tabula rasa

Official Site: Tabula Rasa (Wikipedia)
Studio: NCsoft
Launch Date: November 2, 2007
Sunset Date: February 28, 2009
Genre: Sci-Fi MMOFPS Sandbox
Business Model: Subscription
Platform: PC

NCsoft rep says bringing City of Heroes toons to Master x Master was his 'passion project'

We've been speaking with NCsoft West off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters (to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.

Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."

"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."

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Richard Garriott explains why Steam has been unkind to Shroud of the Avatar

Have you had a chance to pick up and read Richard Garriott's memoirs yet? Whether or not you have, you might want to check out this interview that the Shroud of the Avatar creator did on his life adventures to date.

Speaking of the in-development MMO, the interviewer pointed out some of the bad reviews that Shroud of the Avatar has garnered so far and asked if the project might not be going as hoped. Garriott replied by saying, "I don't think so at all. We've had naysayers since the beginning. But I think what you're seeing is a side effect from open development from day one [...] Everything was pretty hunky dory until we went up on Steam. Then we found a different type of customer who hadn't been with us from the beginning. They see that the game looks unfinished, unpolished, with only a few weapons and an obtuse UI and we get a backlash."

Garriott said that Shroud of the Avatar should officially launch by the middle of 2017.

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One Shots: Tabula Rasa's 21-gun salute

Ralph the Wonder Llama kicks off today's community screenshot gallery with a salute to the late, great Tabula Rasa.

"Yes, Tabula Rasa ended up being rushed to market, and many of its features were pretty rough around the edges when the game first released, but this was 2008! Can you imagine what Tabula Rasa would have been like if it had survived and gotten a couple of expansions under its belt? The mind boggles. Here's a shot of my Grenadier at Foreas Base, taken just a few days before shutdown. You can't really tell with the helmet on, but I'm pretty sure my character is crying."

On that happy note, let's see what else you all have cooked up for us today!

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Richard Garriott publishes his memoirs

When you've lived a life as wacky and full as Ultima creator Richard Garriott, it only stands to reason that you'd probably want to share your stories and lessons with those who aren't multi-millionaire game designers.

Garriott's new memoir, Explore/Create, hit the bookshelves this week. The book is co-written by David Fisher and talks about Garriott's many real-world adventures and his experiences in the games industry. In the book he also talks about how he connected his various interests to game creation, such as his fascination with languages that fed into Tabula Rasa.

In an interview, the Shroud of the Avatar creator said that he and other ex-Origin employees such as Chris Roberts and Warren Spector, still stay in touch and have shared elements between their projects to connect their game worlds. "We all support each other and love each other. Maybe us old Originites might find a way to get back together," he said.

Source: Amazon, 512

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The Game Archaeologist: Six Halloween holidays from buried MMOs

There are two things to know about Halloween and MMOs. The first is that just about every online game in the known universe puts on a festival or seasonal promotion of some sort, because devs can't resist the urge to indulge in a return to their childhoods. The second is that pretty much every said event involves some sort of pumpkin-headed scarecrow, because that is apparently the mascot of the holiday now.

Oh, and one more thing to know? Not every MMO Halloween returns from years past due to the sinister and often premature demise of the game. When an MMO goes down, it takes all of its holidays with it, leaving players with only memories of seasonal activities in those games.

In the interest of preserving the efforts that the developers poured into these events and the fondness that some players had for them, today we're going to take a tour through six holidays from, ahem, buried MMOs.

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TERA: Patrick 'Treeshark' Sun departs, Halloween arrives

Seattle claims another MMO dev: TERA Producer Patrick "Treeshark" Sun told players that he's leaving En Masse tomorrow.

"In my stead, Matt 'Denommenator' Denomme will take over primary TERA duties, with Spacecats and his team helping out a lot more. You may even see a few more familiar faces step up their involvement in the coming weeks as well. I promise that you all will be in great hands, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on everything as well."

Sun has worked in the MMORPG industry for over a decade on games including City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Tabula Rasa, and Lineage II during his NCsoft days. "I got the opportunity to start at En Masse back in 2010, when we were still doing focus beta tests and the entire team fit (albeit cramped) in a very, very tiny room," he writes. "We were still in launch mode at the time, and I still remember getting to showcase TERA at E3 and PAX and meeting all the players excited at the new action MMO they were getting to play. Since then I’ve seen this game through its transition to free, and the launch of multiple content updates since then."

In happier news, En Masse has announced the start of Halloweeny Night of the Mandragora -- tonight, in fact, and running through Tuesday in two-hour chunks.

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The Game Archaeologist: Classic PlanetSide

Unlike fantasy, the sci-fi genre has had a rocky relationship with MMORPGs. While studios have tried just as hard to make and promote them, there seems to be a curse that hovers over some of these games. From the canceled (Earth & Beyond, The Matrix Online, Tabula Rasa) to the radically retinkered (Star Wars Galaxies) to the relatively niche (Anarchy Online), sci-fi has struggled to be seen as relevant and embraced as its bigger brother.

That isn't to say that these games or the genre is worthless, just that it's a harder sell in many areas of entertainment. Fortunately, studios haven't given up on these games, and some of these titles -- such as EVE Online or Star Trek Online -- have proven that they're worth pursuing.

