Divinity: Original Sin 2
I've always been fascinated with tabletop miniatures. Unfortunately, cost and time get in the way of painting and longer session wargaming. As a result, I'm always on the lookout for experiences that capture the miniature gaming ethos without the physical version's high investment.
When Divinity: Original Sin II ships, it will include a competitive multiplayer mode in which players can square off against friends in short arena encounters. Teams of two, three, or four heroes battle on pre-configured maps that include treasure chests, empowering source points, and deadly exploding and poison barrels.
Divinity's most important combat feature is the way map elements and spells interact for unique and potent combinations. By itself, poison can splash an area. However, toss it onto a surface engulfed in flames and you'll create a poison cloud as the goop evaporates into vapor form.
Source puddles can be used to infuse heroes with the ability to use extremely powerful skills, so you'll always have a good idea of what players will beeline toward. Treasure chests can reveal crucial items like resurrection scrolls, which could easily turn the tide of battle.
The new ability to bless or curse heroes and the ground on which they stand can drastically alter the flow of combat. Blessing a burning area will turn the flames holy, healing any hero standing within them. Cursing the blaze will make it such that it can't be doused with rain. Chaining together abilities, explosions, and environmental hazards makes for an exhilarating match that can turn on a dime.
Using abilities that teleport or swap hero locations well complements the new emphasis on verticality. The higher above a foe you are, the greater the range and damage you'll inflict. Jockeying for position is more important than it was in Divinity: Original Sin.
All of this comes together in a way that made me feel as if I was moving pieces around a gaming table complete with intricate terrain. These competitive interludes are likely to be fleshed out thanks to Larian's support of mods.
It's unclear right now just how deep the PvP mode will be, but I suspect that intrepid community modders will make the experience more robust over time. While Divinity: Original Sin II is largely a solo or cooperative RPG campaign experience, the multiplayer comes across as a delightful complement rather than a tacked-on afterthought.