At the recent Rezzed PC and indie games expo we were able to sit down with Rüdiger Moersch, the producer for Frogster Interactive's next MMO import. After recently bringing TERA to Europe, the Berlin-based publishing house's next effort is MAIET Entertainment's RaiderZ.
Strategy Informer: What sets this MMORPG apart from all the others out there?
Rüdiger Moersch: First of all, this is an action-oriented MMO. There's no point and click; you have to go in, you have to fight for yourself, you have to dodge, you have to block, you have to actively choose the spells you want to use. There's no bot in there doing the work for you. There's no programming a bot then going away and coming back and saying 'yoohoo!' I killed a hundred monsters. Here you have to kill the hundred monsters yourself.
That's one of the points. The other one is that it's a monster hunting MMO. The real focus here is on the big monsters. There are, of course, mobs as well which are beautiful and nicely created. But the big enemies are way more fun to fight. They are huge, very enticing and really interactive with the player. In normal MMOs, for example, you might fight a dragon who'll walk around and maybe breath some fire or something like that. In our game, he's flying, he's attacking you from the air, he's grabbing you, stomping you into the ground. Other creatures might get you in their mouth, chew you up and spit you out. So, battles become very active and interactive.
Strategy Informer: You mentioned the term 'monster hunting'. Was the game at all inspired by Capcom's Monster Hunter series?
Rüdiger Moersch: Yes. As you might known, MAEIT is a Korean developer and Monster Hunter is very big in Korea so of course there was some influence.
Strategy Informer: Can you talk about the setting and the premise of the game?
Rüdiger Moersch: Our kingdom is on the verge between medieval times and the renaissance. It was very peaceful and very friendly but then a comet crash landed in the desert. Scientists were sent out and found that there were materials in the comet that could be used to transmute other materials. So what did they do? They transmuted metals to create super weapons, what else.
What they didn't realise is that this transmutation effect was seeping like poison into the countryside, taking normal animals, plants and remains and transmuting them into the monsters we see now. Our developers took inspiration from blending these sorts of things together to see how they work. For example, they took a frog and crossed that with a lizard, made it bigger and more ugly looking. That's how many of the enemy designs came about.
Strategy Informer: The inclusion of a dodge mechanic isn't something you often see in MMORPGs. Are there any other abilities like this that encourage players to be more active?
Rüdiger Moersch: Well, we have the breakable parts system. During fights with certain mobs they might lose some of their armour, their weapon or even lose part of their body. For example, the big frog monster I mention earlier, he can lose his horn. You can then pick it up and use it as a weapon with completely new properties against him.
The same goes for other things, for example if the enemy loses part of their armour they will receive a debuff which is really useful for you. In the beginning zone there is a big fish-type monster with a big club. If he loses that you can pick it up and use it as a weapon.
Also, you can interact more with the environment. For example, in one section you can pick up a big ship cannon and use that to fire at things. That's really fun to do that.
Strategy Informer: The game's going to be free to play from the outset. What sort of things will you be charging microtransactions for?
Rüdiger Moersch: We're still working that out at the moment and things will likely develop in the future. At the moment we are focusing on cosmetic stuff and items that are a litter bit better than ones already in the game. For example, the potion you purchase for real money will be more effective than the standard one. Also, there will be an instant respawn scroll that will start you where you've died instead of back at a respawn point.
I can tell you what we don't want to have in the game are those typical pay to win items. Another avenue that we're exploring at the moment is selling tickets to get into new areas earlier. Other players will not be blocked from these or any other areas, they'll just have to wait one or two weeks more.
Strategy Informer: Can you give us an idea on what kind of character classes we'll see in the game?
Rüdiger Moersch: First of all, there are no classes, there are fighting styles. At the moment we have four fighting styles: the sorcerer, the cleric, the defender and the berserker. When you start out you choose one of these styles and stick with it until you're level ten; this is basically your initiation phase. If we were to open all 350 talents at the beginning I think it would be too confusing.
After level ten you can customise your fighting style and can even blend all four if you wanted to and become a jack of all trades. Of course, your decisions here have pluses and minuses. If you did criss-cross all of the styles you would be very versatile. In groups you would fill empty positions very easily. But overall you would not be as powerful as a less varied character.
The best approach in my opinion is to specialise in one fighting style and cherry pick a few talents from the others.
Strategy Informer: What's the typical party size in this game? Will it be soloable?
Rüdiger Moersch: At the moment it is designed for groups. You can do a lot by yourself, depending on your level and your experience. A few of the boss monsters, especially in the early zones, you can defeat yourself. But later there will be bosses that are easier and more fun to beat as a group.
At the moment we are working on a secondary system that will give solo players more of a chance to take down the big enemies.
Strategy Informer:Thanks for your time, Rudiger.
RaiderZ (pronounced 'raiders' - we made sure to confirm that with Rüdiger) is currently scheduled for European release in late November.