And It’s Goodbye From Tabula Rasa…

Richard Garriott’s last great effort to make the MMO of our dreams is to shut down in February 2009. It’s always particularly sad when an MMO meets its end – they don’t get to be saved from the bargain bin like other games. They’re just gone. Sniff.

The official message is here:

So it is with regret that we must announce that Tabula Rasa will end live service on February 28, 2009. Before we end the service, we’ll make Tabula Rasa servers free to play starting on January 10, 2009.

Free stuff! Hurray! I mean: Yes, what a shame.


  1. The Hammer says:


    I’m sad now. I always had a soft spot for this game.

  2. Theory says:

    What a shame.

  3. Lacero says:

    It’s fun, just not MMOey enough to keep people playing. The content runs out and there’s not even anything to grind for, no end game or anything.

    I’d recommend people try it when it’s free. The early levels are really good.

  4. DuBBle says:

    What a shame, indeed.

  5. YaRisse says:

    What a shame, Last time I buy a CE edition for an MMO

  6. Laco says:

    What a shame.

  7. Pags says:

    Oh my God, Tabby!

    What a shame.

  8. skizelo says:

    That was quick.
    It is sad and all, but that was rapid.

  9. Switch625 says:

    I quite liked this when I played the free trial thing.

    If they had found a way to make the pricing follow the same convention as Guild Wars, I’d be still playing this now.

    I have this real problem with monthly subscription games, though.

    What a shame.

  10. Tei says:

    What killed the game for me: nerf #1: a instakill weapon, nerf#2: making wildlife a real challegenge.

    Message to others MMORPG devs: DON’T NERF players.

  11. Senethro says:

    When did what a shame become a catchphrase?

  12. solomun says:

    You didn’t get that memo?

    What a shame.

  13. Jahkaivah says:

    Since, this is one of the few times google doesn’t make it a stupid question:

    link to

    What a shame

  14. Moonracer says:

    It is too bad that when MMOs die the developers can’t/don’t offer up a way to keep playing. Such as a way to host smaller servers or even convert the server side of the game to run on the desktop essentially making it a single player game. Admittedly a very large, difficult, desolate and tedious single player game.

  15. Joe says:

    What a sham.

  16. Stijn says:

    What a shame.

  17. Gorgeras says:

    When I first played it, I was very impressed by the class design philosophy which seemed to be “make every spec of every type of character over-powered”. I had gotten sick of dying when I pulled two mobs instead of one in WoW. In Tabula Rasa your character is meant to be a special ‘Receptive’ and they followed through mechanic-wise, you’re a one-man platoon at any level and against almost anything within ten levels.

    Then, unspeakably, they started ill-concieved nerfs. They did this while some serious bug and UI issues were still a problem. Unforgivable. But this doesn’t mean it was easy. The sheer number of enemies that could spawn at capture points was immense plus for the first time in MMO history there were mobs that required actual tactics as opposed to rehearsed button presses: the Predator, with it’s near instant-kill death ray and near invulnerable frontal armour, but dies of three EMP rifle hits from the rear.

    It’s actually the only PvE MMO I’ve really really liked. I left though due to the nerf and on-going issues with the Injector Pistol which fired in fits and starts: two darts, then one, none for five seconds, then one, none for five seconds, two darts, etc regardless of heat status.

  18. Rei Onryou says:

    When MMOs die, I just feel bad for those who subscribed. The game plus monthly fees all for nought. At least Hellgate had a single player component (although I don’t think I’d put myself through that tedious grind again). What a shame that neither of these games worked out.

    Perhaps this is proof that the MMO market already is saturated. Or maybe its just proof that publishers set their expected profits too high. Game doesn’t have 1.5million players = failure. I’d like to see what’d happen if a big publisher/developer managed to make an MMO that would be considered a success with just 50k players.

    What a shame.

  19. Rei Onryou says:

    Curse the lack of an edit button.

    As an aside, how long until the next ‘big’ MMO is to be closed? And which one?

  20. Pags says:

    WoW closes: Blizzard realises their subscribers are annoying.

  21. suomynonA says:

    .emahs a tahW

  22. sana says:

    WoW closes: Blizzard realises their subscribers are annoying.
    Congratulations, you have just won a thousand internets!

  23. Lukasz says:

    LoTR? or Age of Conan (that will be a real shame)

    I always feel sorry for people who enjoyed the game and played it since release. They had great adventures, made friends as well as enemies and now it is going to die. A sad thing…

  24. Vagueism says:

    I have really poor taste in MMOs, this was the one I bought when Ryzom went bankrupt for the second time…

  25. Heliocentric says:

    Sony actually has a smart model for its mmo’s. Sub one sub them all.

    It’s a smart enough model to keep planetside going, wretched thing that it is.

  26. Jim Rossignol says:

    Planetside was awesome.

  27. Pags says:

    No matter how sad it is when an MMO closes, it’ll never be as sad as when Disney closed Virtual Magic Kingdom. Irrepressible sadface reading that story in PCG.

  28. Heliocentric says:

    Jim I’ll note that you said “was” and i’ll agree. Getting together over teamspeak and organising bombing runs over major battles. I was a flight controller and a tail gunner.

