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MMO Money Magazine

Writings on the business of fun: Virtual Worlds and Real Money Makes Online Gaming a Big Business. My economic view on the world of online games - without the hype.

Author: Inktomi

Tabula Rasa: When Loyalty Pays Off.

Posted by Inktomi Friday June 19 2009 at 12:49PM
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               Trista, who is a good RL friend of mine and who follows (critiques) my blog sent me this article posted on the Aion Beta boards. Reading it gives me a new respect for NCSoft the way they handled loyal players of the failed Sci-Fi MMORPG Tabula Rasa. This was the brainchild of billionaire game designer and eccentric Richard Garriot, who I will go more into detail in a minute. As posted by Ayase, Community Manager of NCSoft:

As a dedicated Tabula Rasa subscriber, you were promised a cornucopia of Aion benefits:
Aion beta event access
Aion preorder benefits
30 free days of Aion, including digital client
To be specific, you will receive all the same benefits as someone who has preordered the Aion game:
Access to all closed and open beta events
Headstart access
Character and server preselection access
Several in-game digital items, including the Dark Cloud Hat, Amulet of Lodas,
and the Ancient Ring of Wind
For complete details on the preorder benefits, see 
http://www.aiononline.com/preorder.
You will also receive 30 days of Aion game time and the digital client.
An access key for all of the above has already been applied to your NCsoft Master Account. If you haven’t done so already, all you have to do is log in to your NCsoft Master Account and activate your code! The next beta event is this weekend, starting on June 19, 2009.

Not only did NCSoft go out of its way to actually create an in game ending for players of Tabula Rasa now they are giving them a $65.00 value at retribution for “stick-to-it-ness.” A $50.00 retail game and a month free of playtime is extremely valuable in game-time, not to mention that people are stealing money from other players to sell in game time in exchange for realspace money, :::cough:::EVE::::cough::::

At the announcement of cancellation NCSoft also made Tabula Rasa free to play before the imminent shutdown in February, which seems to be the norm for companies that are shutting down servers for an MMO they deem as a financially failing proposition. As we have read recently The Matrix Online is suffering the same fate, it makes me wonder if SOE will do the same for the players as NCSoft did for the Tabula Rasa, crowd? I’ll keep an eye on this and keep you posted.

               The ending sounded quite interesting as quoted from Gamasutra.com, “Will become overrun by an unstoppable tide of alien enemies, with humanity's only response being mutually assured destruction.” They also were rewarding a 2,000% increase in experience gain so players could level faster. I didn’t get that from Hellgate:London. X( Boo…

               Now they give them a new beginning, Aion. Which is starting its second closed beta phase today, players of the Aion Beta will get to try out the dark Asmodian race from level 1-10. I will be in on that beta and you can look me up through Inktomi or Panzer, my tanking class that I am looking to make when Aion goes retail at the end of the summer.

Above, Richard Garriott, Space Cowboy


               Back to Tabula Rasa, I was reading a post on the MMORPG.com forums from
Aryslan, seems there is a petition posted on the internet for players to sign to bring back Tabula Rasa. I think the return is unlikely because there has been a case filed against NCSoft by Richard Garriot who is sueing NCSoft for over $20 Million in lost stock options. Mr. Garriott was fired on the heels of the announcement of the shutdown of the game he worked to create while he was while he was still in quarantine from his space flight.

         “Ok, I know that you are busy killing of spacecooties, but YOU’RE FIRED! Oh and by the way SELL ALL YOUR STOCK NOW!” What I understand about this case was a timing issue and he was forced to sell stock when it was down, I feel that he may have a case, however all the details you can read in gamepolitics.com.

               I’m really not clear of all the legal mumbo jumbo surrounding the case and the details of his contract with NCSoft, but the chance of Tabula Rasa returning during a multi-million-dollar legal battle is slim and none, and slim is out to lunch. Don’t feel bad, there was a Hellgate:London Revival planned that was stomped by a legal snafu between Hanbitsoft and Namco Bandai, so I just resolved to move on to the new game of choice.

               Kudos to NCSoft for extended customer support for loyal subscribers and great focus on customer retention. Grats to Tabula Rasa fans that stuck it out, and on that note I’ll close with an old saying; “When a door closes, a window opens.” And out that window is Aion, see you in the beta!

Until then…

Play safe,

Ink