Tabula Rasa shutting down Feb. 28

Following Garriott departure, NCsoft's troubled MMORPG will join Auto Assault on sci-fi scrap heap in three months.

This century, NCsoft is 0-for-2 with sci-fi massively multiplayer online role-playing games. (Unless you count City of Heroes/Villains.) More than a year after Auto Assault headed for the scrap yard, the Korean publisher announced its latest foray into the future, Tabula Rasa, is also being decommissioned. In a post on the game's official Web site, the developers behind the project today announced its imminent end.

"Last November we launched what we hoped would be a ground breaking sci-fi MMO," the post read. "In many ways, we think we've achieved that goal. Tabula Rasa has some unique features that make it fun and very different from every other MMO out there. Unfortunately, the fact is that the game hasn't performed as expected. The development team has worked hard to improve the game since launch, but the game never achieved the player population we hoped for."

As of January 10, 2009, Tabula Rasa will be free to play to its remaining subscriber base, much like the soon-to-be-shuttered Hellgate: London. However, as of February 28, the game's servers will be switched off forever. "We can assure you that through the next couple of months we'll be doing some really fun things in Tabula Rasa, and we plan to make staying on a little longer worth your while," the post concluded.

Though saddening to its subscribers, Tabula Rasa's demise wasn't completely unexpected. After going online last October one day before Hellgate's Halloween launch, the game struggled with a variety of technical issues and lukewarm reviews. Despite over six years in development--and several delays--the game never caught fire in the World of Warcraft-dominated MMORPG market, selling just over 61,000 copies in the US. In its most recent earnings report, NCsoft said the game--which cost a hefty sum to developer--accounted for just 2 percent, or $1.3 million, of its overall annual revenue.

Tabula Rasa's chief designer, Richard Garriott, went so far as to promote the game during his recent $30 million jaunt to the International Space Station. However, the writing appeared to be on the wall when Garriott abruptly resigned last week to pursue "new interests." In his departure message, the Ultima creator conceded the MMORPG's sailing had not always been smooth, saying, "I am very grateful to you loyal players for sticking around through what I think we can all honestly say was a rough launch."

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316 comments
Nekromenos
Nekromenos

@m0zart This particular page has changed about three times already. I still don't get it. I thought Tabula Rasa was shut down some years ago...

m0zart
m0zart

@Nekromenos Likely because it was part of a related story that came out today about Richard Garriott's lawsuit victory.

Nekromenos
Nekromenos

Why? Why did I get this in the RSS feed TODAY?

dhughes_
dhughes_

Too bad I bought it in Jan and didn't realize it was an online game~ or that it wasn't going to be there "later" to play. At least Hellgate could be played offline!

MOCHIRON_MAN
MOCHIRON_MAN

NCsoft is making another MMO: Aion: Tower of Eternity. It's a fantasy online. I bet its gonna get canned as well. Why? World of Warcraft. Really quite annoying.

y2kizzle
y2kizzle

Sad day for MMO's. The game was quite good and served a niche market, its a shame that anything that isn't a blockbuster gets shot down. Dosen't bode well for any future sci-fi mmo's either. Keep trying guys and bad luck.

MOCHIRON_MAN
MOCHIRON_MAN

I have no idea: Is Tabula Rasa an online strict? Or is it playable offline? If it's both offline and online, atleast I can still try it out.

burn6
burn6

I was just planning to check out this game! I'm a guild wars fan, so I will still expect GW2 to kick ass when it comes out.

Blue-Laz-Alert
Blue-Laz-Alert

SkarWolf...shut up. Anyone who dies because of World of Warcraft has addiction issues and probably shouldn't be playing it in the first place. As for it being the cause for the recession...no.

