|Source: PC GAMES № February 2008|
|Source: PC GAMES № February 2008|
From Richard Garriott (Richard Garriot), creator of the first major MMORPG Ultima Online, which has largely been critical to the genre, expect another grand creation. As a true master of artistic expression, Mr. Garriott's promises did not stint, and his new project Tabula Rasa confidently held the prize three most anticipated games on the site www.mmorpg.com.
Tabula Rasa claimed to be a hero - to inculcate the masses love to MMORPG. Games of this genre is traditionally characterized by a complex role-playing and combat system and a fairly high threshold of entry, and most importantly - they demanded too much free time. Tabula Rasa promised to be cheerful, unpretentious and unobtrusive fun for those who do not want to deal in hundreds of different options and skills to spend hours repeating the same battles, to seek the group, select the classes and work out complicated tactical schemes. Game for those who just want to shoot a merry company.
And here it is presented to the public. Revolution did not happen, people's love is not felt. Three half-empty American server, and one European. The apparent commercial failure. Perhaps the ideological victory? Let's see, with a closer in the "blank sheet" (that's Latin for Tabula Rasa).
Per aspera ad astra / / Through thorns to the starsNew content requires a new form. Complex but seductive science-fiction genre, which no longer produced viable MMO-game guarantee success. And although the fiction of Tabula Rasa is not scientific, but rather with a mystical bent, it allows the rest of the bored cliches and elves-dwarves, wizards, goblins, demons, orcs. The game has an amusing background and a coherent plot, which, as promised, will be developed further. The world of Tabula Rasa has turned out to be surprisingly solid and detailed.
The story began like this: once scientists discovered that the Earth is approaching a huge unidentified object. After a while he broke away from the objects of smaller size and with great speed headed for our planet. Thus began the invasion of Bain, a monstrous army of alien invaders, who for days have destroyed schitanye Earth's population. Trying to drag failed: earthlings could not cope with the invaders, whose technological development is much superior to the scientific potential of the people.The decisive argument in this war was a huge "ship", created out of the devastated planet rock, ruined Bain. It transported the infernal biological weapons: the nuclei of incurable diseases, the trillions of microbes harmful and dangerous creatures from all corners of the galaxy - and he inexorably approaching the Earth.
On this apocalyptic note, back a few millennia ago, at a time when mysterious race Eloh reached the highest point in its development. She managed to grasp the fundamentals of all known physical laws of our world. Relying on his knowledge, Eloh created Logos, through which were able to manipulate matter and energy, changing the world on their own. Apparently out of boredom venerable sages to travel across the galaxy: to sow reasonable, good and eternal. Many civilizations gladly welcomed visitors from far beautiful, and acquired Eloh deserving students. But as it turned out to distribute knowledge of right and left was short-sighted. At one of the planets Eloh encountered Thrax - creatures evil, insidious and clever enough to adopt the proposed food for thought, and then use the information obtained against the Eloh. The war began. Teachers went out of her victors, as they have more power. Yet Thrax won ideological victory - has eroded faith in the Eloh that all beings in the universe is initially good.
Further, the plot develops in the American favorite scenario of the rights and freedom. Because of the contradictions in the ranks of teachers split and they split into two parties - democratic and totalitarian. Adherents of the latter headed by a character that is an appropriate name Samael, I'm sure towards the bright ideals of a lower need to monitor, without thinking twice teamed up with the Thrax and moved on, conquering worlds and galaxies. Since then, they began to call the Bane - a scourge, curse, death.
I must say that the motivation of the negative character even recognized hits are not too convincing, but here she comes to the absurd. It does not save any analogy with the fallen angels) (the word itself is derived from the Eloh Elohim - This is one of God's names in Hebrew), or roll with the prehistory StarCraft, where the mysterious Kselnaga created the Protoss and Zerg, trying to instill their high ideals inferior races. By the way, studying the cultural context, can not but recall the story of the universe Warcraft, where a demonic army, headed by former chief protector of all living things, and one of the creators of the world, seeks to destroy all thinking life form.
