As a former WoW player, I was really excited to see the gameplay of Raid Leader, since it featured boss fights with various dynamics that require strategy. I also loved Battleheart, so I was glad to see that the same tap and drag controls in this game. Despite this, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed with the game overall.
There are only three character types in Raid Leader, which resemble the “Holy Trinity” of MMORPGs. The Knight acts as the tank (or meat shield), the Hunter acts as the DPS, and the Priest is the healer. You control all of them, so you won’t have to deal with “n00bs” that clearly don’t know what they are doing (ah, the joys of MMORPGs). Simply tap and drag them to move them around on the screen, or drag the marker onto the enemy to attack, or the other characters to heal.
There are 15 unique encounters (which will be a level), spread out across a map. Each boss features their own fighting style that will require a different strategy than the last. There are also some surprise elements in each battle that will require you to tap on the screen as indicated (break out of ice or kill some exploding blood worms, for example).
However, once you get down to it, the fights are the same: move in to attack, heal the tank, spam abilities, maybe kite the enemy around with the tank to avoid hurting the other two members, and attack some more. Each fight starts off the same, and even a bit slow in the beginning. I do like how they pick up in intensity though, because that is how I remember dungeons and raids in WoW.
When you clear a boss, you get some gold (each boss gives a different amount, depending on their difficulty) that you can spend on new skills and abilities for your characters (over 30 to choose from). Each of them can only have two equipped, which you can use during battles by tapping on the slots at the bottom of the screen. The skills can be bought and upgraded, assuming you have the gold. They also feature active and passive effects, which is nice.
A letdown is the fact that there are no character levels. So you can’t really improve your character by leveling up and gaining stats. Isn’t that what all games of this fashion have though? I am a bit surprised it isn’t in here.
The biggest disappointment of all (to me anyway) is the fact that the game features no loot. The reason you raid in WoW is to get better gear. Gear is what makes your characters better, both in abilities and appearance. Without it, well, there isn't much point, right? Even Battleheart featured tons of loot, so I'm not sure why this game decided to gloss over that. I hope the developers will add items to Raid Leader in the future -- until then, they should probably take that part out of the app description (there's a difference between "gold" and "loot").
I will admit that I loved the graphics and the music though. The 3D is done well enough and I did not experience any choppiness in animation during games.
Game Center is also supported, and there are over 25 achievements to obtain. At least this offers a bit of replay value to the game.
The game is decent overall, but still a bit disappointing with the complete lack of loot and character levels. In the current iteration, I can’t fully recommend it, at least until improvement are made. I guess I have just been spoiled with real raids in bigger games.
The good thing, though, is the fact that the game is only a dollar and is universal for your iPhone and iPad, so you won’t lose a lot if you decide to check it out.