Tabula Rasa Shutting Down

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Tabula Rasa Shutting Down

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Hot on the heels of Richard Garriot's departure from the Tabula Rasa team comes as news that shouldn't surprise anybody: the sci-fi MMO will be shutting its doors at the end of February 2009.

The remaining members of the Tabula Rasa team have formally announced that come February 28, 2009, NC Soft will be ending service for the struggling MMO.

"Last November we launched what we hoped would be a ground breaking sci-fi MMO," the announcement reads. "In many ways, we think we've achieved that goal. [...] Unfortunately, the fact is that the game hasn't performed as expected. The development team has worked hard to improve the game since launch, but the game never achieved the player population we hoped for."

While current Tabula Rasa players will be offered incentives for their dedication by way of free gameplay time with other NC Soft MMOs (including beta access to their upcoming title, Aion), the development team won't be so lucky. Kotaku is reporting that along with closing of Tabula Rasa will come the loss of jobs as NC Soft plans to lay off an undetermined amount of employees as the project scales down.

On the subject of lay offs, spokesperson David Swofford told Kotaku, "We currently don't know how many people will be affected by that."

The end of Tabula Rasa has long since been expected, despite the noble efforts of its development staff over the past year. It was originally announced in 2001, which considering the current state of the MMOG genre, seems like eons ago, when games like Everquest, Ultima Online and Asheron's Call dominated the scene, although the concept of a sci-fi MMOG is still as fresh today as it was back then. Come launch day, one that even Garriott himself admitted was "rough," not even sending virtual cover girl Sarah Morrison to the naked halls of Playboy was enough to generate interest in the title.

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I think that is a ploy, and the give was the "free for the last month" part. If you get to play for free for one month, then take it away, a lot of people will want to play and then it will be popular again. Very sneaky

Agreeing with Blixt on this one.

No real surprise after it was priced at 96 cents on Amazon.com

It's sad in a way that the MMO field just can't seem to sustain itself for any period of time. There are a lot of fantastic ideas put out my what at first appears to be very promising games and innovations...but in most cases they end up just not delivering.

Obviously taking WoW out of the equation, I am constantly puzzled by the continued demise of games.

Is it because they are rushed to market and drop being filled with bugs from day one (Matrix online, SWG, Hellgate?) Is it because players just get bored? Is it that the games just are innovative enough? Are we conditioned as players only to enjoy Fantasy settings?...I say this lastly because while I enjoy my WoW....I so despretly want a good game that is beyond the Fantasy genre. The only one that comes to mind that has actually lasted is CoH/CoV and maybe one can consider the ever chnaging incarnation of SWG...but Conan, LoTR, EQ,etc...ar we just stuck in a rut of Ogres and Elves?

With that in mind Marvel nixed there possible super hero entry (while there is hope with Champions and DCOnline), Sony's 'The Agency' appears to be on thin ice....(never a good sign). It just seems to me that 80% of these MMO crash and burn in a year or less, and others other than WoW are just on life support.

Blixt:
I think that is a ploy, and the give was the "free for the last month" part. If you get to play for free for one month, then take it away, a lot of people will want to play and then it will be popular again. Very sneaky

This game was never popular.

When MMOs shut down do they refund the money the players have put in? No? Then I think there should be a law against the developers shutting down the servers until they have at least gone bankrupt on the game.
But yes I agree, ploy for more numbers.

Gahars:
No real surprise after it was priced at 96 cents on Amazon.com

Oi i just bought half-life for 2 cents more than that!

TheNecroswanson:
When MMOs shut down do they refund the money the players have put in? No? Then I think there should be a law against the developers shutting down the servers until they have at least gone bankrupt on the game.
But yes I agree, ploy for more numbers.

Why would a business want to go bankrupt on something that obviously isnt working? Also why do you believe you are entitled to having your money refunded if the MMO flops?

You pay by the month for an MMO, so as long as you have received all the months you have payed for then you shouldn't recieve a refund.

Obviously a cheap attempt at luring in players. The news article has a goddamn RSS share link.

Alone Disciple:
Is it that the games just aren't innovative enough? Are we conditioned as players only to enjoy Fantasy settings?

