Tabula Rasa: Exclusive Interview #5

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Tabula Rasa’s twice a month Q&A series gets back on its feet with the return of Community Manager April Burba. Today, Site Manager Scott Clark asks about a range of features that players would be interested in as NCSoft’s big project runs down the home stretch.

WarCry Q&A: Tabula Rasa
Answers by April Burba (Community Manager)
Questions by Scott Clark

WarCry: Now that closed Beta is well underway with thousands of invites having gone out, can you give us a specific example of how tester feedback has made an impact? Is there a particular issue that was changed directly due to player feedback, that retail players can thank (or blame) the beta testers for?

April Burba: Increased character customization immediately comes to mind. 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 are adding in things like facial hair, eye patches, goggles, various clothes and coloring options. So yes, you can blame the beta testers for any space pirates you come across.

Players have also made great suggestions about various UI changes, adding more functionally with regard to Logos, more story elements, and they have given tons of great feedback on the tutorial that are all being added to the game.

The players also took us to task for adjusting the XP curve too severely to the ‘slow’ side. This has recently been readjusted to be faster.

WarCry: TR boasts a very player-friendly “cloning” system whereby characters’ stats and unspent ability points can be “backed up” at any level, and spun off into alts to explore different classes or abilities. Can players look forward to an equally friendly way of transporting gear and currency in between all these alts?

April Burba: Oh yeah – everyone gets a footlocker that holds both items and credits for easy transfer to your other characters.

WarCry: Which aspect of the game do you think is really going to grab a new player’s attention, right away, in Tabula Rasa? What is it that’s going to make it clear, early on, that this game isn’t their older brother’s MMO?

April Burba: It’s the combination of the UI and combat style, hands down. It’s so much faster and exciting than MMO players are used to. Even in bootcamp you are fighting large groups of mobs (with the help of friendly NPCs) at a rapid pace, thinking more about the action than your UI. It grabs people right away.

WarCry: A game like Tabula Rasa seems to thrive, more than other MMOs, on unbroken, fast-paced battlefield combat. What form will the proposed death penalty take, and what considerations have been given to avoiding downtime that might take players out of that action?

April Burba: We do have a death penalty of stat reduction for a short time after you respawn at a hospital. You can purchase Res Trama kits at the hospital to eliminate the stat reduction, so you can get back to the action quickly. You can also take a Res Kit with you in case a friendly res’s you in the field.

WarCry: In a game that clearly draws from celebrated military-themed sci-fi influences like Starship Troopers, it occurred to me that it might be really fun to jump into the game’s frenzied battlefields with a jet- or jump-pack. Are any Z-axis movement abilities planned at any point, or might any eventual player vehicles fall into this category?

April Burba: Not for ship, but eventually we want to add something along these lines either with vehicles or jetpacks or something similar.

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