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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why is every game now a Cookie-Cutter MMO and there are no AAA sandbox MMOs?

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102 posts found
  Emeraq

Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/06
Posts: 925

2/05/13 1:35:31 PM#41

What is it about Sandbox that players feel is so vastly different than what they feel is the more" linear  or hand holding" MMORPG?

 

A lot of players compare the sandbox open world mmo they are looking for to The Elder Scrolls and as such I'm currently trying my hand at Oblivion, Skyrim and (non TES) Two worlds two to see why. Aside from the classless,  build your own class via skill point system, and being able to go anywhere, (unless a specific key is required to unlock something, which generally requires completion of a quest), you still have your fetch and deliver quests, you still have your kill X of this quests, (will explain below), you still have your collect trophies from mobs type quests, you still have your quest hubs, and as far as I can tell you still have your 'forced' completion of quests to advance the main storyline. 

 

Classless-Build your Own: 

I enjoy the "more you use it the better you are at it" approach found in the TES titles to advance your skills, it doesn't really work that way in Two Worlds two, it's more of a point buy system but still a decent approach. So I'll give sandbox/open world the nod over basic classes... But you have to admit that they still incorporate regular levels (both Oblivion and Skryim do as does Two Worlds 2) and even if they didn't the fact that skills increase in point or percentage increments is still a form of leveling, so you can toss your no levels in open world/sandbox out the window because it will always exist in one form or another.

 

Go Anywhere, any time you want:

I've not finished any of these titles but I'm pretty sure that in all three games that I'm trying that I've run into areas I can't access without the appropriate key, or quest  driven/story advancement. (Skryim and Two Worlds Two for sure I've run into areas I can't access till later and I'm pretty sure I've found the same to be true in Oblivion)  Now maybe the limitations are few and far between, but it still disproves the notion that you can go anywhere at any time you want.

 

Fetch and Deliver:

I've had plenty of these in all three titles I've found, from finding a claw and bringing it back in Skryim, a book in Oblivion, Medications in Two Worlds 2, this is just a regular part of questing. (And really what types of quests aside from gather, deliver, or kill can you have in a game?)

 

Kill X:

Now this is generally more disguised by the developer in the quest objectives, but if you are sent anywhere by a quest giver, to exact revenge, etc. You generally have to elminate every enemy in the outpost, fort, cave, etc to complete the objective. And whether it be 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30, I've found there's a set number of enemies to be killed. They may not tell you how many in the quest log, but the fact remains that they are numbered. And if you don't complete it right away, the ones you have killed do not respawn, keeping it at that numbered quantity of required kills to complete the objective.... 

 

Collect Trophies from Mobs:

I've seen this to a lesser extent than the standard MMORPG but quest givers will require animal parts/trophies in both Skryim and Two Worlds two. I can't recall whether I've had any in Oblivion yet, but I think I have.... It's just standard quest fare, as mentioned above what can you really expect in quest innovation?

 

Advancing the main story:

I've found in all three titles that in order to advance the games story, and progress toward 'end game' if you will, that you still have to go here or there and talk to him or her, in order for the story to advance... 

 

Granted in all of these things, you can do them on your own time schedule, but the fact remains they exist in a similar form in the themepark MMO's.

 

So, I'll ask again, what makes a sandbox MMO THAT much different from a themepark MMO?

 

 

 

 

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11902

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

2/05/13 2:18:17 PM#42
Originally posted by Emeraq

What is it about Sandbox that players feel is so vastly different than what they feel is the more" linear  or hand holding" MMORPG?

It's a different approach to both how the game is played and how the development continues. 

To start, themepark features are scripted content, whereas sandbox features are toys and tools. Developers create sandbox content with the intent of seeing how the players use it and building up that content or additional content based on how it is used. Themepark content is designed to be used a specific way, and it is done so to maximize the experience when one plays through the content.

Housing is a great example of content that differs greatly depending on the approach taken. 

