Fans are thrilled as popular antagonist from Tom Clancy’s The Division, Aaron Keener, is once again back in the saddle, making his first appearance in The Division 2. Keener is making his return alongside cleaners, NYC and a whole host of radical changes courtesy of the game’s huge new expansion, Warlords of New York!
Ubisoft recently flew FragHero out to celebrate the occasion at its impressive Massive studios in Malmo, Sweden to hear the shock announcement that…
Aaron Keener is Back!
It’s 100 percent true that Keener is coming back! He’s stronger this time around, with additional rogue Division agents and new skill tricks that honestly are hard to predict. Players will be automatically boosted up to level 30 to play the Warlords of New York expansion, which is priced at 30€ (approximately $33 USD) for existing players with a couple of different choices available to new players.
What’s the Story of The Division 2?
Over in Sweden, the scene of Tom Clancy’s The Division was painted by devs and creatives. If you’re not familiar with the franchise so far, the game’s story follows the aftermath of a bio attack that swept the nation eight months earlier. In the first game, all Division agents had been recalled to DC to hunt down a cure for the virus, with Black Dusk having their global assault stopped in its tracks by the player prior. Civilisation is being scraped back together by a handful of hopeful individuals and Division factions, but rogue agents and asymptomatic carries are still a very real threat.
What is the Story of the Warlords of New York Division 2 Expansion?
Warlords of New York depicts a desolate city that’s been devastated by the same hurricane that hit Washington. A “bio attack with a mysterious origin is imminent” and the fate of the survivors that have only just started to rebuild civilisation is in your hands as you attempt to find your target biologist in Cony island, NY.
You’ll be faced by an “echo from the past” – good choice of words by Yannick Banchereau, Associate Creative Director of Division 2 – because “echo” really is the key word of this story. In the trailer above, you see an agent duped by an echo replay, showing a rogue agent unfaltering to take out civilians. Your mission is to hunt that agent, Keener, down, who’s armed with a tougher strain of the virus and is backed by rogue agents with their own motives.
The Warlords of New York expansion is solo campaign based, built up of five main missions and eight side missions that can be played in any order that you choose. This expansion is all about investigation and tracking Keener down by establishing his whereabouts via his four lieutenants. Keener is a “shadow ruler of the city”, says Banchereau, and is intent on seeing a world in his vision. Your playground is Lower Manhattan, made up of fallen landmarks including Wall Street, China Town and Two Bridges.
The Division 2’s Fans Have Been Heard
We really wanted to make an expansion for themDrew Rechner, Associate Game Director
Contrary to popular belief, massive studios like Ubisoft really do want to make a game that’s for longstanding fans, while of course wanting to be accessible to new ones too. Over in Sweden, the development team explained that fan feedback detailed too much complexity in the game, with a friction for both new players and players at Endgame.
Banchereau wanted to change the Endgame experience to create something that includes both Washington and New York. He also hinted that missions will be enhanced to include legendary difficulty on main missions. The main goal of these changes is to “make the game more structured and clear to its players.”
Not only have the developers of The Division 2 tried to make the game more accessible, they’ve also scoured fan feedback to find out who everyone’s favourite characters were in the main game. That means the original characters of Fay Lou and Roy Benitez are being brought back, along with the return of cleaners (ruthless arsonists) and rikers (escaped convicts from Rikers Island) enemy factions. You may not experience these enemies as you remember them, because just like the virus, they’re been upgraded and mutated into stronger threats.
Other surprises to look out for in The Division 2’s upcoming expansion are the original New York player heads, tipped by Rechner to enable current players to recreate their New York agents from the past.
How is The Division 2 Restructuring its RPG Format?
The Division has always benefitted from its blend of open world roaming, side missions and main campaign, but The Division 2 is going even further as a completely open RPG. This new structure (or lack of) means that you can play the campaign in whatever order you choose, with no level gate. The Battery Park, Civic Centre, Two Bridges and Haven are all places in your remit, whilst the latter is base of operations with a difference to usual.
The Division 2 is Getting Seasons
Introducing structure to a campaign and co-op game like The Division 2 is easiest to achieve with seasons. From now on, expect this RPG to be structured in the form of seasons with three-month-long mini campaigns, each with their own objective. A calendar of activities will keep driving you forward on your hunt for Keener and a peaceful civilisation, ensuring also that everything you play and replay feels fresh across every objective.
