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Tabula Rasa To Shut Down 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.
NCSoft announced today that it will be closing down Tabula Rasa on February 28th. The sci-fi shooter-flavored MMO struggled for quite some time, despite recent attempts to draw in new players by announcements of new features, price reductions, and using Richard Garriott's trip into space as a promotion. We discussed Garriott's departure from NCSoft a couple weeks ago. This is NCSoft's second failed MMO, and apparently layoffs are in the works. They seem to be making an effort to make the game's last few months as fun as they can for their remaining players, though. "Before we end the service, we'll make Tabula Rasa servers free to play starting on January 10, 2009. We can assure you that through the next couple of months we'll be doing some really fun things in Tabula Rasa, and we plan to make staying on a little longer worth your while."
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Tabula Rasa To Shut Down

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  • by ZeekWatson (188017) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:11PM (#25854875)

    Last time the marketing department springs for a trip into space ...

  • by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:11PM (#25854877) Journal
    They really WILL become a "tabula rasa".
    • by theaveng (1243528)

      Yes very sad but...

      did somebody say "free"??? I like "free". :-) Alright. I'm new to online gaming. What do I need to play this game? Is dialup good enough or do I need broadband? Is the software downloadable?

      • by theaveng (1243528)

        P.S. I have done SOME online gaming. It's just that it's been a long time - back in the days of TradeWars (pure text BBS game) and Populous and 2 k modems.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RupW (515653) *

        did somebody say "free"??? I like "free". :-) Alright. I'm new to online gaming. What do I need to play this game? Is dialup good enough or do I need broadband? Is the software downloadable?

        According to TFA it will be free next year but it isn't yet. Yes, I'm fairly sure you'd need broadband. You can get the client here [playtr.com] but the installer is a few versions out-of-date and will need to download patches before you can play - you're looking at about 3.2GB all in.

      • by yoyhed (651244)
        There are about 10 copies of the collector's edition at my local Wal-Mart discounted to $2.50...
  • Beautiful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:13PM (#25854897)

    This is why you spend 60 bucks on MMO's or other locked down games: just to see it disappear as the company goes under.

    • VMK (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OpenYourEyes (563714) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:43PM (#25855095)
      Its not just spending the money... nor the company collapsing. Disney shut down their free MMO VMK for no apparently good reason except that they seemed to want to generate bad will among their customers. At least NCSoft is trying to "promote good will".
      • by Fred_A (10934)

        Its not just spending the money... nor the company collapsing. Disney shut down their free MMO VMK for no apparently good reason except that they seemed to want to generate bad will among their customers.

        Disney does have an image to maintain. Even if it's expensive.

    • Re:Beautiful (Score:4, Insightful)

      by v1 (525388) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:45PM (#25855115) Homepage Journal

      being locked down has nothing to do with it. relying on a central server for gameplay when they go under is the problem. Such is the nature of the beast.

      • Battle.net ran on a central server; bnetd solved that.
        • Yeah, battle.net and an mmo server have very, very little in common. The closest you get currently is FPS games where there server software comes with every copy of the game, some of which can host up to 64 players. That's hardly 'massively multiplayer' though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Brian Gordon (987471)
      At least with a MMO you pay far more over the months than for the original game; when they cut off service it saves you money. What does it matter if you play for a year or so then never really play it again or if they shut it down totally?
    • Re:Beautiful (Score:5, Informative)

      by Macthorpe (960048) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:52AM (#25855437) Journal

      This got insightful?

      NCSoft isn't going under - far from it. TR was just not making them anywhere near enough money to keep it going. Not only that, but for people who stick with the game till the end, every player will get:

      - 3 months free on City of Heroes
      - 3 months free on Lineage 2
      - beta access to Aion
      - a pre-order key for Aion
      - 1 month free and a paid-for client for Aion

      Not a bad deal for 'wasting' 60 bucks on a failed MMO - a free game and about 100 dollars in free game time.

