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General Discussion

General Discussion 

News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Two ‘Failures’ and the Sandbox Revival

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148 posts found

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/04/11
Posts: 2034

8/11/12 8:09:50 PM#141
Originally posted by Creslin321
Originally posted by ignore_me
Originally posted by gilgamesh9
SWG bombed because it wasn't Star Wars, it was a crafting sim (Ultima Online 2) pretending to be Star Wars.  This was Koster's big mistake in thinking that just slapping a Star Wars veneer over his scuttled UO plans, everything would work out.  It didn't.  Square peg met round hole.   If it had remained UO2, or even created as a fresh IP where having crafting dominate was not out of place, it would have done far better.

Somebody wasn't any good at crafting I think ...

 Tell you the truth, I can see where gilgamesh is coming from here...

I was SUPER pysched for SWG, but when I played the beta, I decided not to buy the game.  It just....wasn't that exciting.

The combat was incredibly dull...I hated watching my guy stand in place and go "pew pew pew" while I just watched.  I can even remember when SOE said that they made combat more exciting by having your character shoot three times instead of once on each auto-attack...I kind of LOL'd internally at this.

Also, the world felt VERY barren.  I remember I wanted to go from one city to another...I literally just left auto-run on and then ate lunch and I think I still wasn't there when I came back.

I love sandboxes, don't get me wrong...but I want a sandbox with exciting combat, and a world that is exciting to explore.  I don't really see these as "themepark" elements...I just see them as things that sandbox games unfortunately tend to fall short on.

You are right about the combat.

My theory is that the Star Wars universe was originally delivered to us as a fast moving, low exposition, fantasy. It's really hard to keep true to the original feel while allowing for hours upon hours of existing in that setting.

SWG went the opposite of the movies in this respect, and I think that was the right answer. The movies aren't suitable as a living space, SWG was (except for the bad combat) and allowed you to mix your love of SW and a good virtual world.

SWTOR tried to make a movie that you live in.

Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011


Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/11
Posts: 1296

8/12/12 4:02:36 AM#142

I've said this in other threads as to why Sandbox games have it rough, and gave reasoning to why Eve online worked.


FIrst of all if you make a sandbox game with everyone starting equally. you just get Grand theft auto with players driving on the sidewalks. You will also have the players that want to create some kind of order and get the game flowing however the Xbox Generation walks in and just wants to shoot things. Eve avoided this the best by making a specific area that is open world sandbox, also they told no one about it so people wouldnt just fly there right away.


Face of mankind was a great example. you had 8 factions that were working togeather and going to war for reasons more than "lolz" Mercs acted like Mercs, and the Mafia type faction delt drugs in the street. Cops acted like cops, some good some corrupt. then the element that proves my theory correct came in. Gankers, they cared little about the ingame politics, Economy or flow of game. their idea was "i have a gun i go shoot someone". This is the downfall of sandbox, the only way to make the game work is to make it incredibly complicated so it takes too much work for them to murder a small village.  Sadly this throws other players off it aswell.

Because i can.
I'm Hopeful For Every Game, Until the Fan Boys Attack My Games. Then the Knives Come Out.
Logic every gamers worst enemy.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/06
Posts: 74

8/12/12 10:32:42 AM#143

I belive the main thing people look for in a MMO game is meaning.  No matter what type of MMO, we want our actions to matter and make an impact on our in-game world.  The definition of meaningful play will differ from player to player and people will gravitate to the titles that suit them.

Eve Online is a great sandbox game and it is very polarizing.  People either love it or hate it.  Some of the biggest complaints I hear are that people were bored and didn't know what to do.  The answer in a sandbox game should always be the same.  "You can do anything you want."  Lot's of people cannot grasp this concept and end up leaving the sandbox.  A sandbox game is based on player generated content or "emergent gameplay".  So many people these days just don't have the kind of imagination that it takes to grasp these games.  People are used to being spoonfed thought that they never bother to come up with an original one of their own. 

This is clear in the types of games that are being developed.  While the (usually) more intelligent readers of this site may have different opinions that doesn't mean we are the majority.  The mainstream developers are cattering to the masses and whoring after the almighty dollar.  The only changes to this genre will come from the indy developers who, to coin an Apple term, think different.

  User Deleted
8/12/12 11:20:09 AM#144
Just the number of responses this article got should say something about what gaming otaku want.

Novice Member

Joined: 7/08/12
Posts: 30

8/12/12 11:40:17 AM#145
Good article, and pretty much why I'm looking forward to GW2,Archeage , Wildstar and World of Darkness!

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/27/11
Posts: 749

8/12/12 4:58:32 PM#146
Originally posted by PyrateLV

MMO Game Developers need to comprehend the fact that WoW was a fluke. A Perfect Storm so to speak.

It came at the right time, with the right features.


Will it happen again? Sure, but not by repeating what Blizzard did.

The only way to beat WoW is to NOT be like WoW.


Different. Unique.

They need to leave the Themeparks and start thinking Outside the Sandbox

This. Plus.. Blizzard did others things in a business sort of "Right" way... such as....

1.) Total domination of RETAIL Store shelf space. Their Marketing Execs figured out how to get the big Retailers to put Blizzard products on over 50% of Retail shelf area in many Retail Stores nationwide in the US. That's a lot of visability. Not just WoW, but also Warcraft itself, Battelchests, Diablo series, Starcraft.

2.) TV Commercials... the only MMO I ever saw that had a TV commercial was WoW.

Those two all by themselves ensured Blizzard's domination of the MMO genre, even with the once in a lifetime perfect timing of their unique "perfect storm". Blizzard got lucky, then they got smart.

I hate WoW, because I played it and I dislike it enough to puke... but I REALLY hate Blizzard because no other MMO Publisher was as smart as they were in the business department... damn it.

Just got to respect an enemy that's THAT good at what they do.



Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/07/08
Posts: 39

8/14/12 9:35:26 AM#147

- = SANDBOX = - was never the issue.  Sandbox is synonymous to "MMO", an expectation to immerse yourself in an avatar. 


SWG was the best of breed for MMO.  It was however released before it and its content was ready due to corporate greed (fact), and could never catch up.  That was followed by deplorably inept project leadership, young kids, who couldn't hold a vision, hold course to the vision, and close the gaps from premature release.  Their inept leadership resulted in chaotic, shoot from the hip development responses to community shouting, that was never on course, never consistent, and ineffective.  SWG failed solely due to SOE and project team leadership.


Because (young) "artists" in the industry can't tell that leadership was the issue, they all assume - = SANDBOX = - was the problem, so it became an outcast in an "MMO" industry, but the joke on them is that  - = SANDBOX = - is the very nature of an MMO.  You can't have one without the other.  Build a good MMO, they will come.  Build a good MMO, it is a  - = SANDBOX = - they're one and the same.


The MMO should allow you to explore your avatars world environment, and engage systems like crafting, or decorating, or trade, or PvP, or raiding, or exploration, or gathering/hunting, or being a shopkeeper, or being a community leader (in game), or coordinating any variety of cooperative ventures for any of the above.  All of the things the avatar should experience and the player with it.



I don't like the word - = SANDBOX = - because in truth, as stated in my intro, it is the nature of an MMO.  Despite the lack of content, SWG was the best of breed out of the gate, and its core systems, from crafting to class design, continue to be the benchmark for which MMO's are compared (and inevitably fall short).


SWTOR fails and falls into the same trap as all comers since SWG.  A small segment rushes to endgame and complains, and new content is rushed out so that the small segment is kept on the rails, but meanwhile everyone else who doesn't play 80 hrs a week and make it a career falls behind the grind, and doesn't complete 90% of the first round of endgame content, never gets the satisfaction of endgame content, before they're told there's a level cap increase and you're starting off the mousewheel again before you could ever enjoy getting off the previous grind to enjoy some fully geared endgame, teamwork, and accomplishment for your avatar.  It's a mouse wheel where nobody is ever satisfied. 


Remove the - = THEMEPARK = - level-cap perpetuated gear grind, so that more are raid ready sooner, so that raiding and PvP is a matter of progression of class skills, teamwork, and communication to beat tough challenges - rather than gearing up, class skills, teamwork, and communication to beat tough challenges.  


Mitigate the reliance on gear in the equation as a gate to participation and enjoyment.  Class skills, teamwork, and communication are not only fun, but plenty to deal with for any group without needing a gear grind to gate people.  With the gear grind, we never "arrive" to enjoy and tackle content - or at least most don't.  Fail for all involved.


I'm still playing SWTOR, down from 4 accounts in the household to 1 account, but like every other MMO since SWG, it's a limp ride, a pseudo MMO.  A pale imitation. 


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/29/09
Posts: 583

8/23/12 7:34:54 PM#148


This is not meant to be condescending. That's quite possibly the most intelligent piece you've ever written. Kudos.

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