So Tabula Rasa is released today, after many years of rumor and speculation. What is written on the clean slate? Wired's Susan Arendt claims that it reinvents the MMO to court casual gamers, the point being that you can get into hectic tactical combat quickly. offers some interesting quotes from Richard Garriott that make a few more pitches about the game: he New York Times
As many kudos as I would like to give World of Warcraft, it’s basically a remake of EverQuest, just incredibly polished and refined,” he said. “There are harbingers of failure in that model. Everyone in these games is obsessed with the concept of how much damage-per-second they are inflicting and maximizing their D.P.S. When you do that, you are no longer playing a role; you are playing an inventory-management game... With Tabula Rasa we wanted the player to spend as much time as possible actually looking at the environment and what they’re shooting at.
As should be expected from Garriott, there's also the promise of an interesting ethical dimension to the game:
In most games you are simply the great hero and you save the day by defeating the great evil... But in the real world many people can agree on a goal but disagree wildly about how to achieve it. In some areas we present the player with dilemmas akin to the global war on terror: How far are you prepared to go to do what you think is right? To defeat the Bane, are you prepared to poison a river that your peaceful allies depend on? Or to destroy large swaths of your allies’ forest home? Are your allies expendable in the sense that you’re fighting over there, so you don’t have to fight over here?
Any thoughts on how much appeal TR will have to MMO & casual gamers? Early reviews? Predictions about numbers? Will WoW be losing subs?
Here's one thumbs-up opinion from Joe Stafford of the Austin American Statesman:
For the hard-core gamer, "Tabula Rasa" offers the kind of souped-up eye-candified and, most important, addictive online action that actually gives it a shot at being a "Warcraft"-killer, or at least a "Warcraft"-hurter.
Without a new hit, video game designer Richard Garriott will end up as gaming's Neil Diamond. He's a pop legend in the industry whose reputation rests entirely on his groundbreaking "Ultima" series. The question: Can lightning strike twice for Garriott? The answer, based on several weeks of beta testing "Tabula Rasa": yes.