The Division 2: Warlords of New York Preview
The Division 2 is returning to New York and we were given the chance to get some hands-on time with the new expansion, Warlords of New York.
The Division 2 has released new episodic content since its release last year, but as of yet there has not been a full expansion to the game. That’s about to change, though, as Warlords of New York, a new full-narrative expansion, is coming to The Division 2 on March 3rd. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early build of the expansion, and spent a few hours getting a glimpse of what is coming next to The Division 2.
Warlords of New York will bring you back to where it all began in the original The Division game, New York City. You won’t be revisiting the map of that game, though, because Warlords brings you an entirely new section of the city to explore, Lower Manhattan. While the Division was working to free DC of the factions that had taken control of it, a Rogue Agent named Aaron Keener was taking advantage of the situation. With the aid of four additional Rogue Agents, Keener has aligned the factions of New York behind him as he prepares to unleash a new extra virulent strain of the virus that caused the catastrophe. In his twisted view of the world, the new virus will complete the work the original failed to do.
For the most part, the basics of gameplay will be familiar to you as you leave DC for the Big Apple. The factions will be different - although a little familiar to those who’ve played The Division - and so you’ll need to adjust your tactics a bit to counter their weaponry and attack styles. The biggest change, though, is driven by the change in locale. DC has many open spaces and wide avenues, but New York is more claustrophobic with its concrete canyons and higher density of buildings. This has an effect on both traversal and combat. In DC, I tried to skirt the large open spaces while crossing the city so as not to put myself too much into the open, but New York was often like navigating a maze in which the walls always felt close in. Similarly, combat has more of a close quarters feel to it. I didn’t fight any battles in New York in which I had to run from car to concrete barrier as I made my way across a large open space. Firefights instead took place in alleyways, on rooftops, and inside buildings.
The map of Manhattan in which Warlords takes place has been divided into four areas: Two Bridges, Civic Center, Battery Park, and the Financial District. It’s no coincidence that the map is divided into four zones and that Keener has four lieutenants in his service - each area is under the control of one of them. To get to Keener you’ll need to get through them first, and to do so you’ll have to bring their zones under control and then face them down in a boss fight.
As you beat each of Keener’s Rogue Agents, you’ll not only get closer to Keener you’ll improve your chances to beat him. Each Rogue Agent has a unique skill, and once you beat that Agent that skill is yours. Of course, beating each Agent won’t be easy because they’ll be using that skill to their advantage while you’re battling them. I was able to take on a mission called The Tombs, at the end of which was waiting the Rogue Agent Theo Parnell. The mission has you pursue Parnell through a large complex and took about 40 minute to complete in co-op with another player. Midway through the mission we entered a large courtroom and came face-to-face with a sub-boss appropriately named “The Judge”.
When we caught up to Theo Parnell, he used his unique skill, the Decoy, to create duplicates of himself during our battle. Part of the challenge was figuring out which Parnell was the real Parnell so that we could damage him and not waste ammunition on projections. Parnell also had plenty of allies who had to be dispatched while we were trying to take him out, some of who had access to decoy tech as well.
After beating Parnell I equipped the Decoy skill and played around with it a bit. I found that I could deploy it while behind cover, sneak out the other end of the cover, and then flank the enemies as they converged on my decoy. I didn’t have the chance to earn any of the other new skills during my hands-on time, but I did learn that they include a shock trap and a sticky bomb that can be used to set enemies on fire or to make them explode.
The new expansion will require a level 30 character, but if your The Division 2 character hasn’t hit the level cap yet or you’re entirely new to the game that won’t stop you from playing. Warlords will let you create a brand new level 30 character and hit the expansion on day one. The story is designed to be self-contained, so you won’t be completely lost if you haven’t experienced The Division 2’s complete story. Those of you who have, though, will find that the expansion will have elements in it that will reward you for the time you’ve spent in world of The Division. Warlords will raise the game’s level cap to 40, but after that you can still progress further thanks to the expansion’s new infinite progression system known as SHD Level. You’ll be able to raise this level through a variety of new endgame activities that will be released as Seasons, each of which will include a new narrative as well as Global Events, Manhunts, new objectives, and new rewards. Each Season will include activities set in both DC and New York, and is designed to run for three months. You won’t have to wait long for the first one which will begin a week after the launch of Warlords. A raid, The Foundry, is also planned post-launch.
The developers have taken the opportunity of launching a new expansion to work on other aspects of the game. Gear has been given an overhaul to make it easier to manage and to see how it will affect your character. Roll ranges, god rolls, and stat indicators will make it easier to decide which gear you want to equip for each build. The goal of these changes wasn’t just to make things more streamlined and informative, but also to make it easier for you to tell that your Agent is getting stronger.
That’s everything I was able to learn from my time with Warlords of New York and speaking to the expansion’s designers. Look for more coverage of this expansion as we wait for its launch which is now a mere three weeks away.
Transmitted: 10/31/2020 6:13:58 PM