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.

Follow Hornshaw and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

2 Comments on RaiderZ Beta Impressions: The First Few Hours

SXO

On August 27, 2012 at 8:27 am

I’ve been playing the closed beta for a few weeks now, and while the game is generally fun, I think the comparison to Monster Hunter is undeserved. I don’t know if the community initiated those comparisons, or if the devs themselves created the association in style, but being a big Monster Hunter fan I have to say there are more differences than there are similarities between this game and the MH series. I would say this game is a lot more like Vindictus or TERA than Monster Hunter.

That being said, I still enjoy this game for what it is, and I plan to continue playing when the open beta begins next month. The closed beta will be closing in a few days, so I have to get in as much time with my existing character as possible.

Phil Hornshaw

On August 27, 2012 at 8:30 am

@SXO

The Monster Hunter comparison is something developers said to me when I first spent time with the game at E3 2012. I think they use it as an easy shorthand to explain the concept more than a true comparison. Saying it’s “like Monster Hunter” is their starting point to help people get an idea of the bare bones before explaining it further, which is kind of how I tried to treat it.