The past year was a big one for Tabula Rasa and all who call it a virtual home. While most players only had a scant two months to enjoy the worlds that Richard Garriott and company created, the news came thick, and the time was exceedingly well spent. And Massively has been there from the beginning. From the end of beta event to the 24 hours of Tabula Rasa contests, from our visit to the NCsoft office to Richard Garriott's lecture at George Washington University, we've been all over Tabula Rasa like white on rice, and we plan to keep it that way.
Having said that, we have a few things we're looking forward to from the Destination Games crew for the year 2008, from the more mundane to the potentially fantastic. As much as we enjoy blasting the Bane in the game's current state, if we had our way, this wish list would be on the public test realm tomorrow.
5. Classes in session.
As much fun as we've had with Tabula Rasa's tiered class system, we have to concede that the class balance still isn't where we'd like it be. While we've seen some remarkable things from some particularly creative players in recent weeks, it sure seems like certain classes are getting the shaft, while others enjoy a number of advantages. Spies in particular enjoy advantages not only in terms of PvP balance, but in the monetary imbalances inherent in having a single dominant melee class not reliant on expensive ammunition. More generally, we're interested to see how the promised buffs to the specialist classes are going to come to fruition. Class balance is something that's always in a state of flux, but it's definitely on our list for the new year.
4. Clans call CPs home
One thing that Tabula Rasa has lacked since the beginning is an excuse for players to engage in really earnest player versus player combat. While ambushing members of warring clans in hospitals is banal and boring has its attraction, we're really excited about the prospect of capture points that can be conquered and taken away by different clans. It's a feature that we were excited to reveal for the first time on the 'net, and it definitely ranks at the top of our list of anticipated features. CPs have been one of the few original features in Tabula Rasa that have been received with unanimous praise from the Massive community, and expanding their function to accommodate clan action seems like one the best possible combinations of features the developers can make.
3. Mounts? We've got mechs!
They've been on the list of "coming attractions" well before Tabula Rasa was even released, and we have to say even two months after launch we're still no less excited about the prospect of personal armored units and no less stymied by the utter lack of information on them coming from the development. Understandably, there are a lot of facets to this kind of feature that have to be hashed out in terms of PvP and PvE balance, both initial and maintenance costs, and ensuring a sufficient level of the omni-present "cool" factor. So, to a certain extent, we're willing to maintain a respectable level of patience when it comes In an interview, developer Starr Long said that we'll be seeing PAUs roll out of the garage in the "first part of 2008," but what does that mean? The first month? The first quarter? The first half of the year? We want them now!
2. Riding the high end
The biggest complaint lobbied against Tabula Rasa is the ominous content vacuum that waits for players after they get past level 30. Once you conquer the Plains and Incline, and suffer through the lagfest that is the Mires, there's a real disparate amount of content for players to dig their fangs into. Compared to the relative ease and density of the first part of the game, the post-30 is a veritable black hole of questing goods. Destination Games has already stepped up to the plate in certain areas like the southeast of the Palisades, plugging quests into areas that were once almost barren. They need to keep the momentum and fill in the higher levels too.
1. Races for the prize
If we had to have just one wish: one thing that we wanted added to Tabula Rasa over the next year, it would be to throw some of the other races of the AFS into the mix. As much as we like identify with the stories of human lives lost in the invasion of Earth, the lack of variety in player characters really doesn't lend much flavor to the Tabula Rasa experience. It's just a little boring when everybody looks the same, and the Foreans and Arieki are sitting there totally underutilized.
Indeed, adding new races to the game would work with many of the other aspects of the game that we'd like to see changed. New races are the perfect excuse to add some new classes, or at the very least give them a good shuffling. It would also spur a need for new starting areas, which would give us a deeper understanding of the lore of the planets the game inhabits, and would add new content for those poor saps who've crested the hill at level 30 and are looking for new content to sink their teeth into.