Coney Island was only the beginning. As players check out episode 3 of "Tom Clancy's The Division 2" post-launch content, they'll discover that more is coming.
The franchise is making a full-fledged return to the Big Apple courtesy of "Warlords of New York" expansion pack that's coming March 3. The DLC will take players to lower Manhattan on a mission to defeat Aaron Keener, the longtime bad guy of the series.
The rogue Division agent may finally go down, but it will take some effort on players parts. They must go through a narrative-driven campaign that features four named zones (Battery Park, Two Bridges, Financial District and Civic Center), five main missions and eight side missions. To reach Keener, players will have to take down his lieutenants, who each hold a special skill.
"This time around, we have a new game structure," said Drew Rechner, associate game director. "There's no level gating. Everything scales up with you."
The campaign unfolds as an investigation. Defeating bosses brings up clues to Keener's location. Defeating a boss also means that players pick up their skill, and for longtime fans of the series, this will be a huge reward. Ubisoft is bringing back the sticky bomb, fire sticky bomb, decoy and shock trap. These pieces of tech were fan favorites of the original, and they're finally making a return.
The confrontation with these bosses will have the associated skills attached to them, Rechner said. For example, the boss Theo Parnell will have decoy and players will have to fight his holograms. They'll be tricked into attacking the wrong area so that Parnell can flank them from the side or behind.
Rechner says the boss fights will be epic, and the confrontations fall somewhere between the Tidal Basin and Washington airport mission. It'll be more involved than the mission near the National Mall but less complex than the 8-player raid.
When it comes to the world, lower Manhattan will offer something a little new and little old for fans. Players will encounter the Cleaners and the Rikers factions, but they aren't the same as the versions encountered in the original. A lot has happened in New York since the holidays. A hurricane hit the area and the disaster has taken a toll on the island.
Lower Manhattan was formerly a Dark Zone and players can see the telltale signs with the body bags and broken walls. The factions have updated AI and react more like the enemies in "The Division 2," Rechner said. The Last Man Battalion also makes an appearance, but elements of the Black Tusks has been added to it.
At the heart of all this is Haven. That's the players' home base and it's run by Paul Rhodes, a Joint Task Force operative from the first game. He has set up a thriving settlement and players will have to earn his trust by partly taking over eight control points from rival factions in the region.
Although "Warlords of New York Content" is filled with plenty of new content, Ubisoft worked on other parts of "The Division 2" as well. Players will fine a major overhaul to the end game and gear mechanics.
"We are proud of the RPG elements of the game," Rechner said, but at the same time, he said the developers saw the flaws in it. "That depth while it really connected with the core players. It created complexity that created friction points."
What that means is that players ended up hoarding gear and not knowing whether one piece of China Light was significantly better than the other. The team simplified that by letting players keep all the talents and stats from a gear piece and store it in the recalibration bench.
"Players spent more time with inventory than in the game," he said. With the change, players just need to find the right gear and they can move those stats or talents over to the bench. He compared the process to a Pokedex. Players hunt for the best stats and keep it and toss the equipment the way or add a talent to another armor set.
If players get a perfect piece, they can keep its stats forever. The only caveat is that the talents and stats are limited to the same piece of gear. Players can't put a holster talent on a backpack or a glove stat on a face mask. Not surprisingly, exotic gear and other unique equipment are exempt from this.
This one change will improve the quality of life for all players. They can clear out their storage without fear that they may be deleting a piece that will be important in the future.
Along with that update, players will also have to look for new gear now that the developers are raising the level cap to 40. The concepts of World Tiers will be gone and the developers are introducing three-month seasons to "The Division 2." Players will have a manhunt, where they look for one high-value target each period. In addition, the developers will bring back global events and tack on the idea of leagues, in which players have to beat quests under a set time.
If they're looking for more of a challenge, players can add modifiers before a mission in order to earn better rewards on completion. An example of this is turning off armor regeneration. That will increase the difficulty when players face new foes like tougher Black Tusk variants. That layer of difficulty is added on top of new one called Legendary and option to take back all the Control Points in a living world and reset it back. Those are for folks who are addicted to the grind.
Lastly, the Dark Zones will be getting a makeover, but no new ones are being added. The same three areas will be present in the game, but this time around, the rules will be uniform.
"One of the things we wanted to do with the Dark Zones is that we wanted to recapture some of what made it so good in the original 'Division,'" Rechner said. "The focus is on one-on-one interaction. It's about going in to find great loot and extract loot."
With this in mind, the developers changed how experience points are awarded in the lawless area. Now, players earn points through player-vs-player interactions. If players extract loot, they get XP and if they go rogue and kill another player, they earn it as well. On the flip side, players can earn XP for helping others. They can revive a fallen stranger or hunt rogue agents.
"One of the guiding principles for the Dark Zones is that it's for the wolves not the sheep," Rechner said. "It's for the people who are ready for PvP. We want to cater to that audience."
"Episode 3 -- Coney "sland: The Hunt" launches on "Tom Clancy's The Division 2" on Feb. 12 for all Year 1 pass holders on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. It will be available to all players Feb. 19.
The "Warlords of New York" expansion comes out March 3 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. "The Division 2" and the expansion will come out on Stadia later in March.
This article is written by Gieson Cacho from Mercury News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.