Lord British Seeks New Worlds to Conquer - Again

I spoke with Richard Garriott, the creator of immortal games such as Ultima and Ultima Online, and the more recent Tabula Rasa, recently and he pointed me to the website of his new startup venture, Portalarium (www.portalarium.com). Along with four of his buddies from Origin and NCSoft he has started this new studio to bring "Premium Games to the Social Web". He stated that it will be as much as a year before we see the first solid product of this collaboration, although some parts of it are slated to be "out there" by the end of this year. Lord British has made his mark several times over by re-inventing gaming. I can only assume that this adventure will be no different. This is a company to keep an eye on.


Tabula Rasa's Website Is No More

The game may have closed its doors back in February, but until recently its website was still up and running. That's all changed now, with Tabula Rasa's website being shut down and instead redirecting people to NCsoft's main page.

Richard Garriott Sues NCsoft for $27 million

As you may remember, Richard Garriott announced his departure from NCsoft in November 2008 following his flight to the International Space Station as part of Operation Immortality. Soon after, it was announced that Tabula Rasa was shutting down. Well, as Kotaku found out, Garriott is suing NCsoft for fraud to the tune of $27 million in damages.

The suit was filed in the Texas Western District Court yesterday. GamePolitics has a copy of Garriott's actual complaint. Basically, as GamePolitics puts its, the complaint "alleges that he lost millions when NCsoft manipulated him into cashing out stock options earlier this year after firing him late in 2008."

Yes, Garriott is saying he was fired and didn't leave the company voluntarily after all. Here's the wording straight from the complaint: "In... November 2008, Chris Chung, President of NCSoft's North American operations, informed Mr. Garriott that NCSoft has decided to 'part company.' Although Mr. Garriott objected to his dismissal, Mr. Chung insisted that the decision was final - Mr. Garriott had to go."

Garriott claims to have suffered more than $27 million in damages and is accusing NCsoft of breach of contract, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

Tabula Rasa Ends Transmission After Final Assault

The Tabula Rasa servers have shut down, but the game certainly went out with a bang. Friday's transmission on the official Web site announced that Special Intelligence units had intercepted and decoded Bane communications and discovered the enemy was planning a massive offensive attack. Players were advised to fortify defenses at every AFS base in preparation for the assult: "We can not afford to be complacent or uncertain, but if it is truly our destiny to be destroyed, we are taking them all with us."

It seems Tabula Rasa's destiny was indeed to be destroyed, but the team was able to sign off with one final message : "As we return to Earth, our battle comes to an end. Thank you to all the fans who have supported us for the last few years! We hope you have enjoyed your journey through the galaxy and that the next worlds you visit will be filled with excitement and fun."

The team thanked the game's community for its passion and noted that "with every end comes a new beginning." In the case of Tabula Rasa, that ending was an all-out war to bring closure for fans.

Weekly News Recap: Jan. 24, 2009

It's about that time again for another weekly recap. We have a ton of exclusives to share with you, so let's jump right in! Keep reading after the jump for even more links to some of our most noteworthy news stories of the week, as well as editorials on casual MMOs, professional gaming and machinima by members of the Allakhazam staff.

Allakhazam Features

Interview with Mia Rose : Editor-in-Chief Andrew "Tamat" Beegle got the chance to meet up with Mia Rose at the Consumer Electronics Show this month and she discussed all things WoW, including her thoughts on WotLK.

'Free Expansion' on the Horizon : Tamat talks with Vanguard's lead designer, Salim "Silius" Grant, about all of the new expansion-like content coming soon to the game.

Fasaria World Beta Giveaway : The Fasaria World team gave us 500 beta keys to give out to Allakhazam members. If you'd like to participate, we suggest you hurry before they're gone!

TwelveSky 2: Our First Look : Our friends at MAYN sent us 10 exclusive screenshots of this upcoming MMO set in ancient China. Check them out to see the style of the game.

Lord British Laments on Tabula Rasa

Richard Garriott, Lord British himself, has recently given an interview to GameDaily. He discusses having lost the massively-multiplayer battle, and even offers a bit of conjecture as to where he went wrong.

“But I'm also not what I'll call terribly surprised, either, that the company would choose this path. I think NCsoft looks at it as an opportunity cost issue -- where they put those resources and people on that, or something new. They chose something new.”

He gave it the old college try, we can all agree to that. Now whether or not Tabula Rasa was, indeed, a “winner” is up for debate. Regardless, we are sad to see it go, and hope Lord British continues onward, in haste and in good style.

Source: GameDaily

Richard Garriott Returns?

According to an article published by BBC, Richard Garriott plans to return to the gaming industry. After leaving NCsoft in November, it was speculated that he was going to be throwing in the game design towel for good. Fortunately, he's going to be staying away from creating a sci-fi game but instead return to his more traditional, fantasy roots.

"After 25 years at Origin, the last thing I wanted to make was yet another medieval fantasy game. Now, after a very interesting break, I'm keen to get back into the fray and work on a new game. Probably medieval fantasy and probably online; there's something very powerful about getting people together"

Now I'm usually the first person to crack a joke about Garriott or Tabula Rasa -- but I think if he can return to the kind of storytelling he did in the Ultima series, there might actually be a good game left in him. That said, he has some major challenges ahead of him. Namely winning back his fans and ultimately, his good reputation. Will he create another bomb or will he make a victorious comeback to the online gaming space? I suppose only time will tell.

Source: BBC News

Play TR for Free Before Servers Close

Tabula Rasa's servers will shut down on Feb. 28, but until that time you can play it for free. Whether you're an old player who wants to reactivate their account or a new player wanting to see what the game is like, there's new content to try out. For example, the team recently outlined the difference between finalized Mechs and PAUs that are coming in Deployment 16.

If you're a former player looking to return and check out the new content, just log into your PlayNC master account at www.plaync.com and visit Account Management to reactivate your account. It's as easy as clicking a button! If you're a new player who has never tried Tabula Rasa, you can get a Tabula Rasa Serial Code by visiting our Support site and submitting a request for a new code. Use that code at www.plaync.com to create a new account!

You can download the client here.

Epic 'Caves of Donn' Instance Implemented

With the Tabula Rasa servers shutting down in February 2009, the dev team isn't going to have the time to create or implement all of the updates they had planned for the game. For example, according to the newest Feedback Friday post, the team had wanted to create Epic versions of the best intances.

Well, the team had already begun work on the Epic version of "Caves of Donn," so they decided to implement it in the game after yesterday's patch to give players the opportunity to try it out.

Unfortunately, there is not as much polish as we would like on this instance, but we feel confident that it is complete and fun enough to share with everyone in its current state. We hope you enjoy the challenges contained within and make good use of the Series 3 weapons rewarded.

Keep reading here or below for more information on the instance, including where it's located and a list of rewards.

Deployment 15 Implemented on Test Server

The Tabula Rasa servers may be shutting down on Feb. 29, 2009, but that doesn't mean new deployments are done just yet.

Deployment 15 has been implemented on the Public Test Server today, and it includes some interesting updates, such as FPS mode, a new instance map called "The Empire Sector," and holiday decorations.

You can check out the full patch notes here or after the jump. Here's the instructions on how to access the PTR if you want to get as much time with D15 as possible before the servers close.