MOCHIRON_MAN
MOCHIRON_MAN

Mezzanne Posted Dec 22, 2008 6:28 am PT MOCHIRON_MAN, you're kinda missing the point. PC mmorpgs are getting canned while WOW now has 11 million subscribers? It's a PC game... and MMOs are still a PC genre. As for computer versions of regular games getting canned, which ones? I'm not trying to flame you, I just disagree with what you're saying and asking you to validate your arguments. Yes, computers are widely varied, I agree with that. It's the cause for a lot of problems, but the fact remains that a well-built Pc can last a long time and run all games... it needs upgrades though, but at least that's possible. Mezzanne, There are mmorpgs, that have 70% less subscribers then Wow, and they are extremely far from going to the crapper. Why? Beause they are something new, or something, highly interactive, or something never attempeted before. But a game ike Tablua Rasa looks to good to be canned like this. Even if that Blasted wow game has 600% more subscribers. People are too addicted to Wow, as Skarwolf is basically saying, but Tabula Rasa, has a balance, that gets people, playing, but not for hours with no end in sight. eventually, people get off the computer, and go outside for a change. then another time, they play it. Those kind of people, are not wasting their money on some stupid game for all eternity, but are enjoying it, at a reasonable amount. Blizzard doesn't even need to make any more computer games, because their reason is clear. WOW. Wow this. Wow that. Wow every freaking thing in the universe! Thats like 75% of what I hear at school. Of course PC games are not dying, it's just that there are less of them than conole games. some games that are doing an absolute phenominal job on consoles, would look absolutely amazing on computers, are getting canned, because the company would have to do something known as work. work work work. Yep, it's a job, and they have to do it, so they shouldn't can some games for stupid reasons. EA canned TIBERIUM, and it was insanely popular with C&C fans, but for PS3 , X360, and PC, nope. no Tiberium. and the game Comand & Conquer 3 Tiberium wars, along with the book Command & Conquer Tiberium Wars, (It's a good book, you should read it) sets the stage perfectly for Vega, (who you would play as in Tiberium) for the campaign against the Brotherhood. lots of things to do, not like the dumb game Legendary (Ugh, horrible game) and then there is a game by THQ which it had something about sowrds and cannons style of combat, I can't remember the name but it looked really good. Guess what; It got canned as well. I have a medium level PC, I love my computer, I take care of it, and I can play a whole lot of games at reasonable quality, but when it comes to other people, they can either play it better, or best, and other times, some can't install it at all. but that's beside what I'm saying. Tabula Rasa looks like such a good game! I really want to play it, but My own computer doesn't have an internet connection, unless if I'm verfying my purchase of some games like SPORE and RA3. I like the fact that people are ofcourse making MMORPGs, to maybe get some people away from Wow, not that that's a bad thing, but if these people could just play something else for once! And by The Holy Lord himself, I'll be damned if anyone see's me playing the outrageously dumb game. (I hate Wow with a passion)

Skarwolf
Skarwolf

WOW has 11 million subscribers. The game is now mainstream sort of. Even people who aren't into MMORPG's probably have a relative, child, friend who is playing WOW. This leads to what is called "Social Disease." What happens is that people become addicted to the social aspect of the game where they fear missing out on something, anything if they don't log in. The game replaces their real social life and everything else is put aside. WOW will undoubtedly contribute to many marriage breakups, kids failing classes, dropouts from college, job loss and even some deaths. WOW is also the cause of the current recession !i

Mezzanne
Mezzanne

MOCHIRON_MAN, you're kinda missing the point. PC mmorpgs are getting canned while WOW now has 11 million subscribers? It's a PC game... and MMOs are still a PC genre. As for computer versions of regular games getting canned, which ones? I'm not trying to flame you, I just disagree with what you're saying and asking you to validate your arguments. Yes, computers are widely varied, I agree with that. It's the cause for a lot of problems, but the fact remains that a well-built Pc can last a long time and run all games... it needs upgrades though, but at least that's possible. The biggest threat to PC gaming is piracy. That really needs to be addressed... but franky, PC gaming is not dying. There is a very big fanbase for multiplayer games in the MMORPG and FPS markets. But back to the topic at hand, Tabula rasa simply isn't good enough... it's a shame to see it die, but having played it, as well as WoW and Warhammer Online, it's clearly not up to standard... it's a shame, but that's how the industry is.

MOCHIRON_MAN
MOCHIRON_MAN

I think, that the reason behind this, is not WOW and MMO stuff and other jazz like that, but the fact that PC gaming, is becoming more ignored by game companies, because of how extremely widely varied people's computers are; you got the person with the piece of crap from 1994, then you got the guy with the computer he bought just an hour ago, custom built, and has all of the best components ever built for home use. And all of the computer companies, like Dell, HP, Toshiba and what not, make computers built for specific means. Take E-machines for example. I have an E-machines, and works great. They build computers designed for the internet. Dell, builds multi level computers for everything. Dell XPS, thye build these in the form of school laptops, and hardcore gaming rigs. HP, builds computers, for customer satisfaction, and accessibility. You see, not all companies that make computers, are devoted to gaming, because not everyone plays games, like the game makers of today. They play games on their off time, and when they need to, on there "on time" for a reason: to come up with new ideas. But the thing is, computer game making industries, are only making games, that require resources. How it started is, thry make games that require little resources, and they up it. And up it. And up it some more. They just don't care about the low level computers, they practically want you to play it, on a flippin' mainframe. Then you have the game comapnies that care for the people with low end computers, like Valve, yes, I like Valve, everybody does. They made Half Life, a high quality game, and it's graphics are very good, but the requirements are so little. like 128 MB of RAM, Direct X 7, and other low level requirements, And with that, you can have high quality games! It's just a thing called Optimization! Yet, lots of the other game companies, have no clue what the hell optimization is, so you get games that require 4 gigs of RAM, the worlds most powerful Graphics card, and an extremely super high end computer, just to be able to play on medium quality, and it has some lag. Why the heck would someone buy something that requires massive amounts of resources?! I have no clue! These other game companies should take lessons from Valve, and learn a few things on how you can make crap requirements, look good! If Valve can do it, EA can do it. THQ can do it. Microsoft Game Studios can do it. Other massive companies can do it. they just need to optimize. But, overall, everybodies computers are just to widely varied. so computer mmorpgs are getting canned. and computer versions of regular games are gettting canned as well.

