Friday, March 7, 2008

Non-EVE MMO Experiment Part 2: Tabula Rasa

Well, I've given WoW just under a month, and it's still WoW. It didn't magically turn into God's gift to MMOs in my absence, despite what hordes of fanboys will tell you. It is still a solid game, with massive improvements over when I played originally (back when subscribers were counted with six digits), but it's still just...meh. I paid for 3 months, and will play them out, but I don't see it captivating me.

That said, Alsedrech and I looked at alternatives for our secondary MMO, given that we're both pretty committed to EVE. As you might have heard on the podcast, we downloaded and played the trial for Dungeons and Dragons online. After ten minutes, we both decided we would rather set fire to all our polyhedronal dice than spend another second in that game. It's not a bad game, it's just....ok, it's a bad game. In fact, I blame Gary Gygax's death on the crappiness of that game's UI and gameplay.

Al then gave the LotRO trial a spin, perhaps after feeling guilty for the thrashing we gave Turbine's other MMO over Skype. According to him, it's a great deal better than DDO, but just feels a bit slow. He and I often share game opinions, so I'm willing to let this stand instead of downloading the 7GB client over my very bad broadband pipe.

That brings us to Tabula Rasa. I played this game in open beta and found it to be resoundingly "meh." It was cool, but the innovations still didn't get rid of the feel that I was playing WoW in space with guns. Now that they've added considerable content, and after a few recommendations, I decided to reactivate my account. Al activated an account at the same time.
Thus far our views are...surprisingly good. The game is a lot of fun, and the pacing of the random dropship baddies has made the tempo of the game feel more urgent. I've always been a big fan of the instance cut scenes, and any PUG members who begrudge me watching them every time are taking Lord British in space as a bit more serious business than it really is. Additionally some good game balancing has been done, and they are finally going to give proper re-specs (first one to mention cloning gets a polarity gun to the fifth vertebra). There are still some glaring issues, specifically that having their pinky toe behind a passing ladybug grants a nine foot tall Thrax Officer total cover, whilst standing behind a boulder the size of a small post office seems to do nothing for my situation...and there are dance emotes.

Thus concludes one of the first entries that befits the name of the blog. More to come on our adventures on the Cassiopeia server. If you play on Cass, shoot me an e-mail and we'll go run instances or something.


  1. Wanted to give it a try anyway once my PC is back from repairs. I'll give you a shout.

  2. I've heard a lot of bloggers mention that they've gone back to Tabula Rasa after the open beta and ultimately formed a much more positive opinion of the game.

    I played in beta up to about level 15 and quickly tired of it. It seemed like TR was a step backwards from other MMOGs.

    You still point and click to target a mob, though this time the camera moves while you do so. Then you rely on auto attack a lot more than you would in any other game. The spawn mechanic didn't grab me and there wasn't much class differentiation at all (at that low level at least).

    I'm not trying to bash the game, it certainly wasn't sub-par, I just realised that I'd seen it all before. I'm curious as to why people are enjoying the game more this time around. What's really changed since beta?

  3. "there wasn't much class differentiation at all (at that low level at least)."

    I think you need to familiarize yourself with the concept of "Tabula Rasa" or in english, "blank slate".

    Trust me, the class progression system will make a great deal more sense =)

  4. I tried TR as soon as it was out of Beta for a month.

    Yes, A month, like in .. one.

    1 - endless and repetitive PVE.
    2 - graphics are nice.
    3 - no real "community" feeling, just a bunch of players shooting the NPCs referred to in 1).
    4 - instances a bit slow to load, could barely stand it.

    Yes, 1) was too much, couldn't stand it.