Enter PlanetSide, circa 2003. While sci-fi MMOs, multi-faction PvP, and online shooters had been done separately at that point, PlanetSide stepped up to the plate to combine all three into a persistent war on an alien planet. Today we'll be setting our sights to the far reaches of the galaxy and beyond as we explore one of the more unique MMOs in existence.

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MMO publisher gPotato suffered a major account data breach in 2007

Think back to 2007: Statistically, you were probably playing World of Warcraft's The Burning Crusade, or maybe even Lord of the Rings, Vanguard, or Tabula Rasa, all brand-new that year. Me, I was deep in classic Guild Wars. And some of you maybe have been playing gPotato games like Flyff or Rappelz. I'm not judging you! But I do have some bad news for you all the same: Hacker watchdog Haveibeenpwned.com reports that gPotato suffered a major account data breach in 2007.

"In July 2007, the multiplayer game portal known as gPotato suffered a data breach and over 2 million user accounts were exposed. The site later merged into the Webzen portal where the original accounts still exist today. The exposed data included usernames, email and IP addresses, MD5 hashes and personal attributes such as gender, birth date, physical address and security questions and answers stored in plain text."

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Jukebox Heroes: Great tunes from dead MMOs

When a beloved MMORPG is canceled, it doesn't entirely vanish without a trace. After all, there are thousands (if not millions) of eyewitnesses with long memories, screenshot folders filled to the brim, videos, articles, and -- of course -- music.

The way I see it, the enduring soundtrack is one of the most pure aspects of the late game. It can be enjoyed today the same way it was back then, albeit with fewer visuals and furious mouse-clicking. This orphaned score holds a torch for the game that was by triggering memories and keeping the atmosphere and story beats alive.

Today I'm going to look at great tracks from deceased MMOs, some of which aren't even that cold in the ground. I'm also going to try not to rehash the most popular (and perhaps overplayed) tunes from these games but instead branch out to others that are terrific if not as recognized.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 60: Nostalrius down

When the world of private and illegal emulators comes crashing down upon the heads of thousands of gamers, how will they ever express their anguish? Bree and Justin sift through the emotional wreckage of the Nostalrius shutdown during this week's show, tackling once again the topic of emulators and their place and purpose in the MMO industry.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World's Halloween event haunts our dreams

It's finally here! This is truly the holiday I wait for all year, and The Secret World has the MMO event I anticipate all 12 months! And now through the 17th of November I can immerse myself in Halloween done right with an all-new mission that brings together many parts of the past in a whole new way. And it ups the creepy factor of my holiday a few notches.

Called The Seven Silences, this year's mission is tied to Funcom’s TSW offshoot, The Park. Now, as much as you may want to jump in and experience the new content ASAP, Lead Designer Romain Amiel issued me this warning: "You should really play The Park before you play the Halloween event; storywise, it'll link better." He went as far to tease that he'd suspend my account so I didn't peek! Luckily, there are the previous year's events to tide me over. If you can resist the urge to jump in, or if you are new to TSW (or simply missed events in previous years due to illness, travel, or not being able to access certain zones), you have the chance to complete The Broadcast, Spooky Stories, and The Cat God now for all the thrills, achievements, and goodies.

Oh man, whom am I kidding: I can't wait! Holding out until Halloween night to stream The Park is hard enough. I am not going to deprive myself of The Seven Silences as well. So in I go! Here's a slightly-spoilerish-but-not-a-full-walkthrough guide to get you going. For full spoilers, watch our Stream Scream Team mission walk through on Thursday, October 29th, at 8:00 p.m. on OPTV.

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The Game Archaeologist: Anarchy Online

"The future in your hands."

This was Funcom's promise to gamers in the early days of the 2000s. Even as the MMORPG genre slowly took shape and grew in popularity, game studios were still babes in the woods, feeling out this brave and complex new world without a standard handbook to guide them to success. Every studio desperately hoped that it had the next big hook that would reel in gamers by the thousands, especially Norwegian developer Funcom, which made headlines in 1999 with its highly acclaimed adventure The Longest Journey.

Funcom took one look at the small but expanding MMO market, got together in a group huddle and decided to angle for a science-fiction game rather than a stock fantasy world. And thus, 15 years ago Anarchy Online hit the industry like a sack of interesting but broken features. It certainly wasn't the stellar debut Funcom desired, yet after a rough start Anarchy Online carved itself out a niche which it's been riding for some time now.

The year is 29475; the place is Rubi-Ka.

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Perfect Ten: Ten MMO futures that never were

One of the things I spend a lot of time thinking about is Operation Unthinkable. For those of you who don't feel like clicking the link, it was essentially Winston Churchill's plan to start World War III right as World War II ended, except this time with the Allies against the Soviet Union and with re-armed German soldiers as shock troops. I'm glossing quite a bit, but the point is that the whole plan was always nuts and weird, and it would have made for a very different world than the one we actually live in.

But then, that's just me. I like to speculate about what could have been but wasn't, even if it never had a particularly big chance of happening. So here are 10 possible versions of games that never were - some that did launch, some that didn't, and none of them things that we'll ever get to play for better or for worse. But it's still fun to speculate, hmm?

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