Devilian is like popcorn, or more succinctly, caramel popcorn. It’s not a bad game, it just has such a singular flavor that eating too much of it will leave you feeling sick to your stomach. We’ve been playing it these past few weeks and are ready to pitch in our final review of Trion’s latest MMO. I immediately fell in love with the concept of TERA meets Diablo, the MMO. And though its combat is really addictive, its systems multitudinous, I can’t help but feeling like the whole thing is just a bit shallow and lacking soul.
Devilian’s gameplay will be immediately familiar to fans of ARPGs, though it’s really nice to use WASD as well. It was a little strange at first, but since the mouse cursor is used to aim a lot of spells, it became second nature quickly. Indeed, combat in the PC version of Diablo now feels lacking because of my time spent in Devilian.
But while Devilian scores high marks in its action, it’s missing a lot of what makes both the best ARPGs so fun, and the best MMORPGs so long-lasting. Some of the best ARPGs, like Torchlight 2 or Path of Exile, offer up some insane random events in zones that are randomly put together each new time you enter them. The element of surprise in the best ARPGs is always there, but lacking in Devilian. While you may occasionally run into a group of elite mobs in an area, the game’s mobs and layouts are static and ergo boring upon repeated visits.
These town-based daily quests are good for the level-appropriate gear they reward.
The same can be said of the game’s dungeons. There’s not a lot of skill required in the game’s leveling content in general. If there’s one thing that would make playing Devilian feel less like a warm-up, it’s more surprising content in general. Bluehole Ginno claims to have used Rift and other Trion games for its inspiration. They even have their own rifts, but those two are static and always in the same place. I know that most MMOs have static dungeons too, and that this is because people like learning them and sharing strategies, etc. But minus the later Hell dungeons and Archdevil content, the zones and dungeons in Devilian are so easy that death only happens if you go AFK for too long.
It’s also worth noting that the though there are tons of items across the game’s four gender-locked classes, you’ll be hard pressed to ever look unique. MMOs are often about trying to stand out from the pack, at least in my book. You don’t want to be one of the nameless herd, but like yourself in videogame form you want to stand out and customize your character to fit your style or fantasy. Instead, my Berserker looks like just about every other Berserker, and even at the highest levels I’ll just wind up with the same armor and weapons as the next guy. Diablo 3 and PoE go a lot further towards letting you customize your looks.
The skill tree system is pretty decent however at letting you pick your preferred playstyle between each class. Each class has three different trees focused on varying aspects of the class’ strengths. Berserker, for instance, has one that’s about fire damage and AOE, another about big sweeping and leaping attacks, and a third that’s about precision targeting and quick attacks. You can spend points across all three, master just one, or mix and match to your heart’s content. The game also allows respecs liberally, and like Rift allows multiple builds per character to swap quickly between when out of combat. Patrons, the game’s version of subscribers, get a third tab for class specs. What's probably saddest is that the game's namesake, your Devilian form, is pretty "meh" overall. It looks neat and helps with boss fights, plus you can gear it out, but in the end it feels woefully unnecessary and lacking in overall game impact.
My Berserker at level 44
PVP is one of the game’s bright spots, but also its roughest edges. 20v20 maps can be really fun, and with multi-tower control points, boss mobs that spawn, and the right group, you can have a really great time in these 15 minute matches. That is… unless you’re a Berserker or Shadow Hunter. The 3v3 fairs better, as smaller groups mean the Evokers can be countered easier. Still a team of ranged classes will wipe the floor with a team of Berserkers and Shadow Hunters on most occasions. The teams of Trion and Bluehole Ginno even put in a potion that lets you break free of movement impairing effects, on a slight cooldown, because they knew the Evoker and Cannoneer (the game’s ranged classes) had far too much CC and AOE in PVP battles. While it’s not clear what will be done to give the more melee-oriented classes a leg up in PVP, I’m told they’re working on a solution. Until then, if you want to do PVP, I’d suggest rolling an Evoker while they’re the hottest thing since Mugatu’s Derelicte collection.