I used to love long Division

Yep, me too. Every day. More than once. I even try to start the game every few days (preordered on XB1).

Tom Clancy’s The Division has become the first game in a long time that I’ve become a little obsessed with its upcoming release. News, forums, I’ve probably seen all the footage currently accessible online and with the beta almost certain to drop this month – fingers crossed for this weekend – I thought I’d write a few of the more intriguing parts of the beta.

The release
There has been an unconfirmed beta date of January 29th. Some will be happy that it’s finally arrived, others frustrated it’s not sooner, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it drops earlier. The beta stage of any game is to highlight any major problems with the game, mechanics, bugged missions and, being online, server capabilities. Having just over a month to consolidate and fix high priority bugs is no mean feat and every week Massive have between close of beta and actual release (8th March) will make for a more finished product. Time will tell for this one.

Beta onwards
Beta characters will not carry across to release. No big news here and I for one find this a benefit in that the beta character is a way to try some skills or invest in different playstyles without the worry of fellow agents meticulously planning their spec or loadouts. Every online rpg/mmo has followed the same rules in the past but don’t think of it as a waste. There’s also mention of some small reward for beta players which, although maybe just a vanity item, is always a little bonus.

Open World
Not the first game to do this, but it will be interesting to see how open it really is, particularly with zoning and when in a group. Fallout has managed a ridiculously large area you can run around in without having to load up areas, but entering any secondary building or zone needs a loading of that area. Destiny on the other hand has complete freedom once loaded albeit on a smaller scale for the different planets. Areas are also still zoned and when grouped can be difficult know exactly where your fellow guardians are other than a general direction. From what we’ve seen of entering the Dark Zone, it seems pretty seamless. What I’m interested in is party tracking across larger areas, knowing where you squad are and if there are still zoned areas – loading to enter a particular mission etc.

Gear types
Being an RPG, of course there’s loot. It follows the standard tiering of gear rarity – blue, purple, orange for rare, legendary and exotic gear respectively) but what is interesting is the level at which these items drop. Footage shows plenty of legendaries in the DZ and even exotics dropping as low as level 12.
For those that haven’t listened to the podcasts exotics are not like the many previous mmo/rpg games out there where they are usually named and with fixed stats. Instead, base damage and aesthetics will be the only similarities with any additional starts and perks being rolled rng style. As an example, you could get two of the same named exotic pistol but one may have hp stealing and extra crit while the other has increased range and chance to stun. The list of perks and set bonuses (which have been mentioned) are being kept under wraps but expect reload speed, ammo/clip size, range, crit damage, resistance buffing and additional threat as the baseline bonuses.

That’s it for this post, another on the way looking at the triage and group setup.

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