Nevertheless Bane very effectively implement its controversial plans. Driven by a totalitarian ideology, Thrax get to Earth and, as always, are destroying civilization. Again, as always, to the end. It turns out, the democratic opposition for many years acted as a united front, and gave earthlings their technologies. With their help, people were able to leave Earth and move to other planets. There, they meet with other victims of the Bane. Refugees and fire victims have created a public organization AFS (Allied Free Sentients - Combined free sentient beings), which organized the march of dissenters against the evildoers. Based democratic forces for humanitarian achievements of civilization Eloh - Power of Logos.
In the game there through the story, supplied by a chain of quests and dungeons. That is, we will not only kill a certain number of enemies and solving puzzles. Most of these episodes resemble the spent back in the Dungeon and Dragons Online mechanics, which is applied with particular success by Turbine in its draft Lord of the Rings Online. Built by TR to learn from colleagues and use it to liven up a boring everyday ordinary soldiers of the Resistance.
Despite the sense of novelty (it brings sci-fi universe), Tabula Rasa unpretentious reshapes the old coat in a new way in other words, retelling the famous fantasy story. Just magic called the Logos, and demons - Bane.
Quo Vadis? / / Where are you going?The limitless expanse of space - an excellent opportunity to create countless additions.After starting the Tabula Rasa we offer to visit two planets - two large world, each of which is divided into two continents and several regions. We must pay tribute to the creators of the game: design the four main locations is significantly different, and not just the level of living of their enemies.
After emergency evacuation from the earth resistance heroes are on the planet Foreas. Later the action moves to the second planet - Arieki. Foreas is an exact copy of the subtropical regions of the Earth, Arieki - zone for more high-level characters, so it looks more dangerous: a wild desolate place with increased volcanic activity. In open areas of the ruthless winds laid a huge sand dunes and the dunes from the ashes. Arieki - prison planet, where representatives of highly developed (not without Eloh) race Bran exiled criminals. The villains were divided into two groups: extremely dangerous and those who have committed no serious crimes too. And if the inhabitants of the continent, Tord, home to less sinister villains, you can still find a common language, with hardened recidivists Ligo do it much more difficult.
Each planet will have to fight with the damned invaders and occupiers Bain. In addition, in each locality, there are special enemies. This is, first of all, representatives of an aggressive fauna and even flora as well as collaborators - Bain assistants from among the local population.
In addition to the enemies we certainly have friends and allies. Go to AFS joined many races and nationalities, such as the Aborigines of the planet Foreas - a wild people, reminiscent of African natives with blasters and belief in shamans and witches. Another group, living on this planet - kormantsy people who flew on Foreas from Earth in 70 years of XX century. Korman, a multimillionaire and explorer, was obsessed with alien technology. He and his group managed to steal a spaceship aliens from the U.S. government (we all know that a fleet of flying saucers stashed in various secluded corners) and get away from the reckoning, running the system auto navigation. The ship delivered kormantsev (as they were then called themselves) to the planet Foreas, where they remained, maintaining neutrality and not interfering in the conflict of AFS and Bane.
As planned by the creators of Tabula Rasa, players have to repeatedly make choices, in whose favor the act, anyone from the warring factions to give preference and ultimately how to define your path in line with the main story. This method, of course, not new. With such an attempt to realize the non-linearity in the MMO genre, we have encountered even in a city of nearly equal Shattrah World of Warcraft. Nevertheless - an amusing detail.
Dramatis Personae / / CharactersAt one time the game industry seized the idea of a virtual theater - live stand-alone world, which exists by its own laws, and the player - just one, not necessarily central, the figure of this play. Poshumeli - and forgotten, stuffed a few bumps, but the developers of Tabula Rasa that idea sunk into the soul. According to their idea, the gaming world has to live by their own internal laws, and the player is not the only source of changes in the universe.In Tabula Rasa our enemies and our friends are constantly fighting, the front line moves and changes. We never know where the next time will land Bane, to meet with them can be in the most unexpected places - unlike other MMOs, where we have always known area of habitat enemies.
Opponents of the computer-controlled equipment can even capture cities allies, denying us access to the quests, NPC and the opportunity to repair and buy ammunition. At the beginning of the attack on the town everyone in the band of players called to help in the defense and to defend the town, along with Bravo NPC. If no one heeds the call, it is likely that AFS will lose the settlement, which of course will affect the players.
