Devilian, at least at first glance, seems like “just another import MMO”. But, to toss this little gem of an ARPG aside with such a cursory summation would be silly. Devilian is the MMO for people who always wished Diablo was an MMO. It begins with the simplest of questing mechanics, and then layers in systems in a way that has you soon realizing you’ve stayed up too late in the pursuit of better gear, more levels, better talismans, and on and on. There’s a lot to like here, if you give it the chance it deserves.
Whenever anyone asks me how I’d describe Devilian, I simply say it’s like Diablo and TERA got together and made a little MMO baby. I don’t know how or why they fornicated, perhaps it had something to do with one too many Lemon Drops or cans of Okocim, but I do know that I’m appreciating the result. As I work through the game’s 52 current levels and myriad systems, there’s one main thing that has me worried: I love Diablo and Path of Exile, but even the seasons and the interesting mechanics they bring don’t hook me once I’ve completed the game’s leveling content. Ergo, with the brisk pace of leveling in Devilian (thanks to Founder’s package elective boosts I managed to hit 22 in just a couple of hours Tuesday night), I’m worried that when I hit the cap I won’t find a reason to stick around.
However, that is a worry I’ll have to face when I arrive at said juncture. For now, I’m having way too much fun leveling my Spellsword Berserker. I’ve run three dungeons, which are incredibly quick to peel through, progressed through several areas, and played a bit of 20v20 Devilian form PVP as well. Devilian form is where the game obviously gets its name. You play one of four classes (Shadow Hunter, Cannoneer, Berserker, and Evoker), and all are half-human, half-devil demigods. When the meter in between your health and skill resource pool fills far enough you can press V and turn into a Devilian. This is basically like your class on steroids. You change your looks dramatically too, and your Devilian form has its own set of gear, skills, and stats to tweak. It only lasts so long, but can mean the difference between life and death on tougher mobs.
In Devilian PVP, you’re locked in Devilian form and fighting against a team of 20 other players. There are non-Devilian form modes of PVP as well, which can be just as fun since you’re actually competing with the build you play most of the game with. Win or lose, you’ll get a crate of goods to help your character, plus XP for competing. Recently in the closed beta periods, Trion (the publisher) and Bluhole Ginno (the developer) added a method of open world PVP as well. The servers are built on channels, and some of the channels are marked for Devilian War conquest. The early zones don’t seem to have this mode of play, but later zones can be taken control of and the Guild who controls a zone the longest each week will gain rewards. It was a ton of fun in the beta, and I can’t wait to try it out for real to see if holds up as a reason to play in the long term.
I’m level 22 as of this writing, and I have to say if there’s one thing that bugs me still about Devilian, aside from it’s terribly bland (but passable) questing, it’s that it’s been entirely easy. There have been a couple of boss fights that gave me pause, but the general act of roving around the world and killing mobs poses little threat. As others have stated in various channels I visit, it’s like the first 40 or so levels of Devilian are on training wheels, and by the endgame Archdevil dungeons the difficulty definitely spikes. I hope this is true, as so far I’m worried Devilian’s ease of content will have most players leaving after a couple of weeks. There's an alternate advancement system and other such progression at the top, but I need to get there before I can evaluate how much they help my urge to sick around.
I named him Taco, for he was precious.
Still, there’s something here. As we look to the next generation of MMORPGs to bring back deep meaning, hugely complex systems, and advanced gameplay… there’s something unique about playing an MMO that’s unabashedly getting its kicks from mashing together two genres. You can log into Devilian after a long day’s work and just go to town on monsters or other players. The action is over the top, the controls are precise, and it plays just as well as some of the best ARPGs on the market. But what makes it stick is the fact that you’re in a world with hundreds or thousands of other players. It has the social aspect that makes the MMO my favorite genre, while giving me the visceral combat and loot hunting that I adore in Action RPGs. And that’s such a great combo, I’m not surprised to see many more games like Devilian coming down the pipe out of Korea.
There are still a lot of things for me to do in Devilian. Even though I bought my own way into the Founder’s Program, I purposefully kept from going much past level 25 in the alpha and betas. I wanted to save the bulk of the game for launch. I’m hooked for now. But I’ve been hooked on dozens of MMOs for a week or two. The key will be whether or not I’m still enjoying Devilian as we near a month in. Stay tuned for our full review when we can provide that answer.
EDIT: After I finished this article, I proceeded to level to 28, and gain access to the first Devilian War zone, Kafkas Canyon. This zone (and its suggested beginning level of 25) is where several new systems pop up: the Bulletin Board system, Infinite Hunting Grounds, Daily Quests, and the game's first dungeon with multiple floors. Not to mention, the Devilian War makes it essentially a Guild vs. Guild PVP zone if you switch to the proper channel (version) of the map. Look for info on those systems in our next article leading to the final review.