Over February and March, Ubisoft is upping the ante and bringing a whole new load of content to The Division 2. From game changing improvements, narrative expansions to seasonal end game updates, new players and fans of the franchise have much to look forward to in the world of The Division 2.
To kick things off, Episode 3 marks the end of The Division 2’s first year lineup when it releases on February 19th 2020 (early access players can jump in today). Episode brings players back to the streets of New York, in particular Coney Island. It is the mission of the Division agents to find and rescue the virologist, Vitaly Tchernenko, who is key in mass producing a cure and is being held captive on Coney Island by the elusive Black Tusk. If that doesn’t sound exciting enough, the narrative in Episode 3 acts as a prologue and an opening to The Division 2’s first massive expansion, Warlords of New York.
Warlords of New York is by far the biggest expansion The Division 2 has had to date. Not only is it expanding on the storylines of both The Division and The Division 2, but Ubisoft has delved deep into a RPG overhaul and major gameplay changes to aspects of the game players should get excited about.
Warlords of New York has players returning to a hurricane ravaged New York City, bringing familiarity and nostalgia to the setting, but at the same time changing up the sights and landmarks for a fresher feel. Yannick Banchereau, Associate Creative Director, mentioned
“Coming back to New York was something that was always on the back of the teams mind, if we had the chance it would be great to go back to New York with a new weather setting after the summer and with the hurricane and really transform New York so it’s not exactly the same to what you’ve seen in The Division 1 it’s something different, but still our roots.” said Bancherau
Warlords of New York will see you roaming Lower Manhattan in well known area such as Wall Street and China Town in brand new areas of the map. The overall narrative sees Division agents responding to a distress call about a biological disturbance of unknown origins and inevitably going head to head with fan favourite rogue agent, Aaron Keener, and his 4 rogue agent lieutenants,
“From our community, from our players there’s a real fandom in the lore (of NYC) and especially the characters, like Aaron Keener, these are very dear characters to our players, so (returning) was always something we wanted to do.” said Bancherau
Other characters from the original game will also be making a comeback as well as upgraded and revamped enemies such as The Cleaners and Rikers. New campaign mechanics have been added too, such as the ability to play the main campaign how ever you want, however you want. Meaning you are able to track down whichever rogue lieutenant you’d like whenever you’d like in the overall search for Aaron Keener. This particular new addition is even more rewarding knowing that each rogue lieutenant is the owner of a brand new skill – these skills are Decoy, Sticky Bomb Launcher, Shock Trap and Fire Brand. Once each leitenant is defeated, you get to pry that new skill right from their cold, dead hands. The side missions are also a lot more connected to the main missions, acting as part of players’ investigation into the location of Aaron Keener and is ruthless plans. There will be 5 brand new missions in total each ending in an epic boss encounter, 8 side missions and 8 control points.
The RPG elements of the game is another area the team has spent time improving. Gear and attributes have been streamlined and are now a lot more easy to read and understand as well as the focus on “exciting” loot making every piece of loot useful in some way, shape or form. Additions like diversity in skill builds and a brand new endgame progression system where you’ll unlock some cool bragging rights and cosmetics (on top of all the new exotics and gear sets) are just more pieces of this expansion to call in the squad over.
Another cool overhaul to gameplay is within the Dark Zone, making it more intuitive than ever before and having more of a focus on PvP interaction. Warlords of New York adds the encouragement of positive player interaction into the Dark Zone. Meaning you will be rewarded for helping other players extract, protecting each other from rogue agents and a whole lot more, giving a fresh take and probably an even more intense experience within the Dark Zone now moral aligning is truly in affect.
By far the biggest introduction from the expansion comes in the form of a seasonal endgame. Warlords of New York’s Seasons will will deliver the ongoing support to The Division 2 in the form of the iconic seasonal/battle pass mechanic we’ve come to know from the shooter genre that’s driven by community feedback and desires.
“Seasons is not just for us in terms of we’re creating mini campaigns and that’s it but also a mindset for us in terms of development that’s really a change where we’re going from one season to the next and trying to have something that’s a bit more agile so we can react to community feedback and go one way or another depending where the community wants us to go, so we’re really going to go one step at a time and go for as long as the players want us to keep going.” said Bancherau
Seasons will give players plenty to do, unlock and achieve with modes like Manhunt, where every season will introduce a new threat and require players to take them down, continuing and connecting to the narrative of The Division 2. Others to mention are Global Events with world and game changing modifiers, Leagues which will have you going head to head to see who comes out on top, as well as the 2nd Raid to hit the game – The Foundry, which will push players towards the ultimate showcase of teamwork. The Foundry will be accessible through levels 30 – 40 and available to players Autumn 2020.
As like any game you’ve seen with seasonal and battle pass elements, The Division 2 will allow players to level up over the 3 month period, unlocking rewards such as skill mods, gear and cosmetics as well as give the option to purchase a battle pass for even more unlockables.
The Division 2: Warlords of New York will be available on March 3rd. The author of this article traveled to Sweden as a guest of Ubisoft to get an early look at the upcoming expansion.