Going Blank Again: Tabula Rasa For Free

By Kieron Gillen on December 23rd, 2008 at 7:00 pm.

I still enjoyed it.

At Christmas, we should spare a thought for those who are more unfortunate than ourselves. Like John. And the live team on Tabula Rasa whose work is winding down as the game for its final closure on February 28th. But until then, the game’s actually totally free to play for everyone. Instructions are on the site proper, allowing you to either play from an old account or start a whole new one. Below the cut you’ll find the most recently posted uservideo on gametrailers, which appears to be a repost of a post-release instance. It’s cute enough but the sad thing is realzob’s usertext on the video: “Tabula Rasa must survive”. Poor old Realzob.

It’ll be interesting to see if anyone uses this for actual play. I suspect some people will want to go and have a look around, but it’s still two months of MMO fun. I suspect people won’t though, as it’s pointless – there’s no future to that character. Which does make you wonder about the nature of MMOs, y’know?


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  1. Matt says:

    Is there a reason that companies don’t release server apps / code for dead MMOs? It’s not like they can make money on it after they shut down their servers…

  2. Gundato says:

    If they aren’t going out of business entirely, they don’t want to reveal everything. This way they can reuse stuff without compromising “security.”

    If they are going out of business, they are either annoyed at the fanbase (for killing them), or they have more important things to worry about.

    Last, it usually isn’t the dev team’s decision.

  3. karthik says:

    The likely transience of months (or years) of my efforts, and the possibility of activation of the titular kill-switch scares me off of MMOs every time I get close to trying one.
    I’d rather put up with the always-at-hand wooden characters of single player RPGs than the ephemeral MMO denizens.
    Unless, of course, you think the transient experience counts more than the reassurance of steady existence. In which case, I’m not sure how Tabula Rasa fared in the time it lived.

  4. Jonas says:

    I suspect people won’t though, as it’s pointless – there’s no future to that character. Which does make you wonder about the nature of MMOs, y’know?

    Well, in that way this dying MMOG isn’t really that much different from when it was in beta, is it? I remember playing it a couple of weeks before the beta closed, knowing full well they’d be deleting my character very soon, but we got a solid week of play out of it. I guess it depends on what you want from an MMOG.

  5. Grey_Ghost says:

    This game had some shitty advertising, all the videos I saw took place on some alien terrain / flat plains / boring looking scenes. This video actually makes me slightly interested in TR, lol.

    EDIT: Ugh, hell with this. I had a beta account (hah, never ran for more then 5 mins at a time, gave up) which is somehow preventing me from getting a serial code.

  6. Xercies says:

    Hmm I may play this to see how good it was, I’ve been hearing from a few people that it had a decent combat system to it and did change a bit for MMOs. Its always nice to have free stuff even if its only for two months.

  7. Gorgeras says:

    I would still be playing if they hadn’t apparently abandoned the winning design philosophy of making every class and every spec over-powered, as they should be.

    My only complaint in the beginning, apart from some performance issues, was that guns and Logo abilities didn’t blend well together due to an unneccessary shared cooldown.

  8. jonfitt says:

    Two months playing an MMO isn’t really much different to two months playing a game like Oblivion is it?

    Or is the MMO gameplay not as interesting with the grind being counterpoint to the fact that you’re grinding for something permanent?

  9. PHeMoX says:

    It took you 2 months before you decided to uninstall Oblivion?

    Wow. ;)

  10. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Trailer looks nice…game with a future, I’d…oh that does it, I’ll get counseling tomorrow.

  11. Phil says:

    @karthik and Kieron – Aren’t our efforts in all games ultimately transient? There’s no future to any character we play, whether in an MMO or a single-player game, is there? At some point you put the game aside and reach for another one. Surely we play all games for the fun we have along the way?

  12. hydra9 says:

    Yep, but I’d also like the ability to pick that game up again in a year or two, and revisit the experience.

    EDIT: Just watched the video, and the game looks really fun. It seems so sad that all this is going to waste. I think I may create an account, at least for the last couple of weeks, to see the end……..

  13. Kieron Gillen says:

    Phil: Yeah, that was kinda my point.


  14. wootwoot says:


    I think ultimately what you say is true. On a whole different level, this is the first MMO I have seen start up and dismantle, with little regard for the players who did dedicate a year or so to it.

    Those are the people I feel sorry for. Which ultimately may happen to another MMO that’s pretty much run it’s course over the last 10 years “Everquest”.

    It amazes me that Sony still puts out expansions for that game. And people still play it!
    But eventually that game will have to come to an end. And I see no future in it, other than “Pirate servers” running off 8 year old code.

    It would be nice to see Tablua Rasa open sourced. But I Highly doubt that will happen.

  15. weegosan says:

    Is there a reason that companies don’t release server apps / code for dead MMOs? It’s not like they can make money on it after they shut down their servers…

    that’s exactly what they do, the architectures are often sold to drain the last drop of money out before closure or retained if people who can claim to have the IP to it all move on to pastures new.

  16. PHeMoX says:

    I guess releasing a server code thing can’t be done so easily if the IP sort of sinks with the company going bankrupt.

    In my opinion they should just bury it all quickly. It’s not like this will revive Tabula Rasa from the death, right?

  17. Nick says:

    Well, at least most single player games have some tale to tell that comes to a satisfying conclusion (er, sometimes) at the end.

  18. darthmajor says:

    I went to try to get a look around but the registration process kinda put me off. I’m still confused as to how you should ‘submit’ for a serial plus on forums they are saying you don’t even get one as an ‘european’ so i guess i won’t be playing tabula rasa for free. If they meant this free run as a test to see if there are still people interested in it, the registration process will kill it.

  19. Noc says:

    I might actually go check this out, if it’ll run on my Crapbook. It occurs to me that two months is usually how long it takes for my interest in a game to run its course anyways.

    And there’s no reason not to, after all.

  20. NewName says:

    If you want a serial first sign up for an account at the support site, then go to the ‘Ask a Question’ tab and submit a support ticket for Tabula Rasa asking for a serial code. They’ll get back to you in a few hours with the serial code by email.

    @Grey_Ghost: I had a beta account too, I used the upgrade option in the account management on my beta account instead of trying to activate the code. Also I wasn’t asked for a credit card (and some people have said they weren’t asked for one for a non-beta account too).

  21. Jockie says:

    I’m going to check it out with a couple of friends most likely. 2 months is usually how long it takes me to get bored of an MMO.

  22. Paul Moloney says:

    “I’m still confused as to how you should ’submit’ for a serial plus on forums they are saying you don’t even get one as an ‘european’ so i guess i won’t be playing tabula rasa for free. ”

    I was a bit confused too, but you just have to actually submit a question to support, asking for a code. They got back to me very quickly, which I was impressed by; whatever the faults of the game, support seems to be responsive.


  23. Jockie says:

    Heh, my request has been greeted with a “It may take up to seven days to meet your request because of demand..”

    Surely some kind of automated/website integrated system would’ve been a lot less painful for their support team.

  24. Bob says:

    I for one am seeing off Tabula Rasa by playing it finally, and now I am sad that it is going away. Honestly its a tragedy this game was allowed to fail. I can only hope that they don’t just let it die. Perhaps they will restructure it with a micropayment system and Free to Play or let it go to the fans. I can only hope.

  25. Kua says:

    @ Keiron and Phil – What is an MMO char but a chasing after the wind?

  26. malkav11 says:

    They’ve definitely made some solid improvements since the wretched beta, although I think it also helps that I picked a soldier this time around – they’re more fun. There are some usability pieces (particularly the waypoints) that I’d really like to see other games incorporate.

    They are, unfortunately, still married to some stupid ideas, like paying for stacks of ammo. Needless busywork, that. I don’t know if it would hold my interest long term, but it’s not going to have a chance to anyhow.

  27. malkav11 says:

    Also, interestingly, there seem to be some vocal people in the game who’re convinced that the shutdown is merely the culmination of NCSoft’s deliberate sabotage of the game in favor of this Aion thing they’re coming out with. Which makes no sense whatsoever, but however you gotta cope, right?

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