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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » (can we get a history lesson): why was the first Themepark MMO created? what purpose they were trying to solve?

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126 posts found
  CalmOceans

Novice Member

Joined: 5/06/11
Posts: 1778

10/28/12 5:55:22 PM#101
Originally posted by Hrimnir
 
 

EQ1 was a world.  First and foremost.  It was meant to be hard and unforgiving and you had to find your own way.

Hell just as an example i was watching an anniversary video from SOE that was talking about something like 1000 items that exist in the game even after 10+ years havent even been discovered.


 

Thanks, you know EQ.

Here is the video you're referring too for anyone interested, the amount of content EQ has is RIDICULOUS, yes it a world, a HUGE world. It's a different game now, but the world is still there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZCMcJ7yOww&feature=plcp

The reason EQ has this HUGE world is I think part of the reason why it's so different compared to WoW, I believe it's easier to make zones once the core gameplay is in place. In EQ people grinded for XP, you didn't have quests like WoW (you had them, but they were few and far in between compared to the amount of content, and most gave very little or almost no xp). You XP'd by grinding mobs, not by chaining quests like in WoW.  In EQ developers made a theme, threw down a bunch of mobs and you played in that zone and made your own group and destiny.

WoW has a world too, but it's a bit more casual and a bit more on rails and it's based on questing, it's not a harsh world where you depend on each other, it's more of a .. themepark.

I think people are so passionate about EQ and are quick to correct others because the experience when playing in groups and depending on each other in an, at times, brutal world, makes lasting memories and friends.

 

  Xthos

Elite Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2569

10/28/12 6:08:50 PM#102
Originally posted by CalmOceans
Originally posted by Ozmodan

Wrong.  Wow was just a newer version of EQ.  Wow was created by a bunch of EQ raiders who did not like the way SOE did raids. 

Again, people who haven't played EQ or have no clue about it should just stop forming opinions.

The guilds that left EQ for WoW did not do so because because of the way SoE did raids. The reason some left is because of a single expansion at the time, named GoD, Gates of Discord.

(I also would like to point out that many raiding guilds stayed)

The reason some guilds left is because the flagging leading up to Inktu'Ta and Qvic were first off all bugged, and fixing those NPC took a while, and GoD was a brutal expansion, Tunat was only beaten after OOW came out.

There was nothing wrong with how SoE did raids, PoP raids were similar to how GoD raids and flagging was done, but GoD was plagued with very difficult content and bugs at the start, which lead to guilds throwing in the towel, but the way raids were done was just the same as it was with PoP.

 

I also disagree with the notion that "WoW was just a newer version of EQ", that is completely false, they are very different games.

An outsider might say this, one might say "Rugby is just a newer version of Soccer", because they see similarities, but anyone who has played both would be quick to point out crucial differences.

Another example would be games. "Street figher IV is just a newer version of Street Fighter II" might be acceptible, but "Tekken is just a new version of Street Fighter" is something that can be easily dismissed by anyone who has played both games.

 Rumor was that GoD was made with the level cap being 5 level higher than it was, and they decided against raising it to that level, and the content was not brought to be in line with that change...

I was not a huge fan of the LDoN+ expansions, I still played, but watching people do some stupid instance nearly 100 times to be a friend to get a pair of boots for a SK (of which I probably did 40-50 of them)...Really soured me on the 'fun'.  I don't mind the grind, but instances, I really grew to dislike them....Now you can't walk 100 yards in most mmos without running into one.

 

  Xthos

Elite Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2569

10/28/12 6:14:31 PM#103
Originally posted by CalmOceans
Originally posted by Hrimnir
 
 

EQ1 was a world.  First and foremost.  It was meant to be hard and unforgiving and you had to find your own way.

Hell just as an example i was watching an anniversary video from SOE that was talking about something like 1000 items that exist in the game even after 10+ years havent even been discovered.


 

Thanks, you know EQ.

