The Division 2 has been on the market for almost exactly a year. Since then, players from around the world have fought against various factions for supremacy in Washington D.C. fought. The story of the invasion of the high-tech but mysterious Black Tusk and the search for a cure for dollar flu has been continued by developers over the past few months through three free-of-charge episode DLCs. With gripping gameplay, an excellently designed game world and new ideas such as the first raid in series history, Massive Loot-Shooter is one of the best in its field.
But the truth is that not everything is rosy in the world of the Strategic Homeland Division. Players criticize the lack of variety in the content and an opaque and unrewarding item system. From the official statements from publisher Ubisoft, it can be seen that The Division 2, despite its quality, could not quite meet the expectations placed in the game. At the beginning of the second year there is now Warlords of New York and thus for the first time a major expansion with a number of new contents and an accompanying system update that, among other things, is changing the item system.
For this start to a new phase in the life cycle of The Division 2, the developers are remembering the predecessor. Eight months after the outbreak of dollar flu in New York City and our struggle to maintain order in snow-covered Manhattan, we are now returning to the island between the Hudson and the East River in midsummer. With the first breakaway division agent Aaron Keener, an old adversary from the predecessor has reappeared on the scene. Together with other rogue agents, he has brought Lower Manhattan under his control and is now threatening to finally kill the city with a new kind of bio-weapon.
Source: PC games
Our job is to find and shut down Aaron Keener's four lieutenants in the four boroughs of Civic Center, Two Bridges, Battery Park and Financial District, in order to track down Keener himself. To do this, we conduct short surveys in each of the areas by visiting relevant locations and talking to NPCs. This quickly leads to the main mission of an area. These are very varied and offer many exciting discussions with the cleaners and rikers, the two groups returning from the predecessor. For example, we fight our way through an underground botanical garden and a stranded oil tanker.
In general, on the southern tip of New York, it can be seen again that the Ubisoft studios have mastered the construction of excellent and detailed game worlds like no other developer. Whether it is sights such as the City Hall, Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street or simply the countless streets and alleys in the canyons of Manhattan, New York exudes a very special atmosphere, which is not the case with the wide streets and low buildings of Washington is comparable. Instead of the snow from the predecessor, there are now significantly more plants and, above all, an even clearer destruction, which was caused mainly by a hurricane that struck the city around the south. Here we see roads buried under layers of mud or still standing under water. In this world, the remaining residents are fighting for survival just like in Washington. We encounter activities like resource convoys, checkpoints, propaganda facilities and more everywhere.
Source: PC games
Of course, as always, all the fights and activities are primarily about loot. For the expansion, the developers have completely revised The Item 2's item system. Of course, these changes also affect all players who do not have the add-on. The items, their attributes and talents, the different brand sets, i.e. everything that is related to your own equipment, has been structured more clearly and is now much easier to understand. So we can see at a glance which quality certain values have on our objects. The set bonuses of the different brands are clearly geared towards certain playing styles, which enables us to put together our equipment in a much more targeted manner.
Source: PC games
The revision of the recalibration also helps. This is the mechanics with which individual values of an object can be exchanged for another or better value of another object. The actual process was not really changed, but the availability of corresponding attributes and talents was significantly simplified by a library. We now extract certain values from objects that we do not need into a central database. The item in question is destroyed, but the attribute is available for recalibration at any time. The whole thing works similarly to the permanently available collection of weapon mods. This eliminates the annoying hoarding of items and makes it much easier to make targeted improvements to objects.
This aspect should also play into the developers' goal to make the loot feel more like a reward again. Even if you don't want to carry an item, you might be able to use it to improve your database of values. The only question is how long this effect lasts. Because at some point we saved the best attributes in our library and wear well-optimized objects on our bodies. Here the developers definitely have to add new sets, exotic items and maybe even the introduction of new talents. So it's always worth experimenting with new builds.
The level cap has been increased from 30 to 40 so that it is really worth collecting items again. We already easily reach the new maximum level during the approximately 15-hour campaign, but as usual for the genre, the game really starts for many afterwards. In order to make the so-called end game even more interesting and motivating for longer, the developers have thought a lot. Experience points that we earn after reaching the maximum level no longer serve to dust off a field box with equipment from time to time.
