Tabula Rasa: Exclusive Interview #4

Tabula Rasa Community Manager April “CuppaJo” Burba is back with another installment of our ongoing Q&A series. This week she answers questions on instancing, the Bane, perspective and much more.

WarCry Q&A: Tabula Rasa
Answers by April Burba (Community Manager, NCSoft)
Questions by Matt Lowery

WarCry: The Beta is now underway, how is it going? Do you plan on opening the floodgates anytime soon?

April Burba: It’s going really well. We opened one floodgate already with a batch of 10K invites recently, and we are pretty close to another batch of 10K soon, so everyone should be watching their mailbox. It’s always interesting with your first big batch because until then you haven’t really seen what your game might look like on launch day, with a large majority of the population in starting areas. It was an amazing feeling for the team to see so many people in-game.

WarCry: Tabula Rasa has elements of a third person shooter, and that of an MMO. How do you balance the two? How do you take into account things like aiming in an MMO? If I aim correctly, will I always hit, what if I’m not aiming correctly, do I always miss?

April Burba: It’s a pretty smooth blend of the two. There is an element of aiming. Your must point the weapon at your target – you reticle turns red when an enemy is targeted, however, you do not aim at a specific point on the body of most enemies, and once you fire it is a dice roll. You can also lock-on your target by either using the Tab key or by holding down your fire button. You may also adjust the stickiness of your targeting reticle.

Your movement and body position also affect how well you do in combat. Things like crouching, running and cover all affect how much damage you do or take.

WarCry: We know there is lots of fighting in Tabula Rasa, can you tell us a bit about what else you can do in the game, for example what type of social skills are available in game?

April Burba: Besides fighting we have a crafting system, the hunt for Logos (collection), taverns (social RnR), and a Clan system (Guilds). These are just the first steps in these areas and I expect more social systems to show up in some of our major content releases.

The worlds themselves are also great for explorers who enjoy wandering. (Not all that wander are lost.) Unlike some MMOs where you can walk for an hour and see only some dried grass and a lion or two, the worlds of TR are large, but dense with points of interest.

WarCry: How unique is the look of the Bane, for example, if I have seen a certain Bane warrior, will all the ones that look like him have the same strength? Will I be able to remember how tough a mob is just by his looks?

April Burba: They will be tougher as they go up in level of course, but generally speaking, yes, creatures that look the same generally have the same attacks and strength. We want enemies to be easy to distinguish visually since a large part of the game is being smart in combat. We want you to be able to tell by glance that an enemy is a Light Bender or a Caretaker and pick weapons and strategy accordingly. If I see a group of bane has a Shield Drone and a Caretaker (healing enemy) then I want to take those out first.

WarCry: You have said that about 60% of the content is using instancing, could you explain why you chose to go this way, and what this allows you to do?

April Burba: Well, it’s 40/60 at the lower levels – then 60/40 at the higher. This allows you to have more interactivity with the world and allows us to tell compelling stories where you are the main actor. Balancing player impact on the game world while having thousands of players on each server is challenging for MMO designers. In a single player game it’s easy. You are always the main actor. But in an MMO it can be immersion breaking when you see another player ‘save the princess’ right next to you or right after you. We want to try to keep that immersion wherever possible.

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