Dear Tabula Rasa Team

My tendency to procrastinate hint at an underlying muse that refuses to be harnessed.  In today’s escapism, she had something to say about Tabula Rasa.

You don’t have official message boards, nor a really good feedback mechanism… so here I am.

I see lately you’ve sent me a letter informing me that Steve Colbert has signed on with your “Operation Immortality” promotion.

Neat.  If I were a fellow who cared about having my DNA floating around the planet, I would so be all over that.

But I’m not one of those people. I’m a gamer.  If you want me to subscribe to your game, here’s what you need to do:

Stop trying to be World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft is crap, we all know it,  It’s the McDonalds of MMORPGs: 8 bazillion served, but it’s hardly 5-star dining.  Tabula Rasa is a better game at the core, and you should know it, so why saddle it with World of Warcraft’s limitations?

You want to know why I quit your game?

Because it’s Quest Quest Quest Quest. After killing x or retrieving y for z amount of time, I simply realized there was nothing new or interesting here, so I quit. All your cool scenarios and world ran smack-dab into this single limitation: pointless activity is pointless.

You want to know what excited me about your game?

Outposts were highly advanced dynamic content. We would capture them, the Bane would capture them back, the battles would be epic and what happens afterwards would seem to be a lasting change to the game world world.

I actually created this back near Tabula Rasas belief because I was cited about Tabula Rasa and trying to get some bitter bastards to try the game.  That I deluded them so was one of the many good reasons they had to hate me.

I actually created this back near Tabula Rasa's release because I was excited about Tabula Rasa and trying to get some bitter bastards to try the game. That my over-excitement served to lie to them was one of the few good reasons they had to hate me.

But they stop short! There’s no true world impact outside of temporarily taking the base and trying to defend it. If there’s not enough players online, or if we’ve already picked up all our tokens, what point is there left to taking Outposts?  They’re just going to get recaptured anyway.  So it’s back to Quest Quest Quest Quest.

Dynamic content is what Tabula Rasa needs to be doing.

But then, dynamic content is what the MMORPG world wants right now.

As evidence, look at the latest Sluggy Freelance, written by a mild-mannered Web Comic artist. Not a hardcore gamer by any means, it’s not even a gaming comic, but this man has some serious artistic vision. What does he write? He writes that Torg (the character in the comic) finally quits this World of Warcraft clone because nothing ever changes.

He didn’t do this out of artistic critique of WoW clones. He did this to write a good comic. However, look what he did by accident: lacking truly dynamic content is the reason why the character quit. How many of us, deep down, feel that is the case?

In Conclusion:

You guys are supposed to be the clean slate. You blew it, and why? Because you were on a deadline and quests were easier. You’re living with the result now.

Well I’m here to tell you that the party’s not over yet. Just because your game seems to be consigned to the population levels of MMORPG mediocrity doesn’t mean you’re out of the game development business yet. You can still try to truly innovate.

How about trying to earn that title of yours and see if you can serve us up a game that’s layers upon layers of meaningful consequences, dynamic content from front to back?

Then maybe, just maybe, we’ll come back to play. At least, much more so than for a slim chance of having our DNA float about in the void of space.

Honestly, I should probably take my own advice and return to dabbling with BYOND.

For the time being, I’m distracted by Warhammer Online.  Warhammer continues to be awesome, but I’m still on the Honeymoon.  Yes, it actually has some good dynamic content in it, though anyone with truly dynamic content in mind could do better.

I’m also distracted by lots (and lots) of schoolwork I need to be doing.  Homework that would probably be done quickly and easily were it not for one thing:

As I said, my inner muse is an uncontainable procrastinator.

2 Responses

  1. You whine too much. The quests and the story which builds up through them are the mark of ANY good MMO.

    Dynamic content is one of these pipe dreams that will always take second place to go here and kill x or go here and deliver x.

    At least TR has a few (very few admittedly) different missions than kill all.

  2. Not sure why your message ended up being caught by the spam filter, as you basically voiced pretty much the main counterpoint one might hear in regards to Dynamic Content: “Stop whining – that’s how quests in the games work, and it’s been a long road of refinement to get here.”

    All I can say in opposition to such a common-sense response is, “Hey: If man never dreamed of a better solution, innovation would never happen.”

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