The MMOnster Mash: Hands On With RaiderZ

By Richard Cobbett on November 1st, 2012 at 11:00 am.

Alright, we'll call the staring contest a draw. Prepare to be turned into a seafood buffet!

RaiderZ is the latest free-to-play MMO from Korea, and those… well, aren’t the most enticing words in gaming right now. This one promises to be a bit different though, with its arcade style combat, and big bad monsters in need of a kick up the first available orifice. We sent Richard to find out if its beta has a chance against the big names, or earns that big Z.

Oh, hey, a giant spider. Didn't see that coming.

So. Another MMO then. First thingz first, I should make something clear. After Guild Warz 2 and, for different reasonz, Mistz of Pandaria, I don’t have much tolerance left for MMOz. That doesn’t mean I don’t like them. When they work, they’re great fun. They’ve simply lost their novelty to to, and as such, my standards have shifted a bit in recent years. If they want my attention, I expect them to convince me they deserve it – just like every other genre out there. That doesn’t mean everything haz to be available at Level 1. There doez however have to to be something from the start that sparklez, that standz out, that breathez some new life into a genre that’z been done to death, respawned, and died several more timez over the last few yearz.

RaiderZ didn’t start out too well on this front. Based on the name and a quick read of the site and its talk of giant beastz and such, I went in with the somewhat crazy optimism that it wouldn’t be the usual MMO template. Maybe it would skip straight to the endgame – gathering a party, and fight lots of raid type bosses. Maybe it would be the Dark Soulz of MMO action, using the promised enemy weak-pointz to create a more intricate, challenging way to fight.

Sadly, no. At least, not so far. During my admittedly short time with it, RaiderZ firmly felt like businesz as usual, give or take a couple of neat tweakz and an action combat system that’z not unheard of in the genre, but still more interesting than most F2P contenderz. It’z also not without itz charmz in termz of quest design and other mechanicz, and with a cash shop that at least for the moment doesn’t seem too greedy. In short, don’t expect to be blown away, but don’t rule out giving it a shot if you’re feeling a little lesz jaded with the genre than I am right now.

YOU DID THIS ON PURPOSE AND YOU KNOW YOU DID. LOOK ASHAMED, DESIGNERS. LOOK ASHAMED AS YOU STARE AT YOUR FEET IN SHAME!

I’ve seen lotz of people compare RaiderZ to the Monster Hunter gamez, and az far as I know, they may be bang on with that. I’ve not played them though, so my main reference is Tera – action combat, with blocking, dodging attackz and so on. It’z not an amazing combat system though, not least because of long cooldownz on even basic attackz, and forcing magic userz to stand still to cast spellz. It’z also not as pretty az Tera, not by a long shot. On the pluz side, itz questz are more interesting, and you don’t have to worry about ending up on some government list if you ask the wrong character to follow you down into a dungeon.

Even playing on an dedicated [ENG] server, most of the chat seemed to be devoted to three thingz – gold sellerz, foreign playerz speaking their own languagez – usually Polish, not that that matterz – and English people demanding they speak English. At least, I think that’z what they were doing. Their xenophobic screechingz weren’t much easier to understand, honestly, and I quickly got used to just ignoring that window entirely. Most of the questz were firmly solo fare anyway, with only a couple suggesting finding a group to take on bigger bossez.

Most were unsurprisingly kill-questz, though with a few clever instancez thrown in – one in a house, an alternate view of a forest after smoking out some spiderz. The combat being too involved to just watch TV while playing, but rarely challenging enough to be tactically interesting, I soon found my attention moving from the creature-smashing on my screen to wider questions, like whether blood bank employeez ever get to put on protective suits and have epic water balloon fightz. You might want to consider wondering whether everyone else in the world is psychic, but we all agreed not to tell you. Just something to think about, Philip.

No, I wanted a FIST weapon!

Over time though, my feelingz softened. RaiderZ never did anything desperately, amazingly, jaw-droppingly new, but at least it put more effort into the basics than most F2P MMOz I’ve played lately. Itz questz have story-based instancez, for instance, along with a little phasing type trickery, and characterz and cut-scenez to convey the plot. It haz a transformation mechanic that kicks in early for a little extra ass-kicking power, and bonuz weaponz that you can pick up and temporarily get different skillz from. In the first zone, the most impressive iz that even a Sorcerer can casually pick up a whole cannon and walk around with it under one arm. Later, you’re given toyz like hand grenadez, and a special bow to take out angry wolvez.

