 1200 MBs, depending on the location. MBs are the game’s currency, but they're only used here. You earn them by reaching certain feats in the story, or by logging in on certain days where a login bonus is active.

However, none of these will be enough for another purchase, which is probably intended. Konami of course is offering MB packs through the store, which cost real money.

Being an online extension of Mother Base, FOBs are susceptible to attacks (invasions) from other players in the world who've also established FOBs. This Dark Souls-style mechanic lets you invade a player’s FOB while they’re away on a mission to grab resources and manpower. The ultimate goal however is to reach the centre of the base, the platform core.

Just as you can do it, others are eyeing your FOB too. You can defend your FOB by investing in various sorts of automated defences. These include attack drones, trained soldiers of various levels, gun placements and security systems. These all cost GMP and can be customised and placed anywhere.

One way you can defend your base on the cheap is to send in all those AA and machine gun placements you fultoned from around the world back to it. They will get placed and soldiers will use them to defend it, and so can you.

You will of course get notified when someone is detected invading your FOB, with emphasis on the word “detected”. In this case you have the option of flying back and handling it yourself. You get infinite spawns, but the invader only has one life.

Do note that online invasions are only possible if you have an FOB. With the exception of story missions, Mother Base invasions are not possible.

Next: How to navigate around Mother Base quickly

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How to get around Mother Base quickly

You may never need to visit the various platforms of Mother Base (outside of story reasons), but it’s good to do it from time to time. You can always explore and find hidden posters and gems, the latter of which has a GMP value. Going and seeing your staff in person increases the overall morale, too.

There are three main ways that help you get around quickly – outside of running. The first is calling your chopper into any of the helipads and have it travel to any of the others on the various platforms. This is the most enjoyable one as it lets you appreciate the size of you base. It also helps you see some hidden gems you wouldn't otherwise be able to see.

Another way to get around is to drive the jeeps scattered around. They are usually parked at the start of the roads to each strut.

Finally, and the fastest way, is to go to any of the yellow spaces labelled “cargo loading zone”. These can found near the helipads and if you hide in your cardboard box on any of them, a menu will pop up to let you choose the destination. A few seconds and a black screen later and you'll be there.

The same trick can be utilised around the game world anywhere you locate these cargo zones.

Next: How to customise your Mother Base

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How to customise the look of your Mother Base

You can make your Mother Base stand out by changing the colour as well your emblem, which shows on the walls of Mother Base and on your shoulder patch.

You can only do so from your helicopter by selecting the Mother Base tab and clicking Customise. Do note the option is not available while you’re on the ground, even if you are at Mother Base itself.

Back to Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain guide and walkthrough

Next: How to identify and quarantine infected soldiers

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How to identify infected staff members and quarantine them

Close to halfway through The Phantom Pain, an outbreak will spread throughout Mother Base. That infection, as you'll soon find out, is the Vocal Chord Parasite. The game keeps telling you to isolate the infected even though you're not really told how to detect the symptoms.

There are two ways you can go about solving this. The first is to continue playing main missions. At some not-too-far-off point, you'll come across a character that will reveal to you how you can identify the symptoms. A couple of missions after that, a cure will be introduced as part of the story.

Doing things this way will lead to the death of some of your staff. You don't know who, and some of them could be among the high-skill ones. Which is why it's preferable to follow the second course of action.

Once the first soldier gets infected, Miller will establish a quarantine platform and move the infected over. Go to your staff management screen, navigate to that platform and note the language spoken by the infected. Whatever that language is, you must quarantine anyone that speaks it as soon as possible.

Sorting through staff management can be a pain, depending on the number of recruits you have, but it's better than losing them. Just identify them, select them (you can select multiples and move all at once), and quarantine them. Once the story moves forward and you devise a cure, everything will return to normal.

Back to Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain guide and walkthrough

About the Author

Sherif Saed avatar

Sherif Saed

Staff Writer

Whether it's news, reviews, or interviews - Sherif is always eager to tell you about video games. He plays shooters more than a sane person should, and occasionally has the skills to show for it.

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