    • by Xeth (614132)

      The difference between an MMO and a locked-down game is your expectation of value. When you buy a single-player (or small-scale multi-player) game, you are putting down your money to play the game whenever you want, and it's reasonable to expect those terms continue without being sabotaged. When you subscribe to an MMO, it's a completely different outlay. You're making a recurring payment to be part of a world that has hundreds or thousands of other people simultaneously interacting.

      Would you really want to

      • I've tried it (on a friend's custom server). I liked it even less than I liked playing the game multiplayer.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Would you really want to play World of Warcraft single player?

        Single, no but small scale multiplayer with a player hosting? You could do 5-man, 10-man instances with friends and experience most of the PvE content that way. A lot of other things wouldn't be like WoW, but it would be a worthy stand-alone game I think. Obviously you can do all those things in the MMO, but I don't think you have to buy into the MMO aspect to enjoy WoW.

    • by tyrione (134248)
      $60?

      I see $19.99 for the software and an additional $14.99 per month. Sorry, but people bitch about OS X being $129 for an entire freaking operating system major upgrade but they want one to basically spring for $180 to have a year of on-line game playing?

      Brilliant idea! That's right up with the $20 a month for email to chat with strangers on dating sites. Mankind finds amazing ways to piss money down the drain.

      The game looks very cool and if they had a means of subsidizing it and making it so addictive tha

  • Asking around, no one so far has even heard of this game. I watched the intro video, looks cool. Too bad it's already over; I would say next time, look into advertising.
    • Re:Sad but true... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tharsman (1364603) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:22AM (#25855579)
      It was not just publicity but the type of publicity it got.

      I got this game expecting an exciting alien warfare scifi reminiscent of Starship Troopers, that was what the ads sold me.

      Once I started playing, though, what I found was that I landed in a planet filled with fantasy-like tribal race, with a "religous" thing about some magic like technology that I had the power to use... it was nothing but a fantasy game sold as a sci-fi one. THAT was the biggest issue with the game, that was what made me cancel the subscription just after 1 week. I even gave it a second chance and despite the few technological structures and mechs that were around, the entire thing still felt like a fantasy game. Heck, I'd go as far as granting the game 90% Fantasy/10%Sci-Fi on a box that spelled 100% neo-apocalyptic, human-alien warfare.

      In short, it was like ordering a Burger and getting a Hotdog, may be a good hotdog, but I wanted a frigging burger.

    • by jadin (65295)

      As an avid "MMOer" I knew of and wanted to try this game. But with no free trial, I chose not to spend $50 to find out if I actually liked it or not, and I'm their target audience... The only reason I can think of that you _wouldn't_ want one on your game is you're trying to hide how horrid the game actually is. Makes sense I guess.

      What they should do is allow players to download their character files, as well as sell the software to make 'private' servers. Now that would generate good will.

      • by RupW (515653) *

        As an avid "MMOer" I knew of and wanted to try this game. But with no free trial

        As well as the $5 preview there were *loads* of sites giving away open beta keys just before the release. There were plenty of chance to try it before it went live - you can't possibly have missed it?

        And a few months into live they added 3-day trial accounts. The first wave needed an invite from an existing player but then they made it open to all. Yes, you can try the game for free.

  • This is exactly why MMO's don't lend themselves well to keeping a historical imprint on society. One part of what defines us is what we did for entertainment, but without a real hard copy of a game (be it CD, cartridge, etc.), the archaeologists of tomorrow will never know what time we REALLY wasted. In fact that's one BIG problem with everything going to bits, everything needs electricity at some point to keep the records. One big EMF smackdown on the earth and its as if we never even existed past the ea
    • by mog007 (677810) <Mog007@gmGAUSSail.com minus math_god> on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:20AM (#25855277)

      Firstly, I think you mean EMP not EMF. Secondly, EMP would have absolutely no impact on the bits that are stored on a hard drive platter, or a CD or DVD. Granted, those two forms of media won't last for thousand of years without severely degrading, but that property holds for paper also.

