Let’s be honest, everyone loves a good boss battle. For some people it’s the thrill of the battle. For others it is the sense of accomplishment. Then there are those who want to be the first to ever topple the great beast. And well, to be fair, for most it is the loot rewarded in the victory. The problem is in most games, boss battles are fairly few and far between. RaiderZ takes that notion and flips it on its head. There are “boss” type mobs all over the world, and as a monster hunter, it is you’re duty to go find and destroy them.
Now don’t get me wrong, every fight isn’t an epic boss battle type affair; that would be a little ridiculous. There are ‘regular’ mobs in the world too, plenty of them. Even the regular battles were interesting and entertaining due to using the more action based combat system that seems to have become all the rage with MMOs lately. There is no tab targeting, you have a crosshair and you aim your attacks. And of course there is a dodge mechanic allowing you to quickly get out of the way of any incoming attacks. Very important and crucial in those aforementioned boss battles. Everything happens very smoothly and added a bit more action and interest to combat than just targeting a mob and spamming hotkeys. Granted, you still have hotkeys, and you’ll be pressing them a lot, that’s just the nature of MMOs. But RaiderZ also does a little something or well, a rather large something, to mix that up as well.
Those hotkeys you’ll be using aren’t restricted to one class. RaiderZ has the four archetype ‘classes’, and you’ll pick one to start out. As you progress through the game you’ll unlock the other three and can put your points into whichever you want. Want to be a healing tank? Go for it. Fancy a pure caster who can cast everything: offensive, defensive and healing? No problem. Or is a blade and board wielding spell caster more your style? Also not a problem. You can even take the “jack of all trades, master of none” approach and put a little into everything. It is a very skill based system, allowing you to pick and choose from all the different skills available to truly build the type of character you really want to play. I’m really happy to see a lot more games taking the more skill based type of route these days. It really opens up a lot more freedom and choice in MMO gaming.
RaiderZ also does some pretty cool things as far as the community goes. Buffing has become a community ‘water-cooler’ type of activity now via a couple different means. The first of which is the food system. Sure, lots of MMOs out there have food that grants buffs. But RaiderZ turns that into a group event. When you choose a food item in your inventory and ‘use’ it, instead of consuming it and it disappears like in most games, it actually appears in the world in front of your character. Depending on what it is, it could appear as a huge haunch of meat on a spit, a cauldron of stew or whatever. Then everyone in your party can interact with the item and partake of the meal. Others can lay out their own food items as well, creating a true banquet for the party to feast on and get buffed up before a challenging fight.
The second such system is the musical instruments. Once again, in its base form musical instruments for buffing aren’t a new feature for MMOs. These are a bit more interactive though. When you whip out your guitar, you actually use your keys to play it. This should really appeal to those with a bit more musical inclination in the crowd. Those like me with no musical talent to speak of will end up just spamming random keys hoping we don’t cause the world around us to go deaf. From what I can tell, these can interact with other people playing their guitars to increase the amount of buffs you get. For instance one person can buff damage, another health, etc.
Crafting is also a huge aspect of RaiderZ. When you defeat those epic monsters wandering around the world, rather than dropping rare loot in the form of weapons or armor, instead they drop unique raw materials that can be used to craft new and incredibly powerful equipment for your character. There are artisans spread around the world which have recipes you can get for these items. They can also craft more mundane equipment for your character to use until you can get your hands on an item crafted from the bits and pieces of a recently destroyed boss mob.
Overall I have to admit I came away from my time with RaiderZ pleasantly surprised. The level of polish on a game that has just entered beta was amazing. Graphically speaking, the game is gorgeous. Regular combat is interesting and enjoyable, and the epic battles just ramp that up to a whole new level. Their ‘motto’, for lack of a better phrase, is something along the lines of ‘fight together or die alone’. It is definitely a very apt phrase when it comes to the epic boss battles. I had access to a level up character (and a newly created “regular” character) and even when I was soloing some of the lower level boss mobs on my leveled up toon, it wasn’t a cake walk. Sure, I won handily, but even though I had 20 levels over my opponent, he put a hurting on me. Going in, I didn’t know a whole lot about RaiderZ and wasn’t expecting much, but I ended up really enjoying the game and will be keeping an eye on it as it works through beta and nears launch.