Richard Garriott decided to apply to the Tabula Rasa branded device: the game world are constantly in the special characters that are run by certain people. For example, in the game world you can meet Sarah Morrison, a girl-sniper (red-haired beauty that shows on all the posters and the covers). She participates in various special events, fighting monsters and politely answers questions.
On the one hand, it certainly adds a depth and reliability: always feel that you're on a battlefield where the situation can change every minute. On the other hand, the artificial intelligence of both our enemies and allies are so weak that their clash look ridiculous. In addition, any such (albeit beautiful) often prevents the idea of the game. Sometimes we long to cut circles on the terrain before you can detect the enemy in the required amount.
For example, to utilize skill Decay (expansion), causing some damage over time is necessary to examine the glyphs "damage" and "time". For skill Frighten (scare), forcing all enemies to panic at a certain distance, you need the "chaos", "Mind," "feeling." The more complicated the spell, the more value it contains. To revive teammate will have to learn the glyphs "life", "treat", "goal", "friend", that is to pronounce on the mysterious language of the Logos - to return the life of the friendly target. "
Force Logos are not available to all. It is assumed that there is a certain group of beings who are born with special skills - a kind of linguistic flair and can learn the basics of the Logos. But to grasp even the basics of the language Eloh, they have to spend a lot of effort: the glyphs are stored on special altars scattered throughout the galaxy, and they still have to find. Transmit knowledge of Logos be: up to the altar will reach himself. In game mechanics Logo recalls the magic of the Old Testament pattern elf-goblin, or rather the setting power of the Jedi. When using the spell consumes mana, which is called power.
Each character, regardless of class, can learn by the Logos, but the amount of the glyphs have to offer only certain developers of the scheme. Each class has severely limited the number of skills, but they can be used only if you know the keywords. That is, the ability to a character issue, but access to it is opened only after studying the special words.
What to do with those words, which for granted skills are not used, it is not clear. Perhaps, as the comprehension of the Logos will open additional skills, or vocabulary loses its meaning: the hero learned the great and powerful, but can apply only those few phrases in his mouth put game developers.
Judging from the thousands of cells for word in a special tab interface language Eloh was really rich. More than a hundred words and their corresponding glyphs can be explored on the official website of the game. Why do we need so many useless characters? For all available now in a game of skills needed on the strength of 20-30 words, and each class could manage a game and a dozen. How Ellochka-cannibal, honestly. I wonder what happened to spell out the words "hamite" and "Buddy"?
Ex ungue leonem / / We see a bird in flightThese are the scenery of this cosmic drama. We now turn to one of its heroes - the game character. Of the races are only available to gamers people. You can choose the gender of your character, customize its appearance, color, clothing, and regulate growth.
Our hero starts the game as an ordinary soldier of the Resistance. He has psychic powers and can read and use the energy of the Logos. Select a class at once at the start will not have, without exception, the characters begin with the rank of recruit and have the same set of parameters and skills. By the final choice of a class player summing gradually. He will have to overcome several key fork in the fifth, fifteenth and thirtieth levels, where to make a choice in favor of a particular class. Differences between classes are defined in the first place, accessible spells Logos, the ability to use certain weapons and armor.
The list of available character special moves is limited. While passing the class forks hero saves previous skills, to thirty levels, when to choose the path of development for the last time, the player will have access to no more than 8-10 different skills. If developers are not removed from the sleeve trump ace and did not allow players to make their own spells Logos of found words, the game turns monotonous.
Each of the available spells Logos can be improved, with increasing levels give us points, allowing it to do. But the glasses give a little, but the move to choose what to pump, not so simple. Also points to pump skills every time you want more. Specialized character will be a rarity, and these can be seen only at the last level. Interestingly, the same points are spent on improving spells, weapons and different types of armor and even crafting. Finally, after each new level we are facing a difficult choice.
It is true that the developers cared about the players, providing a rare for MMORPG system preservation. In Tabula Rasa character is always possible to "record" - that is, to create its clone. To do this, just need to go to the character selection menu and click on "clone." Initially, this feature is offered a choice of class and allows you at any time to change the decision and start playing "Burn" clone. Very convenient. Also clone can change the appearance and name, just the name that you choose at the beginning of the game remains unchanged. To clone a special currency to be collected by completing tasks, but the idea - great. To try new classes do not have to deal with the tedious leveling your character from scratch: just go to a game clone and make another choice in the class-fork.