      Our historic records are a scant fragment of what actually existed at one point, and imagine if the only pieces of entertainment we have today that can survive an archeologist digging them up in 50000 years would be a copy of ET for the Atari 2600 from the landfill out in the desert.

      • by Anpheus (908711)

        It's a Redundant Array of Idiotic Cartridges! The mirroring means surely at least one will survive...

    • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:25AM (#25855317)

      This is exactly why MMO's don't lend themselves well to keeping a historical imprint on society.

      Of all the criticisms I've heard of MMOs, I have to admit... that's a new one.

      • by Fractal Dice (696349) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:27AM (#25855613) Journal

        On the Ultima Online boards a few years ago, there was a discussion about player memorials (once a game has been around ten years, when a notable player passes away, it can have a real impact on the community - especially in a game where player houses can become landmarks). One of the arguments against player memorials was that there was no guarantee that the game would always be there, so it didn't seem the right place a true memorial.

    • by philspear (1142299) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @05:00AM (#25856311)

      One big EMF smackdown on the earth and its as if we never even existed past the early 2000's.

      Well, much as I loved "Unbelievable," I don't think they're coming back, so we need not worry about that.

      And anyway, do we really WANT to preserve the history of MMOs for future generations? They might see "LOLZ!!! N00BZ got pwned by agro horde!!!" and decide not to clone us back to life. Worse yet, they might emulate it.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:40PM (#25855079)

    From what I read of it and the little I saw it was trying to kinda be a sci-fi World of Warcraft. Ok... But the problem is World of Warcraft is really good. Blizzard really did a lot right in that game, things other games had failed miserably at (like having a very easy, engrossing introduction to the game). So if you are going to try and take on WoW, well you'd better be damn good. They weren't so there you go.

    The MMOs other than WoW that seem successful are the ones that try and offer a real different gameplay experience. Something like Eve Online or Warhammer. They aren't trying to be WoW, they have their own idea of what a game should be. Now that may not get you 10 million players, but it can get you a comfortable niche. There are people who don't like WoW's way of doing things. If you make a game for them, you've got a good chance.

    While I certainly think a game can compete with WoW, and we will see one at some point that does, it is going to have to be really good, and good out of the gate. WoW does a whole lot right and is generally very polished. So you've got to get all that down. If you don't, well then you are going to have people try your game and say "Eh, WoW was better,' and migrate back. Just changing the theme a bit or adding some bits won't help.

    Personally what I want to see is an MMO that is really good that isn't trying to be WoW. I'd really like a more PvP oriented MMO. Warhammer has potential, but right now really lacks polish. I'd like to see an MMO that is as good as WoW, but in a different area. That is going to have a much easier time succeeding than something trying to take on the king.

    • by kungfugleek (1314949) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:25AM (#25855313)
      I'm still waiting for an MMO that really feels like a living world. Where the quests I'm on are only mine: they haven't been done by anyone, and after me no one will do them again. A shared world, but the experience, the goals, and the journey are mine alone. When our paths cross, it isn't because we both clicked on the bright exclamation point over Quest Giver Cletus, but because our individual journeys have fallen in step for a time. And maybe I can develop my character not through killing and loot, but by making real moral decisions. Not the simplistic "Either take your reward (neutral), refuse the reward (good), or kill the guy and take the reward anyway (evil)" choices, but the ones that aren't very clear: Do you steal from the king, who you've sworn allegiance, in order to give some food to somebody who's starving? Do you kill one innocent child in order to save a village?

      Not that I don't mind a little level grinding now and then. It's just that sometimes I want something with a little more meat to it.

      Maybe someday I'll play a game that puts the "character" back in "character building".

      • Hard to do (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:46AM (#25855415)

        For a lot of reasons not the least of which being such a thing would require a phenomenal amount of writing to be done to make all these unique quests and allow for all the branching. Hard enough to do something like that well in a single player game and in a huge multi player game, well it's near impossible. There's also technological hurdles to implementing such a thing.

        At this point the closest you'll find to a game world you change is, again, in WoW. There are some quests that deal with a phased world. There are literally multiple versions of a given area and you experience the one relevant to your quest progression. So you do something and the world changes permanently because of it. However each person gets to do it. You are all in the same world, but there are multiple versions. Works pretty well.

        At any rate the sort of thing you want isn't ever likely to come fully to fruition. You'd need something near a real artificial intelligence on the back end to deal with all this and a massive staff of writers and designers to try and implement this ever changing unique experience for millions of people.

        With games you need to be satisfied to live in a small sandbox. There are going to be rules and boundaries of various kinds. That's part of what makes it interesting, fun, and doable. It is just like cards, you have to have a set of rules, limits on the deck and so on. If you just got people together and started drawing random shit on paper and trying to make a game you'd have the card game equivalent of Calvin Ball.

        In terms of deep story and changing universe, you need to stick more to single player games, that's really the place it works. Play Mass Effect for a deep story, play WoW to kill night elves.

        • Don't think in a limited way/. Sure it's pretty unlikely that a company could actually get through the organizational red tape and god forbid the budgeting to pull of something of that scale, but that doesn't make it so improbable that it will never be done. Those are the real reason nothing of this nature has been accomplished. Money,getting a publisher to be patient enough for it to be developed, and the fact that no one wants to see someone else finish an awesome quest that they can't copy and reap the s
          • by iCEBaLM (34905)

            Actually yes, it does make it so improbable that it will never be done. The state of the art in computing isn't there yet for a computer to be able to create unique, contextual, meaningful or sensical quests on the fly. That means a human would have to do it, and for a human to be able to do this, unless these quests were so enormous as to take months, even seasons, to complete, you're looking at almost a 1:1 ratio of players to game master/developers.

            Which in turn means the cost to play this game would be

        • Re:Hard to do (Score:4, Interesting)

          by apoc.famine (621563) <apoc,famine&gmail,com> on Saturday November 22, 2008 @11:00AM (#25857585) Homepage Journal
          Well, I've been thinking on one way around this, and while I should save it and make a bazillion dollars off the idea, here it is:

          In many MMOs, the quest items are ethereal - you kill stuff and get things, but you never actually have those items on your person - the quest keeps track, and when you get them all, it goes "ding" and you turn it in for a reward. You don't actually tote around 15 horns of some beast, hides, etc.

          Make those items easier to get, real, but encumbering, and allow them to be traded. And make it so that at lower levels killing the things would be good XP, but at the level you get the quest they aren't very good XP. At first glance this seems like a stupid idea, but....

          The beauty is that there's a good chance you will ask someone lower level to go do your dirty work for you. You'll pay them for the goods, they'll get XP and gold, you'll turn in the quest. Thus, rather than you getting quests from NPCs, you'll get them from PCs. "Damn - that 37th level fighter just came by and offered to pay me a ton of gold to go kill swamp rats, if I bring him the tails. I guess some wizard he knows needs them."

          That is far more interesting than going to the tavern master six times in a row, or bouncing from NPC to NPC in town to get and turn in quests. The strength of a MMO is that there are lots of people playing. Make them part of the world, rather than "just another player".

          When the 57th level wizard rounds up the n00bs and has them party up to go hunting grass snakes for him, that will make the game far more engaging and interesting. If each one of those n00bs was hunting them for the alchemist next to the baker, it would be far less engaging and interesting.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by vux984 (928602)

            In many MMOs, the quest items are ethereal - you kill stuff and get things, but you never actually have those items on your person - the quest keeps track, and when you get them all, it goes "ding" and you turn it in for a reward. You don't actually tote around 15 horns of some beast, hides, etc.

            You haven't played Everquest. The reason the new games don't do this is players are whining retards.

