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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Is it really THAT difficult to make a good sandbox mmo?

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56 posts found
  willbonney

Novice Member

Joined: 8/25/10
Posts: 74

"Make Ya' Famous"

5/01/14 7:25:28 AM#21
Originally posted by DamonVile

What are the great sandbox games ?

EVE, SWG ......???

 

Ultima Online.

After Tabula Rasa flopped, Richard Garriott went to making "facebook" games.  I hear he's back now though working on a serious title.

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  Fenrir767

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/27/04
Posts: 595

Take My Love, Take My Land, Take me to wear I cannot stand

5/01/14 7:34:20 AM#22

I'd have to say the only gear Sandbox games were EVE and UO while SWG grabbed it's fans it also had just as many detractors and players that quit the game around launch or not to shortly afterwards. Creating a Sandbox that appeals to everyone is difficult Sandboxes also tend to be a very time intensive style of game something that society is moving away from as a whole with mobile games and MOBA's it doesn't mean that we can't have this time intensive great gaming experiences it just seems that it's more profitable to have those experiences in single player games where you can check out and check in with the save and load options.

Until someone figures out a way to take the best of the sandbox and the best of the themepark and not make a game you have to spend 20+ hours a week on I doubt we will see that next great thing whatever it is.

  Jemcrystal

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/02/08
Posts: 1380

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

5/01/14 7:40:08 AM#23
Does Darkfall have a PvE server?

Next time if they ask your name tell them "Your Overlord." There's nothing more satisfying than an Arby's employee repeatedly yelling over the munching masses, "Your Overlord's classic cheddar is up!!!"

  fivoroth

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/10/06
Posts: 2993

5/01/14 7:42:08 AM#24
There are no sandbox games except for UO which is ancient history and arguably eve if you consider that to be sandbox.

How do people know that sandbox mmos will be that much better if we have never had any of them? Are you guys talking about your fantasies hoping that some day they might see the light of day?

Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

  DMKano

Elite Member

Joined: 6/17/11
Posts: 6411

5/01/14 7:44:22 AM#25

Yes.

Simple answer.

 

  nilden

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/26/05
Posts: 993

5/01/14 7:49:50 AM#26
Originally posted by Loke666
Originally posted by InporylemQQ
I don't think it being hard is the problem. The true sandbox crowd is just so so so much smaller that the typical theme park or sandpark fanbase is. It's not financially wise to make sandbox mmorpg's.

I doubt that. Singleplayer sandboxes are hugely successful, like Skyrim, GTA, Sims and so on...

The reason for that is that there are many well made single player sandboxes with very varying gameplay. With MMOs you have very limited choice (if you don't like Eve you have very little choice indeed). All MMO sandboxes are for example very PvP driven (nothing wrong with PvP based games but it is still a very limited choice).

A few good sandboxes that actually differs from eachother would open up the door, we MMO players will play any good game no matter if it is sandbox, themepark or something else.

And frankly is Eve still a sandbox and one of the larger MMOs out there and considering how old it is is that impressive indeed.

Minecraft PC reaches 15M copies sold, total sales approaching 50M

Any time someone claims there is no market for sandbox I roll my eyes.

 

How to post links.
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  bcbully

Elite Member

Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 7657

5/01/14 7:54:03 AM#27
I think it is OP. It requires original thought problem solving and planning. 
  bcbully

Elite Member

Joined: 3/03/12
Posts: 7657

5/01/14 7:55:42 AM#28
Originally posted by DamonVile

What are the great sandbox games ?

EVE, SWG ......???

 

Age of Wushu, about 30 times the players as EVE world wide. It's been like this for nearly 3 years now.

  Kaneth

Elite Member

Joined: 8/19/07
Posts: 1702

5/01/14 8:00:51 AM#29
Originally posted by nilden
Originally posted by Loke666
Originally posted by InporylemQQ
I don't think it being hard is the problem. The true sandbox crowd is just so so so much smaller that the typical theme park or sandpark fanbase is. It's not financially wise to make sandbox mmorpg's.

