PAX 2007: Interview with April Burba

I got a chance to sit down with April “Cuppa Jo” Burba at PAX and ask her some questions about NCSofts upcoming game Tabula Rasa. I want to thank April for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions, even one or two absurd and silly ones. Thanks again April!

PAX 2007: Tabula Rasa
Interview with April Burba (Community Manager)
Questions by Matt Lowery

imageWarCry: Gamers like to know that game companies listen to them. We asked before for something that has changed due to your beta testers feedback. Can you give us some more examples of how the beta has changed the game?

April Burba: Oh ya, tons of stuff. I mentioned before about the character changes and how the original plan was that everyone would start out with the same ‘uniform’ and only really customize their gender, hair and overall body size. Now we have added in things like facial hair, eye patches, goggles, various clothes and coloring options. Also things like, we had made an adjustment to the XP curve, making it take longer to level. We ended up changing that due to player feedback. We had to decide if we were going to be the normal MMO, or if we were going to stick to our core, which is, “Stable, Fast, and Fun”. And we had to agree, it wasn’t fun anymore, if felt like more of a regular MMO. So now that it’s been adjusted back the other way. Ya its faster, you will go through the content a lot faster now, but its fun. It’s fun. That’s what it’s all about. If you are having a good time, so what, that’s what it should be about. There have really been all kinds of stuff; there have been chat adjustments, UI adjustments. We added in an entirely new UI control option, because of the way some of the more traditional MMO players are used to a UI. It was much more like a FPS style, and now it’s more of a cross over. We changed the tutorial, the first open area you get come to, all of that has changed due to player feedback. We got rid of the kill 20 of this mob quest at the beginning, because players didn’t like it. So all kinds of stuff.

imageWarCry: All signs point to release coming up soon. With the huge influx in beta and such, but we still don’t know about all of the classes yet. When will we get that information?

April Burba: I think we have released all but two of the tier 4 classes. Those should be coming at the end of this month or the beginning of next month. We have an entire web site redesign coming, in that same time frame as well.

WarCry: With the Logo’s in the game, and having to go and search for these things, what about people that just want a shooter? Do they have to do the whole Logo Gathering thing?

April Burba: Well, there are some Logos that you have to have. But we have missions for those, so you will go and talk to a guy, he will tell you where to land, and point it out on your map for you. So the ones you absolutely have to have, you are going to get a mission for it, it will be clear where to go. There are other logos for things like, they might open certain doors, or they might help you with certain puzzles, or they might allow you to read stuff that has been written on walls.

imageWarCry: Badges, and rank in the game. Can you go out and earn titles and badges for going certain places and doing certain things?

April Burba: Hmm, I wonder if I am allowed to talk about that yet….

WarCry: Sure you are! Trust me its fine!

April Burba: Man, they might kill me… Umm we are looking into it heavily; I’ll just say that it wouldn’t surprise me if that happened before it goes live.

WarCry: You can clone yourself so that you can go back and choose another path instead of having to level an alt all over again. How many clones can you have at once?

April Burba: That depends on how many clone credits you have. You get clone credits in different ways; you get one at each tier so you can always choose that other path. You also can get them by doing certain missions, you will get them as a mission reward, and there will actually be venders, so if you have enough cash you can actually buy one.

imageWarCry: With all the guns, and mechs, pushing back the Bane horde, I can only think of one other thing that would make Tabula Rasa better. Is there any chance we will see Richard Garriott in game as a 50 foot tall robot, that transforms into a jet or something?

April Burba: <laughs> Umm… Well Lord British is in the game, if you have seen him in the outfit at conventions and such, his character looks just like him in the game. He isn’t a 50 foot tall robot, but I’ll tell him you think he should be. Oh, but I did kill him in the beta event we had recently, so everyone knows.

WarCry: Did you?

April Burba: I did. I play Sarah Morrison in the game, the girl on the cover. So that’s my avatar, I was playing as her, and he was playing as General British during a beta event. It was a find General British beta event, so I found him and I killed him!

WarCry: Did you take a screen shot of it, like the infamous UO beta killing of him?

April Burba: I didn’t, but someone I know did. I am still waiting on them to send it to me.

Comments? Let’s hear them.

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