Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying I’m trying to hoover up every detail I can about RaiderZ, MAIET Entertainment’s free-to-play and under-appreciated fantasy MMORPG.
RaiderZ's developers are trying to take a new approach to MMO development, emphasising direct control, crafting and outdoor boss fights. It’s a mad, weird and brilliant riposte to games like World of Warcraft: RaiderZ is action incarnate. Here’s the thing: it’s been in development since 2006. Six years is a very, very long time. You’d be forgiven for missing what the team are promising. So: here’s everything we know.
It’s all about direct control
Much like Guild Wars 2, RaiderZ doesn’t follow a point-and-click style of combat, but instead puts all your character’s powers at your fingertips. You control how your character moves and when they attack, dodge or disengage. If you swipe and miss, or if you take a nasty blow to the head that sends you flying, you’ve no-one to blame but yourself.
There are no character classes, stats rule the day
Players can assign points to abilities based around the Berserker, the Sorcerer, the Cleric and the Defender, whose powers relate to melee damage, ranged damage, healing and defense respectively. Each ability has an associated skill tree, so the more you invest in that ability, the more of its skills you can unlock. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to be a Defender with strong Sorcery skills, a Berserker with a smattering of Cleric skills, or anything in between.
Most items will need to be crafted
If you want a new sword, you can’t just toss a few coins a merchant’s way. If you need a new suit of leather armour, you’ll have to find the parts for it yourself and bring them back to an artisan NPC capable of making what you need. Most items in the game are created this way and, yep, you guessed it, you’ll have to go hunting to get the raw materials that you need. Some monsters will actually drop items as you hit them, giving you the opportunity to fill your backpack between blows.
It’s built around co-operation
Hence the tagline "Hunt together or die alone." Many of the tougher monsters were designed with the idea that several players would work together to take them down. If you fancy trying your luck by yourself, apparently some bosses can be beaten solo, but MAIET wanted to make an MMO where players would need to co-operate. The developers are so keen to recruit that they’re even offering real-world prizes for players who invite their friends, including a top-of-the-range gaming PC.
It’s well-tested: Korean gamers have been playing it for two years
RaiderZ actually dates back to 2010, but access to the English-language open beta was held back until October. MAIET did a similar very staggered release with their previous online game, GunZ: The Duel, a third-person action affair which was released in Korea in 2003, before reaching the UK and the US three years later.You can buy cat ears (but not right now)
You can buy cat's ears
I’m not kidding. They were actually 50% off a little while back. Like most free-to-play games now, RaiderZ hopes to make money by offering players cosmetic character customisations and spangly extras that won’t affect the balance of play.
There is no I in TEAM, but there is in MAIET
The story goes that MAIET’s name comes from spelling TEAM backwards and then inserting the letter I to stand for innovation. At least, that’s what Wikipedia says, but the source is a dead link. I’m really not sure if they’re trolling us or not.
Raiderz European servers are live now!
You can sign up right here.