Here is the video you're referring too for anyone interested, the amount of content EQ has is RIDICULOUS, yes it a world, a HUGE world. It's a different game now, but the world is still there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZCMcJ7yOww&feature=plcp

The reason EQ has this HUGE world is I think part of the reason why it's so different compared to WoW, I believe it's easier to make zones once the core gameplay is in place. In EQ people grinded for XP, you didn't have quests like WoW (you had them, but they were few and far in between compared to the amount of content, and most gave very little or almost no xp). You XP'd by grinding mobs, not by chaining quests like in WoW.  In EQ developers made a theme, threw down a bunch of mobs and you played in that zone and made your own group and destiny.

WoW has a world too, but it's a bit more casual and a bit more on rails and it's based on questing, it's not a harsh world where you depend on each other, it's more of a .. themepark.

I think people are so passionate about EQ and are quick to correct others because the experience when playing in groups and depending on each other in an, at times, brutal world, makes lasting memories and friends.

 

 I remember playing like 4-6 years into EQ, and they said their was a quest that still had not been discovered/solved.  When they said it, people everywhere tried to find it, and I know no one did for a long time...Still may not have found it to this day.  People were going and talking to every NPC they could find to get clues.

 

Direction of EQ, into WoW or not, I still viewed WoW as a sterioded version of what EQ was doing on it's later expansions, and I only played the beta.  Never bought/subbed it to this day, disliked the increase of instances and more casual play at the time.

  CalmOceans

Novice Member

Joined: 5/06/11
Posts: 1778

10/28/12 6:21:28 PM#104
Originally posted by Xthos

I was not a huge fan of the LDoN+ expansions, I still played, but watching people do some stupid instance nearly 100 times to be a friend to get a pair of boots for a SK (of which I probably did 40-50 of them)...Really soured me on the 'fun'.  I don't mind the grind, but instances, I really grew to dislike them....Now you can't walk 100 yards in most mmos without running into one.

 

If I liked an expansion was for me highly dependent on what guild I was in and how much my friends played at the time (it still is frankly). I liked expansion that would be considered unpopular because of the company I was in at the time which made doing the grinding fun instead of tedious.

I was not a huge fan of LDON either, I liked the open world more, and I wasn't in a good guild at the time. My favorite expansions are probably Kunark, GoD, OOW and DoD. Later expansions are less interesting for me, population dropped significantly although I made my best friend very late in the game.

  Avarix

Novice Member

Joined: 1/22/12
Posts: 239

10/28/12 7:09:46 PM#105

I think themeparks were created for a good purpose and a real issue. Some people do much better with direction. You put some kids in the sandbox and they look at it like "WTF am I suppose to do with this?!?". Quite a few people need to be told how to have fun. They need rules and structure and all that fun stuff that I dislike. From the success of WoW I think it succeeded in that regard. The problem is most of the games that came after 2003/4 used this same method. While the more anal (Obviously I am poking fun at those are different from me and mean no harm) of us need that direction, I do not!

UO/EQ vet here. I don't believe EQ was a themepark at all. At first I immediately dismissed the term "themepark" altogether. I thought it was silly (Still sometimes do as it's thrown around for its negativity). As time went on though after I moved away from EQ and couldn't find an MMO I liked, that term is what I kept coming back to. For me, a themepark is when I am walking around in town, I am about to fall off the edge of a cliff and *BOOM* there is an invisible wall. EQ never had this, at least not so blatant. I never felt like I was held down and told what to do. I simply did it and dealt with the consequences. Not sure if I enjoyed EQ so much because I never seen the wizard behind the curtain, or because he was barely there at all. I simply know that I enjoyed it immensly.

If I made a mistake in older games, I was held accountable. If I decided to keep walking off that cliff, then I died and had to suffer the consequences (There were actual consequences back then). I wasn't told by the program that dying isn't an option. That has become a themepark to me and I find it insulting. I can't understand or wrap my head around the need for this.

I honestly don't know the answer to fix the current gen MMOs and I won't pretend to. I just know I don't enjoy them for more than a month and I hope that changes in the not too distant future. Recently went back to Baldur's Gate (The game now would make a lot of people cry with the dated mechanics and graphics) and I am having a blast. I only hope that MMOs move backward now since they seem to have peaked.

