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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » The Sandbox never got its chance.

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67 posts found
  RefMinor

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3542

Hipster

9/15/11 5:22:37 PM#21
Originally posted by Marcus-
Originally posted by RefMinor
Originally posted by Marcus-
Originally posted by RefMinor
Sandbox is a niche market, there will not be a WoW scale sandbox, EVE gets what 300k and that is a successful one, a fantasy version might get 2 or 3 times more at most.

It's the same as 20m people buying Dan Brown and 20k buying Dostoyevski, one is infinitely more challenging but both parties enjoy their choice and that's the important bit. There just isn't the volume Market for sandboxes.

The sandbox crowd will continue to get titles made, they will have budgets in a scale with the their likely success. Some will be intelligently made and will be a success like Eve.

Any of us hoping for an AAA sandbox are deluded.

 

*my opinion is based on Archeage not being particularly sandboxy, if it is a true sandbox game and a decent success then sandboxes might see bigger budgets.

 Hmmm...

what percent of the themepark mmos out  right now wouldnt mind your 900k subs?

 

A lot, but the AAA's are gunning for WoW like numbers, the sandbox version of WoW like success would be gunning for 1m tops. The potential levels are markedly different.

 And they keep falling short, its a shame really...

 

I'm thinking a million subs is pretty nice penny.

 

It is, which is why the indie developers keep trying. But it's small change compared to WoW like riches.
  Marcus-

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/28/06
Posts: 968

9/15/11 5:26:41 PM#22
Originally posted by RefMinor
Originally posted by Marcus-
Originally posted by RefMinor
Originally posted by Marcus-
Originally posted by RefMinor
Sandbox is a niche market, there will not be a WoW scale sandbox, EVE gets what 300k and that is a successful one, a fantasy version might get 2 or 3 times more at most.

It's the same as 20m people buying Dan Brown and 20k buying Dostoyevski, one is infinitely more challenging but both parties enjoy their choice and that's the important bit. There just isn't the volume Market for sandboxes.

The sandbox crowd will continue to get titles made, they will have budgets in a scale with the their likely success. Some will be intelligently made and will be a success like Eve.

Any of us hoping for an AAA sandbox are deluded.

 

*my opinion is based on Archeage not being particularly sandboxy, if it is a true sandbox game and a decent success then sandboxes might see bigger budgets.

 Hmmm...

what percent of the themepark mmos out  right now wouldnt mind your 900k subs?

 

A lot, but the AAA's are gunning for WoW like numbers, the sandbox version of WoW like success would be gunning for 1m tops. The potential levels are markedly different.

 And they keep falling short, its a shame really...

 

I'm thinking a million subs is pretty nice penny.

 

It is, which is why the indie developers keep trying. But it's small change compared to WoW like riches.

 And they both keep falling short...    shame really.....

  Pilnkplonk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/02/10
Posts: 1566

9/15/11 5:30:46 PM#23
Originally posted by Athcear

Why doesn't MineCraft fit your description, then?  It seems like the ultimate sandbox.  And is not a hardcore pvp game.

Agree. It is really sad that mmorpg genre basically invented  the sandbox and now, due to utter unimaginativeness and cowardice of mmo publishers we see sandbox mmo slowly emerging from other genres. I predicted earlier that the next great mmo thing is not going to come from the degenerate and moribound mmorpg industry (thank you bliz whores) but some completely different genre that incorporates massive online elements into its already exisiting mehanics. Personally I bet on online FPSs since planetside already showed that it can be done. (thank you Smed the creep for ruining another great game, btw)

Shame on you mmo industry.

Sandbox is a venerable and very interesting design paradigm that has spawned many seminal and extremely profitable games. It is apalling that mmorpgs which should have been on the forefront of this are the most reactionary of all game genres. FFS there is even a blockbuster 2D platformer sandbox out there! (Terraria FYI!)

  Emeraq

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/07/06
Posts: 925

9/15/11 5:31:29 PM#24

OP I disagree, Ultima Online still fits that description. I remember playing it on and off in the year 2000, and the entire time I was hoping and wishing for an MMORPG that actually played a lot more like a console RPG with classes, levels, story and quests, and regardless of what people say about the genre today, it's obvious that I wasn't the only one that wanted it.

 

IMO Sandbox did have a chance, and many players preferred developer quests and content over RPing their own.

  VengeSunsoar

Elite Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4824

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

9/15/11 5:35:52 PM#25

I would say sandbox had just as much shot as themepark did.  Way back in the beginning there were 4-5 big (or bigger games)  UO, EQ, DAOC, AC, SWG 

2 of those were definate sandbox. Sorry still don't know much about AC, but It seems more sandbox than themepark, can't comment on L1 either.  EQ had bigger numbers than all of them.  Thoes 4 were all pretty similar in quality - crappy releases that got better over time.  In today's terms they were the AAA of their day. 

Therefore potentially 3 of the 5 were sandbox, while 2 were themeparkish.

Then came games like shadowbane and HZ, they were sandbox and they tanked while EQ kept going.

So yes Sandbox had a very good shot and never pulled the numbers that the themepark did. 

Venge

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  RabbiFang

Novice Member

Joined: 4/28/09
Posts: 150

9/15/11 5:39:42 PM#26

Neocron fits the mold beautifully, and did EVERYTHING right. It's still my favourite sandbox, and I have played every major and most big indie MMO going. It's 9 years old, but many still play it. 

 

- No quests as such, totally sandbox progression. 

- Incredible rare part/research/crafting/modding system

- SOME loot (1 -5 items) open world PvP out of the very few safe zones

- A very good criminal system that penalises people that kill allies by making them drop more items

- Multi-faction PvP (13 factions I believe) - each with a different set of enemies/neutral/allies

- Distinct, memorable world/cities

- Capturable outpousts which generate money to clan, and transport systems which can be locked down or opened up as the occupying clan wish

what else, what else

- Oh yeah.. incredible combat system - manual targetting. Really seperates good healers and fighters from the bad (lol, Darkfall. Neocron was LOADS better). 

- Classes, but freedom within classes. the 'TANK' class can use melee, heavy weapons, pistols, rifles.. whatever he chooses, but must specialise

- Player housing system with the ability to place furniture/cabinets/trophys/plants/GM-spawned strippers

- Vehicles (tanks, cars, bikes, flying vehicles)

 

Seriously - read that list and just appreciate for a second how far ahead of its time that game was. No wonder it still has such a passionate following. 

 

  someforumguy

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/25/07
Posts: 3492

9/15/11 5:58:49 PM#27

I agree with the OP. The whole sandbox genre in MMO's never got the funding and development teams to make it really shine. The only two exceptions were SWG and UO. But this was back in the days when MMO's werent that popular yet and only real gamers played those games. They put up with an amount of bugs that wouldnt be accepted anymore today.

Someone else in this thread points out that the sandbox experience can be very popular though and uses for this single player examples like GTA4, Oblivion, Morrowind etc. These games show that it can be fun and appreciated by many gamers.

But I think that its just a lot more complex to create a MMO that has the open ended nature of sandbox games while still staying easy to get into and with polish of more lineair games.

Keeping the amount of features that a MMO offers limited and creating a lineair quested storyline is probably the safer bet for developers. There is also more experience in creating this kind of game.

  Yalexy

Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 1020

9/15/11 5:59:47 PM#28


Originally posted by RabbiFang
Neocron fits the mold beautifully, and did EVERYTHING right. It's still my favourite sandbox, and I have played every major and most big indie MMO going. It's 9 years old, but many still play it. 
 
- No quests as such, totally sandbox progression. 
- Incredible rare part/research/crafting/modding system
- SOME loot (1 -5 items) open world PvP out of the very few safe zones
- A very good criminal system that penalises people that kill allies by making them drop more items
- Multi-faction PvP (13 factions I believe) - each with a different set of enemies/neutral/allies
- Distinct, memorable world/cities
- Capturable outpousts which generate money to clan, and transport systems which can be locked down or opened up as the occupying clan wish
what else, what else
- Oh yeah.. incredible combat system - manual targetting. Really seperates good healers and fighters from the bad (lol, Darkfall. Neocron was LOADS better). 
- Classes, but freedom within classes. the 'TANK' class can use melee, heavy weapons, pistols, rifles.. whatever he chooses, but must specialise
- Player housing system with the ability to place furniture/cabinets/trophys/plants/GM-spawned strippers
- Vehicles (tanks, cars, bikes, flying vehicles)
 
Seriously - read that list and just appreciate for a second how far ahead of its time that game was. No wonder it still has such a passionate following. 
 

Unfortunately Neocron was poorly developed and patched after release and never was in an enjoyable state. Maybe Reakktor makes their statement about NC3 come true and we'll get a new and polished version this great game.

  Kaneth

Elite Member

Joined: 8/19/07
Posts: 1591

9/15/11 6:07:51 PM#29

Sandbox won't ever truly get its chance in the mmospace either. Too many developers keep making the same mistakes over and over. I've said it before, but so many of these so called sandbox games, all cater to the same FFA PvP w/ Full Loot crowd, so they keep cannibalizing the population that enjoys that type of game.

Also, FFA PvP w/ full loot keeps the sandbox mmos from ever becoming as popular as they should. While the UO purists can disagree, the staying power UO has is because of the non-pvp mirror world. Sorry, but most people don't enjoy being randomly ganked.

If someone could develop a complete sandbox mmo, that had both ffa full loot pvp servers, along with pve servers, you might see the sub-genre get more attention. For now, the most successful sandbox games will remain single player, or small private server like MineCraft and Terraria.

  Toferio

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/26/09
Posts: 1459

9/15/11 7:07:10 PM#30

I really fail to see how come MO or DF make it to the list, but UO doesn't. If UO is not a sandbox, then I duno why MO, which is basically a FFA PvP game and not a sandbox is even mentioned. It lacks the very core of a sandbox, tools (and stuff to do besides the mindless PvP).

  SkillCosby

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/23/08
Posts: 694

 
OP  9/15/11 7:11:23 PM#31

My perfect game:

 

#1. Gigantic Seemless World... or at least the majority of it.

#2. World PvP Servers - No Instanced PvP at all

#3. No full loot PvP. However, the slain will drop bagged items that are not equipped.

#4. Skill Based - Ability to mix an match skills to create your own unique character

#5. No Microtransactions, Pre-Order Incentives, Cross-Promotions, or any other way to obtain items outside of game.

#6. World Housing

#7. In-depth crafting and resource gathering - much like SWG

#8. City of Heroes-like character creation system.

#9. LoTRO playable instruments system

#10. Loads of social tools, e.g., incentives to hang out in the taverns etc.

#11. Multiple factions - several nations fighting over resources.

#12. The ability to go rogue - an outcast of the factions.

#13. Several ways to progress. Am not tied down by story.

  Vercinorix

Novice Member

Joined: 9/10/11
Posts: 53

9/15/11 9:42:35 PM#32
Originally posted by precious328

My perfect game:

 

#1. Gigantic Seemless World... or at least the majority of it.

#2. World PvP Servers - No Instanced PvP at all

#3. No full loot PvP. However, the slain will drop bagged items that are not equipped.

#4. Skill Based - Ability to mix an match skills to create your own unique character

#5. No Microtransactions, Pre-Order Incentives, Cross-Promotions, or any other way to obtain items outside of game.

#6. World Housing

#7. In-depth crafting and resource gathering - much like SWG

#8. City of Heroes-like character creation system.

#9. LoTRO playable instruments system

#10. Loads of social tools, e.g., incentives to hang out in the taverns etc.

#11. Multiple factions - several nations fighting over resources.

#12. The ability to go rogue - an outcast of the factions.

#13. Several ways to progress. Am not tied down by story.

This is pretty close to my ideal as well.

Only real changes are:

1) cosmetic only microtransactions are fine by me. If somebody wants to pay real money for a cool skin, and that would help get this game to market and keep it there I will not complain.

2) if someone goes rogue by the equivalent of grey-ganking, they are under risk of permadeath. But ONLY pariahs.

3) I've never played CoH, so can't comment on that point.

4) for the mix and match skill system, I would add no Holy Trinity base concepts.

5) I would prefer for the factions to be all player run.

6) Player housing should be player cities... which would be legit targets in World PvP.

7) I'd prefer for the world pvp system to have a supply-line system like in Planetside and DaoC/New Frontiers to create a 'moving front effect', where you could still get into battle fairly fast at some points of contact, but would still keep open the chance of deep penetration and interdiction missions.

  Adamantine

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/07/08
Posts: 3321

War is not the ultima ratio, but the ultima irratio - Willy Brandt

9/16/11 8:34:28 AM#33

Gamers play what gamers like.

And what else, anyway ? Gaming should be about fun !

So yeah, why exactly am I supposed to enjoy a "player driven economy" ? I just dont. I frankly cant compete with people who can play 16 hours per day, or even 24 if they have multiple people for the same character.

In reallife, I'm mighty interested in the economy. We cannot escape the reallife economy, its important. But game economies, as a rule, are screwed up. So yeah, I frankly fail to see the point of having them.

Gaming to me is being a hero and getting told a great story. Its about learning to play a character optimally inside a certain rulesystem. Its exploring a large world.

It is NOT "participating in an economy". Thats only one thing: horribly boring.

I utterly fail to see why LARGE GAMEWORLD or VERSATILE PROGRESSION would be a monopoly of sandbox MMOs. Both things are available, for example, in Vanguard, which is a complete themepark with thousands of quests and many douzens of dungeons.

 

  User Deleted
9/16/11 8:37:58 AM#34
Originally posted by precious328

There really is no true definition of "Sandbox MMO". However, the ultimate idea is geared around self-sustaining content, e.g., player economy, large worlds and versatile progression. There is no set path that will lead you to the end; there is no point A to point B.

 

The only chance the sandbox genre ever had, if you would call it that, is with Star Wars Galaxies. Its ultimate demise scares the hell out of developers, as if SOE's / LA's failure was because the game was considered a sandbox.

If you take a look at the master list of MMOs, you will find very few games with the above characteristics. There are probably less than 10. Regardless, the top three active Sandbox games, IMO, are as followed: Eve Online, Darkfall, and Mortal Online. None of these, with mild exception to Eve, experienced AAA development and marketing.

It's never been written that a sandbox game must be hardcore, e.g., first-person, full loot pvp, and full of void material (walking for 15 min without performing some sort of action. However, most naysayers depict the genre as is.

 

What a shame...

Ultima Online.

 

SWG is/was highly questionable as a sandbox in all honesty.

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7733

Logic be damned!

9/16/11 10:29:53 AM#35

The Sandbox never got its chance becasue no sandbox has ever learned the lessons that the Father of Sandbox learned over a decade ago.

1. Sandbox does NOT equal FFA PvP. As an option sure but not as the only way/server type.

2. Sandbox does NOT work if you combine it with heavy grind / progression like FFXI, SWG, EvE, everything else except UO.

3. Full loot only works in a Sandbox if the loot/gear is not a grind/progression, like it was in UO where the gear did NOT have stats.

4. Players like CHOICE if you create nothing but PvP servers you will fail. Most successful sandboxes learned this a LONG time ago. UO created Trammel yet kept the Siege Perilous server, SWG had consensual PvP, EvE created High Sec space, FFXI didn't even really have PvP.

5. Calling a game a "sandbox" does not excuse a lack of content - dev created content can and should exist in an open sandbox world - even SWG had "theme parks" they were just broken.

6. Sandbox does not excuse broken, buggy, and incomplete - nothing excuses that.

I can honestly go on and on and on but the moral of the story is that Sandbox MMO devs are stuck in the past and keep repeating the same mistakes and/or failing to learn ANYTHING from the progression of the genre over time.

Now Playing: Destiny

  kakasaki

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/11/06
Posts: 1262

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

9/16/11 10:39:38 AM#36
Originally posted by Adamantine

Gamers play what gamers like.

And what else, anyway ? Gaming should be about fun !

So yeah, why exactly am I supposed to enjoy a "player driven economy" ? I just dont. I frankly cant compete with people who can play 16 hours per day, or even 24 if they have multiple people for the same character.

In reallife, I'm mighty interested in the economy. We cannot escape the reallife economy, its important. But game economies, as a rule, are screwed up. So yeah, I frankly fail to see the point of having them.

Gaming to me is being a hero and getting told a great story. Its about learning to play a character optimally inside a certain rulesystem. Its exploring a large world.

It is NOT "participating in an economy". Thats only one thing: horribly boring.

I utterly fail to see why LARGE GAMEWORLD or VERSATILE PROGRESSION would be a monopoly of sandbox MMOs. Both things are available, for example, in Vanguard, which is a complete themepark with thousands of quests and many douzens of dungeons.

 

But that is the beauty of sa TRUE sanbox game. It doen't force you to play aparticular way. You don't like crafting? Fine, you don't have to do it. The only way it would impact you is instead of using gear you bought from an NPC or dropped as loot, you purchase it from a character who made the item. There is no "competition" with this player (even if he does play 18 hours per day) as the only interaction between you is purchasing an item.

 

As far as your last paragraph: I don't think anyone has seriously stated that a large game world or versatile progression are monopolies of sandbox games. They are only part of a larger picture that makes a great sandbox (or themepark) game.

A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true...

  Nadia

Elite Member

Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 11490

9/16/11 10:40:02 AM#37
Originally posted by Loke666

There are still companies making sandbox games, both CCP and Zenimax are working on one each and Arche age is a hybrid.

Zenimax have one of the founders of Mythic as lead designer and CCP have the guy behind Eve.

If both CCP and Zenimax messes up is there only one thing that could save MMO sandboxes: That Rockstar makes a MMO.

Jeff Strain is making a sandbox mmo too  (altho its for consoles only)

and its looks promising to me - despite the platform

http://undeadlabs.com/2011/06/news/qa-environments-and-more/

  Vercinorix

Novice Member

Joined: 9/10/11
Posts: 53

9/16/11 11:12:41 AM#38
Originally posted by BadSpock

The Sandbox never got its chance becasue no sandbox has ever learned the lessons that the Father of Sandbox learned over a decade ago.

1. Sandbox does NOT equal FFA PvP. As an option sure but not as the only way/server type.

2. Sandbox does NOT work if you combine it with heavy grind / progression like FFXI, SWG, EvE, everything else except UO.

3. Full loot only works in a Sandbox if the loot/gear is not a grind/progression, like it was in UO where the gear did NOT have stats.

4. Players like CHOICE if you create nothing but PvP servers you will fail. Most successful sandboxes learned this a LONG time ago. UO created Trammel yet kept the Siege Perilous server, SWG had consensual PvP, EvE created High Sec space, FFXI didn't even really have PvP.

5. Calling a game a "sandbox" does not excuse a lack of content - dev created content can and should exist in an open sandbox world - even SWG had "theme parks" they were just broken.

6. Sandbox does not excuse broken, buggy, and incomplete - nothing excuses that.

I can honestly go on and on and on but the moral of the story is that Sandbox MMO devs are stuck in the past and keep repeating the same mistakes and/or failing to learn ANYTHING from the progression of the genre over time.

I would have to agree with you on every point. Except that I would extend that to Theme Parks as well. I do not believe that any developer out there right now has not made huge mistakes with their game design, at least for the Western market.

Unfortunately, since MMOs take a LOT longer to develop and a LOT more in the way of financial resources as well, we have not seen the type of learning cycle that single player games went through. How many thousands of seriously bad games had to be made before developers learned what worked or didn't work in single player? Even though MMOs have been out for over a decade, we are actually still at a very early stage in the genre.

When Blizz came on the scene with WoW, it convinced a lot of people that MMOs were no longer experimental. Too much of the potential audience now expect every MMO to have the polish /production values of a AAA title. Also, too many players expect MMOs to be able to deliver everything that they want. That flat out isn't possible given the limitations of the tech we have.

How many MMOs that have been released have actually been complete? By complete, I mean actually delivered every single feature that they promise on the box at launch?  I'm not disagreeing with you either... a game that releases in a broken, too buggy and obviously incomplete stage (or really any of those three) is starting out at release playing russian roulette with half the chambers loaded.

What I have seen, is that developers are learning lessons, but small ones. Big Picure, metagaming lessons have not been learned at all, except maybe maybe by the folks at Arenanet. 

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7733

Logic be damned!

9/16/11 11:18:02 AM#39
Originally posted by Vercinorix
Originally posted by BadSpock

The Sandbox never got its chance becasue no sandbox has ever learned the lessons that the Father of Sandbox learned over a decade ago.

I can honestly go on and on and on but the moral of the story is that Sandbox MMO devs are stuck in the past and keep repeating the same mistakes and/or failing to learn ANYTHING from the progression of the genre over time.

What I have seen, is that developers are learning lessons, but small ones. Big Picure, metagaming lessons have not been learned at all, except maybe maybe by the folks at Arenanet. 

It's funny you say that.

I am not sure I am actually going to enjoy GW2 or not - for all the things that they are doing that are innovative, and as much as I want to think I am ready for innovative and will appreciate said innovation, I am just not sure I am ready for such changes yet (nor is the entire genre.)

Funny enough that this supposed "themepark MMO" is going to stray far closer to the true ideals of a REAL sandbox game then any of the quote "sandbox" games created since Ultima Online.

 

Now Playing: Destiny

  Phry

Elite Member

Joined: 7/01/04
Posts: 5249

9/16/11 11:23:00 AM#40
Originally posted by bunnyhopper
Originally posted by precious328

There really is no true definition of "Sandbox MMO". However, the ultimate idea is geared around self-sustaining content, e.g., player economy, large worlds and versatile progression. There is no set path that will lead you to the end; there is no point A to point B.

 

The only chance the sandbox genre ever had, if you would call it that, is with Star Wars Galaxies. Its ultimate demise scares the hell out of developers, as if SOE's / LA's failure was because the game was considered a sandbox.

If you take a look at the master list of MMOs, you will find very few games with the above characteristics. There are probably less than 10. Regardless, the top three active Sandbox games, IMO, are as followed: Eve Online, Darkfall, and Mortal Online. None of these, with mild exception to Eve, experienced AAA development and marketing.

It's never been written that a sandbox game must be hardcore, e.g., first-person, full loot pvp, and full of void material (walking for 15 min without performing some sort of action. However, most naysayers depict the genre as is.

 

What a shame...

Ultima Online.

 

SWG is/was highly questionable as a sandbox in all honesty.

SWG was unquestionably a sandbox.. at least until they decided to add levels to the game, but that was part and parcel to SWG's demise, they tried to turn it into a themepark, which it was never designed to be.  Ultima is a good example though

i think there is some kind of misconception about sandboxes and pvp, there is no part of a sandbox that says it has to even have pvp in it, let alone full loot based pvp, i think a game like tale in the desert would highlight that sufficiently..  and... the only games that have tried to encompass such a system, have failed miserably, though not just on that factor alone.

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