Four Weddings and a FuneralNovember 21, 2008
The funeral in question is for NCSoft’s Tabula Rasa, aka Richard “Lookit Me, I’m Inna Space!” Garriot’s Tabula Rasa. With Auto Assault shutting down its doors last year, this makes two semi-high profile NCSoft titles that have bit the big one recently, with more cuts (Dungeon Runners?) possibly to come.
I actually played Tabula Rasa for a few weeks at launch — I’m a sucker for newly-launched MMOs, and it was quite hard to resist a scifi-themed one to boot. And after I got over the bumpy first-person shooter display (you could play in 3rd person, but 1st was supposedly the way to go), I actually enjoyed a few elements to it. The branching career trees, for one; the massive combat where you and your squad would be taking down dozens of bad guys at once; the “logos” hideys, even though you couldn’t really experiment with them or need them all; and the much-vaunted quests that gave you branching choices that affected the outcome. The sad thing was that for all of these interesting features, it just didn’t gel in the end — and the fact that this “scifi” game looked much like a fantasy setting with laser rifles didn’t help any.
Nobody’s really happy to see a MMO shut down, because even if you’re not playing it, you know that there’s a community over there that’s just had their virtual world rocked. We more or less enter MMOs under the illusion that this is a potentially permanent home, yet fret when we hear about subscription numbers and wonder if that’s enough to sustain the servers and development.
This aside, you have to admit: it’s a great time to be a MMORPG player. The planets have aligned, the dev gods smiled down, and massive expansion packs and huge content updates are landing left and right. EQII, LOTRO and WoW all have expansion packs on the shelves, City of Heroes and WAR are eagerly looking forward to major content updates, and the Christmas gaming break is almost nigh. Beyond this, there’s the sleeper hit of Wizard 101, old favorites like EQ and UO and AO still going strong, and potential hits like Star Wars and Star Trek and Champions Online on the horizon. Dollar for dollar, you can’t get this much entertainment value anywhere else.
So no matter where you’re gaming right now, hopefully WAR is still on your radar and, like me, you’re eager to hear what Mythic is going to announce for the future (new state of the game anyone?). Now, back to Heavy Metal!