  Uproar

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/19/04
Posts: 381

I was once Tailrot, Uproar, Bandage, Thus(tin) Hammered, Rock, and so many more. Aye gamerest.

10/28/12 8:14:54 PM#106
Originally posted by ShakyMo
Coh predates wow and is casual friendly, more so than wow.

EQ was the first themepark though.

 You can keep saying EQ was the first themepark, but it won't make it true.  It's was not a themepark by any definition in use today.  Ridiculous that you keep saying it.  And given your 2011 join date I doubt you ever touched it before 2004. 

Find another mantra if you wish to spread knowledge.

  Loktofeit

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11358

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ESO, and Combat Arms

10/28/12 9:02:48 PM#107
Originally posted by Vannor
Originally posted by f0dell54
Originally posted by Vannor
Originally posted by MMOExposed

I am curious to learn a bit more about the history of MMORPG. starting with the reason behind the first "Themepark" mmo as we know the term today.

Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

Those games never existed. The reason people think they did was because of the lack a quest journal and a quest finder system. If both those things had been added to all the early games; UO, EQ, AC, AO, DAoC, etc. It would have been the same PvE experience as we get now. Try playing a new mmo without using any of the quest tracking systems, it's the same deal as before. 

Well since UO had 0 as in (zero) quests when it first came out, minus the one that was on the demo. Ultima Online was about creating a a story for you character and have a living world revolve around you. Not only wasn't it about questing and raiding it didn't have any of those features in the game. Hell, it didn't have a party system in the game for years and then when it was introduced very few people used it because UOAM worked better.

There were dungeons with rewards at the bottom, quest could have been put there. Could have got a quest to build a house, kill your first player, explore a certain area, etc. There were mobs to kill, kill quest could have been put there. Items to collect to make certain things. Anything and everything is the same as it is today. Only difference is that nothing gave you can order to do things in.. many people think that means sandbox.

You're missing the point I am trying to make. You don't do anything different in either the old games or the new games when you take quests out of 'both' of them or put quests in both of them.

Before AoS introduced Doom, what rewards were at the bottom of UO dungeons? UO the same PvE system as we have now?

region-based instead of node-locked spawn system

realistic loot (ex: no swords or cash from mice, dropping the gear the mob is wearing)

mobs raising skill from combat

mobs looting dead players

most mobs tamable

Not even going to touch on the wild differences in the PvE experience between skill-based groups in a collision-enabled non-aggro/taunt system, vs the tank/trinity/taunt system. Other than Kill Creature > Get Item what are these similarities you see?

  Zharre

Novice Member

Joined: 3/04/04
Posts: 78

10/29/12 12:19:58 AM#108
Originally posted by Hrimnir  
It was about working your way up, starting out as nothing and making something of yourself. Now, MMOs are a reflection of modern western society where people feel entitled to everything.  Like somehow they deserve this or that just by virtue of being there.  Its absurdity at the highest level.

Out of everything, this is what I miss the most.

I'm damn tired of starting off as the hero(ine) automatically. If you start off as such, how do you progress? You're already the hero! You're already the best! So, the only thing to do is continue to prove how awesome and super special I am? Really? Ugh. That's pure boredom to me.

I want to start off as a newbie. Nameless. Bottom rung of the ladder. Killing rats, if I have to. Let me CLIMB my way up. Prove myself, to both the playerbase and the NPCs. While I admit that I would like my successes to be noted by the NPCs ('Look at you now, in your shiny armor, so famous! I remember when you wearing a dress made of little more than rags!'), it's really my status with the playerbase that matters to me. Status that I've built up by being a good player, knowing my class, knowing the game, being active in the community.

With regards to sandbox & themepark... I don't mind some themepark in my sandbox. It can co-exist, if done right.  Themeparks are sideshows, after all. Not the meat and bones of the world. But I don't enjoy games that are pure themeparks nearly as much as even a basic sandbox. Or rather... I can enjoy themepark rides once, but after I've done the rides once, I feel like I'm done. Game over. Bored. There needs to be more, for me, than just repeating the same rides ad nauseum. 

