Questions by Sarah Taea Collier (Community Manager)
and Cody Micajah Bye (Managing Editor)
Answers by Starr Long, Producer of Richard Garriotts Tabula Rasa,
NCsoft North America
If theres one thing players of Richard Garriotts Tabula Rasa have come to expect, its the constant improvement and additions to the world from the NCsoft team. With game development always in motion it can be difficult to keep up with all the latest Tabula Rasa news. Ten Ton Hammer grabbed a moment with the games Producer, Starr Long, to get the skinny on what to watch for with the ongoing development.
Ten Ton Hammer: To start, what has the Tabula Rasa development team been focusing on over the last few months? What sort of effect will this have on the in-game play?
Starr Long: We have been working on a lot of things over here in Austin. First of all weve been working on a new user experience to feel more like you are learning about the galactic fight you are about to join, including some overall Quality of Life improvements. These include things like allowing certain abilities to be cast while moving, improvements to Bootcamp (tutorial map), improvements to mission indicators, and improvements to Wilderness and Divide. These changes are to make the game even more accessible early on. We have also been working on new weapons like the double and triple barrel shotguns as well as the Thrax rifle. We are also adding new instances to the game including Velon Hollow, Dybukkar Garrison, and Omega Labs. In addition, weve been working on vet rewards including a new pet and helmet lamps. Theres a ton more but that gives you a good sampling.
Ten Ton Hammer: Members of the community have spotted the Purifier Armor set and some new weapons on the test server. With Purifier, it appears that certain mods/effects will only come into effect when a certain number of set pieces are equipped. Is this correct?
Starr Long: Yes! The Purifier Armor is part of a new system we added to the game called Item Sets. These items have bonuses to them that only activate as you add pieces of the set. We are pretty excited about these and we plan to add more of them as rare loot over time, especially if players enjoy them.
Ten Ton Hammer: Are there more armor sets in the works for TR players? When might we begin seeing those on the live servers?
Starr Long: Yes! We are currently doing concept work on some ideas for higher level armor which might be something like Elite and Epic armor sets. Elite armor sets might be specialized versions of Tier 3 armor that are only available to specific Tier 4 classes. As an example there could be a Sniper version of Stealth Armor that only Snipers can wear. We are also working on improvements to current armor sets including two color hueing so you can dye your armor more than one color (I like green and black). I cant give any estimate just yet on when these will be available to players.
Ten Ton Hammer: The mini and full size maps for Velon Hollow are well done. The map colors contrasting, and provide more detail. Will we see the current game maps updated to the same style?
Starr Long: Yes! This interview is awesome. I keep getting to say Yes! :p We hope to update all the in game maps to this new format sometime in the next several deployments.
Ten Ton Hammer: One of the big events occurring for the TR team in the near future is the release of the game in Japan. Are you planning on having any special events to commemorate the date? Will you introduce a new server to the game, or will one of the current ones simply be reassigned?
Starr Long: Japan is still a goal for us in the near future but we are not releasing any specific information about that launch just yet.
Ten Ton Hammer: Whats the status of the Personal Armor Units? Are we getting any closer to a time when these game enhancements would be released? Is there anything we can do to help? *winks*
Starr Long: We are working on some tweaks to the design right now. From there we will be doing some modifications to the art weve made for these. We really want to make them right so we are taking our time. Unfortunately this means we are months away before you can play with them. We are actively working on them, but this stuff can be pretty complicated and getting it right is key.
Ten Ton Hammer: Hows the crafting revamp coming along? When will we begin to see the fruits of that labor?
Starr Long: We are working on a prototype of the revamp for internal testing and evaluation for the end of this month. Our goal is to get a better crafting system to the players within the next several deployments.
Ten Ton Hammer: War Games map is a big hit, and we hope to see it move to live. What other features are planned for this map?
Starr Long: We love it too! Ive never seen my team more excited to play TR. This map is a great test bed for us to evaluate PVP balance in preparation for upcoming PVP features like Clan Owned Control Points. We have iterated on it over the last few deployments adding things like the signs that tell which team needs more players. We are currently evaluating how we want to migrate PVP focused maps to live.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will the Hybrid specialized missions and content development be hitting the test or live servers sometime soon? Especially the equipment: I think we all want those Forean Bows!
Starr Long: We expect to release the Thrax Rifle in an upcoming Deployment. This particular weapon will be useable by all players, whether they are hybrid or not. Further hybrid content is on the back burner right now in favor of Clan Owned Control Points and PAUs.
Ten Ton Hammer: We would absolutely love another epic mission line for the later levels, like the Eloh Temples/Eloh Vale players go through in the early 20s. Will we ever see something like that come into the game? If so, what kind of time table are we looking at?
Starr Long: We love that series too. One of our upcoming instances called Omega Labs has some of those hallmarks, so youll see more of this type of stuff in future.
Ten Ton Hammer: Finally, is there anything else youd like to tell the Ten Ton Hammer staff and Tabula Rasa fans?
Starr Long: We are committed to getting more new content at a higher frequency than ever. We are adding new content (missions, systems, armor, weapons, maps, etc.) in each and every monthly deployment.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Tabula Rasa Game Page.