Beta impressions of uberdork Richard Garriot's new MMO, Tabula Rasa, are in. Results are, well, mixed...leaning toward meh.
Props to the developer for trying something different, but barring major tweaky from now until launch, the game sounds dead on arrival. NCSoft has deep pockets, so maybe not dead, but on life support.
CCP should buy it and work it into Eve Online.
OK, I know. I just blew your mind. Take a moment. Think about it.
What do Eve players want, more than cheese, more than a unicorn fucking a rainbow? They want to walk around. They want to be more than a ship.
What is Tabula Rasa? It's a sci-fi pseudo-FPS that's about an alien invasion. It's about walking around. While fighting, sounds like, but still walking around. In a science fiction-y kinda way.
OK. What does Eve have more of than any other game ever created in the history of human civilization? Give up? I'll tell you: empty space. Some of which is filled with moons and planets that are little more than a) places to warp to when you're getting your ass kicked; b) a handy bookmark for dropping a can of goodies for your corp; c) pretty.
What if your ship scanner could detect, say, evidence of life on a planet? Maybe you could land there, or teleport there, or ride a unicorn-fucked rainbow down to the surface. And there you would find the Bane, the baddies, the invading BEMs. And you could fight them. While walking around. Or maybe, there's no Bane there, just a dusty field with a bored tower controller and a seedy brothel upstairs from a bar selling crunk juice in front and illegal implants in back. Or just a field, with a couple of curious three-eyed lizard-like animals chewing their cud and swatting flies. Or a barren moonscape that seems empty until a dropship of Bane soldiers roars overhead.
And Eve could continue to be the hardass MMO that we know and love. Like, who's guarding your ship while you're on the planet? I assume it would be orbiting, awaiting your command. Hmm, tempting. Die battling the Bane? Surely your clone is up-to-date. Maybe asymmetric instancing, too: you find a Bane planet, land, and you wipe in a single blow. Mark it up to experience, and come back later, after finding an easier planet to conquer. Or send your more-experienced corp buddies to clean the place up.
Of course, I have no idea how this could work, or even if it's possible. I could spout some nonsense about instancing and servers and shit, bit I don't really know what I'm talking about.
But, wouldn't that be COOL?