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Tabula Rasa NDA is down… and so are the reviews.

 THIS IS NOT A REVIEW!  READING COMPREHENSION FOR THE WIN!  READ ON!
The NDA for Tabula Rasa has officially been lifted. Here’s what PlayNC had to say:

Last night’s Tabula Rasa pre-launch event was a blast… literally. We’ll keep you updated as the recaps of the festivities start coming in. But for now Soldiers, we have some important intel to share with you, so listen up.

The battle for control of the Universe will begin on October 19th, so get ready to go to war troops! Pre-enlisted Soldiers will get a 3 day head start towards the front lines on October 16th, so if you haven’t pre-ordered yet, what are you waiting for?!? Move it Soldier!

Also, the AFS has declassified some of their intel. What does this mean for the Troops? Well it means the NDA has been lifted and now you can share your war stories with everyone. And if that still isn’t enough new intel for you, be sure to check out our redesigned Tabula Rasa website, which includes lot’s of new military briefings to help prepare you for the war against the Bane.

For more information, be sure to check out the entire briefing at PlayNC.com.

Nothing surprising there really. They’re going with the head start deal which is a marketing strategy to increase pre-orders, similar to Lord of the Rings Online’s 2 week “open beta” deal. Graev played in Beta for about a week and set the game down after deciding it was just too buggy to even test properly. He also reports that the game simply “felt weird” compared to other MMORPGs. Graev isn’t the only one thinking negatively about Tabula Rasa. According to several accounts from long-time testers Tabula Rasa doesn’t have much going for it.

I’ll admit right now that I have not played the beta nor have I even been looking into Tabula Rasa on a serious level. I have browsed message boards and of course looked at everything on their main site, but I have not made it a priority to learn anything below the surface. However, now that the NDA is down the information is practically leaping at me and here is what I have found.

Brief impressions of a beta tester: “I’m enjoying the fast paced nature of the combat. It’s something fresh and new. I also love the concept of the logos. It appeals to the collector in me. It has a lot of the tried and true systems a lot of RPGs have, with their quest system and loot system, but the combat and story is what really sells. I’m looking forward to actually getting involved in the battles over bases.”

Impressions from someone who tested 3-4 Months: I have been in Beta for 3-4 months now. I find it mind numbingly boring. I hate the controls (I haven’t had time to test the new control scheme they supposedly put in recently which makes it more like a normal MMO). I don’t like the animations. I don’t like the gameplay. The interface sucks. It just isn’t my style. Personally I think it is gonna be a small niche product and think Richard Garriott is gonna follow in the shoes of Brad McQuaid as former MMO heroes who have fallen from grace. Nothing special here sticks out in my mind. I won’t be buying in October.”

Beta Tester on classes: “The classes aren’t remotely balanced, and the dev team changes balance in huge strokes rather than actual tuning. Currently, the only career worth playing is Commando, because every other career uses too much ammo to kill a single MoB to be profitable.”

Personally these reviews scare me. You have one person who enjoys the game because it’s fast pace but is clearly someone who is all about “fluff”. The other two impressions are extremely negative and show a scary future for gameplay mechanics and overall feel. From reading several dozen posts this morning I get the feel that Tabula Rasa plays much like City of Heroes and offers little to no depth.

I’m not going to be giving TR a try unless I can get my hands on a free trial or friend code. I’m simply too skeptical when it comes to the style of gameplay that Tabula Rasa went with. I’m very interested in what others have to say about the game and I will be looking for as much information as possible to keep you all in-the-know.

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KevinC - September 6, 2007

I’ve been pegging it to be like CoH as well. And for me, that’s o.k. It will be something to have a little fun in and pass the time until War comes out.

Aspendawn - September 7, 2007

Yeah seems like 9 out of 10 of the posts I’ve read say it’s boring and repetitive and not worth a $15/month fee. Wasn’t ever interested much in it to begin with. Will be interesting to see what sort of sales they have after launch.

