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Tabula Rasa Overview



Tabula Rasa Revision Overview

This page will be updated as new information becomes available
Last updated on: May 31, 2005


The Story:

While the look and feel of the game has taken an almost complete flip, the story has changed very little. Earth has been over run by the Bane forces (or Thrax) on a quest for galactic domination. In a last act of kindness before our race was wiped out, the Eloh (aka the Benefactors, one of the first intergalactic races) saved the few remaining humans taking them to other planets. At this point it is a little unclear as too who started the rebel coalition, however the humans now play an important role in the struggle to fight back the Bane.

Setting:

Tabula Rasa will take place on multiple worlds (between 3-5) during the time of a galactic war between the Bane forces (Thrax) and the rebel coalition. Players will play on the side of the coalition as humans but will have aid from the inhabitants of each planet (possible expansion races?). The races of the different planets will be fairly human looking and have there own distinctive cultures. Each world will have its own environments ranging from endless deserts to lush forests. Specific world names and races have yet to be released but from what we have seen at E3, they will both look amazing.

Known Planets:
Planet Foreas (E3 World)

The Benefactors' Stone Project:

Many have asked, and I am happy to say that the Benefactor Stone Project will continue; however changes are planed. The old project is currently under revision and past information provided should be disregarded.

The language of the Eloh will play an important role in the game for understanding the history/lore and will mix in with the new 'Logo' magic like system. The Eloh have left clues for us, and it's our job to uncover them!

We currently don't know what will be changed in the new version of the project but it could have something to do with the new logo system. The project should pick up later this year or early next year.

Updated: May 31, 2005

Game Play (controls, camera, etc.):

Tabula Rasa plays like most 3rd person shooter games for the PC or Consul. While playing you are locked in mouse look mode where the center of the screen/mouse is your targeting reticule and you aim/move the camera by moving the mouse. Mouse look is released once you open a menu such as your inventory or character information screen. The games GUI or HUD is very striped down to look like something you would see in a shooter game. The goal behind the GUI is to allow players to focus most of their time on the battle at hand and not on micro managing menus and tool bars. With displays like the targets health showing just below or above the target there is little reason to take your eyes off the fight. With the E3 demo we where only able to play in a 3rd person view, however there is some dissection on weather or not the game should support the first person point of view.

The games controls are very simple and make it easy for anyone to jump in and start having a fun time. Like most 3rd person action games movement is handles with the 'WASD' keys with 'A & D' being strafe left and right (turning is handled with the mouse). The middle mouse wheel will zoom in and out on the camera while your left and right mouse buttons will fire attacks (left) and 'logos' (right). In order to speed up the time of switching between weapons and logos, players can store up to 6 of each in a quick launch bar that can be rotated via the Q and E keys. To make the game feel even more like a shooter, players can manually reload their weapon by using the R key (yes there is ammo). Finally the last key players need to remember is the 'V' key that activates your voice chat much like a walkie talkie.

Combat (Ranged/Melee):

The new Tabula Rasa has a completely new vision for combat. Unlike most mmorpgs where you click on a monster to target and then turn on auto attack, Tabula Rasa has looked to 3rd person shooters for a better way to handle combat. To target a monster you simply aim your target reticule at it like you would in a shooter game and it will lock on until you move it away from the target. There is no real time aiming in TR (so no headshots) but combat is still fast and fun.

There are many factors that go into play when you open fire on a target. The first is simply range; attacking a flying target with a shotgun will accomplish very little, however using a long rang rifle or rocket launcher will bring quick death. The next factor is accuracy; because TR doesn't have real time aiming (target the head to hit the head) an accuracy system has been put into the game to put a little more realism without making the game a pure twitchier. When you target an npc/monster 4 lines will slowly converge on the center of your reticule forming a cross, this represents your accuracy. The close the lines are, the higher you chance to hit will be. Different weapons will require you to hold a lock on the target for longer periods of time in order to gain a better accuracy. Skills and range will also aid in speeding up the accuracy times. You are not required to wait for a full accuracy, however a better accuracy will make it easier to hit plus you get a nice dmg bonus (good idea for rocket launcher shots). Players can run around while they shooting but it will cost a bit of accuracy (but you can avoid damage).

Ammo will also play a part with ranged weapons, but it will work more like a shooter. Instead of running back to town to pick up X number of bullets/arrows, monsters will drop ammo on the ground for players to pick up. There are a few different kinds of ammunition including energy and shell clips. Your current clip ammunition is displayed under the gun icon and with a bar around your targeting reticule.

Ranged weapons are not the only form of dmg though. Tabula Rasa will have both melee and magic/tech (logo) styles of combat. While we have not see melee combat in the game at this point, we where told that there should be plenty of melee weapons available for players to use.

