RaiderZ – Beta Preview

RaiderZ

I would first like to start with two disclaimers, as I think it is important to understand exactly where this preview is coming from.

First, RaiderZ is a free-to-play game and should be viewed as such. Instead of answering a question similar to, “Is this game worth buying?” I will be looking more at it like this: “Is this game worth my time?”

Second, RaiderZ is still very much in beta, and the information I will display below pertains directly to the first closed beta event, many things may change before release.

RaiderZ

RaiderZ hasn’t particularly been in the news much, except as a comparison to the well-known Monster Hunter series. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with that series so don’t expect any real comparisons between the two. This is likely better as I won’t have bias either way. I will focus strictly on RaiderZ as a game in the MMO genre. With that, let’s get to it.

RaiderZ has a pretty unique story in that a meteorite landed on the world of Velix, causing many new creatures and monsters to spill and spread out. In addition to that, the meteorite transformed many of the creatures already on Velix. You are an adventurer in the kingdom of Rendel, and it is your job to go around and try and clean up the mess created by the meteorite. Of course, there is a lot more lore going on surrounding the meteorite.

Let’s first look at some of the unique things I found in RaiderZ. First, the combat seems very different to me than any other MMO I have played. You have three things to really worry about in combat, your HP (Hitpoints), EP (Energy Points), and SP (Stamina Points). HP is the same as all games, EP is your basic magic/mana pool, but SP is a little interesting. For instance, a lot of melee class abilities will use SP instead of EP. You can also dodge and roll around in combat, which takes SP.

RaiderZ

RaiderZ comes across as much more hack-and-slash than typical MMOs, at least for the Berzerker (the class I spent most of my time as). Most of the abilities are rather generic, with a lot just based off of things like weapon damage. There is usually a lot of movement and dodging, as well as knowing when to use what abilities when, which was frantic and fun at times. This is not the standard MMO combat at all, which is refreshing.

Another unique element to the combat are the various buffs enemies will drop on the ground during an encounter. Many enemies will have some piece of them, like a horn or a piece of their armor or weapon, drop or break off during and after you fight them. You can then pick these up for either a buff or a weapon. Usually, the weapons are way better than what you have and totally destroy what you’re fighting. Most buffs and weapons don’t last for long though, usually around 20 seconds.

RaiderZ

RaiderZ is really trying to make combat their selling point, namely the big monster or boss encounters that are around the world. While we didn’t get any access to higher level stuff, the bosses came across as rather generic to me with basic mechanics. Though, that may just be the case for lower level encounters. These fights would be very chaotic, with the boss moving around a lot and the other people in your party dodging around. It’s definitely something to get used to. The boss would lay dead at the end of it all but it felt like the whole experience was out of control.

There are various paths or “classes” that you can defeat bosses with, but MAIET Entertainment and Perfect World have claimed that there aren’t really any classes in RaiderZ. It works like most other MMOs. There are four different paths to choose from: Defender, Berzerker, Cleric, and Sorcerer. These work like basic skill trees. While it may be a benefit later in the game to go outside of your path, it definitely isn’t at lower levels. You can’t even go out of a skill tree until you have put 10 points into it.

So, you are basically stuck between two choices: going some hybrid build, which will give you weaker abilities but more variety, or you could choose to stick with one path and specialize that way. You also get buffs, or a “Mastery,” for  putting a certain amount of points in a path, like the ability to use plate armor. All-in-all, RaiderZ doesn’t get away from being a class-based game.

There may be variety in these classes, but the rest of the game gives you a very static and rhythmic feel. Each area has some kind of monster infestation that needs to be dealt with. You are then given some generic quests to run around, kill some stuff, and collect some stuff. RaiderZ is no stranger to the fundamental quests used in most MMOs. Once you progress through those quests you eventually get one to kill the big monster in the area.

RaiderZ

From those big monsters you are then given some unique crafting items, specific to that big monster. These crafting materials (along with the many, many others that you get from just about every enemy in the game) are used to make the best set of gear for your level group. RaiderZ then repeats like that, with a linear progression of armor upgrades. This is also the case with weapons.

That rhythmic feel is really there for just about everything. You can enchant your armor and weapons in the same tiered fashion. You also handle gems in your weapons and armor the same way. It feels very static in that regard, as if there is nothing you can do to try to make your character unique, or really explore whether this armor piece/gem/enchant is better than the other. That’s a shame since testing out gear is a part of what makes MMOs fun.

The only two really dynamic things are the combat, which I discussed earlier, and the various settings you can find yourself in. RaiderZ has a fantasy game feel, close to Final Fantasy, which is great. I was very impressed with the variety of areas that I could explore. They each had their own feel and delivered a matching story for that area. There were quite a few impressive changes that happened throughout, which made the game look much different. Another cool feature was that the game had a day/night cycle, which could really change the mood of an area.

A couple of gripes before I put down my final thoughts. As to be expected, there are a ton of technical problems within the game. I understand the typical beta woes, but wow, there is a lot of stuff that needs to be changed to bring this game up to speed. For one, there needs to be a lot more optimization to the game to make it run smoother. I do not have a bad system by any means, but my FPS would drop significantly at times, making the gameplay very sluggish.

Is it worth your time? Yeah, probably. As I’ve said before, the combat is rather entertaining and I can only really see it improving. Hopefully it does well, because it honestly has great potential.

I think RaiderZ is a great game for people to test the waters out and see if they are interested in getting into the MMO world. RaiderZ will easily get you familiarized with a lot of standard systems used by other MMOs.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.