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Tabula Rasa: Farewell

By Shamus
on Tuesday Mar 3, 2009
Filed under:
Video Games


The game is closed, the world has gone the way of the punchcard, Lucasarts adventure games, my cheery disposition, and games with proper endings.

Not that I’ve been pining for it or anything. I had my fill and moved on. But I do lament the unrealized potential the game showed.

Comments (27)

  1. MPR says:

    Yes, farewell.
    Farewell to the unpolished yet innovative and fun FPS-style shooting system.
    To the clever writing and occasionally off-the-hook hysterically funny dialog (Foreas Base M*A*S*H announcer, I’m looking at you).
    To the intricate and fascinating instanced quest areas, which were a joy to explore (until the mid-higher levels infested with bugs, the non-insectoid kind that you could not kill by shooting, alas).
    To the woefully underthought and pointless crafting and economy.
    To the ridiculous immersion-breaking Dell XPS product placements conspicuously littering the labs (they must have been really desperate for funds then).
    A noble effort, which should have been so much more.

  2. mark says:

    Damn, that was fast! I played the beta and it seemed boring and unpolished. there was no motivation to do anything… Still, it died young…

  3. Dustin says:

    So how exactly did they end it? I read several sites where they said there was to be some epic ‘last battle’ and hear about some kind of mutually assured destruction, but how was this represented in game? Fire raining from the skies? Massive galaxy swallowing explosion?

  4. I agree completely with MPR (who happens to be my husband, by the way.)

    Tabula Rasa feels particularly personal to me because not only did I meet with Richard Garriot, but I also had the opportunity to meet and chat with several of the people who were involved with the game. And MPR (husband unit) had even seriously considered taking a job with them.

    The final irony is the fact that a game like Tabula Rasa gets shut down, yet atrocities like this game live on for years.

    There is no justice in the world of MMOs.

  5. Guus says:

    I was interested in the game, but I’m not really one for MMO’s, thus I never played it. And my pc would probably have had difficulties with it.
    Still, it’s a shame that it died so young. And it goes to show that if an MMO doesn’t hit the bullseye in one shot, it’s going to be in for very, very rough times.

  6. Julian says:

    I think that if they hadn’t named it Richard Garriot’s Tabula Rasa, instead just going with Tabula Rasa, the game would have fared better.

  7. Ham08 says:

    I haven’t played “Tabula Rasa”, mainly because I am just too burned out on MMO games. Too much grinding. I’ll probably never play another MMO as long as I live.

    On a side note, Shamus, have you checked out “Valkyria Chronicles” for the PS3? WOW! That’s a good game! Great story and a blast to play! I couldn’t find fault with the game without nitpicking, since the graphics, music, voice acting, and gameplay are just so impeccable. There are complete walkthroughs on Youtube that you can check out, just to see if this game is your thing, before buying.

    Here’s a playlist for a complete walkthrough, if you are interested: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=D11E6F63B3ACFCD1

  8. lebkin says:

    It is sad to see a sci-fi MMO fail, since there are so few. On the other hand, maybe this failure will help others do a better job and find out how to be profitable.

  9. Tim says:

    Funny how they say “try again later” in the unable to connect message.

  10. Gary says:

    That is sad. I played the trial and quite enjoyed it. However, lack of time and my desire to avoid anything that looks like a monthly payment made it so that I abandoned it.

    It had a lot of neat ideas and was quite refreshing in many ways.

  11. Trianglehead says:

    I only got to play it the last week. Things kept me busy for too long and that was all I got. But I did enjoy it quite a bit. It definitely had a lot of potential to be a great game, but I only got through the first two areas completely. I’m wishing now I had rushed through those a bit more and got a little further on, but oh well. It was fun!

  12. RichVR says:

    Played in the beta. Didn’t go retail. When I get so bored that it becomes a chore to bug hunt, I know a game isn’t for me. None the less, it’s always sad when a different type of MMO dies.

    I actually enjoyed bug hunting in Auto Assault and even got recognition for most bugs found, on the official website. That game I played until it shut down. Again, sad that a really different type of game had to close up shop.

  13. Nabeshin says:

    For some reason, sci-fi MMO’s just don’t seem to do well.
    Personally, I loved E&B (Earth and Beyond for those not familiar with it) until EA bought it, dumbed it down and then ultimately killed it.
    I looked at Tabula Rasa, and found it a bit too unpolished, not well thought out and moreover; EMPTY.
    With the sudden proliferation of really REALLY crappy free to play MMO’s out there, unless you’re Blizzard there’s really no reason to pay for one.
    Granted, I know Star Trek’s got a MMO coming, as well as Stargate (Way to cash in on it AFTER the series is done for both), Star Wars is pretty much dead if it isn’t already, Freelancer would have been M$’s answer to E&B if it’d been finished…
    Sad. Only way to do a decent MMO is if you fill it with pointy eared androgenous bipeds and/or catgirls.
    Yes, WoW and FFXI, I’m looking at you.
    Ah well. I’ll still play WoW and love it, but I wish I could play something that doesn’t involve swinging an impact weapon.

  14. Aergoth says:

    Freelancer was actually a fairly good game, and yeah, I could see it being an MMO aside from the problems it had (tiny spaces, everything on the solar plane, bad scale…).
    Played it for a while.

  15. Penn says:

    Far as I can see the main non-fantasy MMO still out there is City of Heroes/Villains. If you are tired of the same old same old, give it a shot.
    I never tried Tabula Rasa, but I’m sad to see anything that tries to drive the gaming market in new directions go.

  16. ngthagg says:

    EVE Online is another sci-fi MMORPG, but it definitely has a different feel from the WoW style MMOs. It plays a lot closer to Freelancer, actually.

  17. RichVR says:

    Let’s be clear here. I’ve played both EVE and CoH/V. I’m willing to bet cash that the majority of the people who post here are more CoX (H/V) types than EVE types.

    I said “most”.

    ‘Frinstance: I am presently on my 5th year of CoX. I love that game. I have been on and off of EVE for about the same amount of time.

    EVE has been described as a spreadsheet with cool graphics. This is true, sort of. If you like to be a scumbag, backstabbing troll… EVE is your game. In EVE trust is a commodity to be earned and spent. If you don’t care about morality or what people think of you, EVE is your game.

    CoX is a game where you can be the superhero/villain of your choice. You can interact with intelligent, motivated and creative people. You may or may not fight them. You don’t have to. You can go to the forums and play forum games. You might go to the specific forum area for Virtue (a server forum) and hang out at the daily thread that the roleplayers set up early. There you can eat pancakes and drink coffee and mix with furries. Seriously.

    The CoX forums are actually, amazingly (wait for it) CIVIL. Even the worst of the CoX forums, the PvP area, are mild compared to the EVE or WOW forums.

    I liked EVE. I quit because the guy that I knew in real life who was my corp boss, quit. I didn’t want the trouble of keeping the corp together. I was the second in command and the chief security officer. I vetted EVERYONE that wanted to join our corp.

    That included real life checks via various online means to see if the person’s name rang a bell. Paranoia to the nth power. I couldn’t do it alone.

    I am still on CoX because after a few years of EVE it’s a freaking walk in the park.

    Games are fun. Even paranoia can be fun. Until it isn’t. When any game stops being fun, I stop playing it.

    BTW. I got into my first team wipe playing Mass Effect (FINALLY!) tonight. I stopped playing. Now I’ll have a beer and check Twitter. But I’ll be back. It’s still fun.

    Just not right now. ;)

  18. MintSkittle says:

    It’s too bad Tabula Rasa folded, cause I’ve had the urge to jump back into an MMO for a while now. Warhammer Online, here I come.

  19. Nabeshin says:

    “EVE Online is another sci-fi MMORPG, but it definitely has a different feel from the WoW style MMOs. It plays a lot closer to Freelancer, actually.”

