Linear quest-based games are easier to make? Are you serious?
I've heard many people try to use this argument on various forum topics. They like to use this little gem when arguing for the creation of more sandbox games, that the developers don't have the skill or effort required to make a true sandbox game, because linear games are so much "easier" to make every does them.
Are you kidding me?
Let's think about it.
Sandbox game - everything is player created / run. So you DON'T need quests and storylines. The player makes their own quests and stories.
You have to create the UI, the monster AI, the combat system, then advancement system, the crafting, the trading, the social systems, etc. etc. everything else every MMO ever made has had.
Which means you don't have to design and implement thousands of quests. No questing XP rewards to figure out and balance, no quest reward loot tables to create and balance, no quest event triggers to code and test, no quest log text to write and edit, etc.
A quest based game has everything that a sandbox game has. It just ALSO has tons and tons of quests.
It's pretty easy actually. Imagine playing WoW, but never doing a quest, ever. You'd kill stuff, socialize with people, gather resources, craft, kill some more stuff... etc.
You could play WoW as a sandbox game easily if you chose to never do a quest and just wander around making your own content like you do in a sandbox game.
Everything that makes a "sandbox' game is there. You may say that the different zones are designed to only allow people of a certain level in WoW. Are sandbox games any different? Monsters still have different relative strengths. In a sandbox game you still go to area X when you are a noob and area Z is only for vets.
"Yeah but in WoW you always go to the same zones at around the same level, you have no freedom!"
In every sandbox MMO I played, it's the exact same way. Certain areas are off limits to noobs, the same stratification exists, it's just that in more linear games, it tells you "mob ten levels higher then you = instant death" where as in a sandbox game, you just go get one shotted quick and remember "ok, that guy pwns me." I'd rather have a little bit of direction from the game to not waste a death on my ignorance, thanks.
They add thousands of quests to make the game more interesting and help you level up a bit faster. So, how is a linear game easier to make again? "They have more work to do, so it's easier for them." Really? Serious?
If you're talking about class vs. skill based advancement, they are really about the same in terms of how "easy" to make. How do I know this? Because I've played plenty of both types, both have imbalances and constant patching/nerfing of different skills/classes/abilities etc.
No class based game is perfectly balanced, nor is any skill based game. Are the devs stupid for not being able to balance the game? No, you're stupid for assuming you are smarter and better at balancing a game that you didn't create. A smart person would think, "They made the game, they coded it, if anyone can balance it, it'll be them." So why aren't games balanced? Becuase MMOs are so frick'n huge and so many system interact with each other in so many different ways, our heads would explode if we were forced to deal with it on a daily basis. We're lucky we have such hard working and intelligent devs behind our favorite games.... (obviously the previous sentence does not apply to SWG and the NGE or Sigil's Vanguard)
I'd like clarification if you would please, I just simply don't understand where you people are coming from when you say that linear games are easier to make.