On March 3rd 2020, Ubisoft Entertainment released the highly anticipated expansion to The Division 2; Warlords of New York. I played through the original Division that was released in March 2016 and sunk hundreds and hundreds of hours into The Division 2 when that launched in February 2019. To say I am fan of this franchise is a bit of an understatement.
For me, like many of other diehard grinders the game had started to become quite stale once I had finally got my build just right, killed all the hunters, got all the exotic weapons, maxed out all the skills and specialisations and played through all the year one content as it dropped throughout the 2019/2020. Don’t get me wrong, it took me at least 400 hours to get to that point so there was no lack of content, and yet I still don’t have the Merciless exotic even after I have played through Jefferson Trade Centre at least 150 times trying every trick in the book for a drop, RNG….. Enough said.
For anyone who is familiar with The Division story arc, Warlords of New York has you chasing down Aaron Keener, the protagonist Rogue Division Agent from the original game. Players have spent the last 12 months cleaning up the apocalyptic streets of Washington DC from the Outcasts, Hyenas, True Patriots, and the Black Tusk enemy factions, set 8 months after the dollar flu, a genetically engineered Smallpox outbreak wiped out a large portion of the population and broke societal structures.
Players have been speculating Aaron Keeners return since launch but game developers have done a great job of trip feeding small amounts of information regarding Aaron Keener through story cut scenes, echoes, video surveillance and audio collectables that are found throughout the map. Unless a player has a keen eye, or ear it is easy to miss the Aaron Keener references and although the game does categorise these collectables in the progression menu it is not easy to navigate. The final episode update for the year one pass had players heading to Coney Island, which uncovered a plot involving Aaron Keener and some old but familiar enemies; The Cleaners. That set up the Warlords of New York Expansion story arc.
The expansion has the player leaving Washington DC and heading back to New York City with fellow agent, Alani Kelso. Players should be mindful that once you leave Washington DC you cannot return until you have finished the story arc from Warlords of New York. NYC looks very different to the last time we experienced it as its now Summer/Autumn time so the snow has lifted and with the apocalypse in full swing there are no civilians walking the streets looking for help. They are part of survivalist community groups able to fight, scavenge and take care of themselves; in most cases, they are more likely to help you in a fight than the other way around.
The hunt for Aaron Keener has the player meeting the new group of survivalists at Haven. Unlike in Washington DC, these survivalists are not too keen on Division agents, especially the community leader Paul Rhodes as the previous Division Agents have gone Rogue and sided with Aaron Keener. The player is required to track down each of the four rogue agents who now head up enemy factions across NYC that include the Cleaners and Rikers, each with varying AI archetypes. I can confirm the new archetypes are a lot more aggressive and tactical than anything players have experienced in the past. There is also an Elite variant of the Black Tusk which are found in legendary missions down the track. I found myself going back to skills like the revive hive and healing drone just to get through story level missions solo.