  User Deleted
10/29/12 12:26:34 AM#109
Originally posted by Zharre

With regards to sandbox & themepark... I don't mind some themepark in my sandbox. It can co-exist, if done right.  Themeparks are sideshows, after all. Not the meat and bones of the world. But I don't enjoy games that are pure themeparks nearly as much as even a basic sandbox. Or rather... I can enjoy themepark rides once, but after I've done the rides once, I feel like I'm done. Game over. Bored. There needs to be more, for me, than just repeating the same rides ad nauseum. 

I'd kinda prefer not to go to extremes when it comes to this part. Give me too much freedom, and I'll be lost and stay in one place, but give me too little freedom, and I'll feel like cattle.

But most importantly, give me a goal and some tools, but let me carve my own way to the goal; don't follow me around like a giant parade, because then the feeling of awesome goes away since I had too much help. You can throw in a nudge here and there, but try not to overdo it.

  Hrimnir

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/24/10
Posts: 1016

10/30/12 9:31:08 PM#110
Originally posted by Tamanous

The concept of a themepark evolved over the years. It all started in the very early 2000's (and I would really need to look up the actual facts on this later) when developers got together to discuss the new genre that was the mmorpg. There was decided during this time that the genre would be simplified to the term mmo (dropping the rpg). Now prior to this the genre was of course very new and evolved from various forms of games prior to it. Some evolved directly from table top rpgs, some directly from MUDS (which likely was based off of pnp rpgs anyway) and some from single player rpgs which themselves usually had the typical origins.

 

Many of the first mmos were made entirely as a evolution to single player rpgs or translating pnp rpg experiences to video gaming. The fact that the game was an rpg never escaped their creators. This is a very important concept. When you are thinking of a never been done before, fresh approach to something you are free to try new things and end up with an original product. What has happened over the years is that a once original model later became a template for mmos to follow. This now severed completely the connection to genres origins. They became games driven by systems thought to be a mandatory part of a model instead of original ideas created in order to translate concept to application. There is a huge difference between translating a living model within an idea  to a game and "throwing in crafting because an mmo is expected to have it".

 

Themeparks became an industry model designed to trap players and effectively 'play the players' instead of providing them entry into a concept they have control over which is what pen on paper rpgs were all about. The worlds only existed because of the presense of the players and what they did. A themepark no longer allows this. The game is effectively the same whether or not a player ever stepped foot into the game. The only change a player makes in a modern day themepark is to flip a trigger in a log saying they killed something. It has little to no effect on the game world. This all stemmed from the near complete detachment between developers and players once the industry turned into a mega-corp money making venture. 

Where the hell do people come up with this crap?  I mean seriously.

If you want to know the truth, go watch the anniversary video for Everquest, they talk a lot about what the state of the genre was back in the mid to late 90's.  And trust me, it was NOTHING like you just described above.

I get so sick of this conspiracy theory bullshit thats gets spouted because some douche bag found the article on skinner boxes on wikipedia, and now everyone thinks they're a fucking psychologist.

I know we live in a time now where developers make games with the sole purpose of making as much money as humanly possible.  That wasn't always the case.  Back in the 90's and even early 2000's, game companies made games because they had a vision and wanted to make something cool and fun to play, and then they hoped that players would adopt it and buy it and then they would be successful.  Words like "monetization" didnt enter the discussion until much much later.

"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

  WhiteLantern

Novice Member

Joined: 1/27/10
Posts: 2776

10/30/12 9:39:05 PM#111
Originally posted by MMOExposed

I am curious to learn a bit more about the history of MMORPG. starting with the reason behind the first "Themepark" mmo as we know the term today.

Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

I question this part......

 

 

 

As for the main topic, I assume someone in a board meeting said: "Hey, let's take online role playing games and make them fun!".

