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Reader Comments (14)

Posted: Nov 27th 2008 4:33PM cray said

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I agree there should be a way to save this game, but I don't believe it's being shut down solely on the basis of being a failed MMO.

I suspect the shut down has more to do with Richard Garriot's name. NCsoft appears to be ridding themselves of anything associated with him as way of saying we are better than him and we don't need him or his game.

I propose that NCsoft hash out a reasonable deal with Garriot to remove his name from Tabula Rasa. Then restructure the game for smaller server(s) and different payment plans.

The game is savable, its just a matter of whether NCsoft is willing to let go of their perceived disdain for Garriot and concentrate on the customers they have.

Posted: Nov 28th 2008 12:41AM wjowski said

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Why should NCsoft make a deal with someone who's already conned them once?
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Posted: Nov 27th 2008 5:09PM Sam not Spam said

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About Garriott and space: he's not a poor guy for one. I wonder how much money he's made since he started doing games? Plus got his (former) position at NCSoft? Two, how do you know he's not in quite a bit of debt because of that little excursion?

I don't think I've heard from any source at any point that Tabula Rasa wasn't a money pit for NCSoft. Add in the low subscriber base, which according to some fans was enough to break even (I'll call that the best case scenario) at most? Has anyone considered NCSoft looked into alternative revenue models for TR and found the various scenarios to be lacking/not viable?

I wonder if there's a good bit of proprietary/licensed stuff in TR preventing them from going the open source route. But at the same time, they'd be giving away something they spent a lot of money on for free that could make a competing game/service later on. I really don't see any tangible rewards/incentives for them for doing that. Lineage I would make more sense as an OS candidate than TR (except, you know, L1 is profitable).

I think if NCSoft does anything with TR, it'll be after the game is shut down. Maybe scaling it down, changing things around, and making it into an offline product would work. Maybe someone will buy it later on. No telling. But if the game is a constant drain on them financially, taking money and staffing that could be better used elsewhere (and profitably), I can completely understand.

This is the downside to "software as a service," and in all honesty, is good to remind us that these games won't be around forever. I liked TR, and will miss it certainly, but I hope this will prompt players and companies to wonder about these things a bit more.

Posted: Nov 27th 2008 6:03PM Teppotastic said

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I can't agree more with the post. They're just throwing money away now. I thoroughly enjoyed the game during my time there and I'm very sad to see it go :(

Posted: Nov 27th 2008 6:45PM (Unverified) said

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The best thing to do would be to license out the engine for other developers.

Startgate: Worlds, and other futuristic worlds, could be saved huge amounts of time/enegery by just starting with the TR engine.

There isn't anything wrong with the basic engine, it's just the content that's lacking. So make your money back on the engine and maybe even renting out the servers for other indie/startup MMO's to use.

Posted: Nov 27th 2008 7:14PM (Unverified) said

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I couldn't help but feel excitement for Earth!

News of the server shut down has been tough to take.

I do not think that NCSoft needs to put any more work into the game besides finishing what they've already started.

There is the argument that a focus on PVP content could have made the game more compelling. Clan Wars were/are certainly an exciting prospect.

As I understand it, there were plans to add more PVP content but the PVP system was limited and bugged.

Perpaps rewriting the squad/clan/PVP code from the ground up and adding Battlegrounds/Death Matches (along with the first person mode) could provide compelling content for players.

Just don't think of this as a WoW alternative. That's what I most love about this game.

Posted: Nov 27th 2008 11:52PM UnSub said

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TR has been a money pit for NCsoft. They've held it open for a lot longer than it probably deserved from a financial sense on the hopes of turning it around. A number of other titles have been sacrificed on the altar of TR's continuance.

When TR shuts down, it might have its engine used for something else, but NCsoft aren't going to sell the title to someone else or open source it - why create a competitor? They won't make it free when turning it into a tax write-off makes the books look a lot better.

And, probably most importantly, NCsoft will shut TR down to remove their embarrassing association with it. NCsoft has shown it doesn't want to be a MMO publisher dragging around a host of undead MMOs behind it - it wants successful titles. If one of their titles isn't working, they aren't afraid to cull it.

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 1:25AM (Unverified) said

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Ginny L. who was quoted in the article really had no clue what was going on with Richard Garriott and Tabula Rasa.

TR was not the reason Garriott had millions to go into space. Garriott had the money because of incredibly gullible NCSoft executives who signed contracts that paid him and his brother millions *before they ever did one thing*.

The NCSoft CEO was so smitten by the idea of getting the 'father of MMORPGs' to make a game for them that he never asked himself exactly what Garriott has *done* in the last decade.

First Garriott's brother was 'moved' to another position then Garriott himself. Now TR is dead as NCSoft finally wises up and realize that the 'legendary' Garriott has no interest in helping them make a game and couldn't make a decent **modern** MMORPG even if he did.

Posted: Nov 28th 2008 8:51AM (Unverified) said

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is there going to be a player run event on the last day of service?

