Earth captured the attention of the Bane (Bane is the term used to describe all of the forces fighting under the Neph army and includes the Thrax and many other races and genetically engineered creatures that fight for the Neph) after humans began broadcasting radio waves, building large cities, testing nuclear devices, and launching spacecraft into the cosmos. Once the Bane forces became aware of Earth, they invaded the planet to acquire its resources, both natural and biological, just as they had done so many times before on other worlds. Their method was precise and swift, and in a mere 5 days, the Earth was completely over run, and humans became firmly entrenched in a celestial war that had already lasted for centuries.
But the Eloh ( a peaceful and friendly alien race) who had visited Earth many years before, had not forgotten the fledgling races they had visited. They left knowledge and technology behind that allowed a select group of humans, chosen for their ability to learn and use the power of Logos, to escape. These refugees escaped to a handful of alien worlds where they could then be trained to fight the Bane. On these worlds we found allies, other sentient creatures fighting for their survival against the ruthless Bane. And so, the Army of the Allied Free Sentients was born.
The combat mixes in some aspects from shooters to add some real time action elements to the game. It still is not an outright shooter and features sticky targeting and has dice rolling based on character stats underneath. Stickiness can be adjusted to fit the preference of the player. Some weapons like the shotgun don't use the sticky targeting. Real-time factors like weapon type, ammo type, stance, cover, and movement are taken into account. The enemies are reported to have AI that will try to take advantage of the terrain, their numbers, and will try to flank the players. All this mix of system based combat and realtime movement and physics system creates a gameplay which encourages the player to think tactically; i.e. to take cover behind a pillar to get some time to reload the weapon while the enemies are getting into position again.
Critical hits, which happen on random "dice-rolls" cause special effects to happen, such as bleeding when hit by Physical damage. These effects are mentioned in the damage types section below. Also, when enemies are killed on a critical hit, they will stand up, shaking violently and unable to do anything with a red skull icon over their head. If the character who initiated this runs up to the enemy in time (approximately 5 seconds) and uses their melee attack, a special death animation is played depending on the damage type they killed them with, and they get an experience bonus.
The class system is different than typical MMORPGs, which have you choose a class at the time of character creation. Instead, Tabula Rasa's class selection is done via a tree, with each tier choice being made at levels 5, 15, and 30. To avoid any issues that might come of finding out you've made the wrong choice, you character can be "cloned," creating a new character with the same class specializations you currently have. Cloning is typically done every time one is about to select their next tier, so that the clone can become the class not selected by the original character.
A character may use any of the skills of his own class and root classes - a Sniper can invest in Ranger, Soldier, and Recruit skills as well. Each skill level is called a "pump" and most skills have 5 available pumps, although Signature skills (Fourth Tier special skills) only have one pump.
- Recruit - no specializations, has training for basic weapons and a number of other specialties, as well as motor assist armor. All characters start as a recruit.
- Soldier - Combat specialization, gives access to reflective armor and chainguns.
- Specialist - Support specialization, gives access to hazmat armor and repair, healing, and cipher (lockpicking) tools.
- [Soldier] Commando - Specialization for direct combat, gives access to graviton armor and launchers.
- [Soldier] Ranger - Specialization for stealth and long-range combat, gives access to stealth armor and net guns.
- [Specialist] Sapper - Specialization for indirect combat, such as area-of-effect attacks, gives access to mech armor and polarity guns.
- [Specialist] Biotechnician - Specialization for healing friendly characters and causing damage-over-time to enemies, gives access to bio armor and injection guns.
- [Commando] Grenadier - Specialization for close-range damage dealing, gives access to propellant guns and local damage skills.
- [Commando] Guardian - Specialization for close-range damage taking, gives access to staves and damage reduction skills.
- [Ranger] Sniper - Specialization for long-range damage dealing, gives access to torqueshell guns and skills intended to augment torqueshell damage.
- [Ranger] Spy - Specialization for close-range surgical strikes, gives access to blades and skills intended to misdirect the enemy.
- [Sapper] Demolitionist - Specialization for point-blank area-of-effect attacks (ones that radiate from the character).
- [Sapper] Engineer - Specialization for summoning robotic assitance, such as shield and multi-bots as well as stationary ground turrets.
- [Biotechnician] Medic - Specialization for healing friendly party members and augmenting their health as well as doing damage-over-time to enemies.
- [Biotechnician] Exobiologist - Specialization for raising the enemy dead to fight for them, as well as exploiting enemy corpses for damage.
Tabula Rasa's weapons consist of a number of futuristic firearms, with a number of different types of damage output. Series 2 and 3 weapons are typically better or act differently than their standard counterparts and require more training in their area to use, and have slowly been introduced in patches.
- Pistols - Good for high damage (similar to rifles, but about twice as fast) at close range, but largely ineffective at longer ranges.
- Series 2 Pistols - Slightly lower damage than standard pistols per shot, but contain three times the ammunition per magazine and fire in three-round bursts. Only come as laser pistols (Photonic damage)
- Series 3 Pistols - Can be dual-wielded
- Rifles - Good for high damage at medium range, but lose effectiveness at close range due to their low rate of fire.
- Shotguns - Good for high damage in a cone at close range, but lose effectiveness at longer range (spread and power dropoff). Does not use sticky aiming.
- Series 2 Shotguns - Similar to regular shotguns, but may have two or even three barrels, doubling or tripling damage output.
- Chainguns - Can only be used by Soldiers with training in Chainguns, deliver small amounts of damage at a high rate of fire. Typically used at close to medium range, with their damage tapering off at longer ranges.
- Series 2 Chainguns - Slightly lower damage than standard chainguns, but fire in a cone and damage all enemies in the bullet's path. Does not use sticky aiming.
- Launchers - Come in both grenade and rocket launcher types, grenade launchers are good for a continuous barrage on a group of enemies, while rocket launchers are single-shot and good for taking out single targets with a good deal of splash damage to boot.
- Series 2 Rocket Launchers - Can fire 2 shots before reloading.
- Net Guns - Fires an energy net that traps an enemy in place, preventing them from moving or turning and doing light damage to them.
- Polarity Guns - Fires a stream of high-damage at the enemy.
- Injector Guns - Favored by many, fires a hypodermic autoinjector that does armor-ignoring (at higher pumps) damage over time to the enemy.
- Propellant Guns - Short range but high continuous damage.
- Staves - Reasonably high damage melee weapon.
- Torqueshell Guns - Sniper rifles firing rocket-propelled shells, do more damage at longer ranges due to the rocket acceleration. Extremely high damage and mostly armor ignoring at higher pumps.
- Blades - Swords of all sorts, good for extremely high damage to a single target, typically good for a surgical assassination.
All weapons except the Series 2 and 3 variants come in all damage types, each with their own temporary special effect on critical damage. The damage types are as follows:
- Physical - Typical firearms, firing solid projectiles. Critical Effect: armor ignoring bleeding.
- Laser/Photonic - High-energy lasers. Critical Effect: reduces ranged damage by 35%.
- EMP - Fires pulses of electromagnetic energy, useful for armor, vehicles, and robots/cyborgs.
- Ice/Cryogenic - Cold/freezing damage. Critical effect: freezes enemy.
- Sonic - Creates high-powered overpressure waves. Critical Effect: knockback.
- Virulent - Uses viruses as a biological weapon. Critical Effect: extremely powerful snare (slowdown).
- Electric - Fires arcs of electricity. Critical Effect: arcs to a second enemy.
- Fire/Incindiary - Uses focused blasts of heat. Critical Effect: lights the enemy on fire, causing damage over time.
Different types of armor have different strengths and weaknesses as well as special effects. Only certain classes can wear certain types of armor. Armor works on top of HP, once AP is worked through, then HP is damaged. (Originally armor had different damage "bleed-through" rates, but this has been eliminated and Armor is now an extension of HP). Different armors recharge at different rates; higher recharge is better for frontline fighting.
- Motor Assist - Starting armor type, low armor but increases movement speed by 2% per piece per pump (max 50%). Has a moderate recharge rate.
- Reflective Armor - Soldier armor type, moderately high armor but reflects damage back to the enemy by 3% per piece per pump (max 75%). Has a medium-high recharge rate. Some find this armor to be somewhat useless in PvE as reflection is typically useless - enemies are usually resistant or immune to their own damage type.
- Hazmat Armor - Specialist armor type, reduces Virulent, Electric, Incindiary, and Cryogenic damage types by 1% per piece per pump (max 25%). Has a moderate regen rate.
- Graviton Armor - Commando armor type, highest armor and a number of bonuses that increase front-line dependability. It reduces knockback and stun resistance and armor regen by 3% per piece per pump (max 75%). Has a high regen rate to start with.
- Stealth Armor - Ranger armor type, moderate armor and lowers detectability in PvE by reducing AI detection by 2% per piece per pump (max 50%) and in PvP by reducing radar signature by 4% per piece per pump (max 100%). Has a low regen rate.
- Mech Armor - Sapper armor type, high armor and an area of effect energy regen rate bonus at 2% per pump per piece (max 50%) as well as a 5 meter per pump radius bonus to this aura (max 25m).
- Bio Armor - Biotechnician armor type, medium-high armor and an area of effect health regen rate bonus at 2% per pump per piece (max 50%) as well as a 5 meter per pump radius bonus to this aura (max 25m).
Logos Elements and Abilities
Logos abilities are similar to magic; they are based on the Logos elements which the Eloh imbued some of the human race with the ability to sense in ancient times. Logos elements are randomly found in the different worlds in which Tabula Rasa exists, typically hidden in caves and other nooks and crannies. Some Logos shrines have doors blocking them that require a number of other elements to be retrieved first; typically these are elements phrases, such as the Vortex door, which requires the elements Eloh, Empower, Only, The, and Strong. There are a great number of elements, many of which currently have no use other than to be collected. However a good number of them are required to train Logos abilities.
Logos abilities are spread throughout the class tree, but even if a character is trained in a certain class, the abilities are only available to him after having found the proper logos. Typically the element names refer to the effects or requirements of an ability. An example would be the ability "Fire Support," which requires the character to have found the logos Communication, Area, and Damage.
Server Shut Down
Tabula Rasa was set to be shut down February 28, 2009. Servers were slated to be free to play until January 10, 2009. However devs changed this date, to three weeks earlier, to allow for more free to play time.