Tabula Rasa (Hands On)


posted 8/8/2007 by Randy Kalista
other articles by Randy Kalista
One Page Platforms: PC

Randy:  I've snagged three of the Logos so far, but none of them were from missions.  I just happened to run across them and activate them independently.  I'm glad you mention that there are missions behind these things, because the Logos by themselves weren't telling me anything, and I couldn't ascertain how I was benefiting from them, if at all.  My Logos Sheet (or whatever it's called) tells me nothing, but I know it's gotta be a big deal, since Garriott apparently spent some time creating an entire language out of it, and I didn't think he was just flexing his Tolkien Language Creation Skills for nothing.

I did clone.  It kinda sucks though, because my clone was only given noob armor, 1000 rounds of ammo, a few med kits, and absolutely no money.  I also couldn't figure out a way to transfer the money to my clone from my primary character, so that clone is kinda worthless with no cash and not even a gun to fit the ammo into.  I'm obviously missing some important step.  It is pretty sweet that the clone of my average height, white male character is that of an intimidatingly-tall African princess.  Hey, no limitations once you clone and hit the character appearance screen again. 

I think I'm halfway to level eight, but you're absolutely right, it's getting much harder to move around the map.  The enemies are appropriately ramping up in number and ability.  And this crouching in combat thing isn't convincing me it's doing any good.  I'm a smaller target, but I'm supposedly easier to hit, if the tutorials are right.  But that's still making very little sense right now.  The cost-benefit just ratio isn't there.

So what the heck's missing?  I mean, overall.  Why am I just thinking this is "okay" and not stellar?  It's a rare setting, it's doing (a couple) new things, it's fairly well written … but I'm still kind of on the fence about it.  Anyone playing, say, Lord of the Rings Online, EVE Online, or GuildWars can almost instantly tell that they're playing something special.  But with this?  I'm not getting that feeling, despite all the strides it's taking.  I mean, I'm not hating it.  But I'm not loving it either.  This shouldn't be a surprise, I guess, even though there are so many garbage MMOs out there, I'd say that this one's at least above average.  But still.  I was ready to fall in love, and it just isn't happening. 

Chuck:  Backtracking for a second, I had that happen as well with the Logos.  Some of your abilities require certain Logos to work; something I found out the hard way after picking an ability that required two Logos I didn't have.  The guy who gives you the Logos missions is over by the falls west of Concordia camp and they are worth getting as they give out a decent amount of XP.

That sucks about the clone.  I really haven't tried mine out yet, but that's good to know.  It will suck if you can't transfer stuff between the characters, but I'm also guessing that's something that will get fixed at some point.

I'm with you on the crouch and cover system.  I'm not sure it's really doing anything at this point and I'm wondering if they haven't implemented something that's coming in a later build.

I'm digging the new combat system, but like you, I don't think there's anything that really sets this apart from any other MMO other than the fact that Richard Garriott's got his name in the title.  I'm hoping that the next beta will fix some of the issues and add a bunch of new stuff, but the game is supposed to ship this year and I just don't think there's anything they can really add in that short amount of time that's going to set the game apart from everything else.

Randy:  I don't know much about programming, but you're right, it seems like there's a lot here to fix, and that the fundamentals are pretty much solidified.  In a couple months, it might still only be at a Vanguard-level of readiness.

I found that the key to transferring equipment and money between clones is the footlockers in the barracks.  One character drops something in, and any character you've created on the same account can pick it up.  Money, too.

The Wilderness L.Z. was fixed -- it was taken from the Bane when I last visited.  I didn't see the takeover happen, but several mission-givers and a hefty group of good guy NPCs were patrolling the area. 

Chuck:  Vanguard … ouch … that's harsh! 

Ah, those footlockers make sense.  I saw them, but I wasn't sure exactly what they did. 

I noticed last night that they'd tweaked a lot of things, like my rifle overheating a lot more.  Some of the new missions from the Wilderness L.Z. were kind of cool as well -- although camping the mortars with ten other people kind of sucked.  I didn't see the re-taking o the LZ either, but I did stop and help defend against the Bane that were consistently trying to take the L.Z. back (which is kind of cool).  I did see a few people trying to get a group together to take back the Twin Hills place, but I didn't join them. 

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