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Trion's New Game is an Action MMORPG

William Murphy Posted:
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Trion Worlds is pleased to announce the next game it’s bringing stateside as publisher, Bluehole Ginno’s Devilian Online.  Yes, the development studio behind TERA has a new game, and it’s an Action RPG in a persistent MMO world.  For the sake of not having to say that over and over, we’ll just call it an Action MMORPG. So, what’s Devilian Online all about, and where the heck did it come from? Read on to find out.

 First, let’s get this part out of the way: it’s already pretty localized, the Trion team has been playing it a lot internally (especially Scott Hartsman, according to producer Andrew Sipotz). The beta is coming soon, and they want to launch this one before the end of 2015.  In fact, you can sign up for beta right now, so it’s safe to assume we won’t be waiting long to get our hands on Devilian to see if it’s worth our time. It will be free to play as well, with the cash shop focusing on items like mounts, costumes, pets, and experience potions and the like.  There are even plenty of items that can be obtained only in game, not from the cash shop (of course this applies the other way as well).

There are four base classes, the Cannoneer, the Shadowhunter, the Berserker, and the Elementalist.  The classes are gender-locked, which is a bit of a bummer.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the game will add them, but Scott told me it would be down the road, not at launch. The Shadowhunter and Berserker are male, while the Cannoneer and Elementalist are female.  This may all seem pretty standard fare, but where Devilian sets its characters apart is in the Devilian mode itself: where players turn into demon or devil form and unleash the beast as it were.

Devilian mode is more than just an “ultimate” sort of super-charged buff for your character. It’s a completely separate form of your character that you must level up, kit with items, skills, and all of that. In PVP modes, you are always in Devilian Mode, while in PVE it’s more of a temporary buff that recharges as you defeat enemies.

Devilian form is like a secondary character you play as then, but that’s not the only way you get to customize your hero in the game. There’s a max level Alternate Advancement system (currently set at 50-ish, though the KR version is at 60) which lets you build and tweak stats in five additional trees to customize your character.  And alongside that, there are three skill trees per class with specific play-styles associated with each. You can mix and match or devote yourself to one.  With the internal servers at Trion, leveling takes about 100 hours or so to get to the cap, but they’re still working on pacing. Scott said he thinks the existing pace seems fine, but they’ve tried it with others so they’re still fine-tuning it. That’s part of what the closed beta will be for.

There’s also the Talisman system, which is additional to your regular armor and gear, which adds additional abilities to each character. It’s like a small deck of cards you carry with you, and you can only hold so many. So you have to pick and choose what works best for your build, while crafting and finding additional talismans as loot.

And lest you start thinking Devilian will be like Diablo, all about lobbies and linear content, worry not. The game has a traditional MMORPG world with huge sprawling zones, though it’s not a seamless world. You will “zone” between maps, and there is a capitol city where players tend to congregate during down time.  There are tons of group dungeons (regular group size is 3, with raids going up to 9 and PVP going to 20v20), smaller towns, and hunting regions that you can “auto-join” sort of like Rift’s Instant Adventures. Queue up, and get ported to a roving group hunting down monsters and taking on challenges. These are not segregated into 3 person groups, but rather large roving bands of players taking on all challenges.

Combat can be controlled either as WASD or traditional point and click mouse control.  Either worked really well from what we could see, but this wasn't a hands on demo, so we'll have to wait and see.  And of course, spacebar works as a dodge roll, adding additional mobility.  While Devilian is meant to be played from the 3D isometric view we’re used to in Diablo and Torchlight, you can zoom in to 3rd person view, spin the camera, and basically make it feel more like a traditional MMORPG.

In terms of social systems, there’s a pretty robust guild system in game, which also allows organized guild alliances so that you and other like-minded guilds can team up. What makes this even cooler is that you can also go to war against rival guilds, which then makes all members of that rival guild Kill-on-Sight. What makes this even cooler is that you can also wage arena battles against other guilds for bragging rights and other bonuses. Ergo, optional open world PVP is possible, alongside the soon-to-be discussed 20v20 pvp modes.  There’s even guild leveling with perks, bonuses, and stat boosts for those who stick together.

There’s even a full game-wide Dungeon Finder for every bit of content in the game: from 3-man dungeons to end-game 9-man raids, 20v20 pvp, and the Endless Hunting grounds (the Instant Adventures we mentioned earlier).  There are even Rift Events, which are exactly like they sound. If you’ve played them in Rift, they’ll be familiar here. A whole zone converges on a point, fights back waves of enemies and bosses, and reaps the rewards. 

PVP will be detailed more later, but as stated they are 20 versus 20 domination control maps, where you capture points to score points. What makes it unique and fun for an Action RPG is that you spawn tons of enemies the more enemies you spawn to fight the other team. It’s kind of like a MOBA, but not with towers or lanes or anything like that. They’re pretty competitive focused with leaderboards and all of that as well.

One more feature is the Abbysal Tower Tournament. This massive tower has 100 floors, and each level of it gets progressively harder. The farther you go within, the more loot and rewards you get. It’s competitive PVE, with the people who get the farthest and the fastest getting the most rewards on the leaderboards.

Gifting is a big deal in Devilian too. You can gift guild members and friends alike with special potions and buffs, and the more you do this the more affinity you gain with that person. The higher your affinity, sort of like a Friendship Experience Bar, the more bonuses you get from those gifts. You can give up to 10 gifts to guild members and another 10 to friends every day, and yes you can give all of those gifts to one person if they fall under both categories.

What about crafting? Yep. More on this to come later, but you’ll make all sorts of gear, potions, resistance buffs, talismans, and on and on and on. You can even level up your gear, adding another layer to the game’s progression systems.

Andrew and Victoria (Voss) wrapped our tour up by saying there will be a Patron Pass system and subscription, but price and other details are still being worked out.  And yes, as you could probably guess, there will be founder’s packs for those dying to be in the closed beta before the later open beta and launch.

Oh, and in a fun bit of kismet, Devilian comes packed with non-combat pets that give buffs and can carry items for you. But why is that kismet? Bluehole Ginno already had a Corgi pet in the game… ah, it was meant to be if you know the unofficial mascot of Trion.  There are mounts too, for those wondering, with plenty of polar bears, tigers, and all that to earn and get benefits from such as increased run speeds, reduced agro ranges, and more.

So there you have it, folks. Devilian Online, a game we’ve frankly never heard of, but now really want to play. Is it mold-breaking? Nope. But I daresay that some of the best MMOs in development are still coming out of Korea, and Devilian Online has a fantastic style, polished looking UI, and loads of features.   I know a lot of folks are sick of questing and all that, but I’m of the mind that we could use a good solid Action MMORPG that’s not Marvel Heroes.  It’s a style of gameplay that I love, and I hope this one plays as fun as it looks. As long as the F2P conversion from KR to NA and EU is fair and balanced, Trion could have a really nice new import on their hands. Sign up for the beta now, and keep an eye on MMORPG for more details.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.