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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Define 'Sandbox'...

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54 posts found
  Zayne3145

Novice Member

Joined: 6/28/07
Posts: 1461

May contain nuts.

 
OP  10/06/08 6:24:31 AM#1

'Sandbox' seems the be the buzzword of the moment, but what exactly does it mean?

I'm sure it means different things to different people, but newcomers to the genre and those who don't have the time to keep up with current conventions might be confused by the concept. To combat this, I thought it might be a good idea if everyone posts the 5 main points that they personally feel constitutes sandbox gameplay.

Get listing!

  emperorwings

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/25/06
Posts: 1307

10/06/08 6:29:34 AM#2

1) Freedom

2) skill based. And there should be ALOT of skill

3) Versatile. Can be a tradesman and a fighter and do either one on the side.

4) Open world which can be terraformed and changed by players

5) No skill caps and deep tradeskill and combat system

This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  zymurgeist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/24/04
Posts: 5178

10/06/08 6:40:05 AM#3

I'm going to have to agree with this guy that all MMORPGs are sand boxes to at least some extent.

Article

"Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo

  User Deleted
10/06/08 6:44:54 AM#4

Multiable forms of advancement and having advancement not having to be the primary/only goal.

I'd consider the ability for people/groups to declare a plot of land theirs a requirement as well though it really isn't.

 

See: tradeskill, combat, PvP, raid, guild conflict, NPC faction conflict, and more.   None of which are a requirement, if you want to live in a town doing nothing but sitting in a smithy and using politics mechanics to control an NPC faction you can.   if you want to raid go right ahead.

  craynlon

Novice Member

Joined: 11/15/05
Posts: 255

10/06/08 7:02:26 AM#5
Originally posted by zymurgeist

I'm going to have to agree with this guy that all MMORPGs are sand boxes to at least some extent.

Article


 

great article, i strongly agree with the author

it seems as soon as you bring in a single quest or task for the user to follow the game is excluded from the sandbox category

if you are a sandbox fanatic i would also strongly demand to take the sandbox mox literally demanding that player actions are shaping the sand.

1 month/ 1 year after the release the sandbox world should have been molded and changed heavily due to player actions not just by changing the name of a few castles but by actually making a certain race of mobs extingt/ burning down a town/ building houses in the desert.....

if your bored, visit my blog at:
http://craylon.wordpress.com/ dealing with the look of mmos with the nvidia 3d vision glasses

  boognish75

Novice Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 1551

People take mmo''s way to seriously

10/06/08 7:06:59 AM#6

I guess, skill based and little to no content as this should be made up by the players, definatly a niche type of game, as most people like story archs, quests and long sagas, there is not much of that in a sandbox

playing eq2 and two worlds

  Antaran

Novice Member

Joined: 6/16/07
Posts: 581

The only thing required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

10/06/08 7:12:16 AM#7

1. Freedom of choice and actions. Not limited to a set line like in WoW, LotRo and majority of others.

2. Fully open world. No portals between areas. Dungeons and Instances are limited in numbers.

3. Skill based not class based. Levels either don't exist or don't mean your better the higher the number is. Skills are upgraded through use of particular items (pistols = pistol skills, swords = sword skills etc) NOT BOUGHT..

4. Decay through use is a must as in my eyes "sandbox" includes a true economy run by players, crafters are always needed and wanted, crafting is complex with stat based resourses and experimentaion (with success/fail chances) to make no 2 items exactly the same. Looted items if any are basic or junk that can be broke down and converted to resourses or just sold to a junk dealer or for pitiful amounts for the new players.

5. PvP is open world style BUT.. it is optional, a simple /pvp command or something to allow people to be flagged as wanting to PvP with timers to stop abuse of the system (30seconds to go from non PvP to being able to PvP and 5 minutes to go from PvP to non PvP) *system used in SWG*

As stated in number 5 i've pretty much described Pre-NGE SWG, this is because in my eyes that was the best style of sandbox.

