Well, it looks as though tomorrow will see the end of Tabula Rasa’s one-plus years of active deployment in the MMO battlefields. Other than an extremely short (2 weeks) stint in the game, I have no vested interest in the title, but I always find it incredibly sad when a MMORPG shuts its doors. It’s not just the thought that this represents the end of an enormous effort on behalf of many, many developers, coders and designers, but also the community that chose that game to make its home.
I felt the same way when Asheron’s Call 2 and Auto Assault powered down, digesting a few posts full of people visiting their favorite areas for the last time, frantically taking screenshots, and playing as if the world would end tomorrow… which, of course, it did. I simply cannot fathom the future demise of titles that have had much longer lives — what will it be like the day EverQuest or World of Warcraft or City of Heroes goes offline? I think it’s comforting for people to assume these games will continue indefinitely, because even if they’re not playing them, it’s nice to know they’re still out there. There’s still an option to visit or revisit these worlds.
I have to salute Tabula Rasa’s dev team for a tremendous effort in the past couple months. With NCSoft’s tanking of the title and Richard Garriott’s departure, there probably was a substantial temption for the team to go “screw it” and just eek out the last days with minimal effort. Instead, they’ve pushed out the door some decent content, including a final day event in which the enemy will be bringing down the full force to the entire game. For people still playing, that’s the right way to treat their loyalty — give them one final, grand memory to cap their experiences.