/2 cents

I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil

  aesperus

Elite Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 4508

10/30/12 9:42:35 PM#112
Originally posted by MMOExposed

I am curious to learn a bit more about the history of MMORPG. starting with the reason behind the first "Themepark" mmo as we know the term today.

Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

Well, you've got a few misconceptions already in the OP.

FIrst off, 'themepark' vs. 'sandbox wasn't really much of a topic amongst the early MMOs. Secondly sandboxes weren't more popular. One of the first themeparks was arguably Everquest. However, the further you get to the inception of the MMO, the more blurry the lines get. MMOs started as a way to create a world around the RPG idea. As this evolved, some games chose to focus more on the environment aspect of this, while others chose to focus more on the RPG aspect of this. Those that focused on the 'environment' aspect tended to turn into more sandboxy games. Those that focused more on the RPG aspect tended to turn into more themeparky games.

However, there was no 'major success of Sandbox design'. That whole idea is a fallacy. There's a reason most sandboxers are still pointing towards examples that noone plays anymore. Yes, the original Ultima was successful. And yes, it was a great game. But it wasn't like it dominated the industry. It was successful, but it was hardly the only example.

As has been stated many, many times; sandbox games are not only much harder to make, but they also tend to have a lot more problems. Most of the successful sandbox games we've seen have also started out as very basic games, and have grown over time.

  darkhalf357x

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 1041

I'm only playing the role chosen for me. Who you supposed to be?

10/30/12 10:11:05 PM#113
Originally posted by Fendel84M
Originally posted by Kuro1n
Originally posted by Fendel84M
Originally posted by Kuro1n

Before there were only worlds, nowadays they try to make the worlds into games. Give me my worlds and adventures back, the secrets and exploration the dangers with dying and all that comes with it. :(

What I mean with worlds is that the mmos were more of a breathing world with day and night cycle, areas where mobs lived dangers with going out alone and dying etc. Players had more of a reputation and nowadays what do we get? People talk about 'open world' pvp and after that term they throw in factions I just feel ill when I see that.

/rant

First real themepark is... wow? What were they trying to fix? well they wanted the casual carebears to take part because casual carebears = $$$. Then as content couldn't be produced fast enough people bandwagoned the 'next big thing' and here goes the hype train... CHOO CHOO!

 

EDIT: Inb4 I get reported for trolling or something silly.

I think we have to figure out what games are not sandboxes first.

EQ EQ2 Asherons Call Anarchy Online Dark Age of Camelot all came before WoW. Were those all sandboxes? Cause they never felt like it.

I always thought those were sandbox games, never tried them so really had no idea. Yet I believe even if they were themepark they never were themepark to the same extent as wow for example.

Definitely not sandboxes in my opinion. I played them all, AO actually introduced instancing! You had "random" missions that you picked up and went to a location where you zoned into an instance alone or with your group and completed the task. DAoC introduced battlegrounds, they were persistant rather that matches but they were zones designated for pvp.

Its tough to say.  Definitely not themeparks in my opinion.  Im playing EQ now (for the first time).  It has nuances of WoW/Themepark but they are optional.  For example, there is a 'golden path' to follow in a linear fashion to level but you dont have to use or follow it all.  Hell, it took me a week to realize it was even there.  Agree its not a sandbox either since there are really no systems for players to control.  

I guess its more akin to a bunch of 'stuff' that was eventually streamlined into themepark stuff.  For example, today you can craft but most themeparks limit you to 1 or 2 professions and you have to switch if you want to change.  Some remove your prior crafting XP while others do not.  In EQ you can do all and every crafting profession.  So more choice of what you want to do, but less (no) control of how you do it.

I will say however EQ is classified it is WAY more open than any current existing Themepark.  More challenging too. But I like that.

  darkhalf357x

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 1041

I'm only playing the role chosen for me. Who you supposed to be?

10/30/12 10:15:54 PM#114
Originally posted by Tamanous

The concept of a themepark evolved over the years. It all started in the very early 2000's (and I would really need to look up the actual facts on this later) when developers got together to discuss the new genre that was the mmorpg. There was decided during this time that the genre would be simplified to the term mmo (dropping the rpg). Now prior to this the genre was of course very new and evolved from various forms of games prior to it. Some evolved directly from table top rpgs, some directly from MUDS (which likely was based off of pnp rpgs anyway) and some from single player rpgs which themselves usually had the typical origins.