Neoyamaneko
Neoyamaneko

NCSoft just throws a lot of crap on the wall and markets what slides off. They're the main reason why the Pay2Play MMO market is saturated and dying, with the exception of a precious few.

TheClown24
TheClown24

the market for mmorpgs is full, nobody can afford more than a couple, i myself cant afford any and i dont care because i spend my time on games that dont cost 4 times as much as normal games every year, because there are so many people already on wow, people who want an mmorpg are obviously going to be attracted to "11 million subscribers" and guild wars only has a foothold in the market because its free, if it wasnt it would have suffered the same fate as tebula rasa

shade1978x
shade1978x

A developer should come out with an MMO called Treadmill Online. The game would consist of an avatar(whose looks you'd customize, obviously) running on a treadmill and, ever so often, you'd get a random piece of loot, like a laser gun or sword or pet or something. It'd be subscription based and players would have to pony up $15 a month. And get this, the whole point of the game would be to keep playing, therefore giving $15 a month to the developer! Doesn't that sound like fun! You endure mind-bogglingly repetitive tasks, all the while getting the occasional piece of "leet loot" along with the honor of shelling out $15 a month for the privilege of accomplishing nothing! Sounds like a genius plan, huh? If a company was lucky, they might even get millions of morons to pay for the privilege of running this proverbial treadmill! I can dare to dream...

mlbslugger86
mlbslugger86

whatever mmorpg comes out is going to fail, simply because of WoW its kinda pointless to release one with that being out

Kezman118
Kezman118

I'm sorry to say but I think World of Warcraft is the reason to the death of these original IPs

runstalker
runstalker

Hey NCsoft - bring on the marketing and forget everything else. Actually, put a couple of eggs in the Aion basket too, as there's an audience for that one. I thought the Korean beta was very high quality. Aion a bit Asian generic in screens and low res movies, but to see and hear Aion in motion you understand why it has a 160 person staff.

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

I admire TR for trying something new, but I downloaded the free trial and... it just isn't a very good game.

CyberStud69
CyberStud69

To whoever said this would've been way more successful had it been non-subscription (i.e., no monthly fees), I totally agree. Guild Wars is the only MMORPG I play for that very reason. Monthly fees are a slap in the face, as far as I'm concerned, especially when you have a game like WoW, where you could be waiting an hour for every 3 hours of gameplay just to get quests or to take a boat or to get a party together. You're paying them money so you can sit and wait around. Guild Wars is the way to go, in my opinion, and I think NCSoft should've followed that model with Tabula Rasa.

UltimateRAGEX
UltimateRAGEX

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dskingston
dskingston

I was on the closed beta test for this game. It had potential but was never really team/squad based. (imho) Part of the fun of playing a MMORPG's is making a guild/squad and meeting people you can team with on a daily basis. Player vs. Player was always a big contention with this game too. Their marketing efforts never helped it either. I actually enjoyed the game and still have my account and found it addictive as any other MMORPG. I will be sad to see it go, even if I didn't make any friends playing it.

GunnyHath
GunnyHath

There needs to be more games with milla :P

runstalker
runstalker

Perhaps it would be a good idea to sell the property and operations to one of the sixty zillion free-to-play game sites and let Tabula Rasa live on that way. You could probably retrofit a clever item mall system onto the game to make it compatible with free-play business models. It's a pretty huge game to keep updated, however. It would be daunting for most free-to-play live teams (usually tiny) to handle TR.

moh_sakhaii
moh_sakhaii

At least for the sake of keeping their work alive , they should release the server package to the public or maybe they prefer it completely dead :D

A1B2C3CAL
A1B2C3CAL

Good, it was bad all the way around. I feel sorry for people that invested time in it.