In the game for a tick is crafting. In the TR, he is not particularly viable: pump it must be to the detriment of the character. Objects that are created with its help, almost no better than those that are sold at dealers and auctions between players because there is no, then the utility of crafting inevitably tends to zero. The only application - to create a special craft to clone and use it to improve weapons and equipment.
But given the underdevelopment of the domestic economy in the game the auction is not needed. Of course, this is a significant drawback, but is it worth to score the user's head fluctuation in the prices of some very rare and necessary resource, when he came here to shoot?
Repetitia est mate studiorum / / Repetition - Practice makes perfectThe combat system is still the doctrine of simplicity, which began in role-playing system. The interface is incredibly modest: the scale of health, energy, armor, the scale of experience and two windows for the skills and weapons. The latter applies the left mouse button, the ability to - right. Use the interactive <Control> called radial menu (familiar from Neverwinter Nights), with the help of which the following basic steps. Excellent solution to avoid overloading the player with unnecessary things in life. In general, this is not the usual MMORPG, where the interface is half of the screen and looks like an aircraft cockpit: an active skill - one active weapon - the same one, they are changed by pressing 1-8. At first glance, the combat system Tabula Rasa looks primitive.
However, at some point you start to get a grasp of the description of arms and wonder why "gun" rather than spell Logos are assigned to the most frequently used buttons 1-4? Unlike other games where we're not looking at replacing (and sometimes throw) one weapon to another with heavy losses, while there may need 3-4 different barrel for different combat situations. For example: a shotgun - for melee, gun - for shooting distant targets, a grenade launcher - to fight the large and armored enemies. And depending on the class will be useful for such amusing toys, like net-gun, which fires a net, holding the enemy at a distance, or a leech gun, allowing exhaust of the enemy life force, podlechivaya hero.It is also necessary to consider that some enemies of the increased resistance to certain types of damages, and their combat system in Tabula Rasa - big set. In addition to "fire" weapons in the repertoire of some classes may be "lightsabers" and even staffs, inherited in Tabula Rasa guardian - the local "tank".
In normal shooting, to which reduced much of the gameplay, there are also features. The game has a system of shelters that allow to reduce the damage taken, sometimes by nearly 75 percent. To the best shot, you can sit down - thanks to improve accuracy. Still possible and aim - for a while to wait before the attack, which will enhance shooting accuracy and damage. And given that leads to the goal arms have their own (avtopritselivaniya in the game there), the victory in the local battles almost 50 per cent is not determined by the parameters of role-playing character, and the reaction rate and the skill players. Unfortunately, the big battles on these subtleties to forget quickly, especially in groups, needed only to increase overall firepower. Neither of which tactics are not talking. Of course, physicians can treat, but also a specific need for this. And doctors - it is the only class that specialized in anything other than damage. It makes no sense to pay attention to the classes that make up the group. Important that all team members were able to quickly shoot.
Fans of PvP in Tabula Rasa to do nothing special. Mode "player vs. player" served as a clan wars. At some point, a guild can declare war on another, and then its members have become enemies and can kill each other, having acquired a certain amount of bonus points. While this system is not fully operational, but it is already clear: the "holes" in it and a lot of contractual matches will be the norm.
Sancta Simplicitas / / Holy SimplicityA bold attempt to rewrite the genre with a clean sheet came not very successful. The game is simplified to a point beyond which it becomes primitive. Arcade battle system, role-playing elements of the plain, almost missing the economy and frankly weak PvP-mode make it easy and simple ride in the cosmic scenery. Nevertheless, TR - the original game in its own way interesting and very dynamic and more like a multiplayer shooter with role-playing elements, not MMORPG. It is unlikely that you will want to stay here permanently, but TR is perfect to while away several hours before bedtime. It is recommended to all fans of Battlefield and Planetside, as well as suffering from mmorpg-dependent: you will see that game - it is entertainment, rather than a job or a second life.