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Tabula Rasa: Beta Preview

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

MMORPG.com Community Manager Laura Genender gives us her first impressions of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa, the upcoming MMORPG that melds an FPS feel with RPG mechanics.

Since my last look at Richard Garriot's Tabula Rasa, the Studio Visit and Hands On in June, I've been playing Tabula Rasa and watching the changes as we get closer to release. This Sci-fi MMO by NCSoft displays a ton of innovation, from premise to gameplay - but does it have the "addiction" factor to keep players involved?

Classes and Crafting

In Tabula Rasa, all players start as "recruits." At level 5 you choose whether to follow the Soldier or the Specialist branch - Soldiers are damage dealers and tanks, while Specialists stick to support roles. From there you can further specialize as a Commando, Ranger, Sapper, Biotechnician, and more - see the full list here.

Sticking with my long standing tradition of playing the healer-role, I went with a Specialist class. While I never actually grouped with other players, having healing and armor repair tools at my disposal was priceless - not to mention the use of Cipher Tools, to unlock crates in the field for free loot. In fact, I'd say that the specialist perks far outweigh the soldier in day to day solo play. I could run just about anywhere by spamming myself with the heal tool - unbalanced, much?

Read the whole preview here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • nakumanakuma New York City, NYPosts: 1,310Member

    nice review. that pretty much nails down what  i felt. its fun when ur playing, but no addiction factor. nothing really pushing u to want to log in. Its an okay SCIFI MMO but not really impressive. I agree if your already in another MMO dont come over. at least not yet. :P

    3.4ghz Phenom II X4 965, 8GB PC12800 DDR3 GSKILL, EVGA 560GTX 2GB OC, 640GB HD SATA II, BFG 1000WATT PSU. MSI NF980-G65 TRI-SLI MOBO.

  • nakumanakuma New York City, NYPosts: 1,310Member

    and as far as the opportunity quests, i finished the  kill 200 thrax and 40 miasma lol. i got a thrax hunter title. felt so cheated lol. whoopty dooO!! snoooozeee

    3.4ghz Phenom II X4 965, 8GB PC12800 DDR3 GSKILL, EVGA 560GTX 2GB OC, 640GB HD SATA II, BFG 1000WATT PSU. MSI NF980-G65 TRI-SLI MOBO.

  • go4brokego4broke Newark, NJPosts: 180Member

    For the most part I tend to agree with your assessment there just isn't something to draw me back to the game.

     

    I do however disagree with you about the voiceovers, I think in execution they were done poorly but the idea and the potential they can add to the game are fantastic.  In other words I'd have rated the voice overs as neutral, neither good nor bad about the game.

     

    The game has a lot of good points, but it lacks the spark to make a truly great game, part of it I think  is the rudimentary crafting, I'm sorry but most people I discuss the issue with in WOW hate its crafting system.  Designers really need to add something into these games beyond what most games are offering perhaps not quite as far as EVE online but something close I bet would add a lot of depth to any game.

     

    If anything this game just doesn't seem to have any depth, and I think many poeple are recognizing that fact.

  • daeandordaeandor Houston, TXPosts: 2,996Member

    Although I think you are generous or just extremely polite in your review,  I think you pretty much covered the basics well.  The game is enjoyable, but definitely lacks immersion, crafting, and pvp.  IMO, to those reading this review, if you are a big Scifi fan that likes fast-action combat games, try it out, if you are not, or are hyper-critical of mmorpgs (like many members of these forums) don't even continue reading any further and go elsewhere, your ignorance will be bliss.

  • kokopuffkokopuff P, RIPosts: 94Member

    This is  BETA review not RETAIL remember that

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    if they really amp up the bane vs. afs control points war, maybe add some zones for PVP all about controlling these points between different factions...

    It'd go far.

    month or two after release when they get the balance fixed and difficulty squared away....

    who knows? could end up a great game. I know I won't be buying it at launch, and will wait for a free trial

    I played in Beta and wasn't that impressed, so hopefully they have done some good work since then and will continue to improve the game

     

  • VopiVopi Portland, ORPosts: 20Member
    Tabula Rasa is little more than Auto Assault without the cars. I see it suffering the exact same fate.

    First Brad releases a crappy game, and Richard is about to... What's with the "big names" spending millions of dollars and producing junk these days?
  • HexxeityHexxeity Kansas City, MOPosts: 848Member

    I for one do not enjoy extravagant, so-called "deep" crafting systems.  I like the CoH method -- find the recipe, collect the parts, boom, you're done.  Spending hours and hours clicking a stupid interface to produce one stupid widget does not make me love a game.

