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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn: You Got Theme Park in My Sandbox

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43 posts found
  calyptic101

Novice Member

Joined: 5/19/11
Posts: 5

8/06/13 5:11:48 PM#21
The main problem with themparks is that developers can not keep up with players. The reason players want more sandpark or sandbox games is simply content. Player driven content simply mever runs out.

also the comments about you losing your stuff 8n eve sounds worse than it actually is. Losing your internet spaceship is no big deal for players you make it sound like that players worked for months to acquire what they are flying. Replacing what you lost is easy. Good article though.
  Ryahl

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/10/12
Posts: 40

Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

8/06/13 5:18:21 PM#22
Originally posted by calyptic101
The main problem with themparks is that developers can not keep up with players. The reason players want more sandpark or sandbox games is simply content. Player driven content simply mever runs out.

also the comments about you losing your stuff 8n eve sounds worse than it actually is. Losing your internet spaceship is no big deal for players you make it sound like that players worked for months to acquire what they are flying. Replacing what you lost is easy. Good article though.

First, thanks everyone for the kind thoughts.

@Calyptic101, I don't really understand EVE beyond newbie space, so thank you for the clarification.

I suspect, though, that what an EVE player considers "replacing what you lost is easy" is surprisingly a lot more than what much of the mmo market considers a minimal penalty for failure.

I'm speculating it's a bit like the xp-penalty in EQ1.  By the upper levels you almost always had a nearly full xp rez available, so the actual penalty wasn't that much.  Most everyone had experienced "losing a level" temporarily leveling up, though so the perception of loss was always much greater than the reality of the loss.

Ryahl - writer of eye-bleeders
FFXIV Fansite | TSWGuides
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  Smoey

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/25/05
Posts: 548

8/06/13 5:24:36 PM#23

The term 'sandbox' is interpreted differently by everyone. Even if a 'pure sandbox game' was created there would be many that would still argue that it wasn't a sandbox due to x, y or z. 

Does this game have sandbox elements? you could say it does as you can pick any class and be what ever you want from a simple switch of a weapon, however, you could argue that simply having classes makes that redundant and therefore not a sandbox. I hate the term sandbox. It's used similarly to 'freedom' as freedom is interpreted by everyone differently. 

(\ /) ?
( . .)
c('')('')

  PeskeyPixie

Novice Member

Joined: 1/04/13
Posts: 19

8/06/13 5:30:55 PM#24

I agree with a lot of what was in this article. But you see this happening in a lot of other markets as well, not just the gaming industry. I think that much of the hype comes from those that are trying to be the next "clone" of whatever game style is popular. WoW had it fair share of the clones and now because Eve is gaining in it's popularity you are going to see more and more imitators of the sandbox game style. Most of which will try to emulate exactly what Eve has done so they can have their time in the spotlight and try to steal market share from Eve. Some will actually be more original and try to work their designs into the sandbox style. I have been following one MMO that has been doing this for the last 12 years, before there was ever a coined phrase "sandbox". I do not want to sound like a bill board or a proponent of any specific MMO so I will just leave it at that and say that if you watch the industry carefully that you can still find original game designs that legitimately qualify as different and true sandbox designs. They may be rare, but they do exist.

As far as the "loss" in MMOs is concerned, I really thin the industry in general needs to re-evaluate the whole hand-holding, no loss aspects of today's game designs and go back towards the sandbox model with the incorporation of loss. Let's put some challenge back into gaming. It isn't the destination that is important, it is the journey. Why focus on the end-game when getting there, or attempting to get there is where all the fun is. Quit coddling players and let them feel some sting in their bad choices and experience the loss that makes them better players instead of victims "care-bearism".

  RolanStorm

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/01/03
Posts: 31

Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see.

8/06/13 6:16:05 PM#25

Good read. Although point made about how much this article is on FFXIV ARR is valid. :)

I think it is all about execution. I like sandboxes, but for me EVE is not a thing. I dislike themeparks, but play Guild Wars 2 recently and find it great.

What themeparks usually lack is flexibility. If it is enough in class system and environment - themepark will be successful. For sandboxes it's guidelines - EVE did a pretty god job on their tutorial, that's the right thing. New player should have an opportunity to understand where to look for an adventure.

I wonder how Repopulation will fare - they have this mixed concept, which I think is a right thing.

