I logged into my character and discovered just how fun this game still is.
Ronin is not an easy foe at all. In fact, I would not be surprised if Perfect World nerfed him soon. I attempted to defeat him in a full group of highly skilled players, and he just would not die. As with many of the giant monsters in RaiderZ, there is a secret to unlock when it comes to Ronin. Sometimes you have to watch for signs that the mob is about to fire off some massive attack and can often defend yourself against it, but this mob was more challenging than anything I had faced before.
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I ditched Ronin and ran to find the giant spider-queen, Shock Trap, joining up with a quick group to take her down. The true fun in RaiderZ comes from these huge battles with giants and villains alongside people you've never met. Sure, there is plenty of instanced combat in linear dungeons, but having some of the most challenging content walking around the world for anybody to scrap with makes the game seem not just more alive but more dangerous and adventurous. It's also important to note that despite the fact that I was given a buffed character with incredible equipment and an inventory filled with treats, I had as much fun playing on a brand-new unbuffed account when revisiting my original character. A challenging, action-based fight at level 10 is the same as one at max level. Both are chaotic and fast-paced, and both result in white-knuckle fun that you can find only in an action-based title. Alas, for me, both result in a session with the ice-filled sink I mentioned earlier.
RaiderZ also allows players to build characters by using different skills from each of the four classes. While many would argue how smart anything but pure builds would be, I had fun putting some points into two-handed combat (so I could continue to use the massive hammer and sword that I was used to) and some points into my healing abilities too. I found myself using only three or four main skills, anyway, so the healing was a nice touch. Players simply earn points as they level and can put them into the different trees as they see fit. I was able to use some free respec books that came with my buffed account, but typically the books cost between $12 and $20, depending on the character's level. A respec isn't cheap, but considering that the game itself is free... I think that's a good deal.
I do have a few complaints about the game on the whole that are reflected in its expansion. It feels like a linear, area-based game that encourages players to jump into an region, conquer all of the monsters and quests, and move on to the next area. Sure, that's a fine formula if you fancy yourself a fan of linear content, but because the game allows you build a character in an almost freeform manner and offers open world combat rather than forces you to instance yourself away from the rest of the world, the linearity seems out of place. I wish the game were more loose with its content arrangement.
Also, the gold spam in this game is absolutely incredible. The only way to block someone is to type in the name of the character, but the spam moves so fast that you have to take a screenshot, reference that screenshot, and hopefully block some of it. It's embarrassing to see such a great game so plagued with spam. A simple right-click "report" feature -- or I don't know, an employee logging into the game once in a while -- would solve the issue. The spam is insane. I finally had to make a channel that allowed only local chat in order to block it all.
I've had a blast in RaiderZ's expansion. I cannot comment on how long it might take to get to the max-level that my character was automatically set at, but I had quite a bit of fun in lower levels as well, so I don't think leveling up would feel like a grind. Action-based combat works at almost any level, but encounters in RaiderZ become more challenging and dynamic as your character matures. The great thing is that if you find yourself against a grind or need to take a break, there is no subscription to worry about.
That's a heck of a deal.
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