I doubt that. Singleplayer sandboxes are hugely successful, like Skyrim, GTA, Sims and so on...

The reason for that is that there are many well made single player sandboxes with very varying gameplay. With MMOs you have very limited choice (if you don't like Eve you have very little choice indeed). All MMO sandboxes are for example very PvP driven (nothing wrong with PvP based games but it is still a very limited choice).

A few good sandboxes that actually differs from eachother would open up the door, we MMO players will play any good game no matter if it is sandbox, themepark or something else.

And frankly is Eve still a sandbox and one of the larger MMOs out there and considering how old it is is that impressive indeed.

Minecraft PC reaches 15M copies sold, total sales approaching 50M

Any time someone claims there is no market for sandbox I roll my eyes.

 

I love Minecraft, but it's not exactly a sandbox mmo. Yes, it does show there is a market for sandbox, but I daresay that Minecraft has it's life extended heavily by mods, and the fact that a host can create their own server with their own rulesets.

I'm actually surprised more developers haven't started to go down this route. Create a game that is sandbox, but not hosted on an "official" single server. Allow folks to create their own spaces in these games and play by their own rules. Allow for modding that can heavily extend the life of the game, and support streamers and youtubers for your game.

  Aerig

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/28/04
Posts: 16

5/01/14 8:32:34 AM#30

A lot of the real issue with MMO today is nothing to do with sandbox. They are just not MMO anymore.

Because companies keep trying to cater to the perception that the gaming industry is populated by "want it now" child mentalities, the majority of games no longer have any real MMO content regardless of their theme.

There really is no MMO as such now. The genre has regressed to the C-MUD level of solo play, IE with many players all playing solo, and the social element of team play is so deprecated that people new to MMO's generally perceive them to be inferior to standalone games with better graphics and more in depth content.

MMO always was and still is about playing with other people and the excitement of cooperative teamwork. It's easy to simulate that with PvP but so many people get bored playing the same football match that the industry is killing itself with the cheap PvP solution.

Many MMO gamers are really Pioneer spirited and want to conquer the environment with other People (not just their pet or other game supplied robots). When you don't give them that level of challenge, they just drift back to your standalone, solo play game.

 

ESO is a classic, current example. Morrowind was a better game. It has dated graphics but better in your face atmosphere. And, many current MMO's are just as bad. What point in playing an MMO that is just a sad facsimile of a better game? MMO has to have something extra, not much less.

 

There is the kids' level MMO which is basically a global chat zone with brainless idiots talking crap. There is the early adult level which encourages more interactive play. There is the mature adult level that emphasises teamwork and cooperation.

Each of those is viable. Unfortunately, most games today try to cater to all three and cannot.

 

The only games, recently, that have tried to break that mold were AoC and TSW. With adult levels of content and immersion they could have worked, had they not both watered don their content level in one way or another. When they diluted their adult population with appeal to the younger market, they lost their niche.

I think MMO's now, to be successful in a game crowded market, have to specialise and begin with a smaller game environment to start with and, as the OP points out, should focus more on good game mechanics than on huge amounts of content.

I think that we, the gaming population of whatever age, are bored with no need for cooperation, cheap quest lines and easy victories, and that it is high time that FunCom, NC or some other hold the line company made us a game intended for intelligent players.

MMO's have become boring for me?

Yes
No
(login to vote)
  Gamer54321

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/31/11
Posts: 149

5/01/14 8:37:54 AM#31

It should be easy to come up with a new decent MMO: :|

1) Include world building

2) Make sure the MMO has artistic merit, that goes to show that the devs care about the world, the lore, the gameplay and the game mechanics.

3) Innovate on a genre

 

It is worth noting that none of these points has anything to do with networking issue which otherwise might have devs all annoyed, indifferent or maybe left clueless.

WOW (10 days and quit) | EVE (1000 days and quit) | WOT(playing on and off) | LOTR (5 days and quit)

  User Deleted
5/01/14 8:43:45 AM#32

Sandbox is a pie-in-the sky concept that is appealing on paper and in our imaginations but is thoroughly thrashed when you put thousands of other people in the world. 