Some people will disagree with me on option 4 but in my eyes those that do disagree don't want true sandbox, they want a combat only orientated game. There are many homeless crafters out there since certain changes a few years ago, it's time companies catered for everyone instead of just the combat players. (combat only players = 50% - 70% of MMORPG gamers in my estimates, companies want more money so catering for the crafters as well will increase sales and subscription income)

  User Deleted
10/06/08 9:51:08 AM#8

Everyone will define Sandbox a little different, here goes mine:

- in a Sandbox MMO you can make a full living, which includes Housing, Player Cities which have functions (like in SWG) and not only cosmetic (like in LOTRO), various mount types, influence of the players to make in impact on the landscape

- you have many ways to shape and express your invidiuality: take the VAST amount of clothing you could by in SWG, high level of character customization, great diversity in armor and weapons

- should be skill based, or at least a really interesting amount of skill customizations, tho I must admit skill based does not rank so high on my list

- the game world must be physically vast and kinda realistic, not every inch crammed with quests and mobs, but free (pointless) space, again like the SWG planets. A world were you can just roam far and wide.

- a Sandbox game must not be too much zoned, but as open as possible, and you must be able to go to every place which you can see, no unreachable backgrounds.

- the world design must not be a questdriven Theme Park, like Disney World. Today most people want and need quests, so even a Sandbox game of the future must have the same amount of good quests, thats no contradiction. Its a question how they are placed and that you are offered not hook-nosed through Realm 1 from point to point entirely linear. It may be linear in the first 10 levels to learn and offer places, but there must be many types of things to do; Vanguard is a good example how to incorporate quests and not entirely make a world like a Theme Park.

- social hubs: its vital to create interesting, useful social hubs; a thing were alas many MMOs fail, strangely. SWG was good in this, people always met in Mos Eisley and Theed, also WOW does this ok even tho its not Sandbox game. The existence of useful things in those hubs (Auction House) and the central placement of the city is important.

- social things to do: one of the things SWG made the best Sandbox game ever was the existence of Entertainers (and to a degree Image Designers). Non-combat classes can help to make it more like a world and less like a Theme Park; if I recall the many player made events, auctions, parties, gigs, marriages - in all those things Entertainer groups made those events alive in a way no other MMO has been able to.

Those are things I can think of.

  gillvane1

Novice Member

Joined: 3/15/05
Posts: 1508

Google "MMORPGMaker" if you want to make your own MMORPG.

10/06/08 10:16:04 AM#9

Sandbox = any game I like, that is not WoW.

 

If I like "skillz" instead of levels classes, then any game that has this feature is a sandbox.

If I think that the most fun way to level a character, is do an activity over and over and then an ability will increase, rather than spending "skill points" then this is a sandbox.

If I like PvP and taking over territory, then this is a sandbox.

If Iike the ability to change the game world, then this is a sandbox.

Whatever I like, that isn't WoW, I will call a Sandbox game. If I don't like it, then it's not a Sandbox.

 

For examle look at the post above, which says a "Sandbox" game can't have to many zones. What do zones have to do with a Sandbox? Nothing as far as I can tell, but that's what the poster likes, few zones, so that goes in his definition.

The above poster also includes the ability to change your clothes a lot. Could you have a "sandbox" game where every character looked exactly the same? I don't see why not, but this poster likes character customization, which is a nice feature, so that gets thrown into the "sandbox" definition.

Again, it's just pretty much, whatever I like makes the game a "sandbox" and whatever I don't like makes it not a sandbox.

  donjn

Novice Member

Joined: 6/09/08
Posts: 763

10/06/08 10:22:16 AM#10

Thanks for making thread #458745645235235 on this subject...

  gillvane1

Novice Member

Joined: 3/15/05
Posts: 1508

Google "MMORPGMaker" if you want to make your own MMORPG.

10/06/08 10:23:38 AM#11
Originally posted by zymurgeist

I'm going to have to agree with this guy that all MMORPGs are sand boxes to at least some extent.