Posted: Nov 29th 2008 9:36AM (Unverified) said

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This was my first NCSoft title, and I really enjoyed it. I am still subscribed even now.

After being disappointed that NCSoft are shutting it down, I learned that they did a similar thing to Auto Assault.

Now I won't buy an NCSoft game, because although I realise that companies are in it to make money, they have clearly shown that they don't care in the slightest for there customers. They haven't shown a single act of trying to keep Tabula Rasa running.

If NCSoft had reduced number of servers, increased subscription costs, had an adverstising blitz and perhaps even looked at a different subscription model and they still thought that it was best to shut Tabula Rasa down, then I would have said "Oh well, they tried".

NCSoft have done none of this.

This leaves me with great distrust for NCSoft and I won't be buying another of their games in the future products as as far as I am concerned, if it doesn't do as well as WoW, they won't keep it running.

Posted: Nov 30th 2008 1:48AM (Unverified) said

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After playing both Auto Assault and TR the similarities these two titles shared (and thier simular short comings) was apparent to anyone.

Both had very very weak PVP systems, in AA there was a small ffa pvp area where you fought for "tokens" to upgrade armor etc. There was also a duel instancing but this was very buggy and took months to get running properly.

In TR the lack of factions pretty much guaranteed a huge hole in player driven content and generally resulted in over whelming amount of players leaving after capping level.

Both games were also plauged with bugs and lag.

Unlike AA which had a great NCsoft forum, TR only had unofficial / fansite style community presence. No slight intended on the great folks at Massively or TenTonHammer who both hosted great forums, but an official forum would have probably gone a long way to attract more players and allow current ones to get a more direct feedback from devs/producer.

Its too bad that NCsoft doesnt just combine all the current TR servers and let the current players keep on sending in thier checks, TR at its core is a solid game, albeit with some major weaknesses.

Posted: Nov 30th 2008 10:39AM (Unverified) said

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It's also a shame that NCSoft couldn't take a page from Blizzard and supplement their subscriber revenue with merchandise revenue by partnering with t-shirt sites such as Jinx.com.

Not only could it help bring in a bit more money so that maybe they could keep TR alive on life support, but it would help free them from having to do a lot of marketing for the game and puts it on the players' backs (and fronts, and hats, and car bumpers, etc).

Posted: Dec 1st 2008 2:39AM Sam not Spam said

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• If NCSoft had reduced number of servers
They only had 3 as it was, plus test. Not sure how that would've helped - didn't help Auto Assault, that's for sure.

• increased subscription costs
Would've driven off a lot more people than it would've been worth. People complain as-is about $15/month. If they're asked to pay more than that but not getting a Sony Station Pass type deal? Forget it. Won't work. The only game that could get away with that would be WOW, and they're NOT doing it, either.

• had an adverstising blitz
While not the best thing I've seen, that "Project Immortality" thing does count.

• even looked at a different subscription model
Given NCSoft has a variety of revenue models (subs, microtransaction, advertising and mixes of those three) both in the US and Korea, I think they might well have done so internally and privately, along with relatively accurate expectations of how things would've done.

Don't get me wrong - if you're not comfortable doing business with NCSoft, I completely understand.

And official forums can be horrific cess-pools at times. If I'm trying to encourage new players in a game I seldom send them to those.

Posted: Dec 3rd 2008 5:56PM (Unverified) said

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i wish people would look into things before they say things like Richard hasen't done anything in ten years, He was involved in Lineage, Lineage II: The Chaotic Cronicle, City of Heroes, City Of Villians & Tabula Rasa (if you don't believe me look it up).

The biggest thing i think that hurt TR was its fundamental changes in development. They should have marked it a cancelled project & restarted it with a new budget instead of hanging a game with a limited prelaunch development period.

This also forced them into launching the game while underdeveloped, leading to a missing endgame, lack of content and unbalanced classes. All things they had to know fix in the first year of live service.

They also hung this game with the development costs of a almost completely different game cutting its marketing budget down to nothing and forcing it to perform at a level to make returns on 1 & 1/2 of game development costs in the time frame of one game.

When their lack of marketing lead to lackluster sales on a developmentally gimped game, instead of eating the cost of their mistake they slashed the size of the development team. The very people that have to fix whats wrong to make the game sell.

They changed the business model of the game from quarterly update with an expansion every year to bi-weekly update which failed, then to monthly updates and cut the expansion.

Bad word of mouth swarmed this game like maggots on a corpse. The marketing team did nothing to counter act this, so the only news on TR was bad news. Even if the bad news was false they still wouldn't try and sell this game.

Then operation immortality came, they dropped all of their marketing budget into advertising Richard Garriott going into space, barely mentioned Tabula Rasa. However this campaign did lead to one good thing they finally offered a standard trial that was larger than 3 whole days....

So I would say the failure of this game has much more to do with the financial management, marketing & future development planning past launch then much of anything else. Most of this is handled by NCSoft as Publisher not Destination Games.

NCSoft set this game up for failure 2 years before it came out. They cost themselves the money and the customers are suffering for it.

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