Pixey styx - September 7, 2007

its a great game … has some very good ideas behind it, and everything Richrd G has touted as innovation is correct and works great. I would look for more of his ideas popping up in other mmo’s of the future.

however the gameplay for me just did not hook me, and I love scifi games. I certainly would not be paying $15.00 a month for it… if they had gone with a guildwars model then they would have a huge success on there hands.

As it is, think this will have high initial sales, then subs will drop off to a small but loyal level. I guess this game is not going to revitalize the sci-fi mmo genre …

JoBildo - September 7, 2007

I don’t think it’ll even that great of initial sales. My impressions will be coming later, but suffice to say while it seems like a decent game… it’s definitely one of those I would never pay for monthly with far more interesting OLDER titles out there.

The Common Sense Gamer » Tabula Rasa NDA lifted - September 7, 2007

[…] A couple of warnings though. First, I only played this game for about 2-5 hours in total and my character only got up to about level 9…so this is not even close to a review/preview level that you are use to from this site. If you want a really good preview, please go see Tobold, or Keen and Graev on that front. So, this will fall into the “first impressions/newbie” side of the coin, which is important, but not thorough. OK, now that we understand each other…here we go. […]

Tobold - September 7, 2007

I have been in Beta for 3-4 months now. I find it mind numbingly boring.

That comment made me laugh. If the game is so boring, why did that tester play it for 3-4 months? I would agree though that Tabula Rasa, like so many other second tier MMORPGs, gets boring after 3-4 months. Most single-player games get boring after 3-4 months. Why do we expect all the MMOs we buy to last us for years?

Tabla Rasa NDA Lifted: 10/19/07 Launch at Kill Ten Rats - September 7, 2007

[…] Keen and Graev have a comprehensive review posted.   They are pretty down on it in general. […]

brackishwater - September 7, 2007

GOOD LORD! Does that really say comprehensive? Its definitely broad Keen but without even playing it and not knowing really what your brother did in the game, I can’t really say that I view this as an accurate look at the current state of the game. Sorry man.

brackishwater - September 7, 2007

I know that wasn’t your intention with this article, but I just hate the idea of a new MMO thats attempting to be somewhat innovative get shot down by a couple of forum snippets.

Pixey styx - September 7, 2007

[…] Ok, hot off the press is TR’s nda is down, reports are coming in from all over the’ […]

JoBildo - September 7, 2007

Check my site for my thoughts. 🙂

Keen
Keen - September 7, 2007

It should definitely be noted that this topic is not a comprehensive review nor are the opinions of the beta testers my own. This post is a compendium and summary of the overall opinions that I have seen.

Keep in mind that I have still not played the game. 😉 I’m simply relaying the initial thoughts on TR as I have seen them.

I still want to try TR (Maybe someone will be kind enough to toss me a trial or something) and I absolutely will not review a game without playing it.

Justin - September 7, 2007

You all are full of yourselves.

Bildo - September 8, 2007

Not quite, Justin. We’re just gamers who like to talk about games. If anyone who has an opinion on something is full of their self, then yes I suppose we are.

Tabula Rasa: The New Auto Assault? « The Ancient Gaming Noob - September 8, 2007

[…] Keen and Graev: Tabula Rasa NDA is down, and so are the reviews […]

Cyndre - September 10, 2007

@ Justin: Maybe we are full of ourselves, maybe we aren’t… But one thing is for sure, no one is forcing you to read our blogs…

Jesse - September 10, 2007

I played Tabula Rasa for a period of probably 15 hours when it was bug free enough to enjoy on its merits. I did not find any of the content particularly innovative. The control system itself was new and I enjoyed that quite a bit. They fashion it like a 3rd person shooter even though the backend is all numbers. The problem with this is if you put most of your skill points into martial skills instead of logos skills (which is a viable option) there is very little decision making in combat besides movement, target choice, and weapon.

All in all, I would not buy this game even if it did not have a monthly subscription fee, simply because most of the so called innovations are just old gameplay mechanics in new wrappers (Although the IDEA of collecting logos has merit I found it to be akin to messenger quests).