            1) "I accidently deleted my quest items/ sold them to a vendor/ dropped them on the ground" wah wah....

            2) "Quest it

      • "Where the quests I'm on are only mine: they haven't been done by anyone, and after me no one will do them again."

        For WoW, that would be over 10 million accounts with on average 3-4 characters each. Each of those characters needs to have unique quests to get them from 1-80 (for now). That is an INSANE amount of work. Especially considering that you only have so much room for NPCs and mobs.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Greyfox (87712)
        I think if you really want to do that the players have to interact more, and in more varied ways than a current MMO. You'd want players occupying roles usually held by NPCs, you'd want to have players be able to generate quests and you'd want to have players build up or tear down towns outside the core few provided by the game.

        I think Ultima Online was closer to providing that experience than WoW has been -- player owned towns were not uncommon and early on it was a constant battle with the forces of chao

      • by zerocool^ (112121)

        If that's what you're looking for, sign up for eve, spend 3 months skilling up and learning the basics (go for Amarr), and then leave the sections of space controlled by NPC's. Go get involved in alliance politics. It's not "only you" doing missions, but if you join up with one of the player controlled alliances in 0.0 space, it's your alliance deciding their destiny - taking over other people's space, staging raids on their resource-gathering operations, defending your corner of the universe. It's reall

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm still waiting for an MMO that really feels like a living world. Where the quests I'm on are only mine: they haven't been done by anyone, and after me no one will do them again. A shared world, but the experience, the goals, and the journey are mine alone. When our paths cross, it isn't because we both clicked on the bright exclamation point over Quest Giver Cletus, but because our individual journeys have fallen in step for a time. And maybe I can develop my character not through killing and loot, but by making real moral decisions. Not the simplistic "Either take your reward (neutral), refuse the reward (good), or kill the guy and take the reward anyway (evil)" choices, but the ones that aren't very clear: Do you steal from the king, who you've sworn allegiance, in order to give some food to somebody who's starving? Do you kill one innocent child in order to save a village?

        Not that I don't mind a little level grinding now and then. It's just that sometimes I want something with a little more meat to it.

        Maybe someday I'll play a game that puts the "character" back in "character building".

        You're looking for a pencil & paper RPG, in an MMO. Sure, it can and likely will be done.. in time.

        It won't require a huge team of content writers, constantly creating new quests and such. There's no way a company would put it together under those conditions. The only way it would truly succeed, is when the server is capable of functioning as a GM. Really, really in depth AI will be required.

        Its just not going to happen until the computer can do it without constant developer input. Nobody(almost nobody,

      • Why do you need the "M" or the "O"? You will never, ever, see what you want in an MMO because A) no one will develop a detailed, nuanced game intended for mass online interaction and then B) only let you play it.

        If you want to be the only one to do the quest, ever, why not play an offline game? Then you are the only hero. Or, better yet, if you want a game where you can make any level of nuanced decision and have the world reflect appropriately, and you still want to interact with some other people, why

      • by lxs (131946)

        Have you tried Outside [techeblog.com]?

        It really works like you describe. The only drawbacks are that it takes up most of your time, and when you die only once you get a permban.

      • You are asking for conflicting goals:

        If you want an individualized experience with complex moral dilemmas, plus a long-term story, you simply cannot deliver that inside of a Massive game. Can't be done.

        If you want quests that have never been done before, will never be done again, yet still integrate with a long-term plot, affect your character for a long time, and involve real moral decisions, you are simply looking in the wrong place. What you are asking for requires the services of a living, breathing G

        • Surely it wouldn't be easy, but you're just a stick in the mud. You could do this. The first step would be having a system without explicit questgivers, just goals that AI entities and the player characters must fulfill to survive -- IE, not getting too hot and burning to death, not getting too cold and dying of hypothermia, not running out of food to eat daily, etc.

