From the ashes of an ancient conflict, a cosmic war threatens all sentient beings with extinction. As the alien Benefactors and Bane amass their forces for the final battle, the galaxy’s last free sentient beings are the thin line between life and death, between good and evil.
Explore lush forest planets, volcanic moons, and exotic alien civilizations. Face off against powerful xenophobe soldiers, armored mechanoids, and vicious predators! Use a wide range of weapons and unique magical alien powers to help the Allied Free Sentients (AFS) in their desperate fight against extinction. Tabula Rasa combines a vast, persistent game world and ongoing storyline with fast-paced action, resulting in a striking new approach to the design of multiplayer online games.
Character Cloning System
I think we have all had that moment when you are so busy you just wish you could clone yourself. I know as we get closer to launch, a few clones of the development team would be a welcome addition. But that’s not the kind of cloning I want to talk about. Though the Medic class can create a temporary clone to fight alongside them, the actual Character Cloning System™ in Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa is a bit different. It is a way for players to save their progress with a character so they can try new classes and new builds without having to start over.
The idea behind cloning is to give players the ability to save their progress with a particular character before making a major change. It allows a player to say, “I want to do something radical or something I’m not quite sure of,” while acting as an insurance of sorts while they try something they may not have done yet. It allows players to have more choices and try new classes and builds without worrying that once that change is made, there is no going back. In my mind, while I was helping to develop this system, I was hoping that we could encourage players to not be as cautious as they might be with a typical MMO. To encourage them to take chances and try new things.
When we were in the early stages of development, I was just sitting down and really thinking about what it was that I just didn’t like about most MMOs. I realized that what I was most unhappy with was that I didn’t always feel like I could get out there and do something different. I wanted to be able to dabble in other things with my characters. That really is my favorite aspect of cloning; it lets me try something new without starting over. Of course, that was mitigated a little bit because people could exploit it. But to help balance limiting the times someone could clone, we added in the ability to respec your character at that point, so not only can the players save at cloning, but they can also experiment with their character and really personalize their character.
As I was saying, initially we had unlimited cloning in the game. Basically, at any point, a player could clone their character. Unfortunately, there were some exploits with the cloning system that we had to address. What happened was that players would clone a character before a particularly valuable mission and then run that mission multiple times. (While we admire player ingenuity, this isn’t the intention of the design!) So we decided to restrict how often a player can clone. Right now, players receive a cloning credit each time they reach a tier choice. That is where we felt, “Here’s the big choice, here’s where you should clone.” We also provided some additional ways players can receive cloning credits as well, like completing certain missions for example.
Another thing I like about the cloning system is the way it compliments our class system. The two really emerged almost hand-in-hand in Tabula Rasa. We wanted to solve the problem of the player having the appropriate amount of choices in the beginning. When you think about it, anytime you try something new, you really don’t have enough information in the beginning to decide it its something you want to do. It’s not until you’ve had a chance to experience it, to play with it for a while, that you really have a chance decide, yeah, this is for me. Plus, along the way you’ll want to have chances to go back if you decide that you don’t like the choices you’ve made so far. In that way, the cloning system supports our class system very well, though I feel it would also compliment other class systems.
So far, the players have really enjoyed the cloning system in Tabula Rasa because it gives them more choices and more freedom. Right now, no one else is doing it. We talk a lot on the team about what makes Tabula Rasa unique and what feature will separate it from the rest of the games that came before it. I think that one of those things is the cloning system. I am very happy that it is something the players really seem to be enjoying. Character cloning gives players a way to respec in a way that makes sense, and it lets them try out classes and skills they may not have ever played before. I think most importantly, it makes Tabula Rasa a bit less restrictive and much more fun for the player.
- Richard Garriott’s Signature Creative Vision – Features a rich storyline with culminating experiences, immersive tactile environments and a persistent plot.
- Mystical “Logos” Language & Powers – Alien mystical language and powers allow players to harness the very fabric of the cosmos for heals, attacks and more!
- Ethical Parables – Players encounter ethical decisions while attempting to complete goals or missions that affect the people and environments around them.
- Brings Role-playing to the Battlefield – Fast-paced action involving skill, stealth and strategy combines with character growth and development (RPG) on a massive multiplayer scale (MMO).
- Battlefield Control Points – Entrenched positions on a given battlefield can change hands over the course of a battle and affect spawn points of both enemy and friendly characters.
- Character Cloning System – Explore different character paths without having to start from scratch.
- Crafting & Economy – Players will participate in crafting and selling items
- Player-vs-Player – Clans declare war on other clans, enabling voluntary PvP gameplay.
The standard edition box of Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa will be available at major online retailers at an expected retail price of $49.99 and at the PlayNC store. Customers will be able to purchase the recently announced Limited Collector’s Edition box from major retailers at an expected retail price of $69.99. Both products include the first month of online game play. After the first month, players will be charged a monthly subscription fee of US$14.99. Sixty-day game time cards will also be available at many North American retailers for an expected retail price of US$29.99. The game is rated Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
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