As for FFXIV ARR they choose right approach - classic with tweaks. And story. Don't know how successful this game will be in general, but I definitely will play.

 
eilertalemat Xfire Miniprofile
  Chuckanar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/05/04
Posts: 181

8/06/13 6:53:49 PM#26
I think he should have explained better what "Sandbox" and "Themepark" is better for those that are unsure. Heck I have been playing games and such for decades and I just go with what looks fun.
  aslan132

Elite Member

Joined: 10/01/07
Posts: 271

8/06/13 8:05:24 PM#27
Originally posted by BadSpock

Not much about FFXIV:ARR is there?

Should be a more general column, not specific to the game IMO as it is MUCH more about themepark vs. sandbox.

 

FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so.

ARR is also giving a ton of different rides, and in a lot of ways, allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip, as well as which to repeat to your heart's content in a way that is somewhat unique in the genre.

Building a better park IMO - and that is EXACTLY what I want out of my MMORPG.

Great character building, great graphics, cross platform play, excellent story, lots of group content both small and large scale, a full housing system, and the promise of a subscription fee with NO item mall or cash shop or freemium premium F2P B2P P2W or RMT.

Excellent article. I know a huge thing on the net these days is to debate what sandbox means. And even with articles like this, I dont think the community will ever agree. But you do bring up good points and it should be enough to get anyone moving in the right general direction. 

 

As for the quote above and the underlined specifically, thats not what FFXIV is at all. Let me preface before the hate and say I love the game. Im having fun in the betas, and if it werent for the subscription, my guild and I would be playing the game. It feels very much like FF, but as much as thats a positive, it is also a negative. It plays very much like a console game on rails. 

 

While other games look to drive the industry forward, and try new things, this game is a step backward for the industry. This is very much your old school MMO, multiple hotbars, one button macroing, forced grouping, stand still to cast, and no dodge or action combat, etc. all bundled up with a sub fee.

 

"allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip" this part right here is especially false. The game very much forces you in one direction, with required grouping and dungeons, and quest hubs all run on rails. Want a mount? You have to join a faction, which means getting to a certain point in your story missions. Want to use the airships, again only after doing your story missions. Want to run dungeons, oh yea, you need access which is given by doing your story missions. Dont want to do dungeons? Too bad, they are forced within your story missions, and you cant progress in the game without them. Oh and the repeatable content, theres FATES (see Dynamic Events), most of which are death if you try to do them solo. But youll have plenty of time to do them, if you want to level other classes, its all grind, since the quests are not repeatable. 

 

FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so. This is the best way to describe the game. Its as themepark as themeparks come, right out of 2004. No game has done more handholding or guided rails in the last 5 years, even GW2 allowed you to choose if you wanted to do the story missions or not. Im not saying any of this is a bad thing. Many players want the old school MMO feel. Its whats been missing in their gaming, and why they hate on new MMOs so much. I hope the game is a huge success, and keeps all those gamers satisfied, so they wont need to hate on new games like ESO, or EQN, or ArcheAge, or games that try to do something different for the industry. 

  Chrisbox

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/15/10
Posts: 1161

8/06/13 8:06:13 PM#28
I can't wait to play FFXIV:ARR, thats all I know.  

Played-Everything
Playing-WoW
Want:Destiny, WoD

  Kaniver

Novice Member

Joined: 12/14/03
Posts: 79

8/06/13 8:32:33 PM#29

Very thoughtful article and I agree it is one of the better I have ever seen on this site.

You can just envision the term "Sandbox" becoming the new WOW. Copied by every wannabe MMO gaming concern to ad nauseam.

The hot topic of the day has been EQN. I will give them credit for at least trying some new things. Everyone cries out for change the pounces on a game that seems to be trying to make some deep changes.

As far as where FFXIV:ARR fits into all of this ...........I'm going to find out up close and personal.

  HurricanePip

Novice Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 169

8/06/13 11:00:53 PM#30

Good article.  Really, theme parks are a time = reward design.  There is very little newness.  Once you solved a dungeon or raid boss game mechanic in WoW, it wasn't difficult to figure out how to solve the same game mechanic in Rift.

The problem is that PvE content can never progress fast enough to provide a new challenge to the players that actually want a challenge.  Thus, the best players quit and the community becomes a bunch of time = reward players i.e. daily quests and face roll dungeons.

