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Tabula Rasa: GDC Progress Report

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

At the Game Developers Conference, Jon Wood had the opportunity to sit down for a look at the upcoming NCsoft title, Tabula Rasa. The demonstration was made by Richard "Lord British" Garriot, the man behind the Ultima series, and now Tabula Rasa.



Tabula Rasa is one of those games that we haven't heard a great deal about during its development cycle, which began back in May of 2001. That's not to say that the game today has had six years of development, as Tabula Rasa has gone through some sweeping changes since its original concept.

Today, Tabula Rasa is a game that, at first glance, integrates the fast-paced action of an FPS with the detailed story and advancement of an MMORPG. Set in a post apocalyptic Earth, after an alien species came to us and invaded wiping many of us out entirely, this game is seen as something new and exciting for many players.

Read the article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • rebelionrebelion ThessalonikiPosts: 1Member
    The actual link would be http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/1171



    (works fine on the frontpage, it's just the link on the news item that's off)
  • PerkoPerko Ottawa, ONPosts: 62Member
    WTF?  When did this turn completely into Counterstrike: The MMO?  Back when it was announced, this was something I wanted to play.  Now, it seems to be aiming for a completely different audience.  I can't believe this is the same Richard Garriott of Ultima fame promoting this product.  It may well be an excellent "MMOFPS", but I don't think there's anything in it for me now.
  • Nimr0d23Nimr0d23 N/APosts: 58Member
    The trees are a bit ugly right now for me, the other things looks good. I hope that won't be a mixture of an FPS and Z.
  • SkycappSkycapp gastonia, NCPosts: 3Member
    Originally posted by Perko

    WTF?  When did this turn completely into Counterstrike: The MMO?  Back when it was announced, this was something I wanted to play.  Now, it seems to be aiming for a completely different audience.  I can't believe this is the same Richard Garriott of Ultima fame promoting this product.  It may well be an excellent "MMOFPS", but I don't think there's anything in it for me now.
    First of all, I think your getting the wrong impression of TR.  Tabula Rasa is NOT an FPS by any stretch of the imagination. It is an Action based RPG plain and simple. The only thing TR has in common with FPS games is that you no longer simply click attack and go grab a snack while you wait for the fight to be over. You actually have to participate in your fights instead of macroing Fireball, Fireball, Sword, Heal pot.



    Everything else from what we have been told is your standard (but probably more advanced) MMORPG mission running and questing.



    I'm not even going to pretend that I am not a TR fanboi (anyone who has checked around the TR community probably knows otherwise). But I would really encourage everyone to take a closer look and not just base your opinions on a couple of interviews. I'm not claiming that TR will be the end all be all of MMORPG's, but I'm fairly sure it will be a contender in the MMO market and a fun and exciting game.



    So, I encourage you and everyone else to take some time to check TR out.  Read other forums and discussions and check out what is going on in the community and I think you will be surprised at what you find. Keep in mind that regaurdless of what everyone is reporting TR is NOT in closed beta yet. It is still in Friends and Family testing (very early Alpha test), so everything is subject to change.



    I've done my part. I hope to see you guys around the TR community.



    Skycapp

    tr.stratics.com
  • severiusseverius sacramento, CAPosts: 1,514Member Common
    There has been, most assuredly, major changes since the game was first announced several years ago.  What they had wasn't working up to Lord British's expectations so he scrapped the vast majority of the project and started over again.  He, like myself, feels that the MMO community has been illserved over the years since UO and EQ were released.  No one seems to be trying to really innovate anymore and are more concerned with giving everyone more of the same.



    This may well be the first true second generation mmorpg to be released.  If it does reasonably well other developers and publishers may well not shoot down every proposal that is not another eq/wow clone.  I am somewhat leary as everything sounds great on paper but, the proof will be in the gameplay.  Ultima was one of the very first graphical games I remember playing oh those very many years ago and if Garriott completely scrapped the original Tabula Rasa to go in a different direction I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.  He has never released a flop yet and I doubt he is going to start now.  *note: Ultima IX was not his game, it was EA's game.*

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  • TymoraTymora Manorville, NYPosts: 1,312Member

    Good post severius, I agree.  I am excited about trying a mmo that is different and innovative, so I will be giving Tabula Rasa a try when it comes out.  I loved UO and I am confident that R. Garriot won't disappoint TB players.

    If it's gotten to be more of a FPS, or action-based mmo, that's fine, as long as it's fun to play, immersive, and interesting.  The problem I see with many mmos is that they are all so similar that I lose interest after a while.  When I played UO and then EQ, it was so new that I was interested for a long time.  So we need something different, and I hope Richard Garriot brings it.

