The Warlords of New York expansion for The Division 2 returns the franchise to New York City and reboots the sequel in interesting ways. Do the changes pay off?
After the first The Division game took place in New York and the second one had Washington DC as its backdrop, I was curious to see where developer Massive would take the series next. Back to New York was certainly a bit of a surprise, but it’s such an iconic city that I was happy to return to it. The new story that comes with the expansion revolves around villain Aaron Keener and takes place eight months after the events of the original game (yes, it helps to have played The Division 1).
Although Warlords of New York feels like a trip down memory lane, the locations you visit are and look different this time around. A hurricane’s hit the city, and you spend most of your time in Lower Manhattan – which isn’t in the best shape it’s been in. There’s trash everywhere, buildings and roads are in serious need of repair and it’s clear this area used to be a dark zone as well.
Not all is different though, with some returning characters outside of antagonist Keener and plenty of recognizable landmarks. Some of the more interesting factions from the first game also come back for the expansion, arguably making New York a far better backdrop than DC was (and is) in The Division 2. The story itself is rather formulaic though, and feels more like a field trip (than can be completed in two days) than anything. Luckily, after you complete it, you have access to both DC and New York, making for a bigger and more interesting game world that has two distinct sides to it.
The story campaign isn’t all there is to The Warlords of New York though – the new expansion also marks the start of a new business model for Ubisoft and The Division. Much like Bungie is doing with Destiny 2, The Division 2 will have ‘seasons’ going forward, with new mini campaigns every three months to keep players engaged with the game through objectives and temporary events. They’ll kick off on March 10th with the first season, which is included with each purchase of the Warlords of New York expansion.
While the expansion feels a tad overpriced for the (campaign) content it offers, the biggest change could be this restructuring of how The Division 2 moves forward from here. With New York exclusive to those who buy the expansion, there’s a risk that the player base will split in two – because even though ‘New York’ players can join DC ones, the latter will have little to move forward to as they don’t share the same endgame scenario. That might cause them to drop or if they’re unwilling to take the plunge with Warlords, which would be a shame now that The Division 2 is heading in a more dynamic direction. We should know more in about a month or two….