Fight for New York: An Interview With Nick Scurr About ‘The Division 2: Warlords of New York’


This week, Ubisoft unveiled Warlords of New York, an expansion to its popular looter-shooter, The Division 2. The add-on brings the series full circle by once again having the action take place in New York City. Despite the familiar location from the original game, Warlords of New York delivers a ton of new content and gameplay enhancements that will satisfy both veteran players and newcomers.

During the same San Francisco-based event where I played Warlords of New York, I had the chance to interview Nick Scurr, who is a producer at Ubisoft Leamington. We discuss the expansion’s setting, its main villains, and the new threat they pose. I also ask Nick about how Warlords of New York will reel in players (such as myself) who may have dropped The Division 2 months ago.

Why return to New York City?

It’s a very important location for the history of The Division. A lot of our players feel really strongly about that initial setting. During the course of The Division 1, there were unresolved story threads and some hints as to what was going on with Aaron Keener.

The agents are there to clean up some of their messes since Keener was one of their own. There’s a desire on their part to clean this up and reestablish their standing as a force for good. That’s quite hard when you have someone out there threatening the society that you’re trying to rebuild and protect.

We really wanted to take players back to NYC and see what happened in the eight months since the initial outbreak. It’s a very different time of year. This was a former Dark Zone, a brand-new area inside Manhattan. It’s not somewhere players have ever had access to before. You’re going to see new locations like Wall Street and Two Bridges. People also want to see more of Aaron Keener and what he’s been up to and actually take him on. We’re giving players the opportunity to do that through this manhunt. First by taking down his network of rogue agent lieutenants and equipping their gear to utilize in the final battle against Keener.

Gameplay-wise, how is lower Manhattan different from midtown from the first game? What new and returning gameplay elements can people expect?

This is a brand-new location with its own iconic landmarks. A storm has ravaged this former Dark Zone and opened it up to the rest of the island.

We made a lot of improvements in The Division 2 in terms of our living world system. A lot of the random activities you saw taking place in Washington D.C. are now happening in New York as well. We’re utilizing some of the returning factions like the Rikers and the Cleaners who haven’t sat still in the eight months after the outbreak. They’ve upgraded their gear and their weapons and the way they fight so it’s going to present a fresh challenge for players.

What enhancements does Warlords of New York feature?

Coming alongside Warlords of New York — and this is something that’s available to all players — we’re doing a massive overhaul of the RPG system. We’re very proud of the game when it came out but we did listen to the community a lot and interacted with them through live streams and Reddit. People said it was too complicated for them to see what their best gear pieces were and it was hard to make skill builds and builds other than just damage per second.

So we’re removing the stat budget system and have god rolls again. Players can focus on max damage and max skills on one piece of gear (for example). If you find gear that has one particular god roll on one piece, you can break that down and store it in the stat library via our stat recalibration system upgrade. You can apply that stat to any pieces of armor that you might find. We’re effectively allowing players to make skill builds viable again. We’re not locking skills behind skill power anymore. We’ve simplified it into a skill tier system. You can clearly see if you apply something to armor it’ll bump you up the skill tier to get you closer to unlocking over-powered skills.

Talking about skills, each of the rogue agent lieutenants is a SHD agent and they’ve been developing their own tech so they each have a new skill that they’re bringing to the game. Once you defeat them you can take their gear and turn the tide against the remaining agents and Keener himself.

What’s going on with Black Tusk? Will we have to deal with them again?

They’re a big part of Episode 3: The Hunt — Coney Island, where we start to seed some of what’s going to happen in Warlords of New York. If you’ve seen the trailer you might have seen hints of Keener there. They’re certainly still around and if you play through the manhunt campaign of Warlords of New York there might be a few surprises there for players.

What can you tell me about the new raid? It seems pretty exciting from the little bit you showed.

We’re giving players new tools and new gear. We’re raising the level cap from 30 to 40 and then introducing a new infinite progression system. Once you’ve got all that, once you’re happy with your build, you need something to really test that out on. Later in the Spring, we’re going to release the second raid where you’re facing off against the True Sons. That’s going to be available at level 40 to those players who have the expansion and reached the endgame, as well as players who are level 30 and world tier 5. We’ll talk more about the raid when we get closer to launch. It’s safe to say it’s going to be our hardest content yet and we’re looking forward to seeing players with their new builds try to tackle it. We’ll be watching the live streams.

How closely do you watch live streams of The Division 2?

I and other people who work on this game are always watching people when new content comes out. We want to see how players are reacting. Who can beat it first? Who’s coming up with great builds? I’ve found some stuff even outside the game like amazing cosplay.

Do any of the things you see in live streams help inform what you may put into the game later on?

Yeah. Sometimes. But at the end of the day, we have our own vision for what we want to do with the game so we don’t lean too much into that. But it’s always cool to see the creativity of the people that love the franchise.

What can you tell me about Seasons?

Around a week after Warlords of New York comes out we’re going to launch Seasons and there’s a lot of events in there. When you get to the endgame of The Division 2, it can sometimes be quite overwhelming since there’s so much to do. Players want to know what they can do that’s going to reward them for the time they’re putting in.

Having Seasons gives players a calendar of what to expect so they can see what’s coming up for the next three months. For example, there may be a global event they’ll want to be sure to play and gain its rewards. We’re not talking about the remaining Seasons because we want to see how players are going to react to this Season first. That’s where we’re at at the moment. Warlords and Season 1.

Lastly, how will Warlords of New York bring lapsed players back into The Division 2?

If you’re currently a level 30 player who’s world tier 5 and you got all the exotics, and all the hunter masks, this expansion is going to give you a whole new toolbox to play with. You’ll get a whole new area to find secrets, play missions, and brand-new endgame as well. There’s so much there for players that as soon as they start they’re going on a journey to get their agent to the top level again. And when that’s done the raid’s going to release to challenge those players further.

The Division 2: Warlords of New York releases on March 3 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.