Article

 

I also agree with this article. It basically says ALL MMORPGs are sandboxes. Some more, some less, but it's pointless to try and distinguish between non-sandbox and sandbox MMORPGs, since they all have some aspects of being a sandbox when compared to Donkey Kong or Half Life 2.

  Tatum

Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/07
Posts: 1154

10/06/08 12:26:21 PM#12

I would say that, a sandbox MMO is much more focused on "features" rather than "content".  Early UO and SWG are probably the best examples of this.

  Blodpls

Novice Member

Joined: 7/29/08
Posts: 1466

10/06/08 12:29:30 PM#13

I don't agree with the article at all.

Although all mmorpgs exhibit some sandbox like qualities there is large enough difference to enable some to be labled sandbox and others not to be.

I'll use wow as example of a game that has extremely limited sandbox features. 

In WoW there is pretty much one way to play the game, you kill stuff and complete the quests that the developer has intended you to.  You then move to the next area and do more of the same.  Essentially this repeats forever and you cannot deviate from the path, if you try you will fail as the game does not allow it.  It is not really much less liniar then Donkey Kong. 

The paths available to you are already hard coded into the game before even create your character.

Now lets look at a more sandboxy game UO.

Unlike wow UO does not have single path through the game. The developer has given you some basic rules but has not predefined your path through the game.  All they have given you are some tools and what you do with them are entirely up to you.

Want to be a crafter? Sure not problem, they don't make you follow their predefined path through endgame to get the best recipe's and bop mats, or to achieve a high enough but totally unrelated "level" in order to skill up.

Want to be a fighter? No problem go out and fight we won't tell what to practice on.

Want to be a healer you can stand in the city and practice if you want.

Although the basic rules are given they are in no way forcing you through their story or telling where to stand in order to progress.

Lets go back to the authors definition of sandbox:

"A sandbox-style video game (or a video game with an optional sandbox mode) is a video game with an open-ended and non-linear style of game-play, or a mode of game-play within a game that is more often played in a goal-directed manner."

In my view he has not applied his own definition of what sandbox is when looking at the differences in overarching game design that seperate various types of mmorpg and therefore fails in his conclusions. 

  wjrasmussen

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/16/05
Posts: 1504

10/06/08 12:31:23 PM#14


Originally posted by emperorwings
2) skill based. And there should be ALOT of skillm

I don't see any reason that it has to be skill based and therefore strongly disagree with your opinion.

 

  Z3R01

Novice Member

Joined: 9/09/08
Posts: 2456

MMO gamer since 1997

10/06/08 12:41:47 PM#15

Ok first you get a box, then someone fills it with sand and puts all types of toys in it so you can start shaping the sand. Make sand castles, build valleys and mountains, destroy everything and start all over again.

A sandbox game is similar the game drops your avatar in the world gives you a few tools and says "go ahead do what you want"

 

Playing: None

Waiting on: None

  Tatum

Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/07
Posts: 1154

10/06/08 12:44:27 PM#16
Originally posted by Blodpls

I don't agree with the article at all.

Although all mmorpgs exhibit some sandbox like qualities there is large enough difference to enable some to be labled sandbox and others not to be.

I'll use wow as example of a game that has extremely limited sandbox features. 

In WoW there is pretty much one way to play the game, you kill stuff and complete the quests that the developer has intended you to.  You then move to the next area and do more of the same.  Essentially this repeats forever and you cannot deviate from the path, if you try you will fail as the game does not allow it.  It is not really much less liniar then Donkey Kong. 

The paths available to you are already hard coded into the game before even create your character.

Now lets look at a more sandboxy game UO.

Unlike wow UO does not have single path through the game. The developer has given you some basic rules but has not predefined your path through the game.  All they have given you are some tools and what you do with them are entirely up to you.

Want to be a crafter? Sure not problem, they don't make you follow their predefined path through endgame to get the best recipe's and bop mats, or to achieve a high enough but totally unrelated "level" in order to skill up.

Want to be a fighter? No problem go out and fight we won't tell what to practice on.

Want to be a healer you can stand in the city and practice if you want.

Although the basic rules are given they are in no way forcing you through their story or telling where to stand in order to progress.

Lets go back to the authors definition of sandbox:

"A sandbox-style video game (or a video game with an optional sandbox mode) is a video game with an open-ended and non-linear style of game-play, or a mode of game-play within a game that is more often played in a goal-directed manner."

In my view he has not applied his own definition of what sandbox is when looking at the differences in overarching game design that seperate various types of mmorpg and therefore fails in his conclusions. 


 

I would have to agree with all of this.  Also, I think the definition that you quoted is pretty accurate, but I would add the requirement that there have to be significant game mechanics to support the open ended game play.  IMO, thats what prevents most MMOs from being classified as sandbox.  They are opne ended, but for the most part, the game mechanics only support the primary advancement path.

  Jockan

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/03/08
Posts: 4072

10/06/08 1:46:07 PM#17

This is what I think.

1. Full Open World

2. Having the choice to do anything you want to do at any given time while making money and advancing your character in doing what ever you choose to do. Here is an example, Want to be a carpenter and build the player houses then you can do that all day every day if thats what you want to do. You start out maybe doing player houses and one day move up to acutally doing citys.

3. Open World PVP

4. There is no End Game because no matter how much you advance your character it will always be something that you have not done because the world changes daily.

5. Player Housing and being able to get married and start a family with another player in the world.

6. Growing old and eventully passing away then contining the game as one of your children so the  game never ends

 Well thats what I would call a Sand Box MMO. I could go on but my lunch break is over.

 

 


  tvalentine

Novice Member

Joined: 4/01/06
Posts: 4234

“The things you own end up owning you.” -Tyler Durden

10/06/08 1:49:26 PM#18
Originally posted by wjrasmussen

 


Originally posted by emperorwings
2) skill based. And there should be ALOT of skillm

I don't see any reason that it has to be skill based and therefore strongly disagree with your opinion.

 

 


 

hard ot have freedom when you are stuck with one class. In a sandbox you should have the freedom to change your role, from healer to tank, or healer to dps, or both healer and dps, or healer and tank. A game with levels and classes cant give you that freedom.

Playing: EVE Online
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  Forcan

Novice Member

Joined: 1/08/07
Posts: 702

Nov. 15th 2005
my heart died a little...
Long Live SWG(PreCU)

10/06/08 2:03:49 PM#19

I read the article someone linked in the thread.  I agree with the premise that all MMORPG are "based" the idea of sandbox in one form or another, but I disagree with the author that you cannot separate those MMO whose design are stray way too far from the core sandbox gameplay.  The idea of sandbox and linear gameplay are based on the design of the game, and if a MMO focus on linear design, then by all means it is a linear game, not a sandbox game.  Yes, it MAY have some amount of sandbox elements, but based on core design, it is not sandbox game.

 

That being said, here's my definition to "sandbox" games based on the core element I find similar in those games that are labeled sandbox. (This is regarding to MMO)

 

1.) Dynamic world - where what you, the player, do matter and affect the world. May it be through the combat system, crafting system, or political system.

2.) Freedom in character design - which means you can choose your own play-style, and design your character as such. If you want, you can go from a combat character to non-combat character, or if you want, you can be just a crafter and have other supply you with materials and in return, you give them items which help on their own game play.

3.) Community-based game play - where most, if not all, systems focus on the ability of players coming together to build the game world, and these systems give players the abilities to creates an evolving world rather than just a game.

 

 

Others elements are associated with these core element and their designs are derived from the core. These are:

1.) seemless world with limited or no instance (dynamic world)

2.) full loot, open world pvp (dynamic world/community-based)

3.) player-based economic where most items are made by players, not by NPC drop loot. (dynamic world/community-based)

4.) skill-based rather than class/level based (freedom in character design)

5.) removing character level as power indicator (freedom in character design/community-based game play).

 

 

 

Current MMO: FFXIV:ARR

Past MMO: Way too many (P2P and F2P)

  Briansho

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10/06/08 2:13:46 PM#20

'Sandbox' seems the be the buzzword of the moment, but what exactly does it mean?

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