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Tabula Rasa Hands On: The Newbie ExperienceEdit

When you first create your character, you go through the A-typical process for creating a character in an MMO now. You enter your name, choose your gender, select your appearance - everything from size, to face, to hair type and color, to the look of your armor - and you're ready to go. There are, however, two differences: one being that your surname you select for your first created character is used across all characters. This felt kind of odd at first, but it makes a bit more sense once you think about the cloning feature. The second is that you don't select a class. Everyone starts out as a Recruit and that lasts until level five(well, level four and a full experience bar).

After creating my character, I was placed into my own personal instanced tutorial, on the outskirts of the Destination Outpost - an Allied Free Sentinel's outpost constantly besieged by Bane forces. Infact, as I entered the tutorial, I was thrust right into the middle of an attempt to retake the outpost from the Bane. This is your first mission: clear out the nearby threat, and then fight your way to the outpost itself, where you must shut down two gun turrets - by placing explosives - and then break through a force field to ultimately gain access to the control point. This is where Tabula Rasa introduces the concept of control points and outposts that can change sides, and also gives you an idea of what you can expect to deal with while attempting an outpost assault later in the game.

Once I took the outpost back, I was given a mission to learn more about Logos and why understanding them is crucial to my survival, so I was sent into a nearby cave where I was to locate a Logos and "study" it by interacting with it. Finding this Logos symbol also unlocked my low-level Recruit power - Lightning Arc. This mission does two things for the new player: it introduces you to the Logos system as a whole, and teaches you that some powers along the way will require Logos symbols before you can use them.

As part of the final mission of the tutorial, my task was to thwart a Bane counter-attack sent in to try and once again usurp control of the base away from the Allied Free Sentinels. This is a fun mission, as you have to deal with several waves of Bane attackers and fight them off outside of the outpost, alongside a handful of NPC defenders.

The best thing about the tutorial is that while it's quick, it's very informative and you also gain a few levels and even get some cool loot out of it. Leveling gives you access to two things: Attribute Points, and Skill Points. Attribute Points are used to raise your three primary Attributes in the game - Body, Mind, and Spirit - which affect things such as your maximum health, maximum power, and your regeneration rate. Skill Points can be used to bolster skills, making them more powerful, or in the case of Lightning Arc, hit more targets with each rank that the skill is trained. Training a skill costs increasingly more Skill Points with each rank, so you'll need to do some planning.

Once done with the tutorial, I was a bit into level four, and ready to move on to the real game. The first stop here is a Forean settlement called Alia Das, on a forested plateau on the planet Foreas.

Here is where I found the first trainers to choose my class. Each class(Specialist and Soldier) has a different trainer, and they'll tell you about the class before you pick it; listing things like the skills available to you, and the general role of the class. Once you've maxed out level four, it's time to visit them and make your choice. But of course, you can also create a clone of yourself prior to selecting, so you can go both routes if you'd like.

From this area I found many of the quests to locate Logos around the world. I also came across the game's teleportation system for the first time. There are teleporters set up in areas around the map that, when you walk into them, will open up a map interface with all currently known teleporter locations. You can then choose that location, and it will teleport you there. It's important to remember that before being able to teleport to a location, you must first visit it in person to "activate" it for your character.

I ended up choosing the Specialist path, so the first thing I did after selecting my class was visit the Guns and Ammo merchant, and purchased a shotgun. These guns pack a mean punch, but require actual aiming - unlike most weapons, which use the 'sticky targeting' system to move away from the "FPS" moniker that has really caused confusion on just what Tabula Rasa is as a game.

Specialists can also heal themselves and other players by using a Healing Disc. The ability I was given is called "Blight" - a damage-over-time ability which required two Logos that I'd yet to discover: Damage, and Time. But the good news was that I had quests to find them, so it was just a simple task of locating them in the world and interacting with them. It only took me about ten minutes to find them both, and I was ready to check out my new class choice in full. If you're curious and want to read more about the Specialist, then you can head over to our Specialist page in our Classes section and find out more.

After gearing up for my new class I embarked out on a few missions, mostly things like delivering supplies and collecting bits and pieces from creatures needed by the local Foreans. There were however a couple neat quests: one had me go to an area where I found another quest to escort a captured Allied Free Sentinel back to a nearby outpost(which was capturable by the Bane - and under heavy attack at the time). The problem was that a force field was up and blocking my way to her - so I had to break through the force field, destroying it, to get to her and start the quest.

Later while wandering around, I located a massive cave system beneath a beautiful waterfall, where I had two quests - one to find and talk to an NPC - and another to kill several of the creatures inside. These creatures introduced a new strategic element to the gameplay I'd experienced thus far. When damaged, these creatures go completely immune to damage for a number of seconds thereafter, though they are also rendered unable to move. This provided a unique opportunity, and one that would be smart to take advantage of; if these creatures actually do hit you, they hurt.

By the time we were ready to move on to the higher level play session, I'd already reached level seven - about two to two and a half hours into my character's played time. All-in-all the new player experience felt great; the pace was spot-on and the quests felt designed to introduce you to core aspects of the game at a very early level, which is a good thing. It was kind of funny, because even though I was placed with the opportunity to player a higher level character, I wanted to keep playing my Specialist in the back of my mind, because I was enjoying it a great deal. It felt like a new type of game - something the genre has needed for a while now.

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From Tabula Rasa Wiki, a Wikia wiki.

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