          Now quests are "unique" not in the sense that nobody has done what you've done before (stealing food from an NPC king to feed a dying NPC orpha

          • Now just throw in the option for "hardcore" servers which don't allow player characters to respawn, and allow open PVP, and I think you've got a game that would appeal to ye olde hardcore tabletop RPG crowd. It'd be truly immersive if any actor in the simulation could die permanently, either to a sword in the belly or just from the lack of an adequate food supply.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Symbha (679466)

      It IS that surprising.
      Garriott is a veteran, the whole Ultima Franchise, not to mention UO (more or less) started the whole (grahpical) MMO thing. To have created an epic fail like Tabula Rasa, is surprising.

      And, I'll say for the record, WoW is not the first to be designed like it is. WoW itself was trying to be so many other RPGs, and MMOs before it (but better.) WoW was fantastic, even though I'm highly critical of the endgame.

      The flipside of that is EVERY MMO is trying to be as successful as WoW. To y

      • "Garriott is a veteran, the whole Ultima Franchise, not to mention UO (more or less) started the whole (grahpical) MMO thing. To have created an epic fail like Tabula Rasa, is surprising."

        Garriott was out of his element, he hasn't really designed games (been in the trenches) for years, he should have stuck to fantasy I knew his sci-fi work was doomed from the moment I heard it. Few companies can do sci-fi, and even then their success is moderate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by O('_')O_Bush (1162487)
      It's interesting you mention Warhammer and Eve, when WoW's biggest competition (by far) is actually... Runescape.

      Blizzard toots it's horn about having 10+ million players, but Jagex hit that number back in 2007, and in 2008, an estimate was placed that the current RS community is over 16 million players.

      Unlike in WoW, RS is extremely difficult to make a powerful avatar (Less than 100 players have reached max level), the game almost encourages individualistic gameplay, the graphics are unimpressive, and play
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordLucless (582312)
      I actually played it, and it was significantly different from WoW. The most obvious difference was the combat mechanism - it was rigged up like a first person shooter. You had targetting reticle, and you aimed at the enemy, and pulled the trigger to fire off bursts. It didn't have the usual timed-swing mechanism of most MMOs. It felt very dynamic. There were your usual RPG "dice"-rolls behind the scenes, but it felt very shooterish. There were some other differences, like the class tree, item creation mecha
  • This Is A Shame.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Caraig (186934) * on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:57PM (#25855167)

    This is a shame; TR had a lot of potential to be more than just another shooty take on MMOs. Ancient mysteries, xeno-archaeology, a strong theme of religion and myth, a dramatic war.... It could have been a lot more. Instead it was pretty bland at times. They had a lot of great ideas but they never seemed to implement them in time or well enough.

    I was in the closed beta, and I really really wanted to like this game. The music was cool, the settings were fantastic, the scaling was pretty nicely done, and it was open to the casual gamer... but it was flawed. It just didn't grab a person.

    As I said, it's really a shame. It could have been a lot more. Oh, well. I hope they learned something from it's failure. I just hope that 'Worlds of Starcraft' doesn't waltz in and take over the SciFi MMO slot.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by haydon4 (123439)

      I really thought TR had potential. It's true that the launch was a little rocky and it was rough around the edges but as you really progressed through the game, the story was actually rather compelling.

      I had some misgivings about the limited character creation system where is was basically a cookie cutter system where you could only change the face as a whole, hair, skin color and a couple accessories; as well as the clunky and convoluted crafting system that they took way too long to fix. I think they re

  • takes me back (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Leontes (653331) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:00AM (#25855181)
    Back in 1997, I was playing a character on the old TrekMoo, when the Q (the admins) were in the process of moving to new servers. They decided to all scorched universe on the remaining players and I have to say, that was a heck of lot of fun. The Borg invaded, the Romulans and Klingons got their ass kicked and we intrepid few in the federation were forced to make some tough choices that included sacrificing our ship. It was a small community of text based adventurers, but the collaborative effort made it a hell of a lot of fun.