 

Many of the first mmos were made entirely as a evolution to single player rpgs or translating pnp rpg experiences to video gaming. The fact that the game was an rpg never escaped their creators. This is a very important concept. When you are thinking of a never been done before, fresh approach to something you are free to try new things and end up with an original product. What has happened over the years is that a once original model later became a template for mmos to follow. This now severed completely the connection to genres origins. They became games driven by systems thought to be a mandatory part of a model instead of original ideas created in order to translate concept to application. There is a huge difference between translating a living model within an idea  to a game and "throwing in crafting because an mmo is expected to have it".

 

Themeparks became an industry model designed to trap players and effectively 'play the players' instead of providing them entry into a concept they have control over which is what pen on paper rpgs were all about. The worlds only existed because of the presense of the players and what they did. A themepark no longer allows this. The game is effectively the same whether or not a player ever stepped foot into the game. The only change a player makes in a modern day themepark is to flip a trigger in a log saying they killed something. It has little to no effect on the game world. This all stemmed from the near complete detachment between developers and players once the industry turned into a mega-corp money making venture. 

 

The sad truth is that sandbox mmos have a limited player base. It will always be that way. There is a reason why everyone doesn't play pnp rpgs. They time and a hell of a lot of original thought and work on behalf of the players to play. The reward is amazing though and likely not matched by any game every created. The average person isn't willing to put such effort into a game. This translates directly into video games. The industry shaped mmos into linear models that favour single player experiences. They essentially devolved the genre more toward the single player rpg experience. This is because that sort of game appeals to the majority of gamers who grew up on games with similar natures: consumable content easily and mindlessly delivered. When the open world gameplay effectively ended the RAID format was created as an answer to the problem of how to keep players interested. RAIDs are nothing more than an easier method to keep players engaged rather than forever expanding linear content. The mmo model became nothing more than a way to lure in the maximum number of players with the least amount of development and content. The industry simply reacted to what made the easiest profit which was attracting the wider playerbase. Effectively they went out on purpose to alienate and destroy the core playerbase mmorpgs were built upon.

 

Now that the economy has assisted in bottoming out the endless playerbase a new genre taps into, we are now seeing developers forced to reinvent or rediscover different methodologies. New players are not endless anymore. Developers must find their niche so we now see some making games for the genre's original fanbase. It will always be small but they only have to make a good product to make their profit. I see things looking up for the mmorpg industries future and this comes directly from the failures made previously. Either major distibutors will abandon the model to procede down the path of least resistance to the next big profit area or some will head back to their origins and make games for their target audiences again and stop making such watered down products that ruin the industry ... for all genres.

+1 well said.

  darkhalf357x

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 1041

I'm only playing the role chosen for me. Who you supposed to be?

10/30/12 10:22:33 PM#115
Originally posted by MindTrigger
Originally posted by Terrawen

I was just coming to post my experiences with MMORPGs, but slowpoke68 nailed it so I'll just add a few thoughts.

 

First, terminology needs to be clarified so that we're all on the same page. Loosely, a theme park guides you around the game and gives you less control. A sand box gives you that control and freedom, but sacrifices structure. Games can blend these two aspects so sometimes it can be hard to call a game theme park or sand box. A lot of this will come down to your own interpretation and experience.

 

Now, to the question, why was the first themepark mmo created? I suppose early developers like Origin (UO), Verant (EQ) both probably developing their respective games at roughly the same time and there really wasn't a model any of them could follow. While the content could be compared to MUDs, they were all pioneering and helping mold a new genre of video games. UO hit first and I would call it a sandbox, because you made your own class, you sort of did want you wanted to do and there wasn't much structure or purpose built into the game. EQ came out shortly thereafter and I would call it a theme park because you were locked into a class with preset abilities, you were led via quests to certain level appropriate areas in the game and the game had objectives to work toward via tightly balanced dungeon and raid content - I call this structure, which sand boxes rarely have much of (else they start to start to become a non sand box).