    I can’t wait til an mmofps capitalises on that potential.

  29. Rei Onryou says:

    @Helio & Jim: Here here! Whoever can do Planetside for the current/future MMO generation will be a hero.

  30. dadioflex says:

    Planetside WAS awesome.

    I quit TR two weeks into the months worth of sub that came with the box. Switch625 made an interesting point – why can’t they use a Guild Wars model for pricing? Well, the obvious answer is that GW was designed to run 99% on the client machine so they don’t need massive content servers. THe MMO aspects are really just chatrooms. The rest is more like Diablo 2. The real question is why more new MMO makers don’t factor this into their calculations so at least its an option.

    Age of Conan, spawns new instances of a map after about three people turn up (it felt like that anyway.) but they also charge a sub. Never made any sense to me. I never ran across more than four or five people at a time on AoC. Funcom aren’t stupid and must have been turning a profit from AO somehow for the last many years so I doubt they’ll have to close AoC unless there are recurring licensing costs which make it uneconomic. I’d like to go back and play an AoC that wasn’t a soulless suckfest after level twenty.

    I hope LOTR doesn’t close down. I bought the lifetime sub for that. Haven’t played it since about a month after launch but I intended to go back. Too much like WOW though and I’m done with that.

    WAR was great. Loved it. Then they wanted me to pay and I couldn’t be bothered.

  31. dadioflex says:

    Oh, meant to say. Tabula Rasa models a war on an alien planet but you can only play one side. Huh?

  32. eyemessiah says:

    Bugger, I got scooped on the what a sham.

  33. RichPowers says:

    Speaking of PlanetSide, which one of you RPS fellows teased us with news about a big update or something? WAS IT YOU, JIM!?

  34. manghole says:

    It’s a shame that online games are allowed to disappear completely. In my not at all humble opinion the public should be given access to the source code once the publisher deems the game not financially viable. The subscribers has more than paid for it.

  35. Jim Rossignol says:

    It’s definitely an Or Something. It’ll be announced in the new year. It’s not New Game exciting, just something fun.

  36. g says:

    Hi there! I just stumbled across this opportunity where you can make $130 for each person you sign up, $10 for each person that person signs up for you, and $5 for every person that person signs up for you!!! Take advantage of this great opportunity while you can! Make money online now: link to
    Merry Christmas!!!

  37. Meat Circus says:

    The world has one fewer WoW clone. And nothing of value was lost.


  38. NotQuiteAllHere says:

    On the point about MMOs not staying in the bargain bin… I still regularly see copies of Auto Assault on the shelves of Gamestation, HMV et al. So you never know, TR might now fit into the uber-niche that collectors of unplayable games are just waiting to fill.

  39. Pags says:

    That sounds like an exciting deal, g! I could use that money to pay for my Tabula Rasa subscripti…oh.

  40. PaulMorel says:

    This is sad, but I really have no sympathy for greedy MMO publishers who charge $10+/month for their game. Firstly, there really isn’t room in the market for a dozen expensive MMOs. Secondly, most MMOs aren’t worth $10+/month. Publishers that realize this have had much success with smaller and cheaper MMOs.

    If this game had launched with, or at least switched to a free ad-supported model, or moved the price down to $5/month, then they probably wouldn’t be here. At least I can say that I would have paid for at least one month in that situation.

  41. 357SIG says:

    Oh my god, Lord British!

  42. Spaceman-Spiff says:

    It’s always particularly sad when an MMO meets its end – they don’t get to be saved from the bargain bin like other games. They’re just gone.

    What the developers should do is release the binaries for the server app, and its setting files. That way, some people out there can build/host their own Tabula Rasa servers. Maybe some people even mod them to create a more interesting gameplay/tweaks…

    Even better, if the world editor is included. This could be the first MMO mod ever.

  43. undead dolphin hacker says:

    What a sham.


  44. Rei Onryou says:

    I’d be willing to bet that if TR’s source was released, someone else could actually make it financially viable. $1/month sub to keep the user’s server up (and a hardy community updating the game) could lead to an interesting situation. The gamers controlling the game.

  45. theleif says:

    Well… 15€/month (and i have full price to start)to play a game, or buy a game i can play for free as long as i want? Easy choice.

  46. theleif says:

    Guru Meditation
    Well i think you get my point.

  47. hydra9 says:

    I was talking with a friend about this last night: Why do developers keep trying to create new MMORPGs? It seems like a ridiculously risky prospect. How many of these things are actually successful? How many teams put years of effort into creating their game, only for it to end in failure and the end of the company? It just seems crazy.

  48. Ergates says:

    I can’t say I’m surpised – it had a whiff of DOOMED from day 1. Any time somethings comes along saying it’ll revolutionise change the world, then fails to, its days are numbered.

  49. thefanciestofpants says:

    Not really suprised, but damn that was fast wasn’t it? Are they just cutting their losses early or are they truly boned?

    MMO’s of this style really don’t work in a sci-fi setting(I actually kinda believe no MMO like this works but whatevs).