Maybe an open world like Eve isn't for everyone, but maybe it should be.  Maybe there should be consequences for actions in an MMO.  It wouldn't naturally string along players to keep paying sub fees, but it may ... may at least promote a better, stronger playerbase.  It's not as great a business model, but in the end, may be a better game that provides more value to the players who really invest in it.

If you don't worry about it, it's not a problem.

  Guyjin37

Novice Member

Joined: 6/18/13
Posts: 7

8/07/13 12:33:21 AM#31
Originally posted by aslan132

While other games look to drive the industry forward, and try new things, this game is a step backward for the industry. This is very much your old school MMO, multiple hotbars, one button macroing, forced grouping, stand still to cast, and no dodge or action combat, etc. all bundled up with a sub fee.

 "allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip" this part right here is especially false. The game very much forces you in one direction, with required grouping and dungeons, and quest hubs all run on rails. Want a mount? You have to join a faction, which means getting to a certain point in your story missions. Want to use the airships, again only after doing your story missions. Want to run dungeons, oh yea, you need access which is given by doing your story missions. Dont want to do dungeons? Too bad, they are forced within your story missions, and you cant progress in the game without them. Oh and the repeatable content, theres FATES (see Dynamic Events), most of which are death if you try to do them solo. But youll have plenty of time to do them, if you want to level other classes, its all grind, since the quests are not repeatable. 

 FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so. This is the best way to describe the game. Its as themepark as themeparks come, right out of 2004. No game has done more handholding or guided rails in the last 5 years, even GW2 allowed you to choose if you wanted to do the story missions or not. Im not saying any of this is a bad thing. Many players want the old school MMO feel. Its whats been missing in their gaming, and why they hate on new MMOs so much. I hope the game is a huge success, and keeps all those gamers satisfied, so they wont need to hate on new games like ESO, or EQN, or ArcheAge, or games that try to do something different for the industry. 

This game isn't quite the huge step back it's being made out to be.

First you have to consider FFXIV’s intentional design: a cross-platform, story-driven theme park with choices.

Cross-platform means there are sacrifices to be made so that one platform doesn’t have an avoidable advantage over the other.  PS3 users are by and large new to MMOs, so the first 20 levels of the main story quest line is essentially a tutorial where several key things (chocobos, factions, etc.) unlock slowly.  Got to ease those new players into the genre and their class roles and that means a couple forced dungeons.  Thankfully for veterans it's over pretty fast.

Story-driven (this is Final Fantasy after all) means a central story to tell the narrative.  After some point you certainly aren’t forced to continue it, but some elements (certain battles perhaps) will require you to participate in the story.  This seems pretty fair considering it’s a Final Fantasy title.

Theme park with choices?  Yep, you go through the main story (again, if you want to), choose a faction, choose your class (or hell, choose any of the classes on the same character—a fantastic feature glossed over by many), choose your gear, choose to make a house (player housing is looking rather sandboxy)…you can even, if you want, choose to simply be a crafter or gatherer for your main job.  The point is, yes it is a theme park deep down but it’s not this big step backwards; it’s not taking the genre back to the past.

It’s just taken a lot of things that MMOs up until now have done and made them much better.  Not everybody wants 100% active combat nor sees it as the proper evolution of an MMO.  Not everybody wants to cast on the move or have to dodge attacks all the time like in action games.  That’s different and for some it’s great, but it has nothing to do with moving the industry forward.  If standing still once in a while makes this game old-school, that’s fine—but it certainly isn’t a stain on the direction of MMOs.

  Gravarg

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/24/06
Posts: 2884

For the Queen!

8/07/13 1:27:26 AM#32

I like themeparks, I like sandboxes.  imho they're two totally different genres to me.  Sometimes I want to get done creating a character an get plopped down into a world and the devs just simply say...."good luck".  Other times I like questing, achievement hunting, pet/mount collecting, and all the other things that come with a themepark.  It just depends on how good the game itself is, this is where most games fail.

