We went on an in-game tour in Gamania's newest MMORPG, Divina, to see what sets this colorful MMO apart from the crowd.
A while ago, I went on an in-game tour of Divina, the newest (and cutest!) offering from Lucent Heart proprietors Gamania. To be honest, I started out my tour a little wary, especially considering the game's ultra-cute premise in an industry trending toward "mature" personal stories and darker settings. That being said, after romping around this colorful world (as a trident-wielding Mystic Sea Snail for the latter half, no less), I'll admit that there is something irresistibly charming about a game that doesn't take itself as seriously as the rest.
While Divina might not be that well known in North America, our tour hostess - Gamania's PR Manager, Yuwei Chang - noted that this MMO is actually quite famous in Japan for its use of established Japanese voice actors. Not to be outdone, Gamania's localization team went along in the same theme by recruiting a number of notable North American voice actors, including Yuri Lowenthal (Naruto, Afro Samurai, Prince of Persia), Vic Mignogna (Fullmetal Alchemist), Laura Bailey (Fullmetal Alchemist, Fruits Basket, BloodRayne), and Michelle Ruff (Bleach, Disgaea).
The setting for Divina draws from several mythologies, with players traveling back in time to prevent Ragnarok - the destruction of the world tree, Yggdrasil, and the end of the world. As players progress through the story, they will also bring along a host of NPCs, including an amnesiac named Clarisse who accompanies you on your journey and plays an important role in the events to come.
As we hopped into the game world of Divina, the one thing that immediately struck me was just how big a role Gamania's community team plays in creating a vibrant in-game neighborhood. Not only were there GMs hosting tournaments throughout the day, but players were also greeting our hosts with a fair degree of familiarity. It was certainly rare to see this level of community interaction in any MMORPG, and it's something that Gamania is already well-known for, having set the standard previously with their first North American MMO, Lucent Heart.
Outside of famous voice actors and a stellar community team, Divina sets itself apart with its unique "quick change system," which gives players the freedom to switch between two classes. Unlike other MMOs, like Final Fantasy XI, where subclasses give secondary benefits to their primary class, the two classes you choose in Divina end up being completely separate, which means, for example, that players can switch between both a tank class and a DPS class (given the right gear) to suit any situation.
On a basic gameplay level, Divina's quick change system has great potential for on-the-fly strategies (and PvP!), but I don't think it will be much help when it comes to planning more structured content. If your dungeons are designed to utilize the quick change system, this can severely hinder players who didn't make the right subclass choice early in their lives. What happens if you pick a DPS main class and a healer subclass? While I assume that much of Divina's content is still designed around the "single class" theme, this quick change system does offer a deeper experience for most players. For more 'hardcore' gamers, there is the great opportunity to min-max their characters with two DPS classes (or two tank classes, or two healer classes), while more casual players can lead dual-lives, having one dedicated group 'class,' and a fun subclass for unstructured play.
Speaking of fun classes, one of Divina's smaller features includes the ability to change into a unique monster for a duration of time (until death, I believe), with players being able to increase their catalogue of options by defeating certain unique monsters in the world. I wouldn't normally mention this in a preview tour as it's more of a small social feature, but it gets a paragraph because I was able to transform into a large purple "Mystic Sea Snail" for the latter half of my tour, and it was easily the highlight of my day (note: this is to highlight how excellent it was playing as a giant sea snail, and not a reflection on the quality of my day).
One of the final features we were introduced to in Divina is quickly growing to become the staple of most light-hearted MMORPGs - the pet sidekick. In Divina, players can take on a special pet sidekick (currently choosing between the Sweet Mouse, the Gloomy Bunny or the Loyal Dog, with the Royal Purrincess coming soon) who will evolve with them in a myriad of ways, while also offering crafting services, similar to SWTOR's NPC mission system (although I suspect that Divina may predate SWTOR in Asia).
At the end of the day, Divina is a very colorful MMORPG that stands in contrast to the darker fare we normally get in modern MMORPGs. The playful theme of the game can be rather deceptive, however, as there are some very deep systems in play here that would satisfy even the most hardcore of gamers. That being said, there are certain aspects of Divina that do feel rather dated, with the game's UI and graphical engine being the prime suspects; an unfortunate barrier that might turn some players off before they get too far. Still, there are a few unique features here that many players will find tempting, so if you're looking for a fun diversion with a top-notch community, get some friends together and give this whimsical MMORPG a chance.
Christopher "Pwyff" Tom, Editor-in-Chief