Source: PC games
Instead, these points now flow into a new so-called SHD ranking system. It works similarly to Diablo 3's Paragon system. This means that every time we level up again, we get a point in one of the five categories of attack, defense, skill, action and looting. There we invest these points in small bonuses on various values such as weapon damage, armor value, skill duration, ammunition stock and much more. However, the increase in value is rather small per increase. The system is clearly geared towards long-term players, who can invest a lot of points over time to reward themselves with clearer bonuses.
Another source of additional reward and motivation during the endgame are the so-called seasons. These always take place for three months and during this time set different goals for the player every week. There are unique rewards to complete the deal. In addition, each season has its own progress system in which we can advance to the season level regardless of the SHD ranks. For each level we earn new equipment, weapons and other useful items. All of this together ensures that there is no motivation to regularly participate in The Division 2's endgame. For those for whom the rewards are not yet sufficient, there will also be a season pass for sale every season, which also grants bonuses such as cosmetic items, color skins and resources with every climb. In the first season, which has already started, this pass is still free of charge, in the rest of the season it will cost around ten euros each.
Source: PC games
As great as the new content is and how useful it is to improve the game systems, the problems that came with the expansion to The Division 2 are a shame. For example, there is the balancing that still needs some clear adjustments. Whether wanted or unwanted, the developers have attracted the difficulty with Warlords of New York even at low difficulty levels. Even with new level 40 equipment and more than a million armor points, we often feel like we're out of paper when we are faced with the simplest opponents in a fraction of
Source: PC games
Bring seconds to the brink of decay. In return, enemies endure much more, which brings back the tiresome discussion about too much spherical sponges from the first part. Many character values such as armor, damage and others between levels 30 and 40 have almost quadrupled due to the new equipment. However, these numbers don't mean much if that doesn't translate into the feel of the game, where we feel weaker than ever. The question then arises as to why there was this clear boost at all.
We really doubted the balance in the final battle of the campaign, which we could not easily cope with. It took several exhausting attempts, both as a lone wolf and in groups of four, before we could finally defeat the final boss. Now The Division 2 is of course supposed to be a tactically challenging game in which equipment and builds play an important role. But that shouldn't really be the focus of the story difficulty. There are the higher levels like "Difficult", "Challenging", "Heroic" and now "Legendary". Above all because The Division has always boasted that you can enjoy the story content as a single player without any problems. This premise is at least in danger with the add-on.
Another big problem with the expansion is the technology, at least in the console versions of the game. Since the first part, streaming the snowdrop engine has been a problem that often led to late loading objects and textures. With the main game of The Division 2, the developers of Massive had the whole thing a little better under control, so that it was at a very bearable level. With the add
Source: PC games
but you seem to have taken a step back. Objects are often seen as a deformed, mushy something even at close range before meshes and textures are loaded properly. With the PS4, it doesn't really matter whether you play on the normal console or the Pro version.
This time, the engine's problems also extend to the soundscape of the game. Missing sound effects are the order of the day. This begins with the barely or imperceptible sound of reloading your own weapons and extends to NPC groups that fire at each other without a single shot being heard. Occasionally, the effects are played with a significant delay. Also radio messages, about which a lot of the narrative is conveyed in The Divison 2, are either not triggered at all, start while you are still on the loading screen, so that you miss the beginning, or are cut off at the end.
As I said, this applies above all to the consoles. In the PC version of The Division 2, these problems occur less or not at all, depending on the strength of the computer. But there are also some other shortcomings. So the PS4 version crashed us very often, especially when logging out. With the PC version you should make sure that all drivers on your computer, especially the graphics card, are up to date. Otherwise there may be crashes while the game is running. Some of the launch issues, such as game server connectivity issues, locked characters, and banned story NPCs that you couldn't interact with as required, have been fixed by developers. A few extra weeks of fine-tuning would have done the expansion well. Because all of the problems mentioned distract from the fact that Warlords of New York essentially offers many good approaches. The good campaign, the improved item system and the motivating season endgame all contribute to the fact that The Division 2 wins overall. But given the shortcomings mentioned, the rating of the expansion falls below the grade of the main game.