This weekend I got a sneak peak at two MMORPGs that Perfect World is currently publishing – RaiderZ (MAIET Entertainment) and Neverwinter (Cryptic Studios).
We started off with some RaiderZ (pronounced Raiders), a free-to-play monster-hunting MMO that is insanely bright and colorful. The open world of RaiderZ is full of giant monsters waiting (literally) to be fought and includes beloved addictions such as crafting, enchanting, and mounts. Characters are basic (berserker, defender, sorcerer, and cleric) but unrestricted – players can choose skills from other character skill trees when leveling up, with over 350 skill combinations in total. There’s also a full character creator for people like me who love making uggos (or hotties, if you’re into that kind of thing).
As free-to-play can mean many things these days, I asked what it meant for RaiderZ – and the answer I got was quite satisfying. They plan to have a good balance between payers and non-payers, meaning that the full game can be played and completed by anyone regardless of paying status. Cash options have not been determined yet but they’re looking to include payments for things like extra costumes and XP bonuses. As of now there are no PvP servers planned, however they may be open to adding it depending on player demand.
After RaiderZ we moved on to Neverwinter, another free-to-play MMO that takes place in Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting approximately 100 years after the events in Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2. A cataclysmic event called the Spell Plague has hit Neverwinter, destroying the weave of magic in its wake. Your hero answers a call to resurrect the Jewel of the North to its former glory, and therein begins the quest.
Being a huge fan of Neverwinter Nights, my main concerns were focused on how the game actually fits into the world of D&D – ie, were they just copying the setting and races and pasting them into a basic MMO? The short answer is no. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Cryptic Studios has weekly talks with Wizards of the Coast to ensure that their lore and timeline fit into the world of the Forgotten Realms. In fact, WoTC has borrowed some artwork created for Neverwinter and released it officially as cannon. The game will also contain lore books, which will encompass history and characters from the Forgotten Realms.
The gameplay in Neverwinter seems pretty basic on the outside with no tap-targeting and powers that function on a cool-down system, however there are a few unique characteristics that caught my eye. One of these items includes a meter shaped like a D20 that you can charge to unleash a powerful spell upon enemies. There’s also an integrated in-game calendar that shows off special events, dungeons, queues, and community affairs. As of now they’re looking to have basic classes with specialization options, including Control Wizard, Trickster Rogue, and Guardian Fighter. Race options have not been officially announced however I did glance a peek at a Tiefling!
RaiderZ and Neverwinter are slated to go into closed beta shortly, and will be released later this year.