Tabula Rasa in 2008 - An Interview with April Burba

Questions by Tony "RadarX" Jones and Cody "Micajah" Bye
Answers by April "CuppaJo" Burba, Tabula Rasa Community Manager

With the coming of 2008, every gamer wants to get a quick update on their favorite game and what sort of course that the development team is taking. The Ten Ton Hammer staff is equally as interested in the future of every MMOG, so we've been eagerly communicating with developers around the world. One of the first updates we have for the new year focuses on a game that was one of the last released in 2007: Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa. Cody "Micajah" Bye and Tony "RadarX" Jones sat down with TR's community manager, April "CuppaJo" Burba, to hear about NCsoft's plans for that game. Please enjoy!

Tony "RadarX" Jones: I've talked to a few people around the forums and one of the most frequent concerns around the forums has been the end game.  How would you respond to someone that had concerns about it? We've read about the Personal Armor Units (PAUs), the Flash Points, and the Command Opportunities, but is there anything else you could add to questioning individuals?

More missions were added to the Palisades area in a recent patch.

April "CuppaJo" Burba: I think we've definitely got some valid issues with the end game, and more stuff needs to be happening in order to give people more reason to get past level 30 and get into that 35-40 level range. There are people who try to get to that end level area as fast as they can and see what's left after that, so we need to put more in for them.

Things that you talked about earlier - PAUs, Command Opportunities, etc. - are really going to address some of those issues. I think one of the big issues some players have with Tabula Rasa is the fact that they don't feel unique or special enough in the world. They want the ability to show off and allow other players to see that they've done some cool things. Personal Armor Units really play to that idea, and a bunch of the additions we're making try to address that desire.  Beyond that, we just want players to feel special and unique the longer they stay with us. The team's working on this sort of thing and we've gotten a good start with the veteran's rewards program.

There's also a lot of PvP and Clan changes that the developers are working on. We realize that not every player is interested in PvP and clans, but we want to make sure both of these systems are interesting and compelling for people as the game continues and progresses. As a development team, we're really on track with that whole thing and I personally feel good about the long term health of the end game and Tabula Rasa in general. We're on track to do these things faster than other games have done it in the past, so I feel really good about the end game.

We're also looking at developing some areas of the website where players can go and compare their characters and even have access to competition ladders where they can see how many players a person killed in PvP, how fast someone completed a mission, what kind of loot they have, the highest level items you have equipped, and perhaps the highest item you sold in the military surplus [auction house].

Cody "Micajah" Bye: Will you be able to retroactively look at the server firsts? Like which guild completed a particular raid/encounter first on a server?

April: We haven't talked about that yet. There are a lot of ideas that we want to add into the game yet, but we are aware that people would be interested in that sort of statistic. I think our primary concern - at least at first - is getting really neat PvP ladders put together and getting some solid player information posted on the web.  

Tony: In a recent patch, we noticed that there were a few more missions added to the Palisades area. Is that going to be fairly common - introducing new missions for areas that have already been rolled out?

April: You're definitely going to see us introducing new missions for content that we've already rolled out, especially in the higher level areas. Along with that, you're going to see some new areas coming online as well. You're just going to be seeing more content as we progress in our game development.

In fact, we're gradually moving towards a regular content release schedule that might be a bit more ambitious than what you've seen in other NCsoft titles. We'll have the big releases similar to what players have seen with the Issues in CoH/CoV, but we also want to get regular content to those people that have been in the game a long time and give them the sort of continuous experience that they want to enjoy.

Tony: Speaking of City of Heroes, how would you compare your experience with that community to the one you have with Tabula Rasa?

Burba believes that the Tabula Rasa community is a bit more serious than that of City of Heroes.

April: *laughs* My standard answer to that is the Tabula Rasa community isn't near as silly as that of City of Heroes. And I absolutely mean that in a good way. They [the CoH community] are smart, funny, and fun group of people that have incredible imaginations. The TR community is like that, but the CoH community is dialed up to 11 on the silly.

I think you see a more normal MMO community with TR, and they're definitely more in-tune with what's going on inside the game and in the industry. We also have a really strong RP group in the game as well, and we really try to nurture and support those people who are interested in that aspect of the game.

Cody: But Tabula Rasa people definitely don't dress up in spandex and pretend to fly around. *laughs*

April: *laughs* Definitely not, especially since most of the stuff in TR includes guns.

Cody: How do you feel the response has been to the game from the industry and general gamers alike?

April: I feel like it's gone pretty well. I think people get the idea that Tabula Rasa is a really solid and fun game at its core and in its basic mechanics. The things we often get dinged on, such as bug counts and things like that, almost make you excited as a developer, because it's stuff we can fix really quickly and tighten up to make the experience better as a whole. So I think it's gone pretty well and I'm really pleased with it.

Of course, unless you have a bazillion players you always want more and we'll continue to take the steps necessary to bring those players into the game.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Tabula Rasa Game Page.

Last Updated:

About the Author

Around the Web