Free for All: RaiderZ's Mark Hill talks punching, slashing, and beta

RaiderZ beta screenshot
I was first introduced to RaiderZ back at E3 2011. The game has been in testing since then and has apparently grown a lot. I've had some time now to try the beta and chop up some monsters, and I have to say that the action is frantic but the open-world is not something I am used to from action-based MMOs.

Mark Hill, Senior Producer for RaiderZ, answered my questions and explained just why we should be excited for this new free-to-play title. I'll let you read his answers, but I'd also ask that you try it out when you can. It really is a nice step forward from other action-based titles, but you can judge that for yourself. And after all, we love non-instanced combat, right?

RaiderZ beta screenshot
Massively: It's been a couple of years since we first heard from RaiderZ at E3. Can you give us a quick summary of what has been added to the game, what the developers have been working on since it was first unveiled, and what's new since we looked at it just a few months ago?

Mark Hill: We've made a ton of additions and modifications since you last saw the game at E3. First, we've expanded the "classless" system that we touched on at the show. We have added multiple new skills and different types of weapons that players can learn and equip throughout the game regardless of their base job in order to give them more freedom of choice while speccing out their character. Also, the amount of base content in the game has greatly increased. New zones, quests, NPCs, monsters, and bosses have been added to the game (and even more is being added as we speak).

The game boasts monster battles, in real time and in the open world. What will prevent players from kill-stealing or otherwise ruining another group's hunt?

Although players can expect to hunt many large boss-caliber monsters in the open world, RaiderZ also hosts its fair share of instanced dungeons, so there's no need to worry about kill-stealing in those cases. Mob aggro is also similar to aggro in traditional MMOs. If your group has been working hard to take down an open-world boss, some random dude won't be able to pop in and steal your team's kill at the last minute. However, we know that there might be some powerful players who want to spawn camp a boss and reap the rewards for themselves or their guild. Our method of dealing with this is to have a wide enough range of content that there will always be something for someone to do, including possible alternate bosses and enemies from which to obtain the loot they need to progress.

How will the game's cash shop figure into gameplay? Will powerful items be sold in the shop?

We're not quite ready to discuss the game's cash shop in detail at the moment. However, I do want to point out that we're certainly not pursuing a pay-to-win philosophy when it comes to RaiderZ's cash shop. I don't think a player should ever feel as if he or she needs to buy items in order to progress and have fun. The goal is to get people to organically enjoy the game enough and stick with it long enough in order to want to pick up some items. We don't want players to feel as if we are forcing them into it.

RaiderZ beta screenshot
One of the interesting concepts behind monster fights has been the ability to use discarded monster parts to actually fight the monsters. As a horn breaks off, you can use it against the mob. How has this system evolved from its original concept?


"You never know when you might find a new weapon to tear from your prey as you roam and rampage through the land of Rendel."

That's a great question. Let me elaborate a bit and forgive me if my answer seems a little longwinded. Bosses in RaiderZ follow complex patterns, and it's usually when a group has mastered a boss encounter that they learn to exploit weak spots and break off limbs to use as weapons, which also grants the player new skills that tend to be extra effective. In some cases, powerful strikes can break off limbs from non-boss mobs as well, which players can also equip for a new set of powerful skills for a limited time. These breakable monster parts play a larger role in RaiderZ's more interactive boss encounters. A boss that swallows a player whole seems to go hand-in-hand with an encounter that finds you beating down a giant dragon with its own horn. But for everyday questing and adventuring, the breakable monster parts also serve to add some variety into the mix. You never know when you might find a new weapon to tear from your prey as you roam and rampage through the land of Rendel. Monster pieces also play an important role in RaiderZ's crafting and loot system. In RaiderZ, new weapons and armor do not drop from mobs in the traditional sense. Instead, players loot parts from the prey they've hunted to craft their own specialized sets of armor and weapons.

The game boasts a fantastic amount of customization, from looks to skill sets. Would you classify the skill system as a sandbox while the rest of the game is more of a quest-driven themepark?

While I love the way that sounds (seriously, that sounds amazing), when I hear the word "sandbox," I think of an open world. It makes me think of titles like Minecraft or the Grand Theft Auto series. As for RaiderZ's character system, words like "freeform" or "classless" come to mind. While players start off by choosing from a selection of archetype classes, the amount of customization and number of paths players can choose to shape their character as they progress keeps on increasing. At max level, a player might end up with a pure tank, wielding a one-hand weapon and shield with a focus on damage reduction skills. But another player might find herself with a unique hybrid class, perhaps a character that can deal heavy DPS while still being able to heal and support the group. The choice is up to players, and the crafting system supports that freedom of choice as well. No more disappointing loot that's no good for your character. Instead, craft the gear that complements your build the best.

