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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why are there no sandbox MMO's - Why do they Fail?

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59 posts found
  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12267

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

9/10/12 9:53:17 AM#41
Originally posted by JimmyYO
Originally posted by Kenze

its "cool" to seem to be  hardcore and be seen wanting a sandbox but very, very few want to actualy play a sandbox mmo.

We wouldn't know there aren't any good ones for non Sci Fi fans.

That kind of harkens back to the core differences between fantasy and sci-fi. In general, fantasy is predominantly what would be fantastic (see what I did there?) to have happen but has little chance of happening, while sci-fi is predominantly what would be less than ideal to have happen, could possibly happen. As a result, fantasy lends itself better to scripted narrative and guided heroic experiences. Likewise, sci-fi lends itself more to dystopian settings with struggle, choice and consequence as key components.

Fantasy also has a lot more expectations and preconceptions bogging it down than sci-fi does. There are too many norms (and i use that erm with contempt) that will be perceived as being violated by new takes on the existing theme. For example, if Asheron's Call came out today, the creatures would probably be seen as 'just a renamed x' or 'just a reskinned y' rather than just accepted as their own species within their own alternate universe. An even stronger example is how fantasy outside of high fantasy often gets rejected as either 'childish' or 'anime' rather than accepted as its own creative take.

This isn't to say sandbox doesn't work in a fantasy virtual world, as Ultima Online has proven it can be successful to varying degrees in both PVP and PVE incarnations. It's just that sandbox has a lot more freedom in sci-fi, post-apoc, historical and about every other setting than fantasy. Getting most MMO gamers to show interest in a non-fantasy MMO, though, is also a major hurdle.

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12267

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

9/10/12 9:55:18 AM#42
Originally posted by Bjelar
Originally posted by Kenze

its "cool" to seem to be  hardcore and be seen wanting a sandbox but very, very few want to actualy play a sandbox mmo.

Exactly. People don't want to play what they say they want to play.

A lot of gamers seem to put together their ideal game based on what they want to be able to do, often forgetting that if they can do it so can others. The reality of the second side of that coin is a gamebreaker for them.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  Calhoun619

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/31/11
Posts: 128

9/10/12 9:59:41 AM#43

You know what I truly dont get, why this topic pops up 3 times a day, everyday.

Either go play Eve or wait for ArcheAge but for the love of god stop talking about this topic.

  ezduzit

Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/07
Posts: 123

9/10/12 10:07:14 AM#44
Originally posted by Geschaefer

I truly dont get it.

Is it that they arent lucative for the big gaming developers?

Are they too difficult to run?

What is it?

Those of us who have played true sandbox seem to never keep our mouths shut on these forums about he we all want a viable sandbox MMO. - but no ones willing to invest / develope one.

I inderstand that sandbox MMO's have shut down in the past - but at the same time so have themeparks.

I was a player of Pre NGE SWG - had my game destroyed by its makers - and have been waiting patiently for years for a new game to pick up the sandbox torch. 

Does anyone have any true insight as to why there arent any viable sandbox's and why theres no real sandbox prospects on the horizon? 

They don't fail. Their just not as popular. Older sandbox mmo's were wrecked by their own companies experimenting in trying to make them look like WoW. But I think the real reason sandbox mmo's are not a hit is because players prefer a game that acts like a government handout vs do it yourself. Since WoW, playes are at custom of being told where to go, what to buy, who and when to fight, and how much fabricated fun can you have at a time. 

  teakbois

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/06/06
Posts: 2190

9/10/12 10:07:43 AM#45

What is worth mentioning is that SWG was a buggy, horrible mess with zero semblence of any kind of balance.  It severely lacked content as well.  

 

However, it held around 300k subs before (probably) Lucas Arts NGE'd it.  The only other games to do that, in the region SWG was released in, are WoW and EQ1.  Thats it.  No other game had over 300k subs after year 2.  A third one got there later on, and that is EvE.

 

So there are 4 sustained MMORPGs above 300k users in the NA/EU region in the history of the genre.  2 of them are sandboxes, and one was a spectacular mess.

 

However, since the days of SWG and EvE (both released around same time I believe), there hasnt been a success.  For one, the things are too damn hard to code.  And then there is the PvP divide.  Probably 75% of people who want a sandbox absolutely despise the notion of open PvP being forced upon them, yet almost all the sandboxes developed since have had this. The open PvP makes sense for a sandbox, but its just not what the average person wants.  SWG handled the balance pretty well.

  Bjelar

Novice Member

Joined: 4/07/12
Posts: 383

9/10/12 10:08:09 AM#46
Originally posted by Starpower
Originally posted by tuppe99

And even the people here, that are clamoring for a sandbox do not really want to play one ;)

 

There are quite a few sandboxes (there is a thread somewhere that lists them all), but very few people on these forums are playing them. Here, we are all waiting for the "ultimate" sandbox and we won't touch anything else in the meantime. 

Correction. People don't want to play shitty sandbox games. There's a difference. You need to get out of your black and white world

 

Everything is "shitty". The only thing which isn't, is the impossible dream that one day my perfect prince will come and take me away from the kind of games I actually enjoy playing.

There is plenty of failed sandboxes out there which would be fantastic if only people would play them.

There will always be excuses for why you are not playing the kind of game you claim you want to play. Most frequently it is the "too low population" excuse which I just used. Or have you tried the "I just don't want to pay for a game with no proper content" excuse? That's the best one, I think.

  Carl132p

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/12/06
Posts: 558

9/10/12 10:11:45 AM#47
Originally posted by bunnyhopper
EVE.

is only fun if that fits your very specific tastes going so far as to slow down combat even more than a normal mmo already does. Finished your sentence for you. Eve is great if you like it but it doesn't satisfy for people that want a more traditional style of combat.

  darkszgz

Novice Member

Joined: 8/22/07
Posts: 13

9/10/12 10:13:20 AM#48

Try Salem... the best sandbox ever...

 

  TdogSkal

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/11/06
Posts: 1259

Do not fear death, Death will come a knocking anytime it wants.

9/10/12 10:24:27 AM#49

EvE is the close we have to a sandbox and even that is not a true sandbox as they have tons of limitations put in place by the developers on the player bases which is not what a sandbox is.

EvE is a hybrd Sandbox, not a true Sandbox. 

If EvE was a true Sandbox as some of you claim, then how come I cannot equip a mining ship with weapons and ambush gankers?

If EvE was a true sandbox as some of you claim, then how come I cannot build stations anywhere?

EvE is the close we have to a Sandbox game but it is still a hybrd not a true Sandbox.

The reason we do not have any true sandbox games (minecraft maybe the only true sandbox) is because people do not want true sandboxes, gamers in general need someone to guide them through the game.  Not hand holding but a guide from Start to Finish.

Mario Bros

Zelda

Sonic

PAC Man

Mrs PAC Man

Some of the best games ever created are NOT sandbox games.

Sooner or Later

  Skooma2

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/05/08
Posts: 684

9/10/12 10:30:37 AM#50
Originally posted by Geschaefer

I truly dont get it.

Is it that they arent lucative for the big gaming developers?

Are they too difficult to run?

What is it?

The problem with sandbox games, at least from a theoretical viewpoint, is that they are only sandboxes for people who were there from the beginning.  Come into the game a few months after launch and it is no longer a sandbox; it is a theme park created by the people who got there before you.

Hedonismbot: Your latest performance was as delectable as dipping my bottom over and over into a bath of the silkiest oils and creams.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12267

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

9/10/12 10:38:28 AM#51
Originally posted by TdogSkal

EvE is the close we have to a sandbox and even that is not a true sandbox as they have tons of limitations put in place by the developers on the player bases which is not what a sandbox is.

EvE is a hybrd Sandbox, not a true Sandbox. 