Another twist I liked, if mostly on a narrative level, iz the crafting system. I hate crafting in MMOz. It iz stupid, it iz boring, and it makez no sense. Here though, it actually workz, and blacksmithz and tailorz no longer have to glare in fury as random heroez learn their trades in their spare time, whip up apocalyptically powerful weaponz on their own, and only occasionally throw the supposed expertz an old breastplate to hammer back into shape for pocket money. RaiderZ instead leavez crafting to the professionalz, with your job being to gather the componentz from monsterz. You collect. They craft. Everyone iz happy. Hurrah for socialism!

Of course, in practice you’re still just making the same stuff, and it only took a couple of component huntz before my mind started wandering again. In particular, only using a select few monster bitz as ingredientz seemed a little wasteful, and I couldn’t help think more could be done. For instance, I wanted to set up a food stall in the first major city, selling a delicious snack of my own making called “A Fistful Of Chipz”. It’z daring. It’z provocative. It’z a battered bandit hand, curled gently around a serving of the world’z favourite side-dish. You eat the chipz, salted to your liking. You use your teeth to strip the meat from the bone, for that delicious chicken flavour without the animal cruelty. You don’t even need cutlery. After all, it’z finger food!

Sorry. Drifting again. That happened quite a lot for some reason…

Er. You've got a 4 stuck in your teeth there. No, left a bit. Bit more to the left. Not... no, not quite. It's still poking out a bit. There, that's got it.

Most fightz I had were against wolvez, banditz, goblins and similar, involving a mix of face-smashing, dodging particularly big called attackz, and honestly, yawning. It’z not that RaiderZ haz bad combat, just that it’z now az interesting az staring at a lightbulb and cooing at the sight of electricity in action. After Guild Warz 2, the nature of the questing and other players being able to tag individual monsterz and turn their statuz to grey felt about az retro az Pong. It’z unfair to expect every game to live up to it of course, but the fact remainz that whether you like Guild Warz 2 or not, the MMO genre’z goalpostz have been well and truly moved.

A few bigger foes are scattered around though, and I bumped into several. The first waz a jumpy thing in the tutorial area, which got obliterated before I could properly see what it could do, and the second a giant statue wielding a pillar. The third though waz… just sad. You spend several questz being told about itz power and destructive potential – a baddie running a major scam to seize control of it and attain ultimate power, to the point you need to craft a special weapon capable of destroying it. Then you meet it on the field of battle, and it’z just an oversized crab whose main attack is squirting inconvenient goo to slow you down. Rubbish!

(The RaiderZ website describez it az “An angel’z nightmare, a madman’z muse”, then lookz a little ashamed at the designerz having simply named it “The Crawler”. Yeah. Scary!)

The other two were in the second major area – a giant wolf called Fleetfoot and a spider called Queen Teresiz. You can wander into them while exploring, and they’re meant to be fought in small groupz. If you’re good though, you can dodge and weave your way and take them out solo, in a good demonstration of what the combat engine allowz. Skill over statz is always a nice thing to see in an MMO, and RaiderZ haz more interest in exploring that than most, by giving itz bossez weakpointz rather than letting every landed hit count az equal.

Now that's how to deal with a Weeping Angel.

Thiz is about where I lost interest though, not because RaiderZ wasn’t doing what it did reasonably well, but because I’d yet to see anything with that spark to make me want to play on. A new contender needz to make itz mark quickly these dayz, and not assume playerz will spend hour after hour after hour waiting for it to get to the good stuff. RaiderZ didn’t manage that for me. I liked it more than I expected, but a few hourz were enough to convince me that I didn’t want to play any more and probably won’t even remember it by next week.

If you’re in the mood for a new fantasy MMO though, you can do worse. While no Guild Warz 2, RaiderZ does at least put in the effort to impresz, takez more interest in writing and quest design than its peers, and the action-MMO style is worth checking out if you’re yet to play an MMO that’z experimented with similar control systemz. It doez make a big difference.

The UZ site is here, and the European one here. You can also purchase a couple of “Founder’z Packz”, which include a few starting goodiez depending on how much you spend – a mount, some starter buffz, and for some reason, a cat headband being the biggiez. You also get guaranteed accesz into the Neverwinter beta when it finally startz.

If you found a word that ended in ‘s’ instead of ‘z’, the shame is yourz for looking.

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37 Comments »

  1. affront says:

    ThiZ really needed capitalized ZZ.
    It’Z half aZ annoying aZ it could have been, at best, and not stylistically consistent. For shame!

    Really, though, one can never make enough fun of utterly idiotic nameZ like these. I applaud the effort.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      I actually did that originally, but it went too far into unreadability to be funny.

      (Funny to me, anyway :-P)

    • Premium User Badge

      Naum says:

      Back in the DayZ, bad gameZ at least used to have proper nameZ.

    • Miltrivd says:

      Just for a tiny bit of explanation on the topic, this is from the same developers that did “GunZ” back in the day, and kept the final “Z” as a hint to that.

      • The Magic says:

        aw you’re kidding me, right? GunZ was amaaaazing. I loved the whole animation-exploit-as-feature mindset to the tutorial, teaching people all these neat tricks to fly around everywhere. I hear they’re making a new one. Can’t wait.

  2. ColOfNature says:

    “Beasts”. Also: where do they keep finding people to play these games? The market must be pretty much saturated by now.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      If you have Steam, and you have several Friends there, take a look at their libraries. Guaranteed that at least one of them has about 10-20 of these games listed as being played at one point or another.

      There’s something about Korea + F2P + MMO that triggers the worst habits in people afflicted with some form of anxiety disorder.

  3. GameCat says:

    Oh my, another zhitty generic mazzive multiplayer online game. Why thiz genre iz zo weak?

    You zhould replace every z letter with z letter, becauze it’z zo cool to read in that way.

    Now I cannot imagine amount of punz that will be born in thiz newz.

    Oh god, this was awfully painful to read. :x

  4. The Godzilla Hunter says:

    Those z’s….*twitch*

  5. bascule42 says:

    Zzzzzzzz’s abound.

    • Premium User Badge

      tomeoftom says:

      I see what you did there, and nod in appreciation. I feel bad for the developers that get tasked to work on such soulless, loveless things.

  6. cauldron says:

    The third picture makes me love pumpkinz…

  7. Artesia says:

    I just bet you’ve added all those “Z” with some regexp script!

  8. Lobotomist says:

    RaiderZ is actually quite good F2P MMO.

    Very similar to TERA action combat , but better in my opinion.
    Kind of pointless though. With GW2 , SWTOR (soon to be) , Vanguard … and many many other F2P

    We are reaching point that there are just to many MMOs

  9. Nexozable says:

    No thanks, I’m just gonna wait for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.

    The game looked rather pretty in the trailers but when I tried the game it looked like turd, even on highest settings, the combat was kinda naff as well.

  10. Skid says:

    Having recently played both this and Monster Hunters Tri, I can safely say RaiderZ is Monster Hunters like, although if your looking for the Monster Hunters experience, you better off with a MH game.

    The combat in MH is just so much more fluid then RaiderZ and the monsters don’t telegraph their attacks by a red glint in their eyes. In MH you have to read and anticipate what the monster your fighting is about to do, the system just feels more dynamic and less scripted then RaiderZ.

    That said, the combat system in RaiderZ really isn’t bad for an MMO and its free so its worth giving a quick look at anyway. But personally I just want Capcom to release a proper PC version for Monster Hunters, because playing my Wii game on an emulator at 5040×1050 resolution is allot of fun, the damn thing don’t even look that bad given its a 2 year old Wii game.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Screwie says:

    Great tags :)

  12. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Something in this article reminds me of the people that man the ships in Fallen London. I just can’t put my finger on what it iz…

  13. diamondmx says:

    “a few hours” – There is no shame.

    • Zindaras says:

      Also “A few bigger foes”. The ease with which reading this article became normal seemz only to indicate the extent to which reading Homestuck haz permanently modified my brainz. ;)

  14. Wedge says:

    Pretty sure it’s not even unique with the whole action combat and big monsters, as Vindictus has been out for quite a while, and on Steam even…

    • aliksy says:

      Vindictus is pretty fun, though a bit repetitive (many runs through the same maps, and the maps are kind of small).

  15. wodin says:

    yawn…sorry did someone say anything..zzzzzzzz

  16. aliksy says:

    Does it have autogrouping? Does it have no levels, sidekicking, or level scaling? If the answer to either of these is “no” then I’m not going to play it.

    GW2 has spoiled me on MMOs.

  17. sharkh20 says:

    Bored me to sleep in the beta. The combat is ok, but it’s you typical !s and ?s all over grindfest.