    As for the addiction factor ... CoH had the same problem right after its release.  But when they added badges, everything changed.  Most badges don't even do anything, but I still do my best to collect them!  Sounds like the TR folks have already started heading that direction with these opportunity missions.  I think their system may need a little refinement, though.  The rifle reward sounds like a horrible letdown.  What they need is a way for other players to easily see what you've accomplished.  Do they have that?

    Non-level-based achievements 4tw!

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    Originally posted by Hexxeity


    I for one do not enjoy extravagant, so-called "deep" crafting systems.  I like the CoH method -- find the recipe, collect the parts, boom, you're done.  Spending hours and hours clicking a stupid interface to produce one stupid widget does not make me love a game.
    As for the addiction factor ... CoH had the same problem right after its release.  But when they added badges, everything changed.  Most badges don't even do anything, but I still do my best to collect them!  Sounds like the TR folks have already started heading that direction with these opportunity missions.  I think their system may need a little refinement, though.  The rifle reward sounds like a horrible letdown.  What they need is a way for other players to easily see what you've accomplished.  Do they have that?
    Non-level-based achievements 4tw!

    "Non-level-based achievements 4tw!"

    It's called the Tome of Knowledge!

    wait, wrong game. WAR ftw

  • CutedgeCutedge Tucson, AZPosts: 92Member
    Originally posted by kokopuff

    This is  BETA review not RETAIL remember that


    That's a good point but it's also worth noting that the game releases in less than a month and has at most one major patch before that time.

    I want to like this game and probably will pick it up but this review pretty much nails it.
  • BeowulfAgateBeowulfAgate People''s Republic of Kalifornia, CAPosts: 40Member

    I want to point out that a "huge" (the dev's word) content patch is scheduled for the 9/25, this review should have waited till then.  Crafting is reportedly getting a huge face lift, so any discussion about that needs to wait till we see what they are installing.  I just hope the memory leak gets fixed, I'm tired of seeing my ram usage go from 30% to 98% over 2 hours of play time.  I am personally on the fence about this game, I enjoy it but have reservations about it's long term ability to keep my interest, but I'll wait on this up coming patch to see what changes they have actually added.

  • UgottawantitUgottawantit Houston, TXPosts: 146Member

    I agree with the reviewer myself.  I want to like this game so much, but I just really have no desire to play.

    The lack of chat bubbles  makes it hard to interac t with people around you. I found myself playing alone most of the time.  The enviroments look nice, but basically all the same.  I hate to bring up Wow, but look at all the various enviroments in Wow, especially now with Outland.  I just think we have all come to expect so much more.  Sorry Richard, but you should really consider what your putting your name on.

  • DaikazeDaikaze Tempe, AZPosts: 3Member

    I agree with the review... mostly anyway. I don't think the specialist was overpowered. I have played down both routes, and healing is certainly nice, but the lack of armor benefits and the soldiers ability, shrapnel, help balance things out. If they fixed Rage, then things would be fine.

    I like the voiceovers for the logos, they tell a nice story and add an exploration element... even if you are informed about the location of many. The voiceovers are played a bit too frequently though.

    I also noticed that there was no mention of the videos that are presented upon entering an instanced area... they are pretty nice to watch. Seeing a Thrax kick a scientist in the head is pretty entertaining. ;)

     

     

  • HawkbitHawkbit Columbus, OHPosts: 31Member

    Originally posted by BeowulfAgate


    I want to point out that a "huge" (the dev's word) content patch is scheduled for the 9/25, this review should have waited till then.  Crafting is reportedly getting a huge face lift, so any discussion about that needs to wait till we see what they are installing.  I just hope the memory leak gets fixed, I'm tired of seeing my ram usage go from 30% to 98% over 2 hours of play time.  I am personally on the fence about this game, I enjoy it but have reservations about it's long term ability to keep my interest, but I'll wait on this up coming patch to see what changes they have actually added.
    Every single game I've beta tested that has received poor reviews before release has said the same thing:   "We've got a huge patch coming that will fix everything!!" 

     

    Every single one of them has failed; I've learned that lesson.  A 'huge' patch isn't going to fix a poorly designed game that is going to wind up going the way of  Auto Assault in a year.  I *still* can't believe that RG spent seven years with the TR concept only to come up with this pile of code. 