  • PerkoPerko Ottawa, ONPosts: 62Member
    It doesn't sound any more innovative than marrying PlanetSide with WoW's quest system.  Second generation?  Please.  Nobody can even agree on how many generations there are, never mind what that means.



    I know the game's been changed since the original plan, I've been following it for years.  I didn't mind it when it became more martial artsy.  I didn't mind it when it became more action oriented.  But when the PR starts to focus on things like taking cover from weapons fire and attacking & defending bases, than I have to believe the transformation into a persistent shooter is complete.  As a big fan of Lord British's early work, I'm very disappointed.  This is not where a designer with his background belongs.



    And I'm really tired of MMOs *still* being described by anyone as "click attack and go grab a snack while you wait for the fight to be over."  Have you actually played one in this millenium?  If anything, they've gone too far the other way.  In games like Guild Wars and LotRO, I'm so busy watching recycle timers, buffs & debuff expirations, hit points, mana and accumulating power meters ir order to win a tough fight that I rarely actually get to see what me or the opponent is physically doing.  Sometimes I think they could just scrap combat animations completely, because nobody has time to watch them anymore!
  • XApotheosisXXApotheosisX Chicago, ILPosts: 277Member
    Originally posted by Perko

    It doesn't sound any more innovative than marrying PlanetSide with WoW's quest system.  Second generation?  Please.  Nobody can even agree on how many generations there are, never mind what that means.



    I know the game's been changed since the original plan, I've been following it for years.  I didn't mind it when it became more martial artsy.  I didn't mind it when it became more action oriented.  But when the PR starts to focus on things like taking cover from weapons fire and attacking & defending bases, than I have to believe the transformation into a persistent shooter is complete.  As a big fan of Lord British's early work, I'm very disappointed.  This is not where a designer with his background belongs.



    And I'm really tired of MMOs *still* being described by anyone as "click attack and go grab a snack while you wait for the fight to be over."  Have you actually played one in this millenium?  If anything, they've gone too far the other way.  In games like Guild Wars and LotRO, I'm so busy watching recycle timers, buffs & debuff expirations, hit points, mana and accumulating power meters ir order to win a tough fight that I rarely actually get to see what me or the opponent is physically doing.  Sometimes I think they could just scrap combat animations completely, because nobody has time to watch them anymore!



    at least they are trying something different instead of the same combat as every other MMO out there. This sounds like it will be very tactical (at least from what they have told us.). Instead of just pounding just various buttons and spamming attacks. maybe this will make combat more exciting and tactical, instead of combat so dull that a monkey with half a brain could use.

    as for combat animations - yeah they are cool at the beginning. however once you reach high level in any game and have seen them thousands of times ... who really cares?

    for example my inquisitor in EQ2 has a cool spell, where golden hammers fly at an opponent. When i was level 20 when i first got the spell i was like "WOW THATS COOL!!!" ... however 50 levels later at level 70 its just like whatever now.

  • RobbgobbRobbgobb Dallas, TXPosts: 453Member Uncommon

    When the game first was announced, I went to check it out. I checked it out at different times and saw the different paths as I could. I have learned a lot with games since then. I still have to say that I don't  know what the game will be like. I do hope that it is a lot of fun.

    I like the idea of the mouse being a key to the game over the keyboard. Does not sound like the mouse is the same as a FPS but a lot of similiarities. The way there is a battlefront that goes back and forth controlled by the players on one side and computer on the other will be interesting to see.

    I hope that the factions will have a great deal to do with the game. I hope to see that someone who wants all to like them doesn't have the ability to get certain perks that someone who does pick a faction does but then has the perk of getting stuff from all factions. Will just have to wait and see how the game plays.

  • LorackLorack Romeoville, ILPosts: 2Member
    Perko,



    What you describe is exactly the scenario that Garriot is trying to remove from the MMOG genre.  He refers to that as "playing the interface".  That is exactly how many of the games have become, especially some that you mention.  That is not fun and you are correct, you may as well go back to a non-graphical environment.



    They are trying to describe verbally the combat system in TR and perhaps it's not coming across correctly. 



    First off realize this is not a "twitch" based combat system.  It is still based on stats and aiming is sticky so it cannot be considered an FPS by anyone's description.  Taking a different position (standing, kneeling, prone) affects your accuracy.  SWG did this with sniper rifles.  Standing behind something can increase your defense and that is not hard to do either.  Next, some AoE attacks can be avoid by, *gasp* moving out of the way, something which many players try to do anyway.   Some enemies require you to use different weapons or skills to kill them.  For instance, a flying ship or mech cannot effectively be taken down with a shotgun.  You need something like a rocket launcher.   All the while the enemies are employing multiple tactics to attack you.  If you hide they will pursue and engage in melee attacks.



