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Closed Beta Preview

Previews By Michael Bitton on April 27, 2012

Divina is a vibrantly colorful free-to-play MMO from the folks at Gamania. We recently had an opportunity to check out the game ahead of its closed beta and we’ll be talking about our experiences in what is actually an interesting little game.

Players in Divina will play the role of time-traveling heroes tasked with preventing the Ragnarok, which has killed Yggdrasil, the World Tree. You’ll be able to select from a variety of different classes in Divina, including the Assassin, Cleric, Knight, Machinist, and Sorcerer.

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We picked Assassin for our demo, though it’s important to note that Divina employs an interesting quick change system that allows players to choose a second class from the aforementioned list and switch between them in combat (this costs ‘EP’ points, however!).  I was a bit confused by this at first and ended up picking Assassin again as my secondary class, but it turns out this is a totally viable way of doing things. Picking the same class twice will allow you to basically store two different builds or use the same build twice to basically refresh your HP since each of your two classes have their own stats, including health and mana.

Combat in Divina is generally your typical hotkey MMO combat, though the animations are fun to watch and cartoony, complete with comic-book style fly text. My Assassin had a number of elemental abilities that could be activated using a special resource (outside of mana) replenished by striking mobs in combat.  The Assassin felt like a really mobile class with an array of flurry-esque attacks and elemental attacks at his disposal. I also had stealth, though I didn’t really find much use for it outside of positioning.

If being able to switch between two classes in Divina doesn’t add enough variety for you, you can also take the form of monsters found in the world. Killing certain monsters may reward you with their card (and concept art!), which is stored in what is basically a big bestiary broken down by game region called the Creature Tome. Activating the monster card in the Tome will allow you to take the form of the creature for 30 minutes, utilizing your own skills while doing so, and depending on the monster, also unlocking some unique skills appropriate to the creature.

Gear is handled a bit differently in Divina as well. Instead of equipping pieces of armor to your character for stat bonuses, you’ll earn pieces to slot into your Divine Wheel, which is comprised of a central piece surrounded by five slots. In short, your stats are separate from your looks, which is turning out to be a trend with MMOs these days that this particular writer can definitely get behind.

Divina also has a neat sidekick system. Players can acquire a variety of sidekicks to use in combat that will level up, learn skills, and can even be equipped with gear. These sidekicks can also be set to accomplish certain tasks such as mine for resources, similar to SWTOR’s Crew Skills system. At the moment, once you commit a sidekick to a task (the game will inform you how long he will be away) you won’t be able to abort the task.

The real stand-out feature of Divina, and this was completely unexpected, was the game’s domain and guild domain system. It’s kind of a game within a game and the interface is a bit similar to a strategy game of sorts. As you play, you’ll be able to gather resources and build out your personal domain with a variety of functional structures. This functionality is then extended further with guild domains. Guild domains allow guilds to work on development projects that require members’ pooled resources to complete. Ultimately, this plays into one final related feature: the guild hinterlands.

The guild hinterlands screen consists of a view of Divina’s world map dotted with a number of landmarks for each zone split into ‘special bases’ and ‘instance bases’. Establishing special bases in a particular zone will allow a guild to set certain buffs for all members who are playing in that zone, while unlocking an instance base will allow guild members to tackle a number of special instances.

Given only a cursory glance, Divina could be confused for just another cartoony free-to-play MMO, but if you take the time to explore the game’s features, you may find a lot more depth and content than expected. Divina is definitely a little game to keep a close eye on, especially if you’re the type of player that loves working together as a guild towards a common goal.  

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