The Average Gamer

RaiderZ BETA Preview (PC)

Big, pink bird .. what of it?

RaiderZ. The name alone summons images of hours and hours spent grinding your skills against a hard-as-nails dungeon boss or evenings spent gathering pretty flowers to ensure you have +20 patience for that one person in your raid group who insists on being hopeless [i.e. me – Ed.]. This (still in beta) MMORPG from MAIET Entertainment actually turns out to be a far more cheerful affair and offers a seemingly excellent amount for a free-to-play title.

Starting out as a port from the 2011 Korean version, RaiderZ is now being translated for the Western market and by and large they’re doing a good job. Tutorials and information within the game make sense and character interactions are often full of funny moments which actually make it worthwhile listening to the storyline. Overuse of the same character sound clips during fights becomes quickly annoying, especially on the females… there’s only so much aggressive shrieking anyone can endure.

Obviously the bulk of the game is the running around, killing things, running around a bit more, getting loot and here, there’s very little remarkable about the game. Mechanics-wise, the game follows TERA’s example with the “live action combat”. This translates as trying to aim your ridiculously-sized, somewhat-phallic sword at things while the casters have to clickyclick as mobs and dying people circle around one another.

Having played TERA I wasn’t really expecting the combat in RaiderZ to go one better but it sort of does. Mobs will randomly drop power-up weapons which grant a temporary aesthetic and gameplay bonus. One of my favourite parts near the starting area is where you get to wield dead fish as swords. It’s a bit of a giggle which nicely breaks up the monotony of leveling.

It transpires there’s actually quite a few of these little moments throughout the parts I played. My partner (drafted in to prevent my healer suffering repeated, squishy deaths) especially enjoyed firing cannons at any bandit stupid enough to stand still for thirty seconds. Several areas have you change your physical form and skills as an integral part of the story-line. It’s these diversions from the norm that have actually stood out and made me admire a game that could so easily be written off as yet another clone.

“You put your left leg in ..”

Sadly, there wasn’t much opportunity to experience what I believe is the premise of the game – “Hunt together or die alone” – as no matter what time in the evening  I logged my characters there were few large party style fights going on in the same areas as me. That said, trawling around with my partner was simple enough. There were a few well-enough balanced encounters meant for groups that we took on as a pair, although, leaning towards endurance and length of battle rather than a variation of tactics to win. It’s definitely one of those MMORPGs where you want to find a tame healer early on, rather than endure numerous deaths throughout your questing experience.

There’s limited class customisation in the talent trees. It’s very much a World of Warcraft system with later tiers unlocked by placing points in earlier tiers. With each class able to choose between three main areas of expertise there’s obviously room for a bit of theorycrafting but nothing really grabbed me across the classes I messed around with. The US version of the RaiderZ website does talk about being able to mix and match as you like with the skills but it didn’t seem too obvious from what I could see of the game.  As with most talent specs, it’s almost certain that this comes into its own at endgame where your raid build will be important but I don’t recall seeing anything that made me think “OMGWOW I can’t wait to get my hands on that.”

Yep, I’ll have three please.

When one isn’t running around beating up walking fish with their own limbs, there’s always crafting to turn to. This actually rocks up fairly early on in your characters’ lives with little quests asking you to fetch components and then craft your first armour set and weapons upgrades. It’s a neat way of introducing people to that side of the game and again, MAIET Entertainment have introduced a nice touch in the form of recipes that sit in your quest log – no more trying to keep tabs of how many slabs of boar meat you’ve still got to gather.

In a  market, which I feel at this stage, is over-saturated with this style of MMORPG it’s difficult to find something that would recommend RaiderZ over other titles, but for a free to download and free-to-play release it’s not half bad even in its beta stages. With the inevitable increase of wet weekends between here and Christmas this title could very well brighten a drizzly Sunday afternoon.

The Open Beta for RaiderZ will be starting on October 24th. Register to join on the RaiderZ Europe or RaiderZ US sites.