RaiderZ Beta Impressions: The First Few Hours
Taken together, this means that the battles in RaiderZ are highly dynamic. Your ability to carry two weapons (and later to spec out with two different sets of specialties, allowing you to move away from being just a straight caster or a straight fighter) allows for some fast-action tactics-switching in the middle of fights. It also means possibly fulfilling multiple combat roles in any given situation.
Combat can also change depending on the enemy and the situation. Fighting a group of monsters called Sea Trolls on a beach, I was excited to learn that killing the mobs sometimes resulted in them dropping huge tuna fish carcasses they carried around with them. Snagging one of these temporarily replaced my weapon with the fish itself, which I could then use to wallop more enemies. The tuna weapon was extremely effective against other trolls, and while using it only lasted for a short time, it emphasized another system I really like about RaiderZ — weapons you can take from the situation in which you’re fighting.
In another area, I was able to yank up ship cannons that had been planted around a pirate base and carry them around as my personal, well, cannons. I could blast enemy pirates from a distance, doing devastating damage, or charge them with the cannon itself and use it as a battering ram.
The point is, RaiderZ combat is fun. More fun than most other MMOs I’ve played. That’s because it relies on a different variety of skills than just knowing how to cycle through your abilities with the proper speed and precision. RaiderZ rewards you for being good at video games, and when you’re with a team, it rewards you for rolling with the situation. That emphasis on player skill is something I’ve really responded to in the game.
I also like that wandering out to fight enemies is often a rewarding experience, in that you’ll want to go kill enemies to gather materials from their corpses. RaiderZ’s primary system of gathering new weapons and items is about crafting them, and so you won’t get the best pieces of loot from chests or boss fights, you’ll get chunks of the best loot from chests and boss fights. You’ll need to fashion it yourself, based on recipes you’ll discover throughout the world. It’s another system that lends itself to keeping the MMO grind interesting; RaiderZ combat is fun, and its system of item progression gives you excuses to go engage in it.
So I’ve been having fun with RaiderZ so far, even though I haven’t gotten too deeply into it, but it still suffers from, well…being an MMO. RaiderZ exists, sadly, in the shadow of World of Warcraft, and while Perfect World has made some great iterations to MMO gameplay conventions and done well to make fights very active, the way the game is delivered is still very familiar. We could stand to see more MMOs move away from this formula, and so far it hasn’t been the stories or quests that have been pushing me forward in RaiderZ.
But I think RaiderZ does enough different, and well, that familiarity of structure may play in its favor. The game is fun to play and it’s fun to make progress. Even early on, some of the battles are pretty difficult and push players to partner up. More than anything, though, the degree of freedom in combat and crafting is enticing, and the pursuit of the next big battle in which to test yourself — and the cool stuff you may be able to make upon victory — is a powerful motivator.
On the whole, so far, I’m enjoying RaiderZ. Its F2P model and the gameplay I’ve seen so far might make it pretty a fun and accessible game when it comes out of beta and opens to wide release.