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PAX East 2012: RaiderZ preview and interview
by Andrew Whipple III
Monster killing is a hard business. Hacking, slashing, maiming and otherwise murdering your prey certainly can be a lengthy process, but it's one that's widely accepted as one of gaming's most cherished mediums.

RaiderZ, MAIET Entertainment and Perfect World's spin on the monster evisceration genre, is bringing that addictive gameplay everyone knows and loves back to the forefront, but it's also throwing some serious skill into the mix.

RaiderZ interview (2:20)

Like Neverwinter, RaiderZ will be a free-to-play title only available on the PC. RaiderZ will also be set in an MMO-style, but that's about where the similarities between the two games end. The focus of RaiderZ is killing monsters, a lot of them. Set in the country of Rendel, a call has been put out to all able-bodied men and women to combat the mysterious monster threat. Legions of monsters need to be slain, need anybody say more?

One of the first things you'll notice about RaiderZ is its focus on a classless system. As a matter of fact, the abilities you're presented with rest almost entirely on the weapon you're carrying. Say you have a staff and are casting magical abilities here and there, if you switch to a heavy mace those magical abilities won't be available to you. Instead, a new set of attacks become useable and yes, you can change your weapons on the fly.


While they aren't considered 'classes,' when you change your weapon you alternate between four different types of ability trees which can all be augmented. The Defender, Cleric, Sorcerer and Berzerker are those trees, so just think of them as different play-styles.

At first I wasn't so sure I wanted a classless system. The game still looked very much like you were choosing roles and carrying them out in the same ole' fashion every MMO gamer has experienced, and you technically are. However, having the freedom to choose what you want to do when you want to do it gives RaiderZ a completely different feeling than the typical MMO. You aren't locked into any particular position and can be effective against everyone and everything.

The most important feature about a game like RaiderZ is, of course, the monsters themselves. What would a monster hunting RPG be without towering beasts, lumbering hulks and fiery demons to slaughter? Well, RaiderZ certainly has all of the above so there's no need to fret. The game looks beautiful and all the creatures out there waiting to be taken on look equally awesome. It's not so awesome though, when one of those things completely decimates you (actually, it still is).

Suffice it to say that a heavy mace is not going to take this thing down alone.

Difficulty was a central point MAIET wanted to stress in RaiderZ and I can confirm that it's definitely apparent. The monsters out there aren't easy and it's not a matter of if they'll kill you, but when. We're talking huge health pools, giant weapons and charging attacks that will end you. It's up to you and your party to mark the moves of your prey and get the hell out of the way when 'Behemoth A' grabs a pillar out of the ground and arcs it in your direction. It's not a cheap difficulty, but it will require thought and your undivided attention to avoid death.

Besides being a monster hunting affair, this game also puts a great emphasis on choosing your battles, evasion and combat. Being the action game connoisseur that I am, I immediately noticed the hit-boxes on every monster is spot on. This means where you attack matters and dodging is possible by even running between the creature's legs. MAIET has done an excellent job making each fight feel like there's weight behind it and that also carries over into hitting the beasts themselves. Sometimes, depending on the monster and other variables, you can break off pieces of the monster, their armor, anything and use it against them. That horned demon giving you and your buddies a hard time? Break that horn off and you can use it as a temporary weapon to send him back to the depths.

After PAX East, my excitement for the game, besides the randomly capitalized 'Z,' is through the roof. Evasion and tactics are huge for gamers like myself in games of this nature and it appears RaiderZ gets this. There's no release date on file right now, but there will be a closed beta sometime in Q2 and an open beta more toward the holiday season.

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- Andrew Whipple III

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