With that in mind Marvel nixed there possible super hero entry (while there is hope with Champions and DCOnline), Sony's 'The Agency' appears to be on thin ice....(never a good sign). It just seems to me that 80% of these MMO crash and burn in a year or less, and others other than WoW are just on life support.

I wouldn't consider EVE a fantasy MMO, and while it certainly isn't everybody's cup of tea its quarter of a million subscribers keep it afloat. (approaching 300,000 at present)

More Mass Appeal may be around the corner though as the "Walking in Stations" expansion should see the light next year, allowing players outside their starships for the first time.

That's the beauty of games like Diablo 2, if they shut down the online server, there's still offline.

It's the fall of the Mumorpegers. First, Hellgate London, now Tabula. Maybe they'll stop focusing on MMORPGs and finally get back to real RPGs, and give us Baldur's Gate 3 or something.

Hey all. We had a bit of an author mix-up here and so myself and John wound up writing the same story at the same time. So by our powers combined, the story should be much more informative now. Sorry for the confusion, there.

One bit that got cut from my end was my experience with Tabula Rasa leading up to its launch. I had three opportunities within three years (two E3's and a GDC preview with Garriott himself) to check out Tabula Rasa and all three times it had been a completely different game.

Early in its development cycle, TR was practically Phantasy Star Online with a lot more action. And it was good. Later, it became a bit too much like Phantasy Star and it seemed as though it required less skill. That wasn't so good. Finally, a few months prior to its launch, it had become what every MMO became: World of Warcraft with [blank]. In this case, the [blank] was guns. Very disappointing.

Tabula Rasa isn't a bad game. It's just a novel concept wrapped in an all too conventional design. A lot of MMOs in the post-WoW era fall into this trap which is why games like Tabula Rasa can't manage to survive.

Oh, that and NC Soft isn't doing too hot themselves. Probably has something to do with it too.

Garriott himself is a wash up.

Tabula Rasa is a bad game, if it was a good game it wouldn't be shutting down a year after release IF THAT. Ultima online was so good at the time because it had zero competition in terms online games. People "liked" it because it was hardcore but for every person who liked it, there were ten dozen people who would have rathered play something more casual friendly.

If you are going to make an AAA title MMO you have to do it like WoW. Take everything thats good in a game then add to it. Don't release a game with a shitty chat interface, no customizable UI, no "auction house" type of system. When the entire MMO player base is playing WoW you got to make a game that looks and feels like WoW.

Until Warcraft is done, MMOs can't just be "decent" or "good" they have to be amazing. Oh they should also try not to release there games when they are clearly NOT FINISHED and 2 months before a WARCRAFT EXPANSION. Nice one EA Mythic.

Ralackk:

TheNecroswanson:
When MMOs shut down do they refund the money the players have put in? No? Then I think there should be a law against the developers shutting down the servers until they have at least gone bankrupt on the game.
But yes I agree, ploy for more numbers.

Why would a business want to go bankrupt on something that obviously isnt working? Also why do you believe you are entitled to having your money refunded if the MMO flops?

You pay by the month for an MMO, so as long as you have received all the months you have payed for then you shouldn't recieve a refund.

Because they have grown dissatisfied with the game and are now taking it away. It's just like DRM. They have grown dissatisfied and are now telling me I can no longer play it, even though I'm still shoveling money out until they simply decide they don't like it anymore.
It's bull. How would you feel if Microsoft or whomever simply took your game away because the online play wasn't flying as well?

(This is of course hypothetical, The Necroswanson does not play MMOs.)

The WoW model: Company makes game, puts all their resources into making it something people want to waste their lives on, builds giant playerbase, prints money.

Most other MMO makers' model: Hey look, these MMOs are selling like hotcakes, company makes half-assed "me too" product, gamers look at it, think "this game is shit", nobody plays it, game goes down the rabbit hole.

MMOs, "casual" games, tycoon games, generic shooters; every genre's had its share of shovelware thanks to companies completely failing to understand their market.

I wonder what Yahtzee has to say about this. I can see the smirk on his face.

Thing is it's not surprising, WoW eats up all the market and i reckon Age of Conan could be next, thats not had a peep out of AoC for ages.

