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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Do Sandboxes Overwhelm You With Choices?

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135 posts found
  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10886

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

 
OP  5/03/13 9:54:17 AM#1

Yet another interesting discussion over at Massively.com, but they don't have a forum format for the interactive experience you can get here.

Do Sandboxes Overwhelm You?

To Summarize:
Sandboxes offer a lot of choice, and often they have very little direction on what to do. Does the lack of direction and number of possible directions to go overwhelm you?

This is a simple question, but I expect the answers aren't so simple.

If I can think of a good set of poll choices, I'll add a poll. That is assuming we can avoid getting the thread locked by descending into a sandbox vs theme park argument.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  bcbully

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 7324

5/03/13 9:56:18 AM#2

Grabbing coffee, and interested.

 

Choice is key to me, the more the better. More skills, profession, more ways to reach your goals. The more open the games systems are, the longer I will play. 

 

I think being able to set your own goals is key in this.

When I eat chocolate chip pie it just doesn't feel like chocolate chip cookies. The texture, the consistency, it's just not the same and this is disappointing.

  AlBQuirky

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/24/05
Posts: 3293

Tomorrow's just a future yesterday...

5/03/13 9:58:50 AM#3

Kind of...

It can be daunting not knowing what a game "allows", what to expect, and not have any real direction. Sometimes, it is nice to have a nice gentle push in a direction to get started.

Once the feel of the game is figured out, then the many choices are welcome.

Does that makes sense?

- Al

Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
- FARGIN_WAR

  sketocafe

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/19/11
Posts: 610

5/03/13 9:59:00 AM#4
Nah. I just pick something and roll with it. If I find that path to be not to my liking i'll try another. Just because you can do a lot of things doesn't mean you have to do them all at once and finding one or two things to do at a time has never been overwhelming for me.
  Caldrin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/02/04
Posts: 4213

5/03/13 9:59:58 AM#5

I guess you have to enjoy that type of game to get into it..

 

Some people like to have their hand help through everything and thats just fine as well but sandbox games probally wont be the best option for those people

My 3D models
http://dragon3d.webs.com/

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10886

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

 
OP  5/03/13 10:10:47 AM#6

I'm going to answer in a post instead of in the OP.

My answer is 'No'. Even when there's no clear path, I'll generally just pick a direction or activity and go with it to see what happens. In Minecraft with the Feed the Beast mod pack, I'll pick a project or a mod and go through all the steps of getting the features added from the mod explored. In less sandbox games like Fallout, I'll follow a story from the available stories, but I'll also just spend a lot of time just wandering around to see what happens.

At the same time, games with a clear directive and a clear story line are just as enjoyable. Half Life 2 is about as on rails as you can get, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.

With MMOs though, most of my concerns revolve around the general build quality of a game and the concessions made for a game to be an MMO. The number of choices are not generally a problem. More choices are fine, but so is a line to follow, so long as the choices or the line are interesting.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  VengeSunsoar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4850

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

5/03/13 10:17:43 AM#7

A sandbox should offer a lot of choice, however IMO most offer significantly less choice than themepark.

In most sandbox the choices are what to level/train and what to craft/kill.  There may be a lot of crafting but there is very little variety between crafting so the gameplay ends up being the same.  Same with adventuring, lots of things to train, but very little variety between them so you really end up doing the same thing over and over and over again with several different skills.

To me that is not really meaningfull choice. 

However yes.  In the beginning the lack of direction, not knowing anything about the game, not knowing how well various skills/classes perform can be a bit daunting especially if there is no way to redo/relearn/re-distribute points.

 

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

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10886

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

 
OP  5/03/13 10:19:18 AM#8


Originally posted by AlBQuirky
Kind of...

It can be daunting not knowing what a game "allows", what to expect, and not have any real direction. Sometimes, it is nice to have a nice gentle push in a direction to get started.

Once the feel of the game is figured out, then the many choices are welcome.

Does that makes sense?




Makes sense to me. When I first started playing Fallout, having direction from the game game me a 'push'. Once I got out in the world though, I had a handle on how things were working and all the possible choices became something to enjoy rather than something to fret over.

** ** **

Re: VengeSunSoar's post - I find the possibility of my choices being permanent and bad choices being unfixable daunting. I don't think this is limited to sandbox games though.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  Scalpless

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/22/07
Posts: 1330

5/03/13 10:47:28 AM#9

This article makes a false assumption:

"An MMO sandbox dumps you in and is indifferent to what you do next. It won't hold your hand; it won't tell you where to go, what to be, or how to progress. In short, it presents hundreds of choices to you with no guidance and sometimes no context."

That's not a sandbox. That's a game with a bad (or no) tutorial. Nothing prevents a sandbox RPG from having a series of tutorial quests. For example, EVE has a decent tutorial. It doesn't teach you everything, but it teaches you enough and is long enough for you not to feel lost afterwards.

  NetSage

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/20/10
Posts: 1014

5/03/13 10:50:25 AM#10
A good and true sandbox may.  I mean look at EVE it's complexity lies in the fact of how much people can do.  But, if you break it down into a specific professions it can be a lot more manageable.  I think people are to used to being able to do everything a game has to offer in one go.  Well sandbox makes that hard and makes you specialized your development which leads to people digging their own grave since they aren't great at anything now.
  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 20166

5/03/13 10:52:21 AM#11

It is well known in psychology that too many choices paralyze people (look up the book "The Paradox of Choice".

And even in gameplay, more is not always better. I want interesting choices, not just choice.

