Unique, edgy, and mold breaking are just a few words I've heard to describe the upcoming game, Tabula Rasa. It makes big promises to break away from the MMOG mold we see in many games today, but why do people want to play it? Is it really going to offer me a better experience than killing that 2,217th Orc for my miniature poodle mount? I can't see how that couldn't prove my case but if it wasn't enough, I've provided the top ten reasons to try out this game out when it launches:
10 - Richard Garriott - I'll admit, this is going to sound fanboyish but spending countless hours playing the Ultima series makes me a little biased. If you are unaware who Lord British is (General British now), I forgive you but you have to sit in the corner. Go! Garriott was instrumental in molding the computer role playing game industry into what it is today. Having worked on dozens of projects, he also helped create the Ultima Online and Lineage MMOG's.
It's hard for me to think of a more qualified person to work on something like this. His name will be on the box, look it up if you don't know.
9 - Cloning - What would a science fiction game be without the prospect of creepy futuristic techniques that we can't do in our own world. Enter cloning which will allow players to...well clone themselves.
Why do you care? This creates an exact replica of your character allowing you to respec your skill points and even make career choices you didn't the first time around. Threw points into Motor Assist Armor and now you are level 25? Sucker! Well now you can reverse it.
Some other creepy futuristic techniques in the first expansion will be handheld toilets and teletubby holographic tattoos.
8 - Useful Career Paths - Tabula Rasa isn't the first game to have career paths. EverQuest 2 (and I'm not claiming they were the first) had a system where you started as one of four main classes, specified a subclass, and then eventually one more time to your permanent class. The difference between EQ2 and this game was the skills were no longer useful once you moved up.
Tabula Rasa's class skills are useful at any level. Your hand to hand combat skills for example, can be used to punch any level Bane right in the head. Sure, he may remove your spleen, but who is real winner here?
7- GUNS! - That should be enough right there! Too many mainstream MMOG's have stuck to the tried and true bow and arrow, although at least one went out on a limb creating a musket, which is nothing more than a gun shaped bow.
Ranged combat is not only a viable option, it is the normal option, and we haven't seen this in a long time. Thank you Destination for realizing that not everyone wants to stand in front of something swinging animated blades like a giant food processor.
Charlton Heston would endorse this game folks, and that should be enough right there.
6 - Footlockers - Admit it, at some time in your MMOG career you have "twinked" an alt by giving them cash or gear to make your second chracter easier to play. It's ok, we've all been there. Tabula Rasa takes the difficulty out of this, by providing you a footlocker, which is a storage facility available to ALL your characters. You can store weapons, armor, recipes, credits, and basically anything that isn't a quest item.
The AFS has outlawed the following from footlockers: Alcohol, Bane weaponry, and the lightsaber you are trying to sneak in.
GUNS! GUNS I say!
5 - Story - Storytelling fell by the wayside in game development years ago, but there seems to be a revolution in the works. Tabula Rasa seems to be spearheading this by focusing on writing a compelling story to draw the player into this epic conflict.
This isn't the usual "Ok blah blah is your backstory, now here you go. Shoo!" that we've seen in other very popular games. A sense of urgency and the necessity of combat is made very clear early on, and there is a solid motivation to get involved, if nothing else for survival.
4 - Action Based - This is one thing that seems to be missing from many MMOG's, action. Sure everyone loves a good dungeon crawl, but many of them end up as "Pull! Kill! Pull! Kill!" which can get old. Tabula Rasa doesn't stop for anything even if you want it to. The only downtime you'll see is when you have cleared the area you are standing in and even then, expect respawns.
This might not bode as well for the bladder challenged so bring a friend to watch your back.
3 - Dynamic Environments - If you've thought about how to make the perfect game like I have, one aspect you've probably wanted is an environment you can directly affect, that feels truly alive and unscripted.
Tabula Rasa takes one giant leap forward, having control points which can be captured by Bane or AFS forces. Whoever controls these points, has the teleporter for that area not to mention hospitals and vendors. With the proper AI, these areas will be hotly contested and could add an amazing facet of impressive gameplay.
2 - Changing Instances - Tabula Rasa has done an incredible job of providing interesting experiences in their instances. From the moment you step inside you are greeted with an authentic grainy video of your objectives, and backstory on the area.
It doesn't stop there however, as many events you complete in the instance will trigger events. We aren't talking about throwing switches to spawn a dragon, it could mean finding a way to free prisoners who in turn help you assault a control room.
1 - Science Fiction/Military Themed - This is by far one of the best reasons to try Tabula Rasa. It's been forever since we've had a decent science fiction game to play (no offense EVE but come on...). Spacecraft, futuristic weaponry, and kicking alien ass? Do you seriously need more?
A military theme is something we have never seen in a game like this and the sense of conflict is a breath of fresh air. This...is...WAR! All we need now is a bunch of American flags and M-80 firecrackers. Oh, and to have Charlton Heston stop back by for support.
I hope this has been a little enlightening as to why Tabula Rasa promises to be a fun game. While some of these might seem opinionated (which I am) they have been formed in the mind of a jaded gamer who has spent considerable time playing. So, here is to seeing you in game October 19th and remember, no lightsabers.
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