To be fair I have to mention my bias. I have not thought any of the games since DAoC have been terribly innovative – with the exception of EVE-Online and DAoC. And Anarchy Online for introducing instanced quests.

QforQ - September 12, 2007

This “review” is worthless. You didnt even play the game, all you did is quote negative forum posts. I could do that same thing and make WOW look like the shittiest game ever…doesn’t make it true.

Keen
Keen - September 12, 2007

Hey QforQ, thanks for reading the blog entry. 🙂 OH wait, you didn’t.

QforQ - September 12, 2007

Yes, I did. My statement is consistent with that. I find it laughable that other bloggers are citing this post as a comprehensive review when you admit to not playing the game and that these are what you found on the web. They aren’t your actual feelings about the game, they’re just negative reviews from the interwebs.

Velcan - September 25, 2007

Truly. We certainly should not believe everything we read. If I let written reviews rule my judgement 100% in what I choose to play I would probably still be glued to my NES console… The best reviews always come from yourself.

IMO try the beta for 5 bucks and if you don’t like it… don’t buy it when it goes retail in ~3 weeks.

Kurt - October 5, 2007

I played Auto Assault from launch up until the day the servers were terminated.

I can tell you with 100% certainty that they took the Auto Assault code and just tweaked it in minor places to make Tabula Rasa.

Tabula Rasa is not even close to be a different game than Auto Assault. The character models are the same, the UI elements are the same, some of the music is even the same! I looked at some of the quest rewards in Tabula Rasa, and they even use the same exact item fonts that they did in Auto Assault!

If you ask me, this is purely ridiculous. Auto Assault failed miserably, so their answer is to rip all the code from it and try to turn it into a different game? Why would people even purchase this game knowing full well that this is NOT a new game, but just Auto Assault with a different flavor. The developers are either extremely lazy, or they were given such a tight schedule that the only thing they could possibly do was rip code, rather than start from scratch. Either way, I won’t be buying the game.

Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog » Blog Archive » Richard Garriott’s ideas could be the beginning - November 12, 2007

[…] I never gave my opinion on Tabula Rasa.   Back in September when the NDA was lifted those in beta were eager to share their thoughts and opinions on the game and having never personally played the beta I felt it was inappropriate to weigh in my thoughts.  Since then I have given TR a try and my views of the game align with those in the beta impressions I blogged.  It’s an “ok” game – On the verge of 2008 “ok” doesn’t cut it anymore.  While the game itself may fall short of expectations placed upon it, Richard Garriott’s way of thinking does not. “As many kudos as I would like to give World of Warcraft, it’s basically a remake of EverQuest, just incredibly polished and refined. There are harbingers of failure in that model. Everyone in these games is obsessed with the concept of how much damage-per-second they are inflicting and maximizing their DPS. When you do that, you are no longer playing a role; you are playing an inventory-management game.” – Richard Garriott […]

Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog » Blog Archive » Richard Garriott’s ideas could be the beginning - November 12, 2007

[…] I never gave my opinion on Tabula Rasa. Back in September when the NDA was lifted those in beta were eager to share their thoughts and opinions on the game and having never personally played the beta I felt it was inappropriate to weigh in my thoughts. Since then I have given TR a try and my views of the game align with those in the beta impressions I blogged. It’s an “ok” game – On the verge of 2008 “ok” doesn’t cut it anymore. While the game itself may fall short of expectations placed upon it, Richard Garriott’s way of thinking does not. “As many kudos as I would like to give World of Warcraft, it’s basically a remake of EverQuest, just incredibly polished and refined. There are harbingers of failure in that model. Everyone in these games is obsessed with the concept of how much damage-per-second they are inflicting and maximizing their DPS. When you do that, you are no longer playing a role; you are playing an inventory-management game.” – Richard Garriott […]

Killed in a Smiling Accident. » Blog Archive » Be wary of men wielding dead languages. - September 6, 2009

[…] hadn’t really thought about preparing a review for Tabula Rasa because reviews from several other bloggers are already out there, and say pretty much all there is to say; if I were going to […]

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