 

Probably the main question is, why did theme parks become popular while sand boxes sort of faded out? Balance and purpose. It's close to impossible to make a balanced sand box game that's challenging and rewarding. Lets say you're a developer, designing a raid boss. Who do you cater to? If I can pick my own skills, I'm going to min/max my character with skills like parry, evasion, armor, shields, health, resistance and if you cater to the normal player, I'm going to breeze through this raid encounter. If you make it challenging for me, then everyone else will have to pick my skills in order to complete the encounter. In essence, your raid encounters are either trivial, if you make it accessible to the normal player, or you basically make people pick a character class.

 

This is further complicated when you add in healers and DPS. A lot of people will (naively) say; "they need to make a game that doesn't have tank-healer-dps" and I've also seen game companies promise this (naively) in their feature list. As stated above, a system like this just doesn't easily work because if you have an encounter in a game, whether it's a raid or a dungeon and you don't need a focused tank-healer-dps group to tackle it, my friends and I will bring a tank-healer-dps group and absolutely domolish it with our vastly impproved efficiency while your healer/dps is dpsing instead of healing your tank who's dual wielding swords instead of using a shield, who promptly dies.

 

The other issue with sand box games is purpose. Just take a look at achievements in any game and you can see that people like something to work toward. By their very nature, sand box games have minimal structure and structure is what gives you your carrots, ala dungeons and raids. Something that a player can work toward.

 

Lastly, the hidden third reason we don't really get sand box games is because the few that do get released fail because of the above two reasons and the most successful MMORPG on the market is not a sand box. Unless you can get an independent developer to push their game through to release (and even if they make it that far, it does not equal success), you're going to need a publisher to fund your game and based on history, sand box games are too risky. It's a big gamble and most publishers will see it as financial suicide.

 

Those are my thoughts. Cheers.

I disagree with most of this post.  There's plenty of purpose in a well built sandbox.  In Star Wars Galaxies, there was always the underlying lore and activities of the Galactic Civil War, and while SOE never did implement this on any epic scale, it was enough a part of the game to motivate a lot of players to take part in city/base building, PVP and other aspects of the game. It was built into the whole game (PvE and PvP) from the top down, while still allowing you to remain nuetral and stay out of faction content if you wanted.  People gained ranks, and were given access to faction rank perks and all kinds of stuff.  There was always a strong sense of belonging to the Empire or the Rebellion, or even in choosing to be neutral while still being a part of it.

Your purpose was also often your friends, your guild and large projects such as building yourself homes, shops and building a city as a group, crafting, etc.   Your purpose was to live in the Star Wars lore, any way you chose, which often changed.

You are right though that recent indie attemps at sandbox games haven't been very good at building much purpose into the game.  Xsyon could have been very cool, had they bothered too put in a reason to be building and crafting.  It's sort of a weird survival simulator, but it leans far too heavy on the crafting side, and not enough on the survival both solo and group.

I agree, and is which is why I always say that a (good) MMORPG is based on story/conflict.  If you dont provide a good reason to do (whatever system is implemented) it will be difficult to maintain interest.  What has happened to MMORPGs today (mentioned by others on this thread) is that the story has been genericized to the point that even new gamers can recognize its useless.  Without the conflict what is the reason to play?

I like the idea of a sandbox, but also feel story (questing) is important.  It just doesn't have to be linear.

  maplestone

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

10/30/12 10:44:32 PM#116
Originally posted by MMOExposed

Back then, Sandbox MMO were more popular. What could have caused early MMO developers to go the route of Themepark design, after the major success of Sandbox design?

The way I see it (right or wrong) ...

First came the pencil and paper RPG.  A bunch of characters, a Dungeon Master's world and an adventure for the evening.  When MUDs (and later MMOs) came along, there were three different paths chosen on how to replace the DM with a server.