Manhunt is a new mode that’s being introduced, consisting of a new target each season for you to take down. A new Battle Pass-type system is coming to make this easy for you to play.
Massive wants players to challenge how they play the game and interact with it differently each time they pick up the controller or mouse. You gain Season XP as you play, meaning you really do have bragging rights to say once and for all that you are the best Division 2 player – fact.
You’ll also get cosmetic rewards when you complete a mission, so it’ll be clear to other players not to mess with you in the Dark Zone! Moving up the season ranks and their progression system will unlock unique rewards, while Manhunt’s completion reward will be new skill mod. Each season will bring different skill mod, so you’ll have to keep playing if you want to be the best agent!
All of this push towards more-competitive gameplay will culminate in one main challenge for players to work towards at Endgame. The Foundry will be an even tougher experience with boss mechanics pushed to a new level. This need for more intensity comes from Drew Rechner’s musings on the question:
“What would be a really memorable or fun encounter for the player […] or even fun to play a second or third time?”
Every player will have the choice to jump directly into NY campaign being immediately levelled up to Level 30 with a new character. Level 30 version will also be released and not just at Endgame.
You can expect changes grouped under the following categories:
- Streamlining gear
- Ensuring loot is always exciting
- Ensuring build diversity
Streamlining Gear in The Division 2
Gear will be more intuitive than ever before with the return of god rolls. Shaped by the fans’ feedback, The Division 2 is transforming from Inventory Manager – The Game, to a hyper realistic RPG.
Exciting Loot in The Division 2
The developers want to ensure that players get something good every time they get a drop or cache. Even if you can’t wear it, there may be an element you can use it at recalibration bench. New exotic armours, weapons, new gear sets and more all promise to be exciting.
Build Diversity in The Division 2
Massive Studios also wants to make sure that not just DPS and tanking builds are viable, but also skill builds as well. The team is achieving such a vision with a new skill-powered tier system. You’ll also experience a power increase and more of a journey from Level 30 to Level 40.
A new Endgame progression system also allows players to continuously grow more powerful. You will choose what stats you want to invest in, taking advantage of the new skill attribute on loot to really stack up your gear for the most potent impact.
Four New Skills are Coming to The Division 2
- Sticky Bomb Launcher
- Fire Brand
If you’ve played The Division 2 for more than a few hours, you’ll have already become pretty comfortable with your favourite skills loadout. However, you could say that makes the game feel pretty similar every time you play. To counter that, new skills are coming to The Division 2 that are guaranteed to rival your currently-equipped skills. It’s not all good news though, because rogue agents that you’re fighting can also use the same skills against you.
New bespoke boss fights are also headed to The Division 2, something which has never before been done in the franchise. Equipping the defeated boss’ skill after the combat’s ended gives you proper “Megaman vibes“, says Drew Rechner.
The Dark Zone We Know and Love is Coming Back!
We’re Bringing Back the Dark Zone MagicJohn Björling (Narrative Director)
Division 2 Warlords of New York is all About Player-to-Player Interaction.
A year on from The Division 2’s release, the narrative team thought it was time to revitalise the Dark Zone. What used to be a lawless, competitive space filled with greed, betrayal and fear became a more casual place to grab the best loot and get out in The Division 2. The Dark Zone experience that focuses around player-to-player interactions is coming back to The Division 2.
The Division 2’s Living World
The “Living World” system returns in Warlords of New York, filled with factions that all have their own motivations and needs. It’s up to you to choose how you interact with them – will you help them on their own mini-missions, or will you leave them to survive solo? All of this shapes up to an RPG that’s played exactly how you like. Even Keener’s rogue agents have their own motives and revenge. This push for realism brings all narrative threads from the events so far tied together in the expansion.
How much does the Warlords of New York expansion cost?
The Division 2’s latest expansion is available for both existing and new players, but current players get a little loyalty discount. If you already own a copy of The Division 2, the Warlords of New York expansion will cost you 30€ (approximately $33 USD). For new players, you can get a pack consisting of the standard edition of the game plus the DLC for 40€.
If you’re a new player and want to go in deep with The Division 2, you can get a standard edition of the game, the DLC and year one pass benefits for 60€. Episode 3 is in early access on February 12th 2020.
Warlords of New York is available on all platforms on March 3rd 2020 with plans to launch later in the month on Google Stadia.