(And isn't that joke getting annoying now? I aim to displease...)
With WAR, WOW and LOTRO managing a high-fantasy chokehold on the MMO market at the moment, one might forget that Tabula Rasa's still out there offering something a little different. There've been various reports that the Richard Garriott-figureheaded sci-fi onliner isn't doing so well of late, but perhaps an apparent renewed offensive could lure back those who prefer their MMOs to have pistols rather than poleaxes.
First up, last week saw the release of the Deployment 12 patch. Which features "new version of the tier selection process, our Series 2 Physical Chaingun and Laser Pistol, our level 50 "Omega Labs" instance located in the Abyss, and much much more." Yes, you read that right - a Series 2 Physical Chaingun. Ideal for when your Metaphysical Chaingun proves inevitably useless at shooting things. More here.
More recently, TR's Lead Designer Tom Potter has announced he's stepping down. In a perfect world of scandal, this would be because the game was called 'Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa' and not 'Tom Potter's Tabula Rasa', but actually it's because he's moving off to an as-yet unspecified job elsewhere in the industry. Replacing him is one Susan Kath, who's been involved with TR for nearly half a decade. She's already made some bold promises - Mechs, for instance. Which has gotten my interest, at least, though it's no deal if I have to take a character to level 8 billion or whatever to get my robo-suit. She's also talking about giving players "a reason to log into the game every day", which comes off as rather damning to the game as-is, but specifically she means endgame content. Including dynamically-changing content - battlefields that shift dependent on the state of play. "We’re at war, people! And in a war, you win some, you lose some, and things don’t always play out the way you expect" she says, all Drill Sergeant-y.
Finally, Richard Garriott himself cropped up on the Colbert Report late last week to talk about his Operation Immortality DNA-in-space project. Colbert's sending some Colbert juice along for the ride, but rather surprisingly TR isn't mentioned even once. Which seems like a huge missed opportunity - unless Garriott's trying to distance himself from the game now. Watch his brief appearance here: