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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » John Smedely - The Sandbox MMO

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205 posts found
  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

2/12/14 2:54:12 PM#101

I do think "sandbox" is the true dream of the MMORPG genre, the dream us long term players have had since back in the days of EQ and UO, a dream whose embers have been stoked by games like SWG and EvE along the way...

but none the less, it is still a dream... for now.

I mean, the dream is a true virtual world right? But we all want that world to be a certain way and just like in the real world, the problem that usually prevents us from getting our world our way - is the other players :)

So the players are both the greatest strength and biggest hindrance to actually realizing that dream of the "perfect" MMORPG.

Perfection is subjective.

I think the greatest strides are going to come from "sandbox" developers realizing that you have to retain some order, some control over the system.

You need not only PvE but you need to contain and shape the PvP to your will, not the will of the playerbase.

And you have to put in safeguards. Rules.

Players will always find ways to exploit systems and even if not technically an exploit, do things like wreck the economy by flooding it with cheap goods, or buying up the entire stock of X and then inflating the price drastically, combine that with gold selling and bots and etc. etc.

The developer, even in a sandbox, has to maintain control and force some semblance of structure.

You can't predict all of player behavior, but you have to balance it with things you can control.

I remember EvE had kind of "default" goods on the market - goods created by the system- to help reign in inflation and price gouging, but players protested as it "took away from the sandbox" so they pushed for deregulation.

And they won, and it was a bad idea by the players and a bad idea by the devs to agree to it.

Funny how that reflects real life?

Over regulation is bad, can hinder progress, innovation, and competition- but some regulation is essential.

Sandbox cannot mean an MMO that is the wild wild west, no rules, no law, no regulation, just dog-eat-dog mentality.

That does not work. Sure, some love it, the whole FFA no rules thing, but it is SUCH a small niche.

The dream is going to be realized when a dev group realizes they have to maintain control.

Even in a sandbox, they have to supply content and help shape the world, react to it.

Can SOE do that? Can Smedeley?

I guess we'll see now won't we?

Now Playing: Destiny

  syriinx

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/24/13
Posts: 943

2/12/14 2:58:31 PM#102
Originally posted by 5Luck


Just think about this a moment. These are the same guys who gutted SWG 

Wait, SoE absorbed Lucas Arts?  I didn't know that...

  Burntvet

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 2757

2/12/14 3:03:42 PM#103

Even if Smed was not the biggest snake oil salesman in the whole industry, SOE had what many people consider to be the most immersive and deep sandbox game of all time in pre-NGE SWG, and then he and SOE wrecked it. (And no, LA is not wholly to blame, and LA did not program a single line of code, either.)

That should tell anyone all they need to know about Smed and sandboxes.

/endthread

 

  Kevyne-Shandris

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/08
Posts: 1980

You can't † BURY † ¤¤ Holy Paladins ¤¤ As we will always __.- ASCEND -.__

2/12/14 3:10:55 PM#104
Originally posted by imsoenthused
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
Originally posted by Muke
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris

2. Return right back to the nest, WoW.

 

I wonder why...

 

 

People keep falling back into drug abuse too, does not mean drugs are a good thing.

It's no worse than spending money on even a worse habit: throwing money down a bottomless hole of crappy developed games.

 

You're not going to find another MMO as polished as WoW, no matter where you look, and for only $15/mon, too.

 

Folks realize it, and come back to WoW...time after time after time.

 

 

Or they don't. It was bad the first time I tried it, it was bad the next time I got talked in to trying it even after a couple years of updates. I'm going to stand pretty firm on it just being bad in general. 

Don't act like WoW was the be all and end all of MMOs for everyone. I'll give you a "for a lot of people" but there were plenty of us who weren't impressed, and just didn't find it fun or engaging enough to bother playing. I am constantly astonished that anyone would ever spend $15 a month on such a horrible game, but I have friends who still have their subscriptions from launch. Tastes abound.

Until I see a better crafted MMORPG, it's actually the best out there to date, period.

 

Now I will agree WoW does have it's problems (and I said tons about it on their forums), but you're not going to find a better constructed MMO, because the other publishers CUT CORNERS.

