By John "Boomjack" Hoskin
Event travel for me is always a recurrent comedy of problems and predicaments. On the other hand, I have lead a charmed life when it comes to which appointments I seem to draw at gaming events. Inevitably I am talking with Starr Long and Paul Sage about their latest creation, Tabula Rasa. Starr is the producer of this title. Paul is the Lead Designer. They are a dynamic and charming duo that possess incredible talents, yet often don't receive mention when it comes to the game. The shadow of Richard "General British" Garriott casts far and deep. Even the game itself is titled, "Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa", but Starr and Paul don't seem to mind. Their personable demeanors are both contagious and disarming.
Those of you who read my E3 2007 Tabula Rasa Preview can skip down a paragraph or two. There are some new and tasty bits that are worth the price of admission. Those of you who are reading about Tabula Rasa for the first time hold tight while I give you a synopsis of what has come before.
The condensed version goes something like this; the game is a science-fiction, massively multiplayer online game where Earth has been ravaged and pillaged by an alien raced called the Bane. The humans that survived the invasion have scattered to the stars where with the help of other races they are taking the fight back to their oppressors.
Unlike the user interface (UI) found in most games the UI in Tabula Rasa is diminutive and non-intrusive. The game looks much more like a first-person shooter than a massively multiplayer online title. It's brilliant really, as you don't have to peer through a jumble of hotkey bars and other mumbo-jumbo to actually see the game that you are playing.
The controls are equally streamlined. The left-mouse button fires your weapon. The right-mouse button uses your special powers. Tapping the Q or E keys will cycle you through your weapons and your abilities. Targeting is "sticky". Running your reticle over a target will cause your reticle to affix itself and thus your shots to said target even if your reticle moves away from the offending villain. Moving the reticle over a new target will change targets.
Strategic play is rewarded. Any 3D object in the game can provide cover. Crouching behind a wall of sandbags for instance will reduce the amount of damage that you take, likewise running around like a schoolgirl with bats in your hair will make you harder to hit, albeit you will also be much less accurate with your own shots. Should you manage to get a critical hit against an opponent you can attempt a finishing move which, as the term suggests, finishes off your opponent. Unlike many other MMOG titles, Tabula Rasa will reward you for fighting, not for resting. Readers who have played Unreal Tournament or other first-person shooters will be familiar with a "killing spree". The Tabula Rasa team have implemented a similar system.
"Our game rewards you for doing more. The more kills you can streak in a row, the more frequently you are killing things, the longer you can keep the pace up...basically the bigger contribution you are making to the war effort the faster you will level up and the faster you will advance. You can get up to a six times modifier... " -Starr Long
I could write for days about the basic gameplay, but I've already done that, so if you want more on the basics check out the E3 preview. Don't stray too far or for too long because the good stuff is coming up....
"We have dueling, one on one, but we also have clan versus clan warfare. Clans are guilds of up to 200 players and clans can declare war on other clans and that becomes a week-long event. Whichever clan has the most kills in that week-long event wins the war. " -Starr Long
Paul and Starr were also ready to spill the beans about the Tier 4 class choices. If you read our ComicCON coverage and I know that you did, then you already knew about the Medic. We can now tell you that the other Tier 4 classes include the Grenadier (Rocket Launcher, front-line blow-stuff-up specialist), Guardian (Protector / Tank), Spy (Stealth Expert), Sniper (Precise Attacks), Demolitionist (More with the blowing things up), Engineer (Builds turrets and robots) and Exobiologist (Resurrect corpses).
There you have it! The old and the new. The good and the better! But you want more...you always want more, never satiated you would glut on Tabula Rasa information all day and night if you could. Very well then. Gorge yourself.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Tabula Rasa Game Page.