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This page is for the heat level in Watch Dogs. For the heat level in Watch Dogs 2, see here.

The Heat Level is a gameplay mechanism in Watch Dogs which triggers police response accordingly.

Overview

The Heat Level is a system that measures how much the player is wanted by the police. The Heat Level has five levels that increase if the player commits more crimes. When not wanted by the police, the player has a "CTOS Heat Level", which is a range of five points/dots.

WDHeatlevel

Active Police Heat Level

Search Radius (Evaded)

CTOS Heat Level

The player has a default level of 1 which increases if they commit repeated crimes. Each level is represented by a flashing white square. If the player is identified by the police, the CTOS level will convert to the "Police Heat Level.

For example, if the player has a CTOS level of 3 and officers chase them, they will automatically gain a police level of 3. The Police heat level is represented by red squares. The higher the Heat Level is, the more police there will be to take the player down. If the player's CTOS level is over 1 and time goes by without committing any crimes, the level will progressively decrease.

Attracting the Police

There are various ways to attract the police. If the player commits a crime, there is a chance that a pedestrian will call the police. It takes some time for one to report them, giving the player time to prevent said pedestrian from doing so. The better his reputation is, the less chance the pedestrians will call 911. If a pedestrian reports the player to the police, it will earn them a CTOS Scan. CTOS Scans are represented by yellow circles. The player has a detection percentage that increases when caught in CTOS Scans and decreases when standing out of the scans. One can freeze these using a Jam Comms hack. If the percentage reaches 100%, the player will be chased by the police. If it reaches 0%, after a short time, the police will give up.

Pedestrians will most likely call the police if they witness the protagonist:

  • Wield weapons on the streets.
  • Kill civilians.
  • Fire weapons on the streets.
  • Use explosives on the streets.
  • Steal a vehicle.

To cancel a pedestrian calling 911, the player can:

  • Kill them.
  • Scare them (such as aiming a weapon at them or driving close to them).
  • Take their phone (by performing a non-lethal "takedown").
  • Use Jam Coms to cancel their call.

It is possible to encounter a police car randomly patrolling on the streets and will immediately pursue the player if they spot the player doing crimes. If the player is losing them, nearby officers will patrol the area. Police will also give chase for smaller actions such as blowing up steam pipes, and/or hitting a police car. Officers will never be found patrolling on the streets unless they are looking for the player.

The following crimes will attract immediate police attention:

  • Wield weapons on the streets.
  • Harming and/or killing civilians.
  • Fire weapons on the streets.
  • Use explosives on the streets.
  • Stealing a vehicle.
  • Initiating blow pipe hacks.
  • Traffic law violations. (Speeding and/or vehicle collision)
  • Climbing ontop of police car.

Repeating certain crimes will increase the heat level. However, some crimes will only give instantly police attention but not increase the heat level for example, climbing ontop of police car and/or speeding.

Pursuit

Because the CPD has issued an arrest warrant for Aiden Pearce, police chases are inevitable. A police pursuit can be divided in 4 phases.

First Phase - 911 Callers

Calling911

A civilian is dialing 911.

The first phase activates when Aiden gets a civilian to call 911. At this point, an icon will appear above the civilian who is calling as well as how long it will take before the call will be finished and the next phase will activate.

Aiden can stop the caller from finishing his call by causing a Blackout, using the Jam Comms hack, or simply knocking the cellphone out of the caller's hands. Shooting the civilian is also an option, but keep in mind that when other civilians are near there is a chance that another one will start calling the police. If the player kills them as well, this will happen again, like a chain reaction, until Aiden either uses a hack, no more civilians are near to witness, or there are too many civilians calling 911 at once causing the pursuit to go to the second phase. The more civilians calling 911 one kills, the faster the next caller will finish his call and the more civilians will call the police at the same time.

During certain missions and Fixer Contracts, this phase is skipped and the pursuit starts in the second phase.

Second Phase - CTOS Scans

Meter

A ctOS scan has been initiated against Aiden.

During this phase, CTOS Scans will be utilized to track the suspect. A scan can be spotted on the minimap as a yellow transparent circle. If Aiden is in this circle, a second opaque circle will start to appear from the middle and it will grow in size until its the same size as the transparent one. At this point, the CTOS Scan is complete and the pursuit will go to phase 3. This phase is skipped if a patrol car spots Aiden committing crimes.

If Aiden manages to get out of the scan radius, more scans will be started and the search circles will start moving across the minimap at relatively high speed, slowing down if the he is within the radius.

At the bottom right of the screen, next to the Heat Level meter, there is a percentage showing the protagonist how much of the scan has been completed. It starts at zero and it will raise to one hundred percent if Aiden is within the scan radius. If he is outside of a scan circle, the percentage will slowly drop. A CTOS Scan that has failed to track Aiden will be stopped and a new one can appear. Multiple scans are possible as well. If the scan reaches 100%, the chase will go to phase 3.

CTOS scans can be paused by using Jam Comms hack, however this is only temporary, as the scans will simply continue after a few seconds. If Aiden keeps the percentage from reaching 100% long enough (about 30 seconds), the police will cancel the scans and he has successfully prevented the police from tracking him. There are, however, a few exceptions during missions where the CTOS Scans will keep restarting until the mission has been completed or until the signal is acquired and Aiden has been tracked.

Third Phase - Police in pursuit

Pursuit

The police are in pursuit of Aiden.

The third phase starts when the CTOS Scan completes or if a police patrol spots Aiden committing a crime. The first two phases also skip during certain missions.

During this phase, the police have tracked the protagonist's location and police officers are being dispatched to his location. The amount of units deployed depends on Aiden's Heat Level as well as how far he has progressed through the storyline.

To evade a police pursuit, Aiden must get out of the line of sight of every police unit that is in pursuit. This can be done either on foot or in a vehicle. The easiest ways are taking a boat or the train and disabling the police helicopter. Other good ways are causing a Blackout during nighttime or outrunning the police, using shortcuts and alleyways that cannot fit a police car.

During vehicle pursuits, the police can be slowed down by raising bridges, blockers, and spikes, as well as blowing up steam pipes and hacking the traffic lights. Players who want to have a positive reputation need to keep in mind that certain hacks might kill police personnel, like raising blockers in front of a police car driving at high speed. Shooting police officers can be another option to escape from them but that can escalate the situation as the player will get more heat level by doing this, thus more patrol cars and SWAT, depending the heat level, will be dispatched.

Once all police units have lost visual on the player, the chase will enter the fourth phase.

Fourth Phase - Search Mode

Policesearchmode

The police is looking for Aiden who has the maximum level heat. They are giving up the search in ten seconds unless they spot Aiden beforehand.

During this phase, the police lose track of protagonist but will remain looking for him. Police cars will drive slowly through the streets, shining their spotlights on parked vehicles and dark spots during nighttime. Foot patrols will appear and, depending on Aiden's Heat Level, a police helicopter will help look for him and roadblocks will be established.

A percentage will appear near the Heat Level meter while the police are looking for Aiden, starting at a certain percentage depending on his Heat Level and story progress. This percentage will slowly drop to zero.

The police will set up a search perimeter while looking for Aiden, which is represented as a huge flashing ellipse on the mini-map, the center being the protagonist's last known location. He can either choose to lay low inside the perimeter until the police give up the search, or escape the search perimeter unseen. If he chooses to lay low, he should try to park a vehicle far into an alley and hide in his car. Other methods, like using a vehicle to maneuver around police patrols or trying to hide from the police on foot might work as well, though these are less recommended when there is a large number of police units in the area.

A small detection meter icon (a red triangle with an exclamation point) appears above police officers whenever they are able to see the protagonist, showing how close they are to identifying him. Proximity affects their detection speed greatly, so the police will instantly identify him if he's very close to them. Breaking their line of sight will drain the detection meter. If a police officer has fully detected his presence, the search percentage will reset, the search zone will disappear, and all units will be alerted to Aiden's new location. The police could enter search mode again if Aiden manages to break their line of sight.

Dispatched Units

Notice how the police become progressively more aggressive as the player completes the first two chapters of Aiden's storyline.

ACT I

  • One dot: 2 police cruisers will be dispatched. All officers will be armed with pistols. Police officers will try to arrest the player.
  • Two dots: 2 police cruisers will be dispatched. Officers in police cruisers will be armed with pistols. Foot cops will also show up, they will be armed with shotguns. Police will now use deadly force.
  • Three dots: 3 police cruisers will be dispatched. Officers in police cruisers will be armed with pistols. Foot cops are armed with shotguns and 416s. A police helicopter will be sent after Aiden, keeping track of him and shining its spotlight on the protagonist during nighttime. The sniper on board the helicopter will only open fire if the helicopter is being shot at.
  • Four dots: 4 police interceptors will be dispatched. Officers in police interceptors are armed with shotguns and 416s. Foot cops will be armed with shotguns and 416s. The police helicopter will also chase Aiden. The sniper on board will only fire if the police helicopter is being shot at. The police will set up roadblocks with police interceptors, spike strips, and police officers armed with shotguns.
  • Five dots: 5 police interceptors will be dispatched. Officers in police interceptors are armed with shotguns and 416s. Foot cops will be armed with 416s. The police helicopter will also chase the protagonist. The sniper on board will open fire at him, whether he has attacked the helicopter or not. The police will set up roadblocks with police SUVs, spike strips, and police officers armed with 416s. SWAT Teams will also be dispatched after Aiden, they show up in SWAT SUVs.

