by: Tony "RadarX" Jones
As everyone knows, the beta for Tabula Rasa (Latin for Clean Slate) is still going very strong and waves of new players have been added daily from pre-orders or beta key giveaways on various sites including Ten Ton Hammer. As a result there has been some very interesting stress testing going on to see how quickly the server breaks when players run circles in a few select areas. We've proudly accomplished this a number of times making developers realize that we can and will find ways to lag things out, even if we don't want to.
An interesting method of testing the Developers tried out over the weekend was an event drawing masses of players together. Have you ever been you curious what type of events go on in betas? Maybe you're just interested in what Tabula Rasa's future may hold. Fortunately Ten Ton Hammer was on the scene for the most recent developer run event and we'll do our best to let you know what happened and what the future may hold.
Around 9 PM EST an administrator announcement came over the global channels pointing out the Bane would be attacking the Wilderness zone very soon. Most players were already in one of the 7 instances standing around waiting for something to happen. Excitement definitely buzzed channels as people called out what was happening at various friendly held outposts. I asked what Latin was for Bane invasion and settled for Banus Invasis but most ignored me.
Something to keep in mind about Tabula Rasa is, a number of friendly areas are frequently under assault by Bane forces, so it was difficult in many instances to determine what was out of the ordinary. I personally was at a "control point" in the Imperial Valley watching a dozen players repel what 2 could have normally handled. As Tabula Rasa moderator Kertain, who was in my squad, bounced around to various locations reporting on action, I noticed something began to change.
I watched as three or four dropships swooped in beaming down 4 squads of level 15 Bane soldiers (Many of us were only level 12 or 13) in front of the base. As they surged forward, the base AFS Light Cannons began to blaze and a few of us unleashed rifle fire from the towers. Unable to cut them down fast enough they reached our shields and began to attempt to breach our defenses. At this close range most of us grabbed shotguns and began firing indiscriminately into the crowd of invaders hoping to hold them back.
Fortune was on our side as more players beamed in, having heard of the assault over global channel, and with their assistance the creatures began to fall back. A sense of satisfaction filled me as I watched mobs of players swarming dropships who had the courage to beam down more Bane. This was a clear victory for AFS, but the fight wasn't over. Reports began coming in of a heavy attack at "Memory Tree" which is a large tree in a central location of the map. There was no transporter to this area so many of us double-timed to the area to find it crawling with Bane.
The server at this point was feeling the weight of our stress testing. While many of us were able to repel the lighter forces, it soon became impossible to hold back level 30 and 35 infantry with heavy lag. Even if it had been ideal circumstances I highly doubt that 20 level 13-22's could hold back such a formidable force. Many fought valiantly and with little regard for their own lives or ammunition (which isn't free by the way) but to no avail.
My squad eventually gathered our wounded pride, broken armor/weaponry and made our way back to safe points vowing revenge. While the event in itself was extremely simplistic, it just goes to show it doesn't take much to get players involved. Tabula Rasa has a dynamic environment which very easily allows Developers to make changes based on enemy movements.
While I don't expect a large number of events like this in the future, I have high hopes that similar methods can be used to enhance the enjoyment of the players in the future making this game quite different from what we normally see in MMOG's. Keep your eye out for more events from this extremely talented team and for crying out loud, somebody answer me about the Latin for Bane Invasion in global chat!
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