If EvE was a true Sandbox as some of you claim, then how come I cannot equip a mining ship with weapons and ambush gankers?

If EvE was a true sandbox as some of you claim, then how come I cannot build stations anywhere?

EvE is the close we have to a Sandbox game but it is still a hybrd not a true Sandbox.

On the off chance that you're serious and not being intentionally obtuse, a 'true sandbox' by your definition cannot exist because there will be some game rules or world physics that will eventually violate your 'freedom'. To help you out, think of 'sandbox and 'themepark' as having an invisible 'themed' or 'focused' at the end of it. It will help you out tremendously in these discussions. If you're still of the mind that one must first create the universe to build a cake from scratch, then *shrug* there's nothing we can do to help you there.

 

 

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  StonesDK

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/06/11
Posts: 1833

9/10/12 10:50:34 AM#52
Originally posted by Bjelar
Originally posted by Starpower
Originally posted by tuppe99

And even the people here, that are clamoring for a sandbox do not really want to play one ;)

 

There are quite a few sandboxes (there is a thread somewhere that lists them all), but very few people on these forums are playing them. Here, we are all waiting for the "ultimate" sandbox and we won't touch anything else in the meantime. 

Correction. People don't want to play shitty sandbox games. There's a difference. You need to get out of your black and white world

 

There is plenty of failed sandboxes out there which would be fantastic if only people would play them.

 

Name one. Whatever "fantastic" you percieve is easily ruined by archaic mechanics. Give me a sandbox MMORPG without FFA PvP and I will play it for a long time, just like I do with Terraria and Minecraft. Assuming the game is even in a halfway playable state.

  TdogSkal

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/11/06
Posts: 1259

Do not fear death, Death will come a knocking anytime it wants.

9/10/12 12:09:42 PM#53
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by TdogSkal

EvE is the close we have to a sandbox and even that is not a true sandbox as they have tons of limitations put in place by the developers on the player bases which is not what a sandbox is.

EvE is a hybrd Sandbox, not a true Sandbox. 

If EvE was a true Sandbox as some of you claim, then how come I cannot equip a mining ship with weapons and ambush gankers?

If EvE was a true sandbox as some of you claim, then how come I cannot build stations anywhere?

EvE is the close we have to a Sandbox game but it is still a hybrd not a true Sandbox.

On the off chance that you're serious and not being intentionally obtuse, a 'true sandbox' by your definition cannot exist because there will be some game rules or world physics that will eventually violate your 'freedom'. To help you out, think of 'sandbox and 'themepark' as having an invisible 'themed' or 'focused' at the end of it. It will help you out tremendously in these discussions. If you're still of the mind that one must first create the universe to build a cake from scratch, then *shrug* there's nothing we can do to help you there.

 

 

 

Yes I am serious, So soick of hearing about Sandbox names, there is not such thing and you pointed out why there will be no such thing in Video games.  Want a sandbox, go play table top with your own rule set, that is it.  Skyrim, not a sandbox, EvE not a sandbox.

 

Sandbox games do not exist in video games, they cannot do to the nature of a Sandbox game.  This is called logic and common sense and sometimes I wish more people had these skills.

Sooner or Later

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

9/10/12 12:38:28 PM#54
Originally posted by Geschaefer
Are they too difficult to run?

I suspect that they're simply too ill-defined.

Watch players arguing amongst themselves over what does/doesn't constitute a "real" sandbox feature.  A million ideas, all would be really great to include.

All of those desired ideas can't all make the release.  You know what happens to >newgame< after it releases with less than full expectations fulfilled.  The usual suspects are lurking and ready to pounce, to tear it to pieces.

And these guys, some of them, have been building their own expectations for a decade, often more.

Now find a developing team that's eager to step into that buzzsaw.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10635

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

9/10/12 1:15:03 PM#55

I'm sure this has been posted already, but like everyone else, I want to see my thoughts in print.

1) They're under funded and just bad. See Mortal Online.