Making a sandbox is easy. Finding ten people that can agree on what a sandbox is becomes a nightmare. If you put the freedom that some folks want into a game, it allows for them to destroy the experience of others. The developers build in checks and balances, suddenly half say it's not a sandbox anymore. 

Building a sandbox is a lose-lose scenario and a good way to set fire to millions of dollars of cash.

  Rusque

Elite Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 1876

5/01/14 8:43:52 AM#33

I don't think it's difficult to make a great sandbox MMO, I think it's difficult to get people to stop asking for all the features WoW has.

The challenge is that the bulk of the MMO playbase doesn't want to make their own fun, nor find their own answers. They DO want hand holding regardless of how much they state the contrary.

  Nightbringe1

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/23/07
Posts: 727

5/01/14 8:52:53 AM#34
Originally posted by Nemesis7884
Originally posted by willbonney
Quit complaining and go play Darkfall:  Unholy Wars for free.  May 1st to the 5th.  linkage

imo darkfall is no mmo in a persistant living world - its simply a pvp arena

Thus illustrating the difficulty in making a "Good" sandbox.

There is massive amounts of disagreement over what that entails. Each player has his own preferences, which are often at odds with what other players are looking for.

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
Benjamin Franklin

  lizardbones

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10953

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

5/01/14 9:02:43 AM#35

Writing a video game in general is a difficult process.  Writing an MMORPG is an order of magnitude more difficult than writing a single player or even a small scale multiplayer game.  So yes, writing a good sandbox MMORPG is that hard because writing an MMORPG in general is that hard.

 

It's not enough to have an idea of how a sandbox should work, a developer has to have all the little nitpicky details nailed down and they have to be able to revamp them based on what the players do too.  Sure, it seems like writing a game that simulates a lot of stuff would work better than a game where the developer has to explicitly define and run things, but simulation still requires the developer to define and run things, only they have a lot less control over the outcomes.

 

For instance, you could simulate players arriving in an area and killing some animals, who might respond by running away, or breeding faster, and if all the animals are wiped out just spawn in new animals where players can't see them and have them run into the area.  You don't even need graphics for this.  You could use something like SimPy.  Then mess around with the variables, like how long it takes for the players to kill the mobs, how long how many players enter the area, etc.  The thing is, you have no idea how many actual players would show up, or how efficient they'll become at killing the mobs.  All the careful simulation can easily become a typical theme park because players kill the mobs so fast that they are just spawning into the area and being killed so fast that they never run away and never migrate.

 

You can go in the opposite direction, like Eve, where very little happens in the world itself and everything is directed by the players, but then if you don't have PvP the game is likely to stagnate because the world isn't going to drive any activity.

 

None of this sounds all that simple when you have to account for all the things that players might do, as well as all the things you want them to do.

 

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

  CrazKanuk

Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 1598

5/01/14 9:07:06 AM#36
Originally posted by fivoroth
There are no sandbox games except for UO which is ancient history and arguably eve if you consider that to be sandbox.

How do people know that sandbox mmos will be that much better if we have never had any of them? Are you guys talking about your fantasies hoping that some day they might see the light of day?

THIS!! 

 

IMO, people GENERALLY don't know what a sandbox even is. Quite honestly, if you read what people complain about on these forums, even in threads about sandbox games, I really doubt that anyone is really looking for a sandbox. IMO people want a better themepark. They want more freedom in their themepark (like climbing up the ladder beside the rollercoaster), but they don't want a sandbox per se. 

 

This is how I see the typical conversation going between a sandbox gamer and a "sandbox gamer"

 

"SBG": What you doin?

SBG: Playing Rust.

"SBG": Awesome! I love sandbox games! 

SBG: Yeah?

"SBG": Yeah man! So what are you doing?

SBG: Just collecting some wood and berries before it's dark. 

"SBG": Cool! Are you like making some potions for a raid or something?

SBG: There are no raids. 

"SBG": World Boss?

SBG: No World Bosses. 