 

The problem with sandbox, is that 99.999999% of them are PvP full loot gankathons.  Which is fun for the first few days, but then it gets boring and old.  You won't have new players coming in to replenish the old, and the game will die off.  Players these days aren't like the players of old.  In olden days, you would walk by someone and see that they're getting killed by a monster.  You'd go over and help them out, as long as they weren't a criminal or something.  In today's game, you run over kill the monster, then kill the guy that has 5 health left, then loot both and be on your way.  The later has no place in a game that I want to play.

  Illyssia

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/10/09
Posts: 1519

8/07/13 5:36:00 AM#33
Originally posted by Guyjin37
Originally posted by aslan132

While other games look to drive the industry forward, and try new things, this game is a step backward for the industry. This is very much your old school MMO, multiple hotbars, one button macroing, forced grouping, stand still to cast, and no dodge or action combat, etc. all bundled up with a sub fee.

 "allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip" this part right here is especially false. The game very much forces you in one direction, with required grouping and dungeons, and quest hubs all run on rails. Want a mount? You have to join a faction, which means getting to a certain point in your story missions. Want to use the airships, again only after doing your story missions. Want to run dungeons, oh yea, you need access which is given by doing your story missions. Dont want to do dungeons? Too bad, they are forced within your story missions, and you cant progress in the game without them. Oh and the repeatable content, theres FATES (see Dynamic Events), most of which are death if you try to do them solo. But youll have plenty of time to do them, if you want to level other classes, its all grind, since the quests are not repeatable. 

 FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so. This is the best way to describe the game. Its as themepark as themeparks come, right out of 2004. No game has done more handholding or guided rails in the last 5 years, even GW2 allowed you to choose if you wanted to do the story missions or not. Im not saying any of this is a bad thing. Many players want the old school MMO feel. Its whats been missing in their gaming, and why they hate on new MMOs so much. I hope the game is a huge success, and keeps all those gamers satisfied, so they wont need to hate on new games like ESO, or EQN, or ArcheAge, or games that try to do something different for the industry. 

This game isn't quite the huge step back it's being made out to be.

First you have to consider FFXIV’s intentional design: a cross-platform, story-driven theme park with choices.

Cross-platform means there are sacrifices to be made so that one platform doesn’t have an avoidable advantage over the other.  PS3 users are by and large new to MMOs, so the first 20 levels of the main story quest line is essentially a tutorial where several key things (chocobos, factions, etc.) unlock slowly.  Got to ease those new players into the genre and their class roles and that means a couple forced dungeons.  Thankfully for veterans it's over pretty fast.

Story-driven (this is Final Fantasy after all) means a central story to tell the narrative.  After some point you certainly aren’t forced to continue it, but some elements (certain battles perhaps) will require you to participate in the story.  This seems pretty fair considering it’s a Final Fantasy title.

Theme park with choices?  Yep, you go through the main story (again, if you want to), choose a faction, choose your class (or hell, choose any of the classes on the same character—a fantastic feature glossed over by many), choose your gear, choose to make a house (player housing is looking rather sandboxy)…you can even, if you want, choose to simply be a crafter or gatherer for your main job.  The point is, yes it is a theme park deep down but it’s not this big step backwards; it’s not taking the genre back to the past.

It’s just taken a lot of things that MMOs up until now have done and made them much better.  Not everybody wants 100% active combat nor sees it as the proper evolution of an MMO.  Not everybody wants to cast on the move or have to dodge attacks all the time like in action games.  That’s different and for some it’s great, but it has nothing to do with moving the industry forward.  If standing still once in a while makes this game old-school, that’s fine—but it certainly isn’t a stain on the direction of MMOs.

 

I actually think SE will do really well with ARR since it offers a quality theme park mmorpg to PC and PS3 owners at a time when WoW is in decline and all the F2P games have a B2W cash shop. There is a market still for MMOs that for a sub patch in more rides at a regular rate.  

  scritty

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/26/12
Posts: 79

8/07/13 5:58:53 AM#34

I love sandbox games in principle. In practice though - once an "original" player base is established (and become a clique)  noobs are treated like lepers and (for the most part) driven from the game by these snobby idiots ganking, griefing and generally making life unpleasant for any new subscriber that isn't an instrant expert in the game, its play mechanics and lore.

This is of course to the detriment of the game itself as the subscriber rate falls as one new sub after another is griefed out of the game by the (also dwindling) "original take up" clique who seem to just love "bullying" - (for bullying is what they are doing).

