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The Division 2’s new expansion will rev up the story, revamp gameplay

Warlords of New York sounds like Ubisoft’s version of Destiny’s The Taken King

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is getting a paid expansion called Warlords of New York which will add a slew of new narrative content and major gameplay changes to Ubisoft’s shooter. The scope of those changes makes today’s announcement sound every bit as foundational as the original Destiny’s The Taken King expansion, which changed the trajectory of Bungie’s franchise and raised expectations for Destiny 2. Of course, fans won’t know for sure if Ubisoft has met the mark until they arrive in Lower Manhattan on March 3.

Warlords of New York will take players back to New York City, the setting for the original The Division, which was released in 2016. Ubisoft says it will finally return to the main storyline of that game as well, which was largely abandoned in The Division 2. That means putting players back on the hunt for Aaron Keener.

“Division Agents will go on the ultimate manhunt for Aaron Keener, a former Division Agent who has now gone rogue,” said Ubisoft in a news release. “Keener, along with his network of Rogue Agents, is now a major threat to the burgeoning rebirth of civilization. To track down Keener, Agents will roam the untamed living open world of Lower Manhattan; a former Dark Zone that was recently hit by a devastating hurricane that hit New York City harder than anywhere else in the US.”

The main goal of the narrative campaign will be to discover and eliminate other Rogue Agents — affiliates of Keener alluded to in several audio collectibles found in The Division 2. Ubisoft says that each agent will have their own unique backstory, and will grant the player powerful new skills after they’re killed.

Those new skills appear to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to gameplay changes.

“After taking the time to hear and gather community feedback,” Ubisoft said, “core gameplay enhancements have been implemented across various topics such as build diversity, gear streamlining and even more meaningful loot.”

Changes will be made to the game’s user interface and crafting systems, including modifications to weapon and gear recalibration. Ubisoft is also increasing the level cap from 30 to 40, and adding what it calls “an infinite progression system.”

The expansion will also usher in a new era of seasonal content. Each three-month-long themed event will introduce a new target for players to hunt, complete with additional narrative content and unique rewards.

Multiplayer will also be getting a revision. Dark Zones — contested areas that represented an extreme technical challenge for Ubisoft in the first game — were up and running on day one with The Division 2. But, as it turns out, Ubisoft thinks that the rules for high-level Dark Zone play might have been a bit too complicated.

“The well-known Dark Zones from DC are also being revamped,” Ubisoft said, “returning to a simpler rogue mechanic. The focus is on rewarding player to player interaction, whether fighting against each other or helping each other against a tough Rogue player.”

Players must be level 30 and World Tier 5 to access the new content in Warlords of New York. Each new edition of the game will include a level 30 boost, so players can “immediately jump into the New York expansion.” Pricing for the DLC has not yet been released, but the content will launch simultaneously for PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One. It will then arrive on Google’s Stadia platform in late March.

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