The Division 2 is kicking off its second year in a big way with the massive Warlords of New York expansion. On a narrative level, agents will be taken back to where it all began, hitting Lower Manhattan in search of rogue agent Aaron Keener and his newly recruited lieutenants.
But besides new narrative content to play and new locations to explore, Warlords of New York signals the start of some pretty significant changes to how the game is played. One such mechanic affected is the leveling system, which is getting a shake-up that can be a little confusing to understand.
It confused me at first, so I've dug deeper and while it's not exactly straight forward, it's not as complicated as some may feel.
How leveling currently works
All players in year one of The Division 2 experienced the same goal when it came to leveling up. Throughout the campaign, you progress towards level 30 and then into the endgame. In the endgame a whole new portion of the game begins, you're dumped into World Tier I and have to progress towards World Tier V.
In the endgame system, you're also leveling up your gear at each World Tier, reaching a certain mark before you can take on the missions you need to beat in order to progress to the next tier, ultimately working towards the gear score cap of 500 at World Tier V.
So that's how it's been through the first year and for some players, some of the time, it'll stay mostly the same as this.
New gear score cap for all players in D.C.
When Warlords of New York launches, the accompanying title update will add a new gear score cap of 515, so all existing players will have a new grind to get on with on the streets of D.C.
But, and this is where things start to get a little confusing, this only applies to Washington and all of the year one content for the game. So, players not buying the new content have a new cap to work towards and new builds to put together. If you're going off to the expansion, however, there's an entirely new, different level system in play.
Warlords of New York has a new level cap
Players who go into the new expansion will be immediately put back on level 30, the point they ended the campaign at in the base game. The level cap here is 40, which you'll work towards as you play through the new campaign. Enemies will now show the level number over their heads again between 30 and 40 as they did during the initial campaign.
Whatever your gear score is in Washington no longer applies. You'll still have access to your loadouts and you'll still earn new loot, but the level system to 40 takes over and the gear score goes away.
Warlords of New York also has its own endgame when you reach 40 and finish the campaign. Field Proficiency caches are now replaced by SHD levels every time you fill up your level bar, and you'll be able to unlock permanent new skills to attach to your characters.
So, in short, you'll have a different level in New York. For long-serving players, in particular, this shouldn't prove to be too much of a hassle since you'll be in the endgame in both areas but having bought the expansion you'll be building SHD levels instead.
It may feel somewhat convoluted but ultimately it will ensure fairness across both people who buy the new expansion and those who don't. There will be some compatibility issues, for example, a level 30 player can't join a level 40 activity, though level 40 players will still be able to join lower level players and their world will scale accordingly.
In the raid, there will be two tiers going forward, a level 30 raid and a level 40 raid.
The level 30 boost
One new feature Ubisoft has introduced to tie in with Warlords of New York is a level 30 boost. If you pre-order the expansion you get one free boost to use on a character, or you can buy them in the in-game store. What this does is bump any non-level 30 characters up to the level cap for the base game and the starting point for the expansion.
What this means is that new players that haven't played the existing content or those who simply didn't finish it and hit level 30 are able to jump into the new expansion without the requirement to first grind the original campaign first.
You'll also get given some gear at gear score 500, so you're well equipped to get started as well as get going towards that new cap at 515.
Warlords of New York due out on March 3
The Division 2 Warlords of New York expansion is due to launch on March 3 on Xbox, PC, and PS4. Early pre-orders will get a bonus level 40 weapon and some in-game apparel as well as a free level 30 boost to use on an in-game character.
As we get closer to launch hopefully we'll start to get some of the finer details ironed out on what to expect.
Happy hunting, agents.
The Division 2: Warlords of New York brings a pack new expansion, with story missions that will see players hunting down the rogue agent Aaron Keener.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine