“Why should you be interested in RaiderZ? To make it short, RaiderZ is awesome!” Rüdiger Moersch, the game’s producer, leans forward in his chair and grins.
“You have an MMO, with a monster hunting theme. The monsters smash you on the floor, eat you whole and can jump 2km into the air!”
It’s clear as soon as you enter the room with Rüdiger, he’s passionate about his game. I don’t even need to ask a second question before he’s talking about the character and loot systems.
“You can choose from 250 unique talents to make up your own unique character, and you have a very logical crafting system.
“What I always thought was ridiculous with other MMOs was, if you kill a little wolf, and what do you get as loot? A full set of armour? In RaiderZ you get some wolf meat- or if you head to the forest you’re going to find wood cuttings.”
This loot system is called the “Ingredients” system, and means that during the game you will find various types of item, which can be crafted to make useable things for your character. It’s a system that seems conducive to heavy grinding, but Rüdiger disagrees.
“You might get some players doing that,” he says, “but at the moment storage space is limited and monsters are spawning quite rapidly.”
There’s also a “hunt” system, where players can move into their own instances to kill a boss monster, so that loot is available to all. As for the loot-grabbing players present in almost all MMOs- they’re “working on it.”
Teamwork is a huge part of this game- asking Rüdiger about it, he gestures towards a picture nearby of one of the game’s monsters.
“This one I call Ziggy. If you are standing in front of him, you are basically as high as his toenail. So fighting him alone is no option. You need a good group, one that really fights with you. One of the bosses took us 45 minutes to defeat.” Rüdiger breaks into another big smile and repeats his favourite words: “It was awesome!”
The game’s concept might seem familiar to fans of the “Monster Hunter” series. Well, that’s because the game’s Korean developers are big fans too, and wanted to turn it into an MMO.
“The game is set at the end of Medieval times, beginning of Renaissance, this sort of era- and there is a meteor crashing into the desert.” Rüdiger’s German mother tongue rears its head for a moment with some tense-switching action, but it soon resides.
The game’s backstory is huge, and it will translate into an overarching story as you progress through the game. “Most of the quests have something to do with the story, and as you go forward you realise that even the early quests were tied into it,” he says.
“The game is aimed at hardcore players. Of course most will be male!” Rüdiger laughs. “We are aiming at an 18+ market, just in Europe.”
Of course, the next thing he says is the most important thing of all- “the game will be out first in German and British English.” That’ll add a bit of colour to it, then.
The game is a free-to-play MMO, and as such the money is coming from microtransactions.
“There are some costumes, some items like better health potions and instant respawn scrolls and such- but we definitely do not want to go in the direction of pay-to-win.’”
Rüdiger’s smile almost fades as he gets a bit more serious. “We will never introduce items that are limited to paying players. Maybe you will get a better version of the item if you pay, but you will have the chance to win the whole game if you never pay a thing.”
I got some time to play the game on the show floor at Rezzed in Brighton, too. Although obviously MMOs are not the best games to play in that sort of environment, I’ve written some short initial impressions from about half an hour of play time.
The first thing that struck me was how good the game looks. Free-to-play games have come a long way in recent years, and this must be one of the best of all. It’s all very colourful and bright- at least in the area I played in- and there wasn’t a hint of frame rate lag either, even during the moments of action.
The game doesn’t play quite like you might expect an MMO to, but rather more like an RPG. You can swing your sword whenever you want, for example, and the action-based combat system was apparent from the moment I started playing. Despite being aimed at the hardcore MMO crowd I think RaiderZ might also do well at introducing a new bunch of players who don’t like the combat style in some other MMOs.
Incredibly, given the game’s conceit, I didn’t find any monsters to kill during my time with the game. Well, none that were gigantic- the biggest I fought was an Ent-like tree monster. The smaller enemies were interesting- either bugged or very odd, as none attack until you attack them. Maybe that’s just something I’m not familiar with, but it struck me as strange while I was playing.
The combat might be based on action, but you can’t rely on skill alone to play through RaiderZ. As a level 7 character, I was having real trouble beating level 10 wolves, and had to move back into a lower-level area to get anything done. It’s certainly an RPG, then.
The map is suitably huge, and it seems like there will be loads to do in it. I couldn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing in a few cases, as the build wasn’t fully translated from Korean, but there seemed to be landmarks around every corner begging to have associated quests in the full game.
RaiderZ is looking like a fantastic prospect for fans of the Monster Hunter games, or equivalent. Even as someone who doesn’t play MMOs, I can see that it is offering something a bit different to a lot of other games in the genre. It’s not going to set the world alight- this isn’t exactly as different as EVE Online, for example- but people looking for an MMO that has a few tricks up its sleeve might do well to look out for it.