Let me use this extreme example to illustrate. You can create 100 fireball skills, and each does one point of damage more than the previous one. So there are 100 choices ... but it is not fun, because you may was well just use the highest damage one. There is no reason to use any other. (That reminds me of EQ, if you play a wiz, you get a new "nuke" every few levels, that essentially just do more damage ... everyone just use the lastest. There is no reason to have the earlier nuke at the later part of the game).

So it is not about the number of choices, it is about intersting choices, and trade-offs.

  mistmaker

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/11/12
Posts: 233

5/03/13 10:53:56 AM#12

there arent any good sandboxes out, so my answer is no.

SWG was my last sandbox game, and no, it didnt overwhelm me. 

 

why should they?

  Karahandras

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/08
Posts: 1667

All it takes for evil to succeed is for the good to stand by and do nothing

5/03/13 10:54:41 AM#13
Originally posted by Scalpless

This article makes a false assumption:

"An MMO sandbox dumps you in and is indifferent to what you do next. It won't hold your hand; it won't tell you where to go, what to be, or how to progress. In short, it presents hundreds of choices to you with no guidance and sometimes no context."

That's not a sandbox. That's a game with a bad (or no) tutorial. Nothing prevents a sandbox RPG from having a series of tutorial quests. For example, EVE has a decent tutorial. It doesn't teach you everything, but it teaches you enough and is long enough for you not to feel lost afterwards.

This + people that didn't bother with the tutorials and then complain it's too hard/directionless.

  Sulaa

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/13/11
Posts: 905

5/03/13 10:55:06 AM#14

Figuring out 'what' and 'how' were one of best things about mmorpg's.   Practically all of them are missing this atm.  Propably because many people don't want that, which is why I don't like 'for everyone and their dog' kind of games.  It makes demanding and inaccessible design choices invalid.

  Aelious

Elite Member

Joined: 9/27/11
Posts: 2482

World > Quest Progression

5/03/13 10:58:35 AM#15
For me? No, never too many choices. I like making my own story in an MMO and not feeling like I'm playing out a prewritten one that I can't wander from if I want to progress.

It's worth pointing out that a lack of predefined direction does not mean lack of features. More gameplay options are great and I connect that mindset to making your own way.
  veritas723

Novice Member

Joined: 11/12/10
Posts: 35

5/03/13 10:58:41 AM#16

i often times don't find the abundance of "choice" to be the primary barrier.   more so  motivation to do any of the available choices.

 

there hasn't been a real sandbox MMO of any caliber for a good long while.   I'd say Skyrim  was the last game that scratched the sandbox-y itch  for me.

maybe i've been programed by to many games with gear progression or Rep grinds.   but i tend to need some goal or start/end point.   be it the next level,   moving to the next zone... the next instance with  the next highest lvl bracket.   

in sandbox games i tend to fixate on skill progression and aesthetics.  getting a matched suit of armor, or completing some "look"  

 

when i just amble,  i really get into aesthetics.   in SWG  i used to spend hours tweaking the layout of my wookiee's home, using the oddball loot items to make designs/decor.    Same with my Rodian smuggler's spice shop.  i'd scour the GTN for some item that I could drop in my shop to make it look like a dirty junk shop dealing stims.  

In skyrim,  I'd constantly organize my cupboard,  putting various reagents and harvested items different places.   etc etc.

 

One of the greatest strengths of a good sandbox MMO  is the freedom to have fun doing nothing,  that's the one choice I always wish a lot of other mmos had.  

  Siris23

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/13/09
Posts: 189

5/03/13 11:01:38 AM#17

There is no one right answer here, it very much dependent on the person playing.

For me the answer is yes. I feel the need to deliberate and optimize every choice so dropping me into a game where there is no clear choice my brain eventually just shuts down and I can't chose anything and stop playing.

But that's just me, some people thrive in a free environment and love sandbox style games.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 20166

5/03/13 11:02:18 AM#18
Originally posted by veritas723

One of the greatest strengths of a good sandbox MMO  is the freedom to have fun doing nothing,  that's the one choice I always wish a lot of other mmos had.  

Doing nothing is not fun for me. Given the prevalence of combat centric games, i doubt many would find it fun to do nothing.

 

  waynejr2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3741

RIP City of Heroes!

5/03/13 11:03:48 AM#19
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar

A sandbox should offer a lot of choice, however IMO most offer significantly less choice than themepark.

In most sandbox the choices are what to level/train and what to craft/kill.  There may be a lot of crafting but there is very little variety between crafting so the gameplay ends up being the same.  Same with adventuring, lots of things to train, but very little variety between them so you really end up doing the same thing over and over and over again with several different skills.

To me that is not really meaningfull choice. 

However yes.  In the beginning the lack of direction, not knowing anything about the game, not knowing how well various skills/classes perform can be a bit daunting especially if there is no way to redo/relearn/re-distribute points.

 

 Shouldn't a system with free choices allow for the player to choose a gimped build? 

What about infomation about the game mechanics?  Could that be part of the players exploration of the game or do players need a complete manual spelling it all out...

  Drakynn

Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/08
Posts: 2051

5/03/13 11:04:50 AM#20

Probably true for a lot of people.I mean take a look at even the simplest MMORPG and you'll find area caht spammed with "OMG How do I <Insert simple task that even a retarded slug could figure out>?!?!?!?"

Personally both open world  games and Sandbox games cans eeem overwhelming at first glance but if the systems are well explained then finding your way doesn't take long at all.

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