Revelo:
I wonder what Yahtzee has to say about this. I can see the smirk on his face.

Thing is it's not surprising, WoW eats up all the market and i reckon Age of Conan could be next, thats not had a peep out of AoC for ages.

My wife bought Age of Conan, played it, and went back to WoW as soon as her free month ran out. Said I, "Was that worth not having the money to go out to lunch with me for a month?"

(nothing against my beloved, but she's got serious impulse control problems and a bad case of greener-grass syndrome. That's how these hare-brained MMO schemes get started in the first place, developers bank on cashing in on the initial sales pitch and getting enough people to view it as sunk costs so they keep playing.)

Not a surprise really. I had a lot of hype for this game. I only played it to level 10. It was appalling.

SirSchmoopy:

Until Warcraft is done, MMOs can't just be "decent" or "good" they have to be amazing. Oh they should also try not to release there games when they are clearly NOT FINISHED and 2 months before a WARCRAFT EXPANSION. Nice one EA Mythic.

Agreed, trying to unseat a reigning champion like WOW is risky buisness, and MMORPG developers should know that by now. Unfortuatly there are still egomaniacs like Garriott who are dumb enough to try.

TheNecroswanson:

Ralackk:

TheNecroswanson:
When MMOs shut down do they refund the money the players have put in? No? Then I think there should be a law against the developers shutting down the servers until they have at least gone bankrupt on the game.
But yes I agree, ploy for more numbers.

Why would a business want to go bankrupt on something that obviously isnt working? Also why do you believe you are entitled to having your money refunded if the MMO flops?

You pay by the month for an MMO, so as long as you have received all the months you have payed for then you shouldn't recieve a refund.

Because they have grown dissatisfied with the game and are now taking it away. It's just like DRM. They have grown dissatisfied and are now telling me I can no longer play it, even though I'm still shoveling money out until they simply decide they don't like it anymore.
It's bull. How would you feel if Microsoft or whomever simply took your game away because the online play wasn't flying as well?

(This is of course hypothetical, The Necroswanson does not play MMOs.)

I think its a risk you take playing on company servers in their closed world. It is still a bit of a stretch to ask for your money back, all MMO's may as well be free then because they all will end at some point.

I can see your point though, the nice thing they could do is call the game dead but consolidate all their remaining players onto a server or two and just leave those running on the last patch. I wouldn't imagine the cost of a couple servers would be that much but I have never attempted to run a server so that is just a guess.

SimuLord:
The WoW model: Company makes game, puts all their resources into making it something people want to waste their lives on, builds giant playerbase, prints money.

Most other MMO makers' model: Hey look, these MMOs are selling like hotcakes, company makes half-assed "me too" product, gamers look at it, think "this game is shit", nobody plays it, game goes down the rabbit hole.

MMOs, "casual" games, tycoon games, generic shooters; every genre's had its share of shovelware thanks to companies completely failing to understand their market.

I agree totally,it's like that Konami getting into the Guitar Hero market with Rock Revolution, which is the saddest thing I ever saw. Seems like they try to rip a good idea but dumb it down so it's not as good or something so it isn't perceived as rip off. Most MMO's seem to be competing with the talent tree(first sceen in Diablo 2? maybe a non-Blizzard game?) and, hell everything else from WoW. Why can't a gamebe based on other things aside from gear and all the othervery time consuming aspects of WoW. Looks like the gaming market, or at least the MMO market isdried up. I hope SW:old republic is good. Man when I herd that they made a Tales series MMO I was so excited but it never left Japan and closed after 2 years I think. C'mon Dragon Ball Online! FACK!

Brodden:
it's like that Konami getting into the Guitar Hero market with Rock Revolution, which is the saddest thing I ever saw.

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Who else agrees that Yahtzee is somewhat responsible for this?

Edit: Now only WoW has to go offline and my life will be perfect.

Neosage:

Gahars:
No real surprise after it was priced at 96 cents on Amazon.com

Oi i just bought half-life for 2 cents more than that!

I had 55p in the bank when that was announced, after currency conversion its about 60. GOD DAMN.

Also, tabula rasa always struck me as the one which you always have a fanbase, so this is a hell of a shock (not being up to date with MMO news)

The biggest problem with the MMORPG industry is that PEOPLE KEEP MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES.

