Ubisoft has revealed that gamers will soon be able to get a taste for The Division when its closed beta goes live later this month. Kicking off on January 28th for Xbox One and January 29 for PS4 and PC, the beta will be run until January 31th. The developer has opened up a waitlist for those wishing to join the beta. For guaranteed access however, players can pre-order the game on their respective platform.
According to Ubisoft, players will be permitted to play through a few of The Division's "early story driven missions" as well as the portion of the game's map known as the Dark Zone; a PvP enabled area where players will be able to team up with - and turn against - other players in the pursuit of some of the game's best loot.
Recently a number of outlets within the gaming press where allotted time to preview what appeared to be a near finished build of the game.
Scott Butterworth of Gamespot highlights what a number of previewers felt, that The Division is as much of an RPG as the developers have suggested. Such elements might even be more prevalent then its more shooter-like components. Unlike your typical shooter average enemies are capable of withstanding a tremendous amount of damage; the game's number heavy HUD exemplifies this by constantly displaying health bars and damage indicators.
The Division is aiming to scratch the same "loot and grind" itch that titles like Destiny and the Borderlands series have scratched in recent years. Players are afforded the ability to upgrade several pieces of their equipment, modify weapons, as well as breakdown such gear to use in the game's crafting system.
This flexibility apparently extends to game's skill system. Like in many RPG's The Division's skill tree is segmented into different branches - in this case Security, Medical, and Technology - but players are not forced to make any hard or irreversible class decisions. Instead players decide which two skills they want active, allowing for players to adapt to different circumstances and scenarios. Other modifiers like talents and perks are earned by upgrading one's base or completing certain missions. Up to four perks can be equipped at any time, but their effects appear to be more passive.
While the game may have some of the trappings of an MMO - mainly in the form of Destiny like social hubs - The Division does not adhere strictly to that formula. Players can choose to wander most of this desolate version of Manhattan alone or with up to three others in co-op. The world will not be constantly brimming with other players.
As Ubisoft recently clarified, that world will be made up entirely of a "1-to-1 recreation" [of Midtown Manhattan]. Eddie Makuch of Gamespot reported that despite previously demoing gameplay set within Brooklyn the borough will not be included at launch. Creative Director of Ubisoft Massive, Magnus Jansen, has previously stated that The Division will have both post launch DLC, as well as free updates. It remains to be seen if that might entail adding Brooklyn or other areas of New York City to the game. After a series of delays, The Division is set for release on Tuesday March 8th.