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Tabula Rasa Hands On: Preamble and DiscussionEdit

We talked about the game and its features, and one of the most important things Garriott wanted to stress is the fact that Tabula Rasa is not an MMOFPS. They even went as far as removing any mention of FPS from all marketing material to make it clear that while TR looks like an FPS, it most definitely isn't one.

Tabula Rasa can be better acquainted with an action MMO than an FPS. That said, some of the old FPS attributes are there; the combat system is very tactical, and takes your stance(crouching, standing still, running, etc.) and cover(hiding behind sand bags, etc.) into account when determining if you miss or you're missed with shots and attacks. The pace of combat is much faster than your typical sword-and-board MMO of today, and is one of the things that really sets the game apart from other offerings on the market.

Garriott also pointed out that they've paid close attention to the creature AI design, "not all creatures in the world are 'attack magnets'" he said - hinting that NPC AI is advanced to the point where some creatures will attempt to flank you, some will take advantage of cover, etc.

The game is designed to immerse the player in the world - pulling you in and making the story about you rather than the world at large. This is done through missions and instances, where you play a vital role in the future of the planet by completing tasks and ultimately pushing back the Bane assault.

Garriott strives to ensure that they've taken a different approach to instances. The story is focused around the player, and instances are designed with more of a single-player action-adventure game feel than your typical MMO instance. A good comparison to a game that does them similar is Guild Wars - where instances are used to introduce you to and take you through evolving story arcs in the game world, in such a way that they can be personalized to the player. Players will not just be facing wave after wave of AI-driven creatures, but will also have to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles within the instance.

One example, in the demo we were given a tour of, was figuring out a way to get past an alarm system without triggering it. It's not entirely clear-cut, and takes some thinking, rather than just brute force.

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