What can we expect as far as system requirements for the game?

RaiderZ is still in the closed beta testing phase, so while the following recommended and minimum system requirements may change, this should give your readers a good idea of what's to come. For Perfect World Entertainment and developer MAIET Entertainment, it's all about striking that right balance between accessibility so that as many people as possible can enjoy RaiderZ, while still targeting performance so that players with more beefy gaming rigs can enjoy all that the game has to offer.
  • Recommended Requirements
  • Operating System: Windows 7 (64-bit)
  • CPU: Quad-Core CPU 3Ghz or faster
  • RAM: 4-8GB or more
  • Hard Disk: 6-12GB of Free Hard Drive Space. 20GB or more of free space preferred
  • Graphic Display: DirectX 11 level GPU with 1GB of Video RAM or more
  • Sound Drivers: DirectX 9.0c level compatible sound card. DirectX 10 or 11 preferred
  • Network: Best online experience will be on a non-throttled, wired, fast, and stable broadband Internet connection
  • Minimum Requirements
  • Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 (32-bit)
  • CPU: Dual-Core CPU at 2Ghz or faster
  • RAM: 2GB or more
  • Hard Disk: 6-12GB of Free Hard Drive Space. 20GB or more of free space preferred
  • Graphic Display: DirectX 9.0c level GPU (GeForce 6000 or Radeon HD1000 series or newer) with 512MB Video RAM or more
  • Sound Drivers: DirectX 9.0c level compatible sound card. DirectX 10 or 11 preferred
  • Network: Best online experience will be on a non-throttled, wired, fast, and stable broadband Internet connection
Vindictus, Dragon Nest and others have come out swinging in the action-MMO territory. What sets RaiderZ apart from the pack?

It's true that MMO developers seem to be trending toward more action-oriented combat systems. But in addition to RaiderZ's action combat system, the development team at MAIET has worked on lots of other great features and ideas that I think offer a breath of fresh air to the genre. The first differentiating feature from the games you mentioned is that they are mainly instance-based games. This allows the action combat to be fast because it's not taking place in the open world with thousands of other players on the server. RaiderZ maintains that level of speed and smoothness in combat while the gameplay actually takes place out in that open world. It offers a truer feel of what an MMO is, as opposed to an instance-based online game. Next, the boss encounters are a far cry from most other MMOs. Nothing feels better than beating down a big bad with its own limb. But those breakable limbs are just a part of that experience.


"There are other MMOs out there that let players experiment with various builds for each class, but I'm having trouble thinking of one that truly offers the same level of freedom and control players have over their characters as RaiderZ."

There's this one frog-like boss, Elluga, that has an attack move with which it leaps high into the air till you can barely see its shadow before it comes crashing down on a party member unless he dodges in time. It's just one attack and just a single moment, but it's those kind of memorable moments we think players will appreciate; it just feels so much more exciting when you're in the fight and memorable afterward than memorizing that in phase two you have to avoid standing in the fire the boss summons, for example. RaiderZ's "freeform" class system and the way it synergizes with its loot and crafting system is another area where I think RaiderZ stands out. There are other MMOs out there that let players experiment with various builds for each class, but I'm having trouble thinking of one that truly offers the same level of freedom and control players have over their characters as RaiderZ.

Then there are the visuals. Since this is a newer title, the land of Rendel looks gorgeous with a vast variety of environments. You might find yourself hacking and slashing your way through a thick forest in search of the venomous Monster of the Garden beast one day or Ogre hunting through snowy mountains near the Rengot Village the next. But of course, as Senior Producer of RaiderZ, I just might be a little biased. So please, don't just take my word for it. The RaiderZ closed beta testing phase is still running, and we'd love to get some feedback from all you Massively readers out there. Head to www.playraiderz.com for more info and details on how to get a RaiderZ CBT key.

I'd like to thank Mark for answering my questions. Now, I'm going to go beat up some monsters.

Each week, Free for All brings you ideas, news, and reviews from the world of free-to-play, indie, and import games -- a world that is often overlooked by gamers. Leave it to Beau Hindman to talk about the games you didn't know you wanted! Have an idea for a subject or a killer new game that no one has heard of? Send it to beau@massively.com!

This article was originally published on Massively.