    I'm surprised there aren't more scorched earth games, where we build up communities just to have them torn down. I hope the loyal players of playing Tabula Rasa get to have the same kind of experience. I know it influenced me as to what good collaborative theaterical improvisation was all about.
    • by cptgrudge (177113)
      Blizzard tried something like this with the most recent world event to usher in the new expansion. Player controlled zombies rampant everywhere, infecting other players and NPCs alike. In the end, half of the players enjoyed it. The other half brought some *serious* whining, complaining that they "couldn't get stuff done". Can't please everyone, I guess.
      • by rob1980 (941751)
        Well with the number of people playing the game and the availability of official forums for people to have their verbal diarrhea on it's no surprise. I will say though having the world event spill out into areas where people who potentially don't even have the higher level characters capable of taking advantage of the new stuff in the expansion is just going to tick them off for really nothing in return can get irritating. There's nothing dumber than getting ganked by a level 70 zombie in the Crossroads o
      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        If it's "the game server is shutting down in 2 weeks" there isn't much "stuff to get done" to complain about not being able to do.

        Of course they won't spend any dev time on it (it's shutting down...), but even a "the bad guys are attacking" followed by spamming big bad guys in all the usual safe places would do.

        Also when you are shutting down "pleasing everyone" is completely irrelevant...

    • I would like to see this apply more to a long term strategy for an MMO.

      MMO != Never ending questing.

      An MMO could be more meaningful if the game actually had epic stories, that had real goals and real conclusions. Establish story lines as if it was a science fiction or fantasy series, where player actions are permanently etched into future stories / histories. Hire some permanent story writers, and develop an ongoing dialogue between them and the players, making player actions meaningful.

      Then you ca
  • by S77IM (1371931) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:26AM (#25855325)

    I'm sure other posters will mention Tabula Rasa's bugs, lousy control scheme, poor class balance, etc (typical MMO grievances) but to me the thing that always stood out about TR was its abysmal support for building communities.

    Everyone's abuzz about Web 2.0 and "social networking," and somehow the TR devs didn't even see fit to have a Looking For Group feature in the game. The had on-line chat and a Friends list, and that's about it. The thing about massively MULTIPLAYER games is that they are only as good as the people you play with. Sure, a small percentage of MMO players exclusively solo, but for most people, the solo experience is basically a laggy, slightly glitchy single-player game, with extra monotonous grinding. In other words, you get bored of it after a month or two, max, just like any other single player game.

    "Players come for the game, but stay for the community." -- I forget who said it, but that sums up most MMOs today. Compared to single-player games, any MMO is mediocre at best. The only reason people will pay $15/month for the MMO is to play with their friends. Tabula Rasa made it very difficult for me to locate people I might want to team with, let alone befriend. There was more incentive to solo than to assemble PUGs.

    Suggestion to future MMO designers: Find a way to match up players with other players of similar game-play styles and compatible personalities. No, I'm not talking about in-game romance, just helping people find a good team. Match up Leeroy Jenkins with other Leeroy Jenkins, etc. Stop thinking of the players as an audience looking for "content." They're not. They're looking to hang out with friends and kill monsters.

    • WoW existed for about 2-3 years without a LFG system other than a channel that was spammed with all kinds of garbage.

      Ask anyone who remembers how the global LFG channel went.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bigstrat2003 (1058574) *

        Ask anyone who remembers how the global LFG channel went.

        /shudder

        And I just got done with therapy for that, too. Thanks for reminding me...

    • I like your observation that community is the key ingredient that gives an MMO longevity. It makes me wonder if an open-source MMO might one day not only rival the current big commercial ones, but even become far more long lived than any of them because its community would last forever, and it could never get shut down, regardless of perceived success or failure.

