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TR's hybrid high jinks prove hollow on the whole

Chris Chester

When the Destination Games crew announced that they would be putting alien hybrids into Tabula Rasa's patch 1.4, I think it took a lot of people by surprise. Since the game launched in early November, the devs have shown a reluctance to acknowledge many of the complaints players have had with the game. One of the more persistent complaints was that there was a lack of depth in the character creation and customization options. Most character models are indistinguishable from each other to begin with, and there is no variety within a specific armor set of a certain level. My level 50 graviton is going to look just like your level 50 graviton, which lends an air of homogeneity to the whole affair.

So it really came as a surprise when all of a sudden, they fulfilled part of our wish and gave us the option of making clones with hybrid DNA – taking on the physical features and stats of one of Tabula Rasa's three most prominent alien races. After having given my new Forean clone a good deal of play time, I've found myself dissatisfied. It's pretty cool being green (and getting the huge bonus to Mind!), but there are so many different things I wish they had done.

Gallery: Tabula Rasa | 170 Photos

Of course, once you go in and try and make your new character, you find that your creation options are even more limited than they were before! The hybrids only have two or three faces per race per sex, with the biggest option being the ability to change their color. I have to confess to having some affection for my level 15 Forean albino Biotechnician, but at this point it's just a novelty that will soon wear off.

My biggest beef is that your status as an alien clone goes almost entirely unnoticed by the NPC population at large. I figured that they would change at least some of the interactions with the Forean camps in the Wilderness, but they all rambled on about how different they were from me as Foreans, just as they had done on my other characters. Not even a smattering of acknowledgment that, hey, I'm green, have tribal tattoos, and weird little tentacle things on my chin too! I do recall one human NPC muttering about how disturbing he thought the alien hybrids were, but that seemed to be a more general comment on the state of affairs in the AFS today and not an acknowledgment of my presence per say.

I almost wish they had crafted a different little starting area for the different kinds of clones, or thrown some kind of fluff at you when you made the new character. Tabula Rasa's level 1-5 introductory area is a fairly complex instanced zone, and not just by a beginner's standard, so I understand that there would be a good amount of work involved with crafting something of the same quality, but at least throw me a bone somewhere and make me feel special!

But alas, it seems as though hybrids are just another in a long list of ideas that sound fantastic on paper, but provide only a modicum of entertainment in-game. To be sure, the hybrids will probably be popular, as min-maxers use them as a method to jack up whatever stat best flatters their class, but they aren't the cure for what ails us. Perhaps Tabula Rasa players are just going to have to be patient and wait until later this year for the expansion that's been promised, but then again, that's asking an awful lot in a year that will see the release of many a blockbuster MMO. We'll see.

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