Richard Garriot's Tabula Rasa Preview

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Official Richard Garriott's Tabalua Rasa Website

Richard Garriot's "clean slate" goes live in October and MegaGames has got the scoop on everything from the live Beta to the two year time sink that went into the game's original (and scrapped) design. For those of you living under a rock, Richard Garriot is the creator of the Ultima series – the infamous "Lord British" who brought you the pinnacle of fantasy MMO gameplay. With Tabula Rasa, Lord British is looking to side-step his reputation as a king of fantasy, and revamp his image as an MMO innovator. No more orcs, wizards, or ninjas; to hell with the typical lore-hemorrhaged plot. Tabula Rasa is an action sci-fi shooter cross-bred with good old MMO gameplay.

In the months leading up to launch, Lord British has made Tabula Rasa increasingly visible in the public eye, running press events from NCsfot's Austin offices to last month's to a very spiffy-looking playable build at the Penny Arcade Expo last month. This is a relief as the game has been in development for an unspeakably long time, thanks to a false start in the game's design early on. Citing the "took many chefs spoil the broth," attaché, British explains these two years that were tossed out can be blamed on clashing design elements – trying to go for an "east meets west" look led to a hodgepodge of pug-fugly buildings and not much else.

Now all that's in the past and instead we've got a gritty sci-fi epic starring you as the remnants of humanity, cast into a war with the Bane. The story's pretty basic for fans of science fiction literature: mankind gets jumped, chooses genetically superior members of its race to fight back, and all hell breaks loose. Along for this ride are various auxiliary alien races that also want to resist the destruction of the Bane – but since you can't play as one of their ilk, who cares?

"One of the biggest problems MMOs have is that they never immerse you in the world," Garriott said in an interview with Garriot aims to bring us the lore of Tabula Rasa in a more basic way than endless screens of text to be scrolled through by throwing in one fancy cutscene (so far) and then throwing you right into a game with minimal fluff between you and the action. "[In most MMOs] You spend most of your time pressing buttons, watching the interface and waiting for a cooldown meter to finish so you can press it again." British is determined to break the mold with his combat system in addition to enhancing the immersive qualities of the game.

The simple story combined with a highly structured character advancement system provides Tabula Rasa with a lot more focus than many other MMOs can boast. Add to that some very nice looking graphics, a gameplay system that really does change the way we play MMOs, and a solid user interface and we just might have the MMO of the year.

But – is the gameplay really that innovative? Does the action element of Tabula Rasa alienate many MMO gamers on principle? Will the outstanding graphics murder your computer more than gratify your gameplay experience? Read on to find out.


Tabula Rasa - The Story
Tabula Rasa is a massively multiplayer online action game that takes you into the heat of battle at the frontlines of an epic war between a xenophobic alien race bent on galactic conquest and the coalition of rebel soldiers who’ve traveled across the galaxy to stop them.

Combining the action of a first person shooter and the immersion of a role-playing game, Tabula Rasa takes the player on an intergalactic adventure where the individual has an opportunity to significantly impact the pace of battle on a global scale. Players enter the game as rebel soldiers wielding a variety of futuristic weapons, potent demolitions and the mystical power of “Logos”. It is up to each individual to use their stealth, ingenuity and skill to assist a ragtag coalition of rebels in their efforts to stop an enemy known for its intelligence and unyielding determination to enslave the Universe.


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