Archive for September 16, 2007

Protecting the wilderness

September 16, 2007 Comments off

About a week ago there was a wipe of all characters in the Tabula Rasa beta, then the servers was brought back up and the NDA was lifted. Which means I can actually starting writing a bit about playsessions in Tabula Rasa as well.

Work and real life has taken its time, so while the wipe was a week ago, I had not really had any change of playing until this weekend. Right now my family of earth invasion survivors has two members, one going for the soldier path (Wolf) and the other for the specialist path (Tatiana).

The first to jump in the fight was Tatiana. Starting off at the home base in Concordia wilderness, she was eager to give something back to the Bane – preferably small, fast and deadly type of things.

Tatiana at the home base

Right when arriving from the bootcamp (tutorial area) Tatiana was presented with a Targets of Opportunity mission. ToO is pretty much something similar to badges in City of Heroes/Villains, or deeds in Lord of the Ring Online if one want to compare with fantasy games. You visit certain areas, kill certain things and docertain missions and you get at the very least some titles for it. Bug Zapper and Exterminator Tatiana at your service!

Missions are obtained from various military persons in the outposts, as well as from the local Foreans (our allies here in the fight). Most of the fighting involves the Thrax, the bio-enhanced Bane soldiers that keep pouring in at various locations all the time, but also Forean “automatons” and some of the local wildlife might want to take a bite at you.

And they keep on trying. While one will learn after a while where the Thrax soldiers are dropped fromt he dropships (i.e. spwans), they do at least drop instead of re-appear and they also do not just stand there waiting for somethign to happen, they attack and/or patrol. There are allied NPCs all around the place who are defending the outposts and attacking the Thrax also. Overall it is a more active environment, which gives a quite different feeling to the environment, even though not all mechanics involved are that different. It is good fun in reasonable doses.

You got something on your teeth, mister

Some of the outposts can be taken control over by the Bane, these tend to have constant attacks poured over them. At one time while Tatiana was in an outpost the defense barrier was breached and the Thrax soldiers started pouring in! We fought back and the barrier was set again. The attacks from the Thrax continued of course. A bit later the outpost was taken by the Bane and Tatiana could not teleport in to complete some missions, so she started off on foot to get there and take it back. There is no rage like that of a player that cannot complete their missions – the Bane should know better…

Imperial Valley fighting

For one of the outposts (Imperial Valley) in the Concordia Wilderness area there are also specific missions involving collecting assault or defense tokens. One token can be collected from the attacking forces when defending the outpost, the other when one has to take back the outpost from the Bane.

I really like the surroundings, a bit of lush forest mixed with mountain areas and caverns and some deadly enemies around the corner. It does encourage the explorer in me. And the main goal in this area beside fighting off the Bane forces is to collect a number of Logos, the symbolic language left by an ancient race (the Eloh) which is the source to unlock some powers in all who happen to have the right gene – strangely enough, all player characters have that gene! 🙂

Travelling is mostly on foot, but if you collect the waypoints at different outposts one can use a teleport pad to travel between these points, which speeds up travel a bit.

A romantic evening out?

Most of the missions are in the Concordia Wilderness zone itself, although there are a few instances/dungeons also. In these areas one may have or get a few different missions running through a certain storylines. The defeated enemies do not seem to respawn and while content at least pertially are aimed at groups, it is possible to do them solo also with a bit of work – although one may die a couple of times in the process.

Fighting spiders in Caves of Donn instance

The outdoor areas (Concordia Wilderness in this case) also have multiple instances, for the Euro beta server they have 9 instances running. It is easy to switch between these outdoor area instances, since one can select which instance to go to when using the teleport pad.

The multiple instances are a necessity in my opinion, since the game like many other MMOGs has its share of “kill ten rats” or “collect ten rat tails” type of missions. Enemies are not “tagged” to belong to anybody in particular and it pretty much seems those who do enough damage gets credit for the kill and can loot the corpse. This can be multiple people that get credit for it. For the fast-paced combat environment Tabula Rasa is, this makes more sense than that something should “belong” to the character or group that made the first hit. But it cannot avoid the problem with these colelct/kill quests when too many people are in the area – too few mobs to kill and get credit for. So the many instances of the outdoor areas helps a lot here when one can go to a less crowded area and continue there.

The spawn saturation with the many collect/kill quests in LoTRO was one thing that killed that game for me, so I am at least happy to see that they have done something about that in Tabula Rasa. They do not seem to be able to get rid of that type of mission entirely though.

While I have played through much of the content before in this zone, it was still fun to go though it with Tatiana and one can see that they have made changes/improvements since previous times. Still, I actually prefer to do discoveries and experience things for the first time after release. I still have some missions I have not completed and I probably won’t do them, but save it for release.

Categories: Tabula Rasa