    Now keep in mind that your reticle sticks to the target you select so there is no reason to aim but I believe you'll probably have to face your enemy at least.  Your chance to hit is still calculated on a die roll but stats change based on your position and choice of weapon.   Also you only have 2 attack choices at a time.  Left click for primary weapon, right click for current Logos ability.   You can change those selections much like you would in an FPS which is probably the biggest similarity. 



    All of this is meant to actually make combat feel like you are playing a game and not an interface.  I don't know how smooth it will be until I play it but I'm looking forward to it.  I get so bored with current MMOG combat mechanics.  CoX adds a little strategy but not much.  Generally the most important strategy in CoX is to avoid melee at all costs if you are squishy.  It gets very dull cycling the same attacks over and over.



    Of course, if you want to fight enemies beneath your current level you can still stand still and spam attacks in TR.  You are perfectly able to stand there and absorb all the damage given and play whack-a-mole (as Garriot would say) until the thing dies.   You will also not have to engage in the "capture the flag" style battlefields if you do not want to.



    Overall, it's still an MMOG but combat should be more engaging and less of a repetitive grind. 
  • sololocosololoco new york, NYPosts: 542Member

    That's it.  Give us something different then the run-of-the-mill Mage, Elves, Magic genre which all these games are.  This is probably the main reason players continue to seek out new games, hoping for something new and different. Hopefully, TR is just that.

    I think this is one of the reasons SWG was so liked, it was something different.

  • MuffinStumpMuffinStump Frankfort, KYPosts: 474Member Uncommon

    While I carry a healthy amount of skepticism concerning any of these games before release I am going to allow myself a little leeway with Tabula Rasa. :)

    Sometimes a little gleeful anticipation keeps you young.

  • dalevi1dalevi1 Toledo, OHPosts: 829Member
    They lost me when they lost housing. They should have at least kept that. I need a place to rest my head and show off my trophies. An instanced apartment would have been fine...



    /shrug

    Played (more than a month): SWG, Second Life, Tabula Rasa, Lineage 2, Everquest 2, EvE, MxO, Ryzom.

    Tried: WoW, Shadowbane, Anarchy Online, Everquest, WWII Online, Planetside

    Beta: Lotro, Tabula Rasa, WAR.

  • nexus42nexus42 Anytown, ALPosts: 288Member
    This sounds a lot better than the original design. I actually have the desire to look further into TR again now. Thanks for the great article MMORPG.com, keep 'em coming!

    ...Pika

  • theanimedudetheanimedude waterloo, ONPosts: 1,610Member


    Originally posted by dalevi1
    They lost me when they lost housing. They should have at least kept that. I need a place to rest my head and show off my trophies. An instanced apartment would have been fine.../shrug

    I mean no offense by this... but wtf.

    Housing? Come on. Housing is such a waste of system resources. Every game I have ever played with housing was only a way for people to show how much leeter they were than all the rest of their friends.

    You want to show off? Prove yourself on the battlefield, don't just sit your ass in some cozy apartment while I'm off doing all the work.

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  • Gamer5389Gamer5389 Yidh, NYPosts: 77Member
    I personally prefer how WAR is planned to handle trophies, hang body parts the defeated on yourself.



    The article just briefly mentioned Logos, the language Garriott developed, but more on that will come later it seems. Not much said about the "ethical parables" that are also to be in the game but probably wasn't emphasized much based on the GDC presentation video and other interviews.
  • VesnarVesnar Kawkawlin, MIPosts: 29Member

    Short post because I'm at work. Ive been following this title only recently starting maybe May of last year. However, Ive also noticed changes in that short time. I do however feel that those changes are for the better and I look forward with excitement as we get closer and closer to an open beta.

    I must also state that Ive always trusted in Richard Garriots work and for someone to simply do a 180 like the gentlemen who posted it as being CS and that he was looking forward to it and that quickly turned it away, I think you need to stop and take a look at the actual changes. A 180 like that is pretty short comming of any fan of Mr. Garriots. I hope they do release a trial on release so that these many skeptics will be able to give it a shot and see if their pesimistic thoughts support what their educated experience with the game now at that instance show.

  • VesnarVesnar Kawkawlin, MIPosts: 29Member
    And because I guess I missed the post about housing. Indeed housing uses up resources but it is for more then k3wl d00dz to prove their leetness. Its also a way to encourage roleplay and give the player a sense of ownership.
  • CaleSentariCaleSentari Way Out Theyah, MEPosts: 178Member
    Originally posted by Perko

    It doesn't sound any more innovative than marrying PlanetSide with WoW's quest system.  Second generation?  Please.  Nobody can even agree on how many generations there are, never mind what that means.