2) They focus obsessively on PvP, without giving any thought to building a world. If there existed a sandbox where my wife could build a house with a farm, and with some effort make the house and farm safe, she'd play it. She's doing that now in a Minecraft RPG server with full loot FFA PvP. She is so combat averse that she can't play games like WoW, yet there she is running around in an environment where every single person I've run into has killed me. She can do this because she was able to create a safe place at "home". This type of environment doesn't exist in an MMORPG. The developers are so focused on PvP and making sure that nobody is safe, they've cut out a huge audience from their games. For this, see every single FFA PvP Sandbox game that's ever been written.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12267

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Project Gorgon, and Combat Arms

9/10/12 1:36:27 PM#56
Originally posted by lizardbones

I'm sure this has been posted already, but like everyone else, I want to see my thoughts in print.

1) They're under funded and just bad. See Mortal Online.

2) They focus obsessively on PvP, without giving any thought to building a world. If there existed a sandbox where my wife could build a house with a farm, and with some effort make the house and farm safe, she'd play it. She's doing that now in a Minecraft RPG server with full loot FFA PvP. She is so combat averse that she can't play games like WoW, yet there she is running around in an environment where every single person I've run into has killed me. She can do this because she was able to create a safe place at "home". This type of environment doesn't exist in an MMORPG. The developers are so focused on PvP and making sure that nobody is safe, they've cut out a huge audience from their games. For this, see every single FFA PvP Sandbox game that's ever been written.

Word. I think that until recently, many devs have not really understood that the FFA PVP only really works when it is available for the 25% that want it, and it is a potential threat for the 75% that don’t want it but like the possibility (but relative low probability) of it happening in the areas they play in. I’d say many devs have gone as far as to completely miss that FFA PVP can be integral part of an engaging sandbox-focused experience but cannot work as the sum of it.

I think someone needs to bring a massive PVP match to a grinding halt while crafters build a bakery in the middle of the battlefield before devs fully understand how to build a proper sandbox-focused game.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  Jerek_

Novice Member

Joined: 5/08/04
Posts: 398

9/10/12 2:00:55 PM#57
Originally posted by Geschaefer

I truly dont get it.

Is it that they arent lucative for the big gaming developers?

Are they too difficult to run?

What is it?

Those of us who have played true sandbox seem to never keep our mouths shut on these forums about he we all want a viable sandbox MMO. - but no ones willing to invest / develope one.

I inderstand that sandbox MMO's have shut down in the past - but at the same time so have themeparks.

I was a player of Pre NGE SWG - had my game destroyed by its makers - and have been waiting patiently for years for a new game to pick up the sandbox torch. 

Does anyone have any true insight as to why there arent any viable sandbox's and why theres no real sandbox prospects on the horizon? 

for years the development resources have been forced into chasing WoW because they thought they could recreate that success.  I think that over the last few years it may have sunk in that its probably not going to happen.  This could allow for more developers to try and fill niche markets like sandbox games by spending less on development but also being ok with 200k to a million subscribers at the most.

I think if anything the market for a well done sandbox style game is underrated as many people that have only ever experienced the EQ/WoW model might be excited to move on to something new as long as they aren't chased away with mechanics like mandatory full loot ffa pvp.

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

9/10/12 4:14:23 PM#58
Originally posted by Bjelar
 

 

Everything is "shitty". The only thing which isn't, is the impossible dream that one day my perfect prince will come and take me away from the kind of games I actually enjoy playing.

There is plenty of failed sandboxes out there which would be fantastic if only people would play them.

There will always be excuses for why you are not playing the kind of game you claim you want to play. Most frequently it is the "too low population" excuse which I just used. Or have you tried the "I just don't want to pay for a game with no proper content" excuse? That's the best one, I think.

Please name one good sandbox released after EVE.

  Amana

MMORPG.COM Staff

Joined: 1/03/11
Posts: 2367

9/11/12 2:33:32 PM#59

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