Weapons available in the E3 demo:
Pistol
Shotgun
Machine Gun
Rifle (Assault Rifle or Energy Rifle)
Flamethrower
Rocket Launcher
Healing Disk (like a med pack)

Logos (Magic/Tech):

What kind of mmorpg would this be without some kind of magic/tech system? Well Tabula Rasa doesn't let us down as they try and pull the classic magic system into a fast paced sci-fi mmo. Instead of filling a tool bar up with spells and spamming out attack spells, TR takes a much different approach by mixing combat and magic allowing players to quickly switch between say a michine gun and a knock back spell (logo). With normal combat on the left mouse button and logos/spells on the right, you can make all kinds of combination to improve your combat effectiveness. While playing the E3 demo I found using the machine gun on an incoming foe followed by the knock down logo and ending with the flamethrower makes for a powerful combination.

The most interesting part of the logo system is how you collect new logo abilities/spells. Each player starts with a 'blank slate' that will be used to collect logo stones throughout the game. These stones will activate new logo abilities and at the same time it will teach players the language of the Eloh. It is still unclear if logos will be specific to different classes or if they will be available to all.

Logos that where available in the E3 demo where:
Decay (DoT?)
Knock Down (single target dmg plus knock down)
Energy Wave (AoE dmg attack)

Battlefields:

Something new that came out of the TR revision was the introduction of the battlefield system. When TR was first unveiled, all combat and missions took place inside instanced zones that only you and your group had access to. This is no longer the case, now players can fight along side each other by simple heading out into one of the many different battlefields. Battlefields are not an instanced zone and open up many new possibilities for the game. While the clear advantage of battlefields is that you have areas that aren't instanced, the TR team has taken it a step further by adding in features that will allow players to play an active role over the course of the battle. Along the front lines you will find control points that will help push back the impending Bane forces by thinning there numbers. Beware however, the Bane does not take lightly to losing a control point and most of all they will not give up a point without a fight.

Another really nice feature with battlefield system is the missions system. Missions will be given out by npcs around the map (normally around HQ) and will truly affect the battle. While some missions might be just to take down X number of monsters, some missions might send your group out to take down a power generator (in an instanced zone) that will shut off Bane power on the battlefield for a temporary amount of time. The state of the battlefield will also determine what missions are available at any given time. If all control points are owned by the Bane players will get different missions than if the coalition owns them all.

Player Creation and Advancement:

Creation and advancement is both very different and much the same as it was before. Players will start off as a 'new recruit' with no specialization. As you play though the game you will gain XP and levels. When you level you will be able to progress through a class tree system. Over time you will become more and more specialized in X field and eventually you will become a master in that field of study. Along the way you will pass crossroads leading to different fields of study (like commando vs. officer). At any point a player can back track to X cross road or go all the way back to the beginning and try moving up another class tree. When back tracking you will not lose your trained skills/training they will just become inactive. Players can then return to past trained skills at any time (or though a trainer of some kind).

Possible classes are (all unconfirmed):
Medic
Engineer
Scout/Stealth
Officer
Commando
Infantry
Bio Engineer

Vehicles, Housing, Crafting, Transportation:

People have been asking if TR will feature player vehicles that can be used on the battlefields. At this time there are no plans to have such a feature ready for release, however many of the devs I talked to at E3 said there is a large interest among the developers to look into a way to add vehicles.

Tabula Rasa will feature a waypoint system that works much like moon gates (Ultima) or shrines in Diablo 2. On each battlefield players will be able to find and activate waypoints at will allow them to quickly transport from one waypoint to another. This will help reduce downtime and get players to where they want to be faster. TR will also have a system that will allow players to summon their friends to there location at any time (unless if your in an instanced missions). This will make it easy for friends to group up and reduce group formation downtime.

Housing was one of the key features in the old TR and while we did not get a chance to see them this year we where told that they would make it into the new system. Specific on how they will be imamate into the game is still to be determined but it should be very similar to the old system. Players will still able to make there house public or private and create merchants to sell items.

Crafting in TR should be the same as it was before, but specific information on the process is still unknown.

Official Forums:

At this time an official forum is not planed until much closer to beta in 2006. More information on an official forum will be announced later this year.

Added: May 31, 2005

Beta & Release:

While the game played very well at E3 (and looked very polished), we are still far from release. At this point the main parts of the revision are complete, but it has yet to be transferred to the rest of the game. Many of the old features like housing have also yet to be ported back into the game.

The current plan for Tabula Rasa is to have beta start sometime after next years E3 and release later next year. This will change as we move deeper into development.
























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June 5, 2006