ACT II

  • One dot: 2 police cruisers will be dispatched. Officers in police cruisers will be armed with pistols. Foot cops will also show up, they will be armed with pistols as well. Police officers will try to arrest Aiden's.
  • Two dots: 3 police cruisers will be dispatched. Officers in police cruisers will be armed with pistols. Foot cops are armed with shotguns and 416s. Police will now use deadly force.
  • Three dots: 4 police interceptors will be dispatched. Officers in police interceptors are armed with shotguns and 416s. Foot cops will be armed with shotguns and 416s. The police helicopter will also chase Aiden. The sniper on board will only fire if the police helicopter is being shot at. The police will set up roadblocks with police interceptors, spike strips, and police officers armed with shotguns.
  • Four dots: 5 police interceptors will be dispatched. Officers in police interceptors are armed with shotguns and 416s. Foot cops will be armed with 416s. The police helicopter will also chase Aiden. The sniper on board will open fire at him, whether he has attacked the helicopter or not. The police will set up roadblocks with police SUVs, spike strips, and police officers armed with 416s. SWAT Teams will be dispatched after him, they show up in SWAT SUVs carrying 3 SWAT officers armed with shotguns and MP5s and one Enforcer officer carrying an ATSG-12.
  • Five dots: 6 police SUVs will be dispatched. Officers in police interceptors are armed with shotguns and 416s. Foot cops will be armed with 416s. The police helicopter will also chase Aiden. The sniper on board will open fire at him, whether he has attacked the helicopter or not. The police will set up roadblocks with SWAT SUVs, spike strips, and SWAT officers armed with MP5s. More SWAT Teams will be dispatched after him, they show up in SWAT SUVs carrying 3 SWAT officers armed with shotguns and MP5s and one Enforcer officer carrying an ATSG-12.

ACT III and after

  • One dot: 3 police cruisers will be dispatched. Officers in police cruisers will be armed with pistols. Foot cops will also be armed with pistols. Police units will use deadly force, no matter what Aiden has done.
  • Two dots: 4 police interceptors will be dispatched. Officers in police interceptors are armed with shotguns and 416s. Foot cops will be armed with shotguns and 416s. The police helicopter will also chase Aiden. The sniper on board will only fire if the police helicopter is being shot at. The police will set up roadblocks with police interceptors, spike strips, and police officers armed with shotguns.
  • Three dots: 5 police interceptors will be dispatched. Officers in police interceptors are armed with shotguns and 416s. Foot cops will be armed with 416s. The police helicopter will also chase the protagonist. The sniper on board will open fire at him, whether he has attacked the helicopter or not. The police will set up roadblocks with police SUVs, spike strips, and police officers armed with 416s. SWAT Teams will be dispatched after him, they show up in SWAT SUVs carrying 3 SWAT officers armed with shotguns and MP5s and one Enforcer officer carrying an ATSG-12.
  • Four dots: 6 police SUVs will be dispatched. Officers in police interceptors are armed with shotguns and 416s. Foot cops will be armed with 416s. The police helicopter will also chase Aiden. The sniper on board will open fire at him, whether he has attacked the helicopter or not. The police will set up roadblocks with SWAT SUVs, spike strips, and SWAT officers armed with MP5s. More SWAT Teams will be dispatched after him, they show up in SWAT SUVs carrying 3 SWAT officers armed with shotguns and MP5s and one Enforcer officer carrying an ATSG-12.
  • Five dots: 6 SWAT SUVs will be dispatched. Most will be carrying one SWAT officer armed with an MP5 and one Enforcer officer carrying an automatic shotgun, some SWAT SUVs will be carrying two more SWAT officers. Foot cops will be armed with 416s. The police helicopter will also chase Aiden. The sniper on board will open fire at him, whether he has attacked the helicopter or not. The police will set up roadblocks with SWAT SUVs, spike strips, and SWAT officers armed with shotguns.

Gallery

Glitches

  • Due to an AI bug, pedestrians will report the player if someone else is shooting at them. This happens often during Gang Hideouts side missions. This is because pedestrians are unable to establish the source of gunfire, and thus will report the player to the police regardless who the shooter is.
  • In Watch Dogs, the Police A.I sometimes seem to freeze itself when it encounters the Criminal A.I and Aiden on sight.
  • In Watch Dogs, the Police are able to instantly arrest the player who is in cover animation.
  • In Watch Dogs, if the player has a heat level of 1 and a criminal A.I opens fire, the player will instantly get heat level two even though they did nothing.
    • This only happens while player is in ACT I and II.
  • In Watch Dogs, the police may still chase and/or shoot the player even though the player escaped from them. This rarely happens.

Trivia

  • It is possible that more than one pedestrian calls 911 at the same time.
  • Resting in a hideout resets the Heat Level.
  • The police will also give chase if Aiden breaks the traffic law, such as, speeding or colliding with a car. However, they will not issue a citation for violating the traffic law but arrest/shoot you instead.
  • The police will shoot Criminal A.I (Gang hideouts or missions) if they directly attack them.
  • In the Wii U version of Watch Dogs, the heat level is slightly changed. Police cruisers are no longer dispatched, only Police Interceptors are dispatched even at one level. Officers in patrol cars are seemingly always armed with handguns.

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