In some MMOs, the player owned structure is simply a variation on the quest hub system. Players do quests or reach milestones to obtain or unlock items for their houses. In that scenario, the focus of further development is solely more quests, unlocks and store items to facilitate the use of that hub. In other MMOs, the player owned structure is usually part of a player owned area, and its functionality is dependent on how the player looks to use it. UO, EVE and Free Realms are examples of this. The players tailor what they build and how they build it to accommodate their social, combat and utility needs or interests. In each of those games, the devs watched how players chose to use the content and built further functionailty to support how the players chose to use it. 

Trade hubs are another example. In themepark-focused games, the trade hub is what the developers decided it will be, and any efforts to establish any other location would be directly working against the system to do so. Even then, it is extremely unlikely the devs will change the location because the game is designed around trade hub being at location X. In sandbox-focused games, at any given point, the trade hub is where the players chose the trade hub to be. In UO, it was Trinsic and Britannia for the longest time, then shifting to Luna when the players found that a more effective trade hub to play/adventure/sell from. In EVE, the players had sevreal trade hubs they started forming, then gravitated heavily toward Yulai. As changes in travel routes came about,players shifted that to Jita. Someday they'll more than likely move again. The game is designed to allow players to make that choice and let's them define what will be the meeting place. 

 

To be clear, I am not saying that either system is better than the other. They are two different apporaches to development. Vastly different.

 

"you still have your fetch and deliver quests, you still have your kill X of this quests, (will explain below), you still have your collect trophies from mobs type quests, you still have your quest hubs, and as far as I can tell you still have your 'forced' completion of quests to advance the main storyline."

You just describes the themepark content that may or may not be in a sandbox-focused game. You have no main storyline to advance in ATITD, UO, EVE or Free Realms. In some of those, you don't even have quests. 

  laokoko

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/09
Posts: 1875

2/05/13 2:40:19 PM#43

The thing to me is game company isn't the most creative bunch and need to "copy" some model.

When you have an "abstract" idea called sandbox, they don't know what to copy.  I mean there's a mech warrior version of Eve that other game company replica.  That is the kind of things game company need. 

Another thing is as good as those "old timer" games are UO, SWG, people stop playing them(or failed to deliver good enough patch to sustain people).  If those games sustain more people more game company will probably try to replica it.

  Jemcrystal

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/02/08
Posts: 1271

Let em put a slave ring thru u're nose u're prob not going to like where they're taking you. Think.

2/05/13 2:44:21 PM#44
Originally posted by paulytheb

You are preaching to the choir ,brother.

I'll support your post just because you and I are sitting in the same boat.

2nded.

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

2/05/13 2:51:40 PM#45
Originally posted by Emeraq

What is it about Sandbox that players feel is so vastly different than what they feel is the more" linear  or hand holding" MMORPG?

It's the difference between starting the day with an unread book vs an unwritten journal.

  User Deleted
2/05/13 4:17:37 PM#46
One thing that is for certain (according to people on these forums): Developers are lazy, greedy, talentless, can't think for themselves morons who could care less about games or their playerbase. They can't keep their mind off of WoW and the greatness of WoW. They make their decisions bgased only on the success of WoW and/or how much cash thay can grab from the eager public. They are a souless bunch who will spend all of eternity burning in Hell.
  ignore_me

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/04/11
Posts: 2034

2/05/13 4:39:38 PM#47
WoW was the Caesar Augustus. Now we are experiencing the rule of the Caligulas and Neros.

Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  mgilbrtsn

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/14/09
Posts: 1079

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

2/05/13 4:42:17 PM#48
Actually pretty easy answer.  Cookie Cutter games make more money.  Until a good (as deemed by the masses, not hardcore sandboxers) one comes out and proves profitable, they won't make them.

They are coming for you!

  Torgrim

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 12/15/05
Posts: 2125

2/05/13 5:37:07 PM#49

As many have sead EVE is a AAA sandbox game.

I started playing EVE in late beta first then from release to 2007 then after that sporadic logins.

