So I did end up buying Tabula Rasa as I said I would and wouldn’t you know it, Gamestop had it the day before it was ready to launch. Interesting. I haven’t really visited that store much since I stopped working for them 6 years ago in Boston but its pretty much the same. One thing that I will note about my local store here in Maine is that the workers there went the extra step and gave me a copy of the preorder box. That was pretty cool of them as my beta access had expired the night before and I kind of wanted to get into the game on Thursday.
I’ll probably go back to that store because the employees were pretty cool even if they didn’t know what the game was about or that it was a MMO.
I’ve been going back through the same content as I did in beta and taking my time to ensure I do everything before moving on to the next zone. It still runs smooth on my system but the servers are crazy right now with stress and I really hope they iron out the issues.
If you haven’t played TR, they instance each zone multiple times and separate the population into mirrors of each world. Think Ironforge_1, Ironforge_2, and Ironforge_3 and the ability to switch between them at a certain place in the city. For some reason it kept dumping me to the same heavily populated zone even though I would select the less populated one. Suc.
The reason for the post is not really to complain about TR but more or less ask them why they didn’t take the time to finish out their world with the same level of immersion that the Bane offer the player. Immersion is pretty high on my ‘need’ list when playing a game and I’m not just talking about graphics here.
The Bane (bad guys) and the AFS (good guys) drop in on the planet via ships at seemingly random encounters and engage you, the player, in awesome battles. Ask any player who is in game right now about their first time at Memory Hill and I am sure they will tell you they spent atleast an hour there just running around taking out enemies. Its highly addictive and you can’t help but get caught up.
So why is it that the other 40% of the population in the world is working with the old respawn scenario?
The Tree Lurker drops down from certain trees when you happen to run by. This is great as it makes me look around and wait for the “thump” that they always make when they hit the ground. Very similar to the Bane and exactly what I would expect a mob with this name to do.
The Miasma, which you have to kill a ton of at the beginning, just ‘pop’ in. This just takes away from the effort that went into the Bane and Tree Lurker for me. They look like illithid so why not make them come in from another plane or maybe give them some wasp-like nest to come out of. Heck, I’ve only seen these things in caves so why not give them some crevice to spawn out of?
Then there are Boars. I can’t remember their real name but I think it is something like Boregar or something close to that. Give them a hole in the ground too small for the player but just big enough for the boar. Make them come out as they usually walk and then go to their designated path if you have to, not just pop in whenever they are killed. Make us think that there is an actual colony under our feet full of these boars and make the world we are on truly foreign.
Finally there is the Treebacks. These gigantic docile creatures scale to you very similar to that of a elephant. They roam around the wilderness in small packs and make a fairly loud stomping noise when they move in unison. I like these guys a lot even though I haven’t seen them as frequently as many of the other creatures.
Image courtesy of tr.stratics.com
W hat I think is missing with the Treebacks is that TR had an opportunity to entwine their spawn method with the ever present and impassable zone walls. When you reach one of these walls its usually pretty obvious because the forest somehow has become mysteriously thick and no opening whatsoever can be found. Pretty basic stuff here but a bit better than that in EQ2 and many other MMOs.
TR could have added a small opening that was one way and allowed the Treeback to simply walk into the area when one of their kin was killed. Think Natural Geographic and a herd crashing through the think forest out onto an open plain.
I will say that Richard Garriot’s team did an awesome job with the immersion so far in Tabula Rasa and I really feel a part of the world when I am out on the battlefield fighting the Bane. I just wish they would have gone the extra mile with the rest of the world’s inhabitants.