    I know the game's been changed since the original plan, I've been following it for years.  I didn't mind it when it became more martial artsy.  I didn't mind it when it became more action oriented.  But when the PR starts to focus on things like taking cover from weapons fire and attacking & defending bases, than I have to believe the transformation into a persistent shooter is complete.  As a big fan of Lord British's early work, I'm very disappointed.  This is not where a designer with his background belongs.



    And I'm really tired of MMOs *still* being described by anyone as "click attack and go grab a snack while you wait for the fight to be over."  Have you actually played one in this millenium?  If anything, they've gone too far the other way.  In games like Guild Wars and LotRO, I'm so busy watching recycle timers, buffs & debuff expirations, hit points, mana and accumulating power meters ir order to win a tough fight that I rarely actually get to see what me or the opponent is physically doing.  Sometimes I think they could just scrap combat animations completely, because nobody has time to watch them anymore!



    TBH I kind of see where you are going in your third paragraph on the basic subject of "too many" stats and numbers in MMO's these days that htey have hijacked most games.  But then again, after reading the article it "appears" to me that using landscapes, taking cover, and more tactical strategy based on the surroundings was as step away from the numbers game, at least a small baby-step.  The targeting system (which I think is what is causing people to use the descriptions you don't like) taking more attention is interesting, at least if it's done well and the system it runs on and enemy A.I. is clean.  Those things will hopefully at least direct more attention onto the game, game environment and your encounters with it....and less on what icons I currently have over my head....(at least hopefully)

    Hopefully they are able to do what they say in regards to more reactive MOBs for several reasons, most importantly because that is yet another step in the right direction....at least IMO.

    Not really disagreeing with you persay, just givin my viewpoint.

  • AlienovrlordAlienovrlord San Antonio, TXPosts: 1,525Member
    Originally posted by Stradden


    Tabula Rasa is one of those games that we haven't heard a great deal about during its development cycle,



    THIS is a freaking understatement!

    You'd think the Department of Defense or Homeland Security was funding this project by the amount of information that's been released on it!   Even this article doesn't do anything but state the same features and game mechanics that were mentioned last year.

    Cloning.  We get it.  Battlefields.  We get it.

    How about some REAL details or a press conference or letting reviewers play the game or something? 

    Maybe they figure Garriott will provide all the advertising they need so they don't need to bother.  Personally it's more like they're either ignoring the community or they don't have anything to show. 

  • RehmesRehmes miami, FLPosts: 600Member
    I wanna play this game, it actually seems like itl be released within my lifetime (DAMN U HUXLEY). Its something different and thank god for it, cuz im damn tired of the elves having all the fun.
  • JetrpgJetrpg Whitehouse, OHPosts: 2,376Member
    Originally posted by severius

    There has been, most assuredly, major changes since the game was first announced several years ago.  What they had wasn't working up to Lord British's expectations so he scrapped the vast majority of the project and started over again.  He, like myself, feels that the MMO community has been illserved over the years since UO and EQ were released.  No one seems to be trying to really innovate anymore and are more concerned with giving everyone more of the same.



    This may well be the first true second generation mmorpg to be released.  If it does reasonably well other developers and publishers may well not shoot down every proposal that is not another eq/wow clone.  I am somewhat leary as everything sounds great on paper but, the proof will be in the gameplay.  Ultima was one of the very first graphical games I remember playing oh those very many years ago and if Garriott completely scrapped the original Tabula Rasa to go in a different direction I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.  He has never released a flop yet and I doubt he is going to start now.  *note: Ultima IX was not his game, it was EA's game.*
    I have been following this game forever and hope it will be good.



    Oh ps plz include DAOC in that list becuase i found it more inovative then EQ anyday. (It just didn't tons of lame fanboyz)

    "Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one ..." - Thomas Paine

  • bdschilzbdschilz chester, NHPosts: 15Member
    yeah I'm looking forward to this game also the screenies are great and it looks like it will be different then all the cookie cutter mmos being released now
  • StrydoxStrydox Alexandria, KYPosts: 8Member
    Out of all the mmos that are in development at this time this is one of the very few that I am very interested in. Its something different and I always liked the idea of the MMORPG-FPS and maybe this one will be the one that works right...

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  • VagelispVagelisp AthensPosts: 448Member

    Tabula Rasa - A "clean start" for Richard Garriott. After many years of Ultima he should and must do something new about the online genre that he loves so much.

    From clicking skill buttons and health bars to something that looks more like an "arcade" style of gameplay? Who knows... 6 years in development for a game that is just a massive fps is too much. I am sure it will be something more than i can imagine.

    I wish you good luck Lord British and i hope that everything will go as you want it to go.

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