 

If YOU prefer a disposable MMO to race to end just fighting through it all, yeah, to YOU it maybe not perfect. But for gamers who prefer games to hold a candle to design standards, no, there isn't any better MMORPG out there.

 

Case in point...

 

http://s970.photobucket.com/user/Kevyne-Shandris/media/WoW-Effects/KEVYNEKEVYNE_Storm_Peaks.mp4.html

 

That was made by Blizzard in *2008*. RL time day/night cycle, with aurora particle effects. You still won't find that even in 2014 "new" MMOs. That's only *one* zone in Northrend. Grizzly Hills has the daytime auroras. All that makes nice pretty screenshot backdrops (see my sig!).

 

That's the stuff YOU don't pay attention too about quality, as you concentrate on the pewpewpew. Today in WoW in places like Halfhill, those clouds are even more beautiful, not static images circling through a sky box seen in other MMOs.

 

Games are NOT defined solely on combat mechanics. It's the whole package.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19849

2/12/14 3:13:34 PM#105
Originally posted by GeezerGamer
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris

 

A sandbox is USER CREATED content. Not dev directed content in a pseudo-sandbox concept.

 

As long as devs are directing game direction and it's content...it's NOT a sandbox, period.

In that case, I won't touch a sandbox game with a ten foot pole .. most user generated stuff is crap. I would much rather just play professionally produced content.

 

He's not talking about user created content like Never Winter, he's talking about MMORPGs with a high Meta Game content. Such as player driven economies and societies based on systems already implemented into the game.

Whcih brings us right back to what Smed is trying to do. Redefine what a sandbox is.

The difference is that in traditional sandbox MMORPGs, nobody was adding anything new to the game but rather working within what was already there to create a different experience.

that kind of 'content' is not interesting to me ... mostly it is either drama, or zerging ... it is impossible to coordinate anything more than 10 people without getting into bickering and arguments.

There is a reason why this never really takes off in a big way .. and it is not by without trying.

 

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19849

2/12/14 3:15:22 PM#106
Originally posted by BadSpock

I do think "sandbox" is the true dream of the MMORPG genre, the dream us long term players have had since back in the days of EQ and UO, a dream whose embers have been stoked by games like SWG and EvE along the way...

There is no such thing. Different people want different games.

Personally, i would much rather have good professional created entertaining content. You don't speak for my taste.

 

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

2/12/14 3:27:16 PM#107
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by BadSpock

I do think "sandbox" is the true dream of the MMORPG genre, the dream us long term players have had since back in the days of EQ and UO, a dream whose embers have been stoked by games like SWG and EvE along the way...

There is no such thing. Different people want different games.

Personally, i would much rather have good professional created entertaining content. You don't speak for my taste.

I don't think the developers of Everquest or Ultima Online would say that their dream was NOT to build virtual worlds.

We are arguing semantics at this point, as all games are really just a collection of professionally (some more than others) created content that is meant to entertain.

Even the "themepark" games try and create virtual worlds- with things like weather and day/night cycles and they try and give life and personality to buildings and NPCs and creatures in the wild...

I don't even LIKE the terms "sandbox" and "themepark" for MMOs as they are too limited.

I think a true sandbox you are given the tools to build, which to me means something like Minecraft or Everquest Next: Landmark not EvE Online or even my first MMO love, UO.

So they are all themeparks to me - they all have their rides.

So I'll retract and edit my statement to read "I do think virtual worlds are the true dream of the MMORPG genre"

Now Playing: Destiny

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19849

2/12/14 3:33:25 PM#108
Originally posted by BadSpock
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by BadSpock

I do think "sandbox" is the true dream of the MMORPG genre, the dream us long term players have had since back in the days of EQ and UO, a dream whose embers have been stoked by games like SWG and EvE along the way...

There is no such thing. Different people want different games.

Personally, i would much rather have good professional created entertaining content. You don't speak for my taste.

I don't think the developers of Everquest or Ultima Online would say that their dream was NOT to build virtual worlds.

And what do their dream have to do with anything? They made two early products that are not even that successful compared to later ones. Those two products certainly do not represent preferences of most in the market. Otherwise, we will still have endless griefing and staring at a spellbook for 5 min.

 

  BadSpock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 7735

Logic be damned!

2/12/14 3:40:22 PM#109
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by BadSpock
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by BadSpock

I do think "sandbox" is the true dream of the MMORPG genre, the dream us long term players have had since back in the days of EQ and UO, a dream whose embers have been stoked by games like SWG and EvE along the way...

There is no such thing. Different people want different games.

Personally, i would much rather have good professional created entertaining content. You don't speak for my taste.

I don't think the developers of Everquest or Ultima Online would say that their dream was NOT to build virtual worlds.

And what do their dream have to do with anything? They made two early products that are not even that successful compared to later ones. Those two products certainly do not represent preferences of most in the market. Otherwise, we will still have endless griefing and staring at a spellbook for 5 min.

Oh how little is known of the past...

UO got rid of the "endless griefing" with a major expansion release in 2000.

Listen, I am a big fan of World of Warcraft, and have had some good fun in many games before and since, but the MMORPG genre is far from reaching it's apex, and I believe without question that the "vision" of this genre is what makes it unique, and that is that these are virtual worlds, not just levels and lobbies like a CoD game.

In order to reach that apex, the virtual world aspects need to be expanded upon, which means NOTHING about removing the qualities associated most commonly with the "themepark" sub genre.

Better themeparks, themeparks with more/better rides AND more virtual world. What are widely considered to be "sandbox elements" can go a long way in added to the themepark elements to create a better virtual world.

Now Playing: Destiny

  imsoenthused

Novice Member

Joined: 7/04/09
Posts: 64

2/12/14 3:53:33 PM#110
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris

Games are NOT defined solely on combat mechanics. It's the whole package.

I agree with you, and yet... The combat was what ruined WoW for me. Keep in mind, I was a huge fan of the IP before WoW was released, and I expected to be a big fan. But I didn't have any fun killing stuff. Then Guild Wars came along, and was just so much better in every conceivable way, and WoW went from being a boring disappointment to a total write off only six months after release.

Don't strawman me and accuse that I "prefer a disposable MMO to race to end just fighting through it all". It's both insulting and incorrect. I do like fun games though, I'll just never count WoW as one of those.

  Kevyne-Shandris

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/08
Posts: 1980

You can't † BURY † ¤¤ Holy Paladins ¤¤ As we will always __.- ASCEND -.__

2/12/14 3:57:23 PM#111
Originally posted by imsoenthused
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris

Games are NOT defined solely on combat mechanics. It's the whole package.

I agree with you, and yet... The combat was what ruined WoW for me. Keep in mind, I was a huge fan of the IP before WoW was released, and I expected to be a big fan. But I didn't have any fun killing stuff. Then Guild Wars came along, and was just so much better in every conceivable way, and WoW went from being a boring disappointment to a total write off only six months after release.

Don't strawman me and accuse that I "prefer a disposable MMO to race to end just fighting through it all". It's both insulting and incorrect. I do like fun games though, I'll just never count WoW as one of those.

I'm not using strawman arguments, I'm clearly explaining that only defining a game -- by your own words is combat related -- is not the only judge of quality.

 

Quality is what all is on the table, not just one piece of the pie.

  Amaranthar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2171

2/12/14 4:02:21 PM#112

I've argued for Sandbox, and I agree with everything Smed said.

But I still have a question on where it all goes. Based on content zones. If a "Sandbox" game has separate "sandboxes" based on levels, and the player is required to go to this "sandbox" first, then the next one (or even a choice of a few) next, and so on, that spoils the "world" feeling and makes it feel gamey.

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be some content to content, such as skilling up for greater ability. Only that a good Sandbox needs to be open. And that the way to do that is to avoid the huge power gaps that Themeparks are built on.

Once upon a time....

  Antiquated

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/13
Posts: 479

2/12/14 4:03:18 PM#113
Originally posted by Hanthos

He makes very valid points and I think he may have finally figured it out. But do I trust him or SOE to be the one to bring it us without screwing us three ways from Sunday?