    Ah…..no. I heartily disagree with this one.
    Comparing Freelancer to EVE is like comparing say, Aces High to M$’s Flight Simulator.
    One you get in and go, pitting your skill or lack therof against someone elses. The other-you just click stuff.
    I played EVE, and like Yahtzee’s take, it’s pretty much a game of clicking, and who shoots first. It’s pretty, and that’s it. The ingame visuals are stunning-but my experience there was, unless you know someone already with bigger guns than anyone else, you’re pretty much toast. 2 days of having my shiny metal ass handed to me saw me cancelling my account, and uninstalling it.
    FL I just grew out of. It had a lot of extra content in it, anyone in the mod community for it could tell you that. Lines and lines of code, which would have allowed for an E&B like experience, from what I understand.
    But, could haves doesn’t equate to what we DO haves.

    I know NetDevil has an MMO called “Jumpgate somethingorother”, but I’ve not bothered to look at it. Now if it gets some press that isn’t “Ho hum” then I might.

  20. ngthagg says:

    Er . . . I wasn’t intending to boost Eve (or trash it). I just didn’t want people who haven’t played Eve to think it looked and played like WoW. As RichVR said, it’s likely most people here think of MMOs as being more like CoX than like Eve.

  21. Zock says:

    One big difference I see between EVE and WoW-like MMOs is that in EVE your actions can really matter and affect the game world. Because of this, there’s more risk involved at each step, and the game doesn’t offer as instant gratification for the player as e.g. WoW does.

  22. Anthorin says:

    Hmm – I played for about a month after it came out but I never felt too involved in the game or the plot. It was hailed originally as a breakthrough but I never really saw that.

    Some of the ideas were interesting, but frankly I still prefer DDO (Dungeons and Dragons online) which after 3 years is still providing plenty of fun and challenges.

  23. Anaphyis says:

    Played Tabula Rasa for a while until the density of bugs got frustrating in the middle ranges. Its really too bad no decent non-fantasy themed MMO is getting made and I furthermore don’t see why.

    I’ve played Anarchy Online for quite a while and Eve is also doing a decent job (not my thing though) but every game released is someone running 500 km behind the World of Warcraft bandwagon. Why should anyone go for a monthly subscription of a new game with less content then the ones out there for what feels like decades? Especially if it’s just more of the same, there is not one interesting Fantasy IP involved, it’s just Dwarves and Elfs fighting Orcs and Dragons.

    WAR is nice but too little too late. Also, wrong choice: A Warhammer 40k MMO I would have jumped on and played like there was no tomorrow.

  24. Apathy Curve says:

    I saw ten boxes of TR, still in shrink-wrap, sitting on the shelf at the local Half-Price Books yesterday afternoon. I briefly considered explaining to the staff why they should remove the boxes from sale, but then I remembered my last attempt at a reasoned discussion with a retail store employee. I’d have better luck teaching trig to a chimpanzee, so I opted to just shrug and walk away while thinking “caveat emptor.”

  25. chabuhi says:

    I’ve also been looking for a recap of the “epic end-battle” in TR. Sounded like a cool way to go out.

    Edit: found link to purported vid of final battle: http://www.warcry.com/videos/view/tabula-rasa/581-The-Final-Stand-Video-Tribute

  26. Torsten says:

    It’s pity when an MMO goes down, even those you haven’t play personally. All in all however I am looking optimistically to the future of sci-fi MMORPG. EVE is doing ok, according to their advertisements they have around 700 000 subscribers. Anarchy Online just got a new booster pack and is getting graphic update in near future, so that game is also live and kicking. And it seems that sci-fi is the next trend in MMO market in the next few years, so there’s bound to be some god titles coming up.

  27. Tesh says:

    I’ve written a rather extensive blog post bloviating about ending MMOs. While I mourn the loss of some good ideas that TR had, I do think that this sort of thing is ultimately healthy for the MMO industry as a whole, not unlike how forest fires keep forests healthy in the long run.

    I wish more games would end, actually, so that the genre could move on to better games. The modern eternal DIKU treadmill design is stifling the MMO genre. (And yes, I blame the subscription model for a lot of that.)

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