Every single MMO we have seen in the last three years has had the exact same problems. They have all had neat ideas that attract players but are unable to copy a working formula and instead feel the need to be "different". In order for ANY MMO to go forward they need to either wait till World of Warcraft dies on it's own, release for another platform other then PC (Hey an xbox mmo has NO ONE to compete with) or has take everything thats good in World of Warcraft and improve on it.

You know what the big problem is? The reason all these games suck? I don't think the people who make these games are any good at gaming in general. If you suck at games, you are going to make a sucky game. Christ the CEO of Mythic came out and even said to the public "I can't play healers in MMOs because they are to hard for me and not my playstyle." Shitty players can't make good games.

God the MMO market pisses me off, I'm going to punch some puppies brb.

The smartest thing Blizzard could do right now is make a second MMO, which they will do and they will compete with themselves and then nobody will be able to touch that market outside of the Asians market for the next ten years.

SirSchmoopy:

The smartest thing Blizzard could do right now is make a second MMO, which they will do and they will compete with themselves and then nobody will be able to touch that market outside of the Asians market for the next ten years.

Good for them, bad for the consumer. Monopolies are always bad for consumers.

NCSoft overstretched themselves badly imho.
CoH/V got hit massively by the broken PvP and ED. Dungeon runners crashed through a bad approach. Auto Assault was a broken game by all accounts. Tabula Rasa did a Molyneux. The CCG bombed, the RPG got crippled. The Marvel deal got slapped. Guild Wars got shafted by the 51-Monk etc.

What they should have stayed true too, imho, was offering a no-frills fun game. CoH/V was, and to a point, still is; but then they tried to organise it and make it more WoW like. Bad bad mistake to copy someone else's game unless you KNOW you can do it better.

from what I've seen, MMORPGs are bullshit for people who can't sustain a life of their own. If The Old Republic manages to be halfway a decent sim without feeling like a second job filled with the developmentally retarded who have never known the warmth of a woman, I will take it all back.

cball11:
from what I've seen, MMORPGs are bullshit for people who can't sustain a life of their own. If The Old Republic manages to be halfway a decent sim without feeling like a second job filled with the developmentally retarded who have never known the warmth of a woman, I will take it all back.

Sigh. Please leave your unnecessary MMO flames at the login screen. Dislike MMOs all you like, but there's no reason to post such vile slander (or is it libel?) on the forums.

The problem with MMOTRPGs is, ironically, World of Warcraft.

Let me explain: World of Warcraft has a huge, monolithic share of a market, and by far the huge number of subscribers.

This can create an unrealistic idea of how well an MMORPG will sell. Hence, more investiment, hence more security wanted.

Because WoW is so clearly popular, the easiest way to 'insure' a game from the publishers point of view (or rather, what they think will secure it) is "WoW clone with".

Of course, in reality, people try it, normally have played on WoW before, don't see an imdient different/improvement, get bored, quit. Quiting rate gets high, word of mouth panic kills off the 'newbie flow', game subscriber base implodes.

What would really surprise me would be if someone created an MMO that worked in a similar way to the RP-MUDs of old. Second Life is like a modern Social MUD, so I have to wonder if an RP MMO would work. Of course, alot of players won't like a game that doesn't still to the WoW formula (bizzarely, they are turned off by familarity, AND by new things :| :\) but it could be interesting.

cball11:
from what I've seen, MMORPGs are bullshit for people who can't sustain a life of their own. If The Old Republic manages to be halfway a decent sim without feeling like a second job filled with the developmentally retarded who have never known the warmth of a woman, I will take it all back.

Please, learn your target before giving us an argument.
I play MMORPGs, and I still maintain a great social life.
It's a hobby; nothing more.
You pour money into it until you get really good, then go off and work with other people (or fight against them) to prove your dominance.

not surprised.. sigh.. fun while it lasted.. well.. i thought so anyway. /shrug. Aion should be good tho.

I gotta say I am mildly disappointed, if not surprised. I enjoyed my time on Tab Rasa, I'm happy to admit.

Even if that was only because I had crabs.

That exploded.

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