Uh, no...

By this point, he should be able to make the right Talking Points in his sleep. Like that skeevy career politician that you're not sure...why...you feel too uncomfortable to vote for.

But in Smed's case, we know why.

  bcbully

Elite Member

Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 7251

 
OP  2/12/14 4:16:06 PM#114
Originally posted by Antiquated
Originally posted by Hanthos

He makes very valid points and I think he may have finally figured it out. But do I trust him or SOE to be the one to bring it us without screwing us three ways from Sunday?

Uh, no...

By this point, he should be able to make the right Talking Points in his sleep. Like that skeevy career politician that you're not sure...why...you feel too uncomfortable to vote for.

But in Smed's case, we know why.

Yeah, but EQN:L proves to be more than a talking point while also being the inevitable foundation of EQN. 

 

I never played SWG. That was a long time ago. It's hard for me to understand the hate, just saying.

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.

  imsoenthused

Novice Member

Joined: 7/04/09
Posts: 64

2/12/14 4:18:02 PM#115
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
Originally posted by imsoenthused
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris

Games are NOT defined solely on combat mechanics. It's the whole package.

I agree with you, and yet... The combat was what ruined WoW for me. Keep in mind, I was a huge fan of the IP before WoW was released, and I expected to be a big fan. But I didn't have any fun killing stuff. Then Guild Wars came along, and was just so much better in every conceivable way, and WoW went from being a boring disappointment to a total write off only six months after release.

Don't strawman me and accuse that I "prefer a disposable MMO to race to end just fighting through it all". It's both insulting and incorrect. I do like fun games though, I'll just never count WoW as one of those.

I'm not using strawman arguments, I'm clearly explaining that only defining a game -- by your own words is combat related -- is not the only judge of quality.

 

Quality is what all is on the table, not just one piece of the pie.

No, quality  is not some magic sum of all the parts. Rather like a pie, if the apples are rotten the whole pie is bad. Same with a game. If a core mechanic as important to the game as combat is boring and lackluster, then the game is bad, no matter how good the finish, graphics, lore, etc. are. Yes you need all of them good to make a good game, but you only need one of them bad to ruin a game.

  Arclan

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/29/07
Posts: 1374

"Ideas are worthless. The only currency that holds any weight is the ability and drive to execute."

2/12/14 4:46:20 PM#116


Originally posted by Pilnkplonk
...Sadly, Bioware and others, so obsessed by their story-telling model where it pays if players burn through content quickly and demand more, never managed to realize this. Their answer to everything was "more story" without realizing it is exactly this story-reliance what is killing their mmos longevity. It's heartening to finally see a big name developer realize this simple fact. I must say I'm, dare I say it, cautiously optimistic tho I can't help feeling a little bit sad that so many years of development and genre evolution were wasted on this misguided obsession with stories.


Brilliant, I could not agree more, especially with the last sentence. My RL, though, has thrived as a result. I guess I should thank them.



Originally posted by MindTrigger
...we end up with these mind-numbing "casual" games that require no effort at all, and everything is more or less handed to you.

That's not a game to me, it's a movie. I want interactive, and I want to have to work for my rewards...


Yes, exactly.

Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit
video game company layoffs are twice the national average.

  Kiyoris

Novice Member

Joined: 7/13/13
Posts: 356

2/12/14 4:54:10 PM#117

Don't know why ppl trust Smedley person.

SoE makes too many games that fail. That is why they keep needing to fire more people.

 

Free Realms. Shut down

Vanguard, Shut down.

Clone Wars, Shut down.

Wizardy, Shut down.

The matrix, Shut dow

Infantry, Shut down

Closed Rift, Shut down

EQ Online adventures, Shut down

The Agency, game canned.

 

EQNext, all or nothing. If the game fails, SoE is over.

  Kevyne-Shandris

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/08
Posts: 1980

You can't † BURY † ¤¤ Holy Paladins ¤¤ As we will always __.- ASCEND -.__

2/12/14 4:58:48 PM#118
Originally posted by imsoenthused
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
Originally posted by imsoenthused
Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris

Games are NOT defined solely on combat mechanics. It's the whole package.

