Maestia Closed Beta Preview
Maestia, at first glance, feels like a familiar, middle-aged MMORPG, similar to Rohan Online or Shaiya, with a little touch of Aika Online thrown in. In fact, Maestia does have a history: developed by Roc Works and originally published in Japan as Homage (and then Homage Genesis) in 2009, it then found publishers in Europe under Bigpoint (and now, Alaplaya). Now, Maestia is coming to North America through Gravity Interactive. Although it’s a few years old, Maestia is certainly ready for its new western debut, and MMOHut got a sneak peek in the game’s closed beta.
One of the more impressive mechanics in Maestia’s arsenal is the weapon swap feature. Every character and class can equip two weapons in two different weapon “slots.” These weapons can then be switched at any time – even in combat (as long as a skill isn’t being used) – by using a hotkey. This lets players tap into the full set of skills and weapons they can use, particularly warriors (who can swap between a two-hander and a sword/shield combo) and rangers (who can swap between bows and daggers). Since this creates a major dynamic in each class, Maestia’s extensive skill trees support this mechanic. For example, the ranger’s skill tree choices benefit both dagger and bow within the same choice; there is no sacrifice of melee for ranged (or vice versa).
Another of Maestia’s unique systems is the pin board. Every NPC, monster, item, and even player character has its own unique “pin board.” This board is an in-game, one-way message system in which all players on a server can make notes about the thing or person in question. Any player can access these pinned notes to read more. The game helpfully suggests this is used for offering players tips on how to beat monsters or complete quests, but we can’t help but think players will use this notes system to make some less than “helpful” notes of their own.
Mercenaries are another go-to system of Maestia. Players can hire mercenaries in town, and in other locations (such as dungeons), with appropriate levels to match the character. Mercenaries come in the same four class flavors that players do, so this gives you a chance to find a character that complements your playstyle. However, mercenaries follow the player around but act on their own; don’t expect to order your warrior friend to attack the boss while you wait to safely attack later.
Maestia is full of quests, some of which are scattered throughout the world’s zones. The rest, however, are found in the game’s prayer system. In this system, players pray to seek guidance (using the z key or an icon in the user interface). Here, dozens of quests send players on missions to help the divine while seeking favor. You’ll find that when interacting with NPCs, the world takes on a tone similar to that of Aika – you’ll go into an interactive letterbox scene to interact with NPCs. Maestia does a lot of story-telling this way, and story-telling is something Maestia seems to be good at.
Maestia also features Heavenly Tears and Maestones. Maestones are like gem systems in other games; maestones can be socketed into active and passive slots for the character, boosting stats and skills to help players further customize and focus their character. Heavenly Tears are a loot item, often got through quests, that are a little like their own gacha balls. These tears can be upgraded to a higher level in a game of chance where you must pick one of two possible outcomes and pay a fee. Higher level tears grant better loot when players decide to open them. Opening a gacha opens a single “slots reel” window, where players must click “Stop” and hope that the wheel lands on some useful loot. While early level Tears can grant moderate loot, high level epic loot can be gotten on even the third tear level. You can also identify gear and purchase buffs at the game’s various Altars, and the game also features a crafting system.
After playing around in low-and-high-level quests, watching some arena PvP (it wasn’t pretty), and getting some time alone in the desert with some unfriendly looking trees, it’s pretty safe to say that Maestia is a game that feels like a familiar old MMORPG, with some in-depth systems and extra bells and whistles to keep you occupied. The world is beautifully constructed and the storyline carries well as you quest. While we weren’t able to get a feel for the competitive nature of the game just yet (Maestia features faction warfare), or see what the game’s item shop has to offer, it seems Maestia will be a solid addition to Gravity Interactive’s WarpPortal.
More Maestia Screenshots: