At PAX East 2012, I had something I really wanted to see: the Neverwinter MMO demo. I went to the Perfect World media event with big hopes and dreams about what they had done with one of my favorite games. They said that first, they would show us some F2P game called RaiderZ, and I admittedly rolled my eyes. I didn’t want any time wasted between me and Neverwinter. However, I am now eagerly awaiting RaiderZ instead after what I saw!
What really caught me about RaiderZ is that it has a lot of familiar F2P game aspects (to me, all F2P UIs look the exact same… and some paid games look like F2P quality, too!) but also has a few tricks up its sleeve. One fun part is something they made sure to point out: there is no “tab targeting.” You click to swing and if you swing at the air, you hit the air! It’s not a new concept, but it is one that I enjoy until my finger cramps from all the mouse action. I didn’t really get a feel for how ranged characters worked but I’m sure it was along the same lines!
I love how the boss system works. It really reminded me of older console game boss monsters, ones you’d find in Megaman or Sonic. They had special attacks that had visual cues and ran through semi-predictable movements. When the giant frog would lean back, you knew it was going to lunge at you to try to eat you, so you knew to dodge. When the giant frog jumped, you knew it would fall if it missed you, so you knew you’d have an opportunity to beat on it while it was down. Typical raid bosses are like this, too, yet something felt different about the giant frog we fought in the demo versus the Hammerknell bosses I face every week. I guess the difference is that I could play Raiderz with just Ferrel and me on a lazy weekend evening and get all the fun of downing a raid boss without the requirement of a lot of other people and schedule coordination. With RaiderZ, Ferrel and I could just take up arms, head off, and feel accomplished when we killed the giant frog!
They also had a fun aspect where mobs can drop their weapons or pieces of themselves for a bit of dynamic interaction. A mage can kill a troll with a giant club and if the troll drops the club, they can pick it up and run around for a short duration and beat face with it! The skill hotbars are tied to weapons, so when this happens, your hotbar switches to match the giant club or gnarled staff or whatever you pick up. Crabs, for example, can drop their shells, which you apparently eat to regain health, although eating shells doesn’t really translate to health in my mind, so maybe it was crab meat and not its shell!
The class/skill system is another thing that I enjoyed from what information we got. It seemed to be a mostly classless game where your class is more determined by where you spend your skill points, which reminds me of Ultima Online, a beloved game in my book. I will want to try all sorts of combinations to see how they interact; a sword-and-board fighter with a bit of sorcery on the side, for example, is something that strikes my fancy.
The main thing to remember about F2P games is that they are never truly free to play. Developers need to be paid! There is always a cash shop of some sort and usually, these cash shops have direct impact on gameplay. RaiderZ will also have a cash shop, though what items this shop will have still seems to be up in the air right now. When the question was raised about resetting and re-assigning skill points, the possibility that such a thing would be available through this cash shop was mentioned. I am of the mind that cash shops are fine for the impatient wallets, but there should be some way to get the same items through regular gameplay. I doubt RaiderZ will do this as most F2P games don’t, but it would be awesome if they did!
I think this game will definitely be something I try. I want to see if I can be a fighter-sorcerer. I want to see how well Ferrel can make his ideal plate-wearing battle cleric so we can fight side-by-side (and even if he can’t make it, he’ll probably stand beside me in the face of danger anyway)! It seems like it will be a lot of fun to play, even if it doesn’t become my primary game.
-The max group size is 8 with two group raids.
-We were told that this particular game is intended to be hard. Soloing will be difficult.
-There will be crafting.
-PvP will be dual based