EVE back in 2003 were broke pretty unplayable if EVE has lauched today in the same way It would have died out within months.

But EVE grew over the years and turned into IMO a AAA sandbox MMO.

So if you don't have a problem with space games I suggest you try it out, and don't listen to people who says you need a spreadsheet to be able to play, I have never used it and still play the market to earn billions of isk, It was needed  for my ship losses in 0.0 on my main.

But you do need time, you won't get anywhere with 1hour login here and 30min login there.

If it's not broken, you are not innovating.

  Yamota

Elite Member

Joined: 10/05/03
Posts: 6501

"I fight so you don't have to."

2/05/13 5:43:34 PM#50
Originally posted by Aeonblades
Because sandbox MMO's don't sell as well and have crappy player retention, sans a few good examples. Also, devs like to meddle with crap they don't need to in sandbox MMOs and it pisses people off more often than making them happy.

Nonsense. Former triple A MMO's like SWG, AC 1 had excellent retention and good sub. numbers for pre-WoW era. But you do have a point. Sandbox MMOs are not as profitable because it takes more development effort to make a proper sandbox MMO and the initial box sales is less (but retention higher).

So in the current era of quick, short time profit, ThemeParks dominate the triple A MMO market. Their revenue is not all that different from single player games, with the added bonus of sub. fees and then future F2P conversion to squeeze the last cent out of it.

MMO's are big bussiness now, which means creating a good solid game with longetivity is secondary to high profit.

  Yamota

Elite Member

Joined: 10/05/03
Posts: 6501

"I fight so you don't have to."

2/05/13 5:45:48 PM#51
Originally posted by Torgrim

As many have sead EVE is a AAA sandbox game.

I started playing EVE in late beta first then from release to 2007 then after that sporadic logins.

EVE back in 2003 were broke pretty unplayable if EVE has lauched today in the same way It would have died out within months.

But EVE grew over the years and turned into IMO a AAA sandbox MMO.

So if you don't have a problem with space games I suggest you try it out, and don't listen to people who says you need a spreadsheet to be able to play, I have never used it and still play the market to earn billions of isk, It was needed  for my ship losses in 0.0 on my main.

But you do need time, you won't get anywhere with 1hour login here and 30min login there.

Eve is what, 8 years old? You really think the OP, or any sandbox fan, are not aware of the only still successful sandbox MMO?

But it does not matter how good a game or any media is, they dont last forever and few people can play the game game for several years.

  FelixMajor

Elite Member

Joined: 12/27/07
Posts: 523

2/05/13 5:51:38 PM#52

This thread is pointless.  It's obvious what happened, developers saw what was popular, followed in step and produced similar games.  People buy into it, developers make their money further more proving (in numbers and profit) that what they developed is successful (business wise, short term).

 

Whatever, it is changing.  There will be a lot of interesting games coming out within the next 3 years with stuff we are asking for now..it takes time to create a game and world of this magnitude.

Originally posted by Arskaaa
"when players learned tacticks in dungeon/raids, its bread".

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11902

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

2/05/13 6:27:30 PM#53
Originally posted by maplestone
Originally posted by Emeraq

What is it about Sandbox that players feel is so vastly different than what they feel is the more" linear  or hand holding" MMORPG?

It's the difference between starting the day with an unread book vs an unwritten journal.

That's a pretty accurate description.

  Cerbearus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/11
Posts: 12

It's good to be the king.

2/05/13 6:29:59 PM#54
Make a perfect sandbox MMO that everyone will like and play for years, then you have the right to complain.
  Theocritus

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3613

2/05/13 8:40:38 PM#55
There are some good looking sandbox games on the way its just a matter of how long and how many will avoid the temptation to make them FFA PVP......
  laokoko

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/09
Posts: 1875

2/05/13 11:19:24 PM#56
Originally posted by Yamota
Originally posted by Aeonblades
Because sandbox MMO's don't sell as well and have crappy player retention, sans a few good examples. Also, devs like to meddle with crap they don't need to in sandbox MMOs and it pisses people off more often than making them happy.