      The easy attack on that idea is simply that "server farms cost a ton of money", but MMOs don't have to be programmed to require centralized server

      • by Nethead (1563)

        ..requirements being not much different to those of an IRC server..
        You've may have never run a popular IRC host then. It's not the bandwidth so much but the damn DDOS that will kill you. I had a popular IRC box back in 2000 or so and it took a 400MB/s DDOS hit. My boss sure didn't like that on his network!

      • and who will donate the incredible amount of high quality artwork in all forms required to make a good MMO? and not only do you need lots of high quality artwork, it also needs to be done along the same style and theme, and be artistically consistent. the people that have the skills and talent to make art for are an MMO are usually too busy with their dayjob.
        • Exactly you can't just slap together a bunch of components like you can with a kernel or compiler. Some projects only need a lead architect to wrangle developers and enforce some quality control. But games generally need a series of directors beyond the programming. There are many interdependent groups that can not easily move forward independently. Client, Server, UI, modelers, level designers, 2d artwork, audio, I'm sure the list goes on.

          Maybe being a kernel developer has me thinking that kernels are easy

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Psychochild (64124)

        It makes me wonder if an open-source MMO might one day not only rival the current big commercial ones, but even become far more long lived than any of them because its community would last forever, and it could never get shut down, regardless of perceived success or failure.

        In a word: No. This has been tried many times before. Perhaps the most notable project has been WorldForge (http://worldforge.org/).

        For a bit of background, I've been developing MMO games professionally for over a decade, and did text

  • Has anyone played Tabula Rasa ? I've only heard of it, mostly due to Richard Garriott's involvement, but I don't know any players. From reading the write-ups, it sounds a lot like Sony's PlanetSide, with some anime RPG elements bolted on.

    PlanetSide never really got big enough, so there wasn't enough action to keep things interesting. There's really no fun in being the only guy on the continent, capping base after base without resistance.

    If Tabula Rasa suffered the same fate, well... sucks but that's just

    • by iCEBaLM (34905)

      I started playing PlanetSide during the open stress testing. I loved that game. I bought it the day it was available at the local EBGames. The game was simple: kill the other guys and take their territory. It was like this until WoW's open beta, then something happened...

      They started adding crazy crap: now certain bases couldn't be captured just by taking them over, you had to grab a football (LIU I think they tried to call them?) and take it back to another base you controlled. Oh wait, look at that, you'r

  • I remember how Garriot's Ultima Series took a nose drive. Ultima 8 was bad enough; last Ultima I ever bought, but Ultima 9 was worse; just a really sloppy job. Does this sound familiar?

    "The game was so poorly received that no other Ultima was ever released. Richard Garriott shortly left Origin, which was shut by parent company EA Games soon after." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_IX#Controversy [wikipedia.org]

    Poor NCsoft. Perhaps they should have Googled him before they hired him. ;-)

  • I extensively beta tested Tabula Rasa, but in the end did not buy the release version based on the experience. It's a classic example of an interesting idea rushed out the door before it was finished.

    The classes were poorly differentiated, and in most cases the base skills were better to use than the later specialized skills. So most classes spammed basic attacks. Probably one of the worst games I've played as far as polishing classes goes.

  • by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon&gamerslastwill,com> on Saturday November 22, 2008 @09:21AM (#25857105) Homepage Journal

    First, I was supposed to beta test it. The installer kept giving me a weird error about a FIPS cryptographic package. I was never able to install it. The NCSoft Support team didn't seem to have a clue as to how to solve the problem and install the game. If anyone deserves to be sued, it's NCSoft. People bought TR with the expectation that it would be an on-going experience. It is now shutting down. The value that was expect is no longer.

  • So let me get this straight... As an MMO operator you only do the 'really fun things' once you are going out of business?

    Because, I guess it wouldn't make sense to have been doing those from day one. You know, to stay in business?

    Seriously, I played TR. I enjoyed it immensely during the first half of the game. Then it got incredibly repetitive and boring. The crafting and economy were simply not good enough. End-game activities were not good enough. In today's world, those are two make-it or break-it

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