xatman911
xatman911

Problem with MMORPG's is that they are very time consuming. While an average game last upto 20 hours- 10 hours at most if you are playing movie based garbage with few games lasting more then 50 - (Worthwhile online components especially on FPS games) It is hard to keep content fresh. People can live with an error or two in normal games. But get an error in MMORPG - then a player is stuck with for the time they spend playing the game. (Error is used as a substitute for anything from a bad texture to cumbersome interface) Most MMORPG need good lore to keep them going. And they should not just be combat orientated. Look at Runscape for example, it may not have the best graphics but it rules by the fact that you just need your web browser to play it. Its not combat orientated especially with so many skills on offer. Heck, you can play it for free too - if you like it you can upgrade your account. WOW has been excellent MMORPG, I am sure that the lore that supports it is still there to be explored further. (For me- paying monthly is a turn off)

necronaux
necronaux

If he spent more time & money on development, as opposed to a $30 mil space trip, maybe they wouldn't have to shut it down.

CreatureRising
CreatureRising

Its Truly Hard to Make a Great MMO RPG cause you have to have a Good staff and Tech Team besides a Great Game. My Friend playedt his and he said something that he had a Question about a glitch on something( WoW player here didnt catch even a slight bit of it ) and no one responded

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

Never heard of this game, seen pictures, gameplay videos, or even reviews. This game wasn't even on the radar. Looks like it's time for the company to do something else.

demonicekyo
demonicekyo

Tabula Rasa has many week points in graphics design, Story line, and art design. To build a game can live among the players that need a hard efforts, NC Soft don't have good graphic designers or story line makers, They need to check themselves one more time before release another crappy MMO game

Jafool
Jafool

GOOD RIDDENS TO BAD RUBBISH

tatton777
tatton777

I keep hearing how WoW is to blame for these other guys failing. Most people who like MMRPG's try these other games when they come out. I've given Tabula Rasa, Lord Of The Rings, Conan, Hellgate London, etc a fair shot when they came out. The bottom line is they were not that good.

thirteen_zombie
thirteen_zombie

Thats too bad, I was always interested in that game but never realized it had came out a year ago. wormri Posted Nov 24, 2008 3:54 pm GMT If it didn't have monthy fee, it could probably have 6,000,000 members by now. I wouldn't really say that cause you have to pay for W.o.W and they have like 1.3 million subscribers.

runstalker
runstalker

cosmostein77 Posted Nov 24, 2008 7:27 am PT "runstalker, I am fairly certain that Richard Garriott used his own green to fund his trip to the space station." I think you're implying that I said NCsoft paid for Garriott's space journey. That's not what I said, please. But let's be realistic, NCsoft (and ultimately purchasing players) pay for it. Last time I checked TR was his only job for the last 4 years, and he stopped getting Ultima residuals long ago. I think you understood the original point I was making.

wormri
wormri

If it didn't have monthy fee, it could probably have 6,000,000 members by now.

insanitycheck3
insanitycheck3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

pop_yoo
pop_yoo

Lol @Spartan_418 if blizzard would shut the servers off for a month ppl would die, oh and they would lose a lot of moneyz, and maybe ppl would go to work and repair the worlds economy >:D and then pixies would come from the sky and....

cosmostein77
cosmostein77

runstalker, I am fairly certain that Richard Garriott used his own green to fund his trip to the space station.

runstalker
runstalker

There's irony to be found in Tabula Rasa accounting for just 2%, or $1.3 million, of NCsoft's annual revenue: Makes you wonder how many months ago Lord British planned to pop the escape hatch with a fat golden parachute. Garriott dropped $30 million on his space trip. So in hindsight he essentially robbed NCsoft blind for 4 years on a massive salary, then left them--and his faithful Tabula Rasa players--out to dry with a dead duck. I'm just sayin'.

runstalker
runstalker

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Icky27
Icky27

It was fun for about 2 weeks then it got really old really fast. Developers should just give up on the MMO market, sure it looks like a big pile of money, but they really can't touch the level that WoW brings. Hate WoW all you want, but it's huge and well polished, MMOs that come out have one chance to impress and if they are hoping to improve once they release then they are already doomed.

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

it's not an MMO thing, and it's not a WOW thing, this is yet more evidence that PC gaming is becoming a niche market, which is sad as a long-term computer gamer. it wasn't long ago that PC Gamer was saying that PC Gaming would always be around since there are some typs of games that dont work on consoles (rts's, first-person shooters, mouse controlled rpg's). since that time, developer's have manage to make FPS work on console controller and so PC is pretty much left with nothing but RTS games and WoW. so, if you are gonna launch a game on PC these days, it actually has to be BETTER than what else is out there