Path 1: focus on the dungeon module, implementing encounter-by-encounter.  This became refined into themeparks with quests to encourage people to move from encounter to encounter and not just grind-in-place.

Path 2: focus on the characters, giving players a world to live in.  This became sandboxes (unfortunately, they acquired a sort of Lord of the Flies reputation because without a DM as the hand of karma, you couldn't actually have a heroic world)

Path 3: focus on roleplaying, giving tools for multiple overlapping storytellers.  Although there were a number of successful LARPs/MUSHes using this model back in the day and I suppose it could be argued that this is the model that Second Life has persued.

  Scot

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 4741

10/31/12 4:39:51 AM#117

Interesting analogy. PnP rping and MMO’s just do not go well together. It has been like banging a square nail into a round hole. The main issues are the lack of director abilities and communication taking ages in text. As you say SL has some of these and NWN gave it a go too.

The history of MMO development is the result of a collision between the development principals of a RPG and a console shooter.

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

10/31/12 6:44:36 AM#118
Originally posted by Yamota

Reason? Uhm, this maybe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaiSHcHM0PA

No but seriously. MMOs back then were for nische crowds and made by people who loved games. Now MMOs are made by people who love money, hence the mainstreaming of it and hence ThemeParks.

I don't think 'niche' applies.  MUDs were niche games, certainly.  But MMOs wanted 'massive', and they damn well got it.  To their detriment, they just kept getting bettter at it.

The first-gen MMOs just weren't ready to effectively deal with the population, as it exploded by another order of magnitude.  Now they're got reactionaries seeking to make them fit back into Mom and Pop stores again...but they're being managed like big business.

 

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.

  mgilbrtsn

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/14/09
Posts: 1062

He who fights and runs away... misses out on the loot

10/31/12 6:47:23 AM#119
It's pretty simple IMO.  They were trying to figure out how to increase the number of players (revenue), so they deterimined a more social/themepark experrience would probably attract people who weren't into MMOs.

They are coming for you!

  vorpal28

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/07/05
Posts: 65

10/31/12 6:54:54 AM#120
Originally posted by slowpoke68

In the beginning, you had Ultima Online, circa 1997.  It was the first graphic MMORPG. 

It was a sandbox game.  You created a character and could go out and do whatever you wanted.  There were a ton of different skills you could develop and you got a small amount of starting skill points you could assign as you wanted.  There were no levels and no classes.  Whatever skills you used the most, went up in skill.

There was complete open world pvp with full loot.

Theoretically you had unlimited options.  But in reality, everyone was what was called a tank mage.  That is characters who leveled up their magic use and leveled up their strength so they could wear full plate armor.  If you set foot outside of town in any setup other than this you were an easy meal.  So you ended up with most everyone looking the same and doing the same thing.

It was still tremendous fun and I was totally addicted.  This is in spite of the fact that I played an animal tamer type and got owned a lot by min maxer tank mages.

In 1999, Everquest came out.  People could choose what class they wanted to play and actually group to adventure.  In UO there were no groups at all.  So the class system and the grouping system were revolutionary.  Also, you could really see how gernerously EQ borrowed from table top DND.  Lastly there was no pvp to speak of.  EQ went on to be a huge success and is still in my opinion the best pve mmo of all time.  It was incredibly challenging, you would not even believe how much more difficult it was at launch than mmos today.  

UO was cool in the freedom you had.  However, ffa pvp attracts the dregs of the internet and it was plagued by griefers.  Also, the problem that I think faces all sandbox games, unless they are really well balanced...is everyone picking the best build, so there is little to no variety.

Trust me, if you were there at the launch of UO (the sandbox) and there at the launch of EQ (the theme park), you would most likely choose the theme park.  Most people did and that is why things are the way they are.

I would like to see a nice sand box as the theme park has kind of been done to death.  The one big problem I see is if devs aren't careful with how they balance skill sets etc. you end up with everyone being the same.

 

 

 

 

Actually the first MMORPG as we know it was Meridian 59, which was around in 1995 then re-released in 1996 as a commercial entity.

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