Nonsense. Former triple A MMO's like SWG, AC 1 had excellent retention and good sub. numbers for pre-WoW era. But you do have a point. Sandbox MMOs are not as profitable because it takes more development effort to make a proper sandbox MMO and the initial box sales is less (but retention higher).

So in the current era of quick, short time profit, ThemeParks dominate the triple A MMO market. Their revenue is not all that different from single player games, with the added bonus of sub. fees and then future F2P conversion to squeeze the last cent out of it.

MMO's are big bussiness now, which means creating a good solid game with longetivity is secondary to high profit.

Not from my word.  From the word of developer of SWG, they said they are leaking sub to Wow in the mass. 

Time have changed, before you only have a few mmorpg to choose from, there are just so many more competition now.

That being said there is a Eve clone.  Just show game studio do copy what works.  Game studio need something to copy period. 

If just 1 game company can show how to produce a sandbox game "that works", I'm sure other will follow and copy.

  taus01

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/06
Posts: 1419

2/06/13 12:13:14 AM#57
Originally posted by Aeonblades
Because sandbox MMO's don't sell as well and have crappy player retention, sans a few good examples. Also, devs like to meddle with crap they don't need to in sandbox MMOs and it pisses people off more often than making them happy.

You mean like the last dozen themepark MMOG's that all could not survive more than 6-12 Month before they went F2P?

I think it is pretty clear that the current crap they sell as MMOG's is not doing better at all. The only long running MMOG's are either Sandbox like EvE, UO or Classics like FFXI, DAoC or Everquest.

The one and only Themepark that survived is WoW and no one really knows why, since its as bad as the rest of the crap it spawned.

"Give players systems and tools instead of rails and rules"

  laokoko

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/09
Posts: 1875

2/06/13 1:13:49 AM#58

^ ya I mean when you say only thing profitable is sandbox games like EvE, UO, you might want to tell me what other sandbox games you think is doing that well.

And I think UO only had like 200k players or something.  When those themepark game get down from millions to 200k players people start calling them a failure and you call UO a success.

And when company is pumping out themepark games like no tomorrow, you can understand why they arn't doing so well.  That probably explains why only those classic games are consider successful.  Because they got no competition.  While nowaday there are so many.

I think the mmorpg market is never that big to sustain that many games.  The most profitable mmropg in recent history beside wow have all been asian games.  Not that those asian games are any great, but when the asian market is that much bigger than western market they can sustain more games.

 

  IG-88

Novice Member

Joined: 8/03/12
Posts: 129

2/06/13 1:25:32 AM#59

Dear OP,

 

I think you have played a sandbox or two in the past, and then there is no going back to themeparks.

The restrictions. linearity, the cookiecutting, the predictability, the feeling of being dragged on a leash are al too famiiar.

But its an easy concept and draws alot of casual players.

 

Now, im a former swg player and miss the sandbox to the extent that i have stopped playing MMO´s and im currenty trying out Second Life (!). Now, thats a sandbox for ya, but it doesnt have any game systems.

 

The Repopulation is probably our only hope at this time.

 

 

  taus01

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/06
Posts: 1419

2/06/13 1:30:53 AM#60
Originally posted by laokoko

^ ya I mean when you say only thing profitable is sandbox games like EvE, UO, you might want to tell me what other sandbox games you think is doing that well.

And I think UO only had like 200k players or something.  When those themepark game get down from millions to 200k players people start calling them a failure and you call UO a success.

 

Games that sell well initially, like GW2, TERA, SWTOR or TSW sell a million copies. That is $50 million revenue not PROFIT to cover development cost plus ongoing cost of staff, servers and development. Even if they sell more this will barely cover their initial costs.

If a game like UO or FFXI runs for 10 years with an average of 500k players and $15 subscription they make $900 million on subscriptions alone, not counting the multitude of expaninson sales and the original box sales.

That my friend is the difference of success and failure.

"Give players systems and tools instead of rails and rules"

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