Online-Gaming Pioneer Back in Action with Sci-Fi MMORPG

richardgar249318m.jpgRichard Garriott is truly a veteran of the video game industry. As his Ultima series changed what gamers expected of video games for the PC, his brainchild Ultima Online opened the gates to industry powerhouse that is Massively Multiplayer Online gaming today.

The New York Times has a feature on this brilliant if somewhat eccentric man who’s name is being introduced to a whole new generation of gamers. This time, Garriott is exploring the realm of sci-fi in his new innovative MMORPG Tabula Rasa.

“I’ve been doing medieval fantasy for 25 years in a row, and it was just time to do something new,” Mr. Garriott, in his customary uniform of denim shirt, jeans, white tube socks and sneakers, said here at the offices of NCsoft, the South Korean company publishing the game. “The first element we wanted to focus on was fast-paced tactical combat. No. 2 was creating a dynamic battlefield where the player feels there is action going on around them all the time. And third was creating a story line that includes ethical parables and problems.”

With Tabula Rasa, Garriott aims to put story and role playing back into MMORPGs.  He’s not pulling punches in his criticism of the directions many of the most popular competition have taken, including World of Warcraft.

“As many kudos as I would like to give World of Warcraft, it’s basically a remake of EverQuest, just incredibly polished and refined,” he said. “There are harbingers of failure in that model. Everyone in these games is obsessed with the concept of how much damage-per-second they are inflicting and maximizing their D.P.S. When you do that, you are no longer playing a role; you are playing an inventory-management game.”

He added, “With Tabula Rasa we wanted the player to spend as much time as possible actually looking at the environment and what they’re shooting at.”

You can read more about Richard Garriott and Tabula Rasa in the The New York Times.

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