Scritty

  SpottyGekko

Elite Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 2434

8/07/13 6:13:40 AM#35

I love sandboxy games, but I have never wished for the death of themeparks.

Quite simply, I don't believe that a "true sandbox" MMO will ever attract a mass audience. The majority of gamers are not RP'ers and don't have the patience to "live in a virtual world". Sandbox games rely on the efforts of the players to make them interesting, but most players are not interested in making an "effort", they want to be entertained ! For them, the "organised events" that make up themepark games are the ideal solution.

 

That does NOT mean that themepark games need to be dull and repetative endgame gear grinds. EQNext is attempting to make a serious dent in the stodgy image of themeparks.

 

Single-player games in the RPG/FPS genre are virtually all pure themeparks, yet can be enormously enjoyable. But we usually play through those and move on, very few of them have any long-term replayability. That does not men I'll stop playing and enjoying them.

 

I love cheesecake.I have eaten countless slices of cheesecake in my life and will no doubt eat countless more before I die. FFXIV:ARR is MMO-cheesecake to me. I know what I'm going to get, and I know I'm going to love it :D

  scritty

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/26/12
Posts: 79

8/07/13 6:31:51 AM#36

We are looking at sandbox from the perspective of the player. From the Devs POV they make even more sense. Once the initial toolset has been created, then their is less (not "none"  - but "less") emphasis on continually creating more content, much of it is done by the players.

You don't need a massive markete to make a game like this a success - it's all about the ROI on your investment. If you can make a sandbox game for $10,000,000 and get just 100,000 subscribers payinbg $15 a month, you'll make back your initial investment inside months.

What I think MAY be hard is FTP sandbox games - at least for a while. Innovation needs to be paid for, and often quite quickly. But then the sandbox crowd are really pretty hardcore.

Look on the EvE forums and you'll see virtually no one EVER talk about taking the game F2P. Compare that with the Battlenet forums where a new thread about that pops up and has 5 pages almost every day "When will WoW go F2P..."

In my experience that's a question most sandboxers just don't ask.

Finally - indie single player games are going "sandbox" mad. From the venerable Dwarf Fortress we have had in the last 12 months or so Gnomoria, Kenshi, Folk Tales, Maia, Prison Architect and game slike Project Zomboid that straddle the middle line (and many more) -

Steams "Green Light" is promoting about 30% of the products as single player sandbox games by any measure of the terms definition)

There should be no argument here. People's enthusiasm to create the games and support them balanced with market forces will mean there are some sandboxes, a few of which will be very good. Probably no where near as many SB as there are Theme Parks - but it's not a competition. I prefer SB's but am really looking ofrward to FFXIV ARR (aftrer spending $80 on the Collectors version of the original game 3 years ago)

Scritty

  karmath

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/24/05
Posts: 837

8/07/13 7:40:49 AM#37
No FF game past or present has been a sandbox in any way, shape, or form.
  itchmon

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/21/07
Posts: 1419

8/07/13 8:01:22 AM#38
Originally posted by karmath
No FF game past or present has been a sandbox in any way, shape, or form.

that's true but their previous MMO, ff11, gave the players a lot more freedom than a traditional quest hub themepark (customization via sub {job} and to set path to level although the players instituted a sort of canonized path to level over time)

RIP Ribbitribbitt you are missed, kid.

Currently Playing EVE, DFUW

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.

Dwight D Eisenhower

My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.

Henry Rollins

  Akais

Novice Member

Joined: 7/07/07
Posts: 267

8/07/13 8:38:41 AM#39

I'm looking forward to this game. I don't know if I would want it to be a sandbox as I live in a world that fits the description now. I play games to take a break from that world.

I don't want the amount of playtime I do get to be spoiled by the massive amounts drama that is inherently found in sandbox games.

That doesn't mean that when I do play I want to be solely relegated to the dev's limited ideas of what is fun either though.

A healthy balance of opportunity, choice, risk, and reward needs to be struck to make for the most optimal experience.

I don't know if FFXIV will strike that balance, but I remember that FFXI struck it better than most of it's counterparts in that generation of MMO's.

  zaylin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/11/06
Posts: 789

8/07/13 3:13:48 PM#40
Sandbox, themepark, hybrid, dont matter, i just want a game that is fun and engaging :)
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