Even with a fairly significant dip in gaming time lately, this is a post I could have done several nights ago. The actual story content for The Division 2’s expansion Warlords of New York is not terribly long. A beeline through the critical path would surely clock in at less than 10 hours.
That isn’t really a problem though from a content longevity perspective though. The content of Warlords of New York is additive. The base Division 2 content of Washington D.C. is put right back into the mix in a level 40 format after you finish with the story of Aaron Keener and his Lieutenants.
On the matter of the story… Well; I found it a little weak truth be told. For some context, I haven’t yet completed the Year 1 Division 2 content that acts as a bridge between where Division 2 ended and the expansion starts. But I did extensively play The Division 1 and was very much looking forward to the resolution of Aaron Keener’s story and more generally the First Wave Division agents.
So no question — the story was disappointing. But this was a fact that barely registers against the actual fun of the gameplay. The disappointing story was something that didn’t fully register until I start putting my thoughts down. And as disappointing as it might be now, it’s clearly opening the way for something more. Some of which we see immediately in the post game… Some still to come, likely in the Year 2 content.
In any case. I’ve taken out the four Lieutenants (the titular Warlords) and defeated Aaron Keener.
Since then, the first Season of Year 2’s content has opened up. The ‘Season’ is taking a similar approach to the Battle Pass concept popularised by Fortnite and the Battle Royale genre more broadly of late. There is a ‘free’ track of rewards and a premium one. The premium track is free/included with the purchase of the expansion but you still have to go through the store to claim it. Clearly designed to warm people up to the process of doing so. ;)
Playing in the Post-Game
It’s really here that my appreciation for how smart the changes introduced in Warlords of New York actually are. Massive managed to reduce the complexity of the loot system without reducing the diversity of options.
There is a system in place very similar to Diablo 3 or many other Loot based games where there are major and minor attributes. Major attributes here being called Core Attributes. Minor just ‘Attributes’. The Core Attributes have a rather limited range of options. They’ll drive either a general direction toward Electronics (skills), Weapon Damage or Armor.
You can though, have a piece of gear that drives up your Electronics / Skills to a new tier with its core attribute, and then buffs weapon damage (through things like critical hit chance or damage) or survivability (through things like armor regeneration or additional health) rather than going all in on electronics (with things like skill haste (cooldown reduction) or additional buffs to specifically skill damage or skill healing) if you prefer.
Add to this a very controlled version of Diablo’s mystic reforge system and you have an awesome recipe for mixing loot generation and crafting to get exactly what you’re after. You can store the best rolls for any given stat — core or normal — and any talents you find. The goal here being to build up the best library of maximum value rolls to fit any future gear fit you might be after.
The best thing is you can use your stored rolls again and again. I thought they were single use at first. Store on one thing, put on another — then I thought you’d need to extract again to re-use. But nope. Makes the time invested on storing the best possible stats and the full set of talents for each item well worth it.
What to do with the Gear?
That said — I’m still deciding what build to focus on first. I think the concept I’d like to go with is a semi-tanky medic. Strong enough to get in to the difficult spots people sometimes die in and have a chance of getting them up.
I see this as likely involving a mix of Armor and Electronics core attributes. The exact mix I’m unsure of. Perhaps somewhere around 3-3 or 4-Electronics and 2-Armor. I might even play with 2-Electronics and 4-Armor, but I worry that the power of any heals or CC I might throw about at that point might not be strong enough to get the job done.
I could mitigate that to an extent by using the normal attribute slots for +Repair % for healing, but that would then be taking up valuable attribute slots that could otherwise have been Skill Haste (cooldown reduction) or more defensive power in the form of hazard resistances, protection from elites, armor regeneration or additional health.
Skills Wise I think I’d up playing around with them a bit. But if I really wanted to have a chance of getting people up in bad places, there are two potential approaches to that I think. One is resurrection hives, which I can throw in to bring them up (with added bonus of getting myself up if I muck up), the other option I see is pulling out a shield and deflecting the damage.
Ideally I’d have a heal skill alongside that. I’ve become quite a fan of the Chem Launcher in it’s healer configuration lately. I quite appreciate that landing a direct hit with its lob provides a significant healing boost on top of its heal over time. If I used the Shield, then the healing hive is also an option. The huge AoE is not something to sniff at, but this would lean me toward a higher electronics skill to ensure it had sufficient charges to keep the heals rolling.
Gear set wise? There are a lot of strong contenders simply in the branded gear, Hana-U and Richter & Kaiser GmbH being the first two that come to mind. But if I can manage to get a full set of Hard Wired, I’ll no doubt have a play around with that. The set ability I have in mind from it being where using one skill refreshes the cooldown of the other skill. :)
So far though I’ve been playing around with builds way off this track. I’ve tried primarily armor and defensive while leaving. Shifting to full glass cannon weapon damage shortly after hitting 40. That was fun, but very difficult if soloing. Hah. More recently I shifted to full electronics. Fully ranked out to 6th Tier and a talent that allows me to reach overload status. Eventually I’m hoping to have Overload come as part of the Technician specialisation, but that’s likely a wee while off yet.
It’s going to take me a while to get all the specialisation points I need from it. Clearly something I’d forgotten during my journey to maxing out Survivalist earlier. Hehe. Survivalist might still be a contender for my build concept though. Primarily because the armor kit abilities from Survivalist make it a heal over time that applies to your nearby teammates as well.
So we’ll see.
TLDR from all this? Is Warlords of New York fun? Heck yes — on the caveat that you already enjoyed The Division’s gameplay formula. It’s a great reason to go back and revisit.
But if you’re here primarily for closure for the Division 1’s story… Sorry. :( It’s not great. But I suppose let’s watch this space and see where the post-game reveal takes us.