Monday, December 14, 2015

Devilian First Impressions

Devilian is the latest game published by Trion. It's developed by a division of Bluehole, who made TERA. Devilian is a ARPG MMO, sort of like Diablo, only with more MMO aspects. It's the classic isometric perspective like Diablo, rather than the 3rd-person over-the-shoulder perspective of most modern MMOs. The design "asthetic" is very much like TERA.

The first thing that will turn off a lot of people is that classes are locked to a specific body type. The Evoker is a tall female, Cannoneer is a short female, Berserker is a brawny male, and Shadowhunter is a more slim male. You can change hair color, skin color, facial features, etc, but you are locked to the base body.

The game plays very well. Bluehole always gets this aspect right. The controls are crisp and well-done, and combat is very nice. The pace is slower than Diablo 3, but not excessively slow. Gearing is more like an MMO as well.

The leveling is very quest driven and linear. In fact, every quest literally has an auto-run which will automatically take you to the right location. This sounds excessive, but it works nicely for this style of game. Every few levels you come across a dungeon which you do with two others. There's no threat, so it's a bit of a zerg, but it plays well with just three. Group matching is automatic.

The game is polished, and feels high-quality. The story isn't anything amazing, it's on par with TERA and other imports. But there are a lot of nice touches all over. I'm only level 27 or so, and the cap is 55, so I have no idea what endgame is like.

There are some interesting aspects as well. For example, you have the standard gear (gloves, boots, hat, etc.) but you also have "talismans". Talismans are collectible cards featuring a person. Each card has attributes. You can equip up to five talismans. Some talismans belong to sets, and get bonuses if each card from the set is equipped. You can also merge duplicate cards together, making that talisman more powerful. You get talismans from boxes as rewards or that you can craft using materials from disenchanted magic items. It's actually a really neat alternate gearing system, with just the right amount of randomness, but even having "bad draws" be useful.

They're also trying some interesting things in the social realm. Every day you can send 10 gift boxes to people on your friends list. The game actually gives you a quest to invite 10 people as friends, and shows you a list of people at your level. So there's a lot of spamming strangers for invites around then. But I once defined social bonds as "repeated interactions among a set of people", so maybe sending gifts to each other will build bonds. Or maybe not. In any case, it's a neat idea.

The only thing I should note is that Devilian is a F2P game. There is a cash shop. Honestly, I'm not sure if it's cosmetic-only, or if you pay for power. I imagine that it will be like TERA's cash shop.

Personally, I think that, if you can get past the locked character classes, Devilian is worth trying. It plays well, and does a few new neat things. The talisman system in particular is worth stealing by other MMOs.


  1. Questions thus:

    What exactly would have you call it an MMO, more than say, Diablo 3? Is there an "overworld" that links the dungeons? Do you see other players in the world, or only when the auto-party works? The way you describe it, seems like it's more similar to a tablet game with a "world lobby" Arcane Legends.

    1. No, it's a shared world. There are zones (fairly big ones, too) and multiple people inhabit the zone. So you see other people running around and the mobs respawn.

      In hindsight, I should have said that it's closer to Marvel Heroes, rather than Diablo 3.

  2. I gave it a quick run to check it out.. not sure I'll keep at it though. I've grown to dislike collection quests and running between quest areas, though the autorun feature helps some.

    I selected the Evoker, as I generally play mage classes. Right out of the gate I wondered if maybe they could have spent just a tiny bit more time on the mangled goat hooves and less trying to make the breasts jiggle, but perhaps their priorities will make them a fortune. It's also very strange seeing my evoker run through hostile terrain in heels.

    The skill tree seems to have some depth to it, though I didn't get more than a half-dozen points in, and combat was smooth. Nice telegraphed areas to keep out of. The couple dungeons I soloed were pretty fun.

    The talismans are akin to a growing trend in mobile games. So many card collecting games with stars to indicate power and/or rarity regardless of what the card does, be it a creature, a tower defence turret, a buff, or for a refreshing change an actual playing card. It's a new carrot system to draw money. Not bad, but after a while I think I just want these damn cards to disappear. Even GGG added Divination Cards to Path of Exile recently.. an unfortunate gimmick, in my opinion to an otherwise great game. The design space that Talismans fill could have been anything, really, but cards are sadly becoming a thing. I do like cards for one thing though, and that's their art.. I've always loved looking at and collecting card art, which is probably why so many of these mobile games have taken my money before I abandoned them for being monotonous.

    The nearly instant respawn is interesting. I was going to say it's far too fast, because I had a full inventory and couldn't pick stuff up without being attacked right away again, but with preparation before going into fights it does make the world mobs more easily sharable. Don't have to worry about going into a cleared area and fighting over infrequent respawns.

    Anyway, it does have some neat things going for it, for sure. May pop back into it from time to time and see a little more of it.

    1. Heh, the breasts and high heels was the "TERA asthetic" I was referring to.

      I like the talismans because it gives you something else to collect and level. These type of games need these "grinds" to keep people interested. This one is particularly interesting because it manages to avoid "wasted" drops. Every card you get from a box is useful. If it isn't one you don't have, you can use it to improve your current card.

      It's pretty hard to find mechanics like that. Even gear, after you get to a certain point, the vast majority of drops you get are not useful.

    2. Perhaps they should have used a closed-toe shoe for the closeup, but I started wondering after if perhaps the weird feet were a graphical glitch with my settings. Anyway it doesn't matter much.. found it amusing, and by the time I'm actually playing I'm primarily seeing skill vectors and timers AROUND the player anyway.

      "Talismans" in the mobile scene work much the same way. They feed each other so no pull is ever wasted and they can be grinded - it's a very attractive mechanic there too. What happens though, is that each tier is invariably an order of magnitude more powerful than the one beneath it and similarly hard to obtain. I've paid in the area of $150+ each into a couple such games and dumped all of the gems specifically into a few dozen pulls for "2x Chance for 5* So-and-so!" deals only to get mostly a fist full of 3* and no So-and-so. Not having a good 5* So-and-so, means not ever being competitive on the ladder.

      Perhaps the tiers aren't so bad in Devilian or their effect not so dramatic? Regardless, you still have to get the elusive bases before you can dump trash drops into them and these look to be nearly gated behind premium currency. Nearly, because there appears to be an exceptionally small chance of pulling one from a crafted box.

      These games have tended to hold my interest until I hit a sort of ceiling, where no matter how much I grind I have to pay and get lucky or stay at my current (uncompetitive) power level. Interest is fed by hope and starved by monotony.. eventually the latter takes over.

      To tie in your cookie-cutter spec thread somewhat, I think you'll have the top guilds (and PuGs their members participate in) rejecting F2P players because they won't be strong enough. Part of the required spec will be paid/lottery-win content.


      I went back in the other night and hit L20. For not liking gather quests, these don't seem nearly as bad as those I remember. The quests and levelling, at least so far, move quickly without a lot of backtracking and I didn't have to wait dozens of levels for a mount. It's perhaps the closest I've seen to a no-levelling dungeons-only MMO so it's a bit refreshing in that aspect. Just enough questing to learn new skill rotations at each level before heading into another dungeon.