     

    Good luck to those who enjoy the game - I wish you well.  Just don't expect a long life from TR. 

  • mxmissilemxmissile Layton, UTPosts: 267Member Uncommon

    I kinda like this game, however I fear it will suffer the same fate as AA so I wont be buying it.  Therefore I'm not going to gamble another $50.  If they offered 100% refund if they closed the doors, i'd pick this up for sure.

  • thepatriotthepatriot Omaha, NEPosts: 290Member

    Originally posted by Hawkbit


     
      I *still* can't believe that RG spent seven years with the TR concept only to come up with this pile of code. 
    That's not entirely true.  The original game was scrapped a few years ago and they started over. 

    I agree that last minute patches can't fix content issues right before launch unless the devs were holding things back on purpose to save something for the last minute.  Otherwise they are simply trying to get a handle on the game concept which isn't a good sign this close to launch.  Auto Assualt may be a very good example for TR.  Great idea that was kinda fun to play but there was no burning desire to log back in.  Something was just missing even though all the pieces seemd to be there.

  • vickykolvickykol Oakland, CAPosts: 104Member

    Over the top writing style?  Of course not!  Laura just loves exclamation points to end paragraphs!  They make the story seem exciting!  Don't they?  Absolutely they do, when mixed in with the right rhetorical questions!

    Other than that petty gripe, I found the preview quite helpful, and it was a good counterbalance to all of the TR bashing that I have read from beta-testers lately.  I am still on the fence about this one, but at least that puts me in the neighborhood.  I'll have to seriously consider this one.

  • ScythyScythy Lyndhurst, OHPosts: 41Member

    I hope this turns out to be my new neocron crack. =D

  • HexxeityHexxeity Kansas City, MOPosts: 848Member
    Originally posted by heerobya


     
    "Non-level-based achievements 4tw!"
    It's called the Tome of Knowledge!
    wait, wrong game. WAR ftw

    Ha, thanks, but there is absolutely nothing about that game that I find appealing.

  • RedshamanRedshaman Hartford, CTPosts: 19Member

    IS there no pvp at launch then?

  • PaksPaks No Where, OHPosts: 263Member

    Nice review.  Personally I find the fast pace with Bane combat kind of addictive.  I often get sidetracked from a quest because I want to fight through 'just 1 more!' wave of Bane attacks at a control point or frontline.  Needless to say 'just 1 more' often turns into an hour or so of fighting. 

    As for PvP, they're working on it.  I do think the game screams for PvP, but I don't want them to add it just because.  I want them to do a well thoughtout version of PvP that fits well with the story.

  • JaskipJaskip Cos Cob, CTPosts: 31Member

    Very nice review, i feel the same way.

  • Tastywheat1Tastywheat1 Sidney, BCPosts: 42Member

    I disagree with the OP's view on the Logos alien voiceover. I find it very nice and soothing not um... creepy as the op states. I feel it should sound somewhat mysterious without being robotic. I think it really fits well and the purpose is to help the player understand the past events that led to this current situation. I totally agree with the rest of the op's views of the game.

  • CemmCemm Houston, TXPosts: 64Member

    The biggest deal breaker for me so far has been the lack of support for community building.  From no /e freefom emoting command, to the short list of graphical emotes, to the no chat bubbles when trying to communicate with others, to furniture not being interactive.  I REALLY playing in beta, but I agree with others that it just didn't grab me after the glow wore off.  I think this is a direct result of the lack of community.  I don't log in and play Oblivion anymore after beating the game either.  I DO still log into the same text-based MUD I've been a customer of for the last 13 years though.  :)  Looking back (I do intend to give the game another glimpse after this next big patch), TR just felt like a single player game with a bunch of other players running around mixed in with the NPCs.

     

  • fiontarfiontar Dana, MAPosts: 3,719Member

    I largely agree with the preview, except that I think it's too generous towards the game.

    One thing I have to really question is the comment that the game has "tons of innovation". I'm wondering what innovation the reviewer was talking about? The game is hyped as innovative, but aside from the hybrid combat system that ultimately satisfies neither RPGers nor FPSers I didn't find anything innovative about the game. Repeating hype with no real basis is not a good way to start with an objective review.

    The game is a huge disappointment. It would be disappointing in any event, but it's made even more so knowing the money and time (six years) that went into it and the fact that Richard Garriott is behind it. What a wast of time, money and talent.

    Want to know more about GW2 and why there is so much buzz? Start here: Guild Wars 2 Mass Info for the Uninitiated
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