I agree with you, and yet... The combat was what ruined WoW for me. Keep in mind, I was a huge fan of the IP before WoW was released, and I expected to be a big fan. But I didn't have any fun killing stuff. Then Guild Wars came along, and was just so much better in every conceivable way, and WoW went from being a boring disappointment to a total write off only six months after release.

Don't strawman me and accuse that I "prefer a disposable MMO to race to end just fighting through it all". It's both insulting and incorrect. I do like fun games though, I'll just never count WoW as one of those.

I'm not using strawman arguments, I'm clearly explaining that only defining a game -- by your own words is combat related -- is not the only judge of quality.

 

Quality is what all is on the table, not just one piece of the pie.

No, quality  is not some magic sum of all the parts. Rather like a pie, if the apples are rotten the whole pie is bad. Same with a game. If a core mechanic as important to the game as combat is boring and lackluster, then the game is bad, no matter how good the finish, graphics, lore, etc. are. Yes you need all of them good to make a good game, but you only need one of them bad to ruin a game.

Huh? That's your retort? What IS *a* core mechanic? Define it, because you'll see there's more than one.

 

It's no wonder why crappy games exist, people would consume them. Don't care about visuals. Don't care even if the model seams are sound, just a consumer of disposable content. Don't care even of the quality of the coding...just more pewpewpew.

 

Gives a whole new meaning to mouth breathing, truly.

 

:shakes head:

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19849

2/12/14 5:09:18 PM#119
Originally posted by BadSpock

Listen, I am a big fan of World of Warcraft, and have had some good fun in many games before and since, but the MMORPG genre is far from reaching it's apex, and I believe without question that the "vision" of this genre is what makes it unique, and that is that these are virtual worlds, not just levels and lobbies like a CoD game.

In order to reach that apex, the virtual world aspects need to be expanded upon, which means NOTHING about removing the qualities associated most commonly with the "themepark" sub genre.

Better themeparks, themeparks with more/better rides AND more virtual world. What are widely considered to be "sandbox elements" can go a long way in added to the themepark elements to create a better virtual world.

That is just an "apex" you prefer .. given how MMOs are becoming better games, more lobby like, more solo-able, and less virtual world, i do not think the broader market share this vision.

And why should this genre be "unique" ... the value of entertainment is not that it is unique, it is being entertaining.

I don't want a better virtual world. I want better games. (And don't tell me to go find better games in other genre ... i do ... just that there is no reason to ignore this one, if they are becoming what i like).

  Pilnkplonk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/02/10
Posts: 1566

2/12/14 5:09:31 PM#120
Originally posted by Kiyoris

Don't know why ppl trust Smedley person.

SoE makes too many games that fail. That is why they keep needing to fire more people.

 

Free Realms. Shut down

Vanguard, Shut down.

Clone Wars, Shut down.

Wizardy, Shut down.

The matrix, Shut dow

Infantry, Shut down

Closed Rift, Shut down

EQ Online adventures, Shut down

The Agency, game canned.

 

EQNext, all or nothing. If the game fails, SoE is over.

Dunno, PS2 hits all the right keys with me. Maybe I was lucky since I started playing just a few months ago and I have no idea what went on at release, but I really can't think of anything to complain about, either in terms of concept or execution. (Well... they really could use a rework of their vehicle model... 24th century tanks without any sunspension or gun stabilization? the ridiculous control sheme on the aircraft? O.o gripe, gripe...) Anyways, I hate what Smed and SOE did to the genre just like the next guy, but I do feel a bit of change in the air from that direction. I have no idea what happened, what made SOE finally listen to the players (and they actually do in PS2) and what made them go all player-driven sandboxy and all, but... Dunno. In the light of PS2 experience which is now very smooth, very polished with a very clear, albeit simplistic vision of what the game is supposed to be (actually, that's quite a rare find in mainstream titles nowadays), I won't expect much polish or grace from EQ games in the first year or so, in fact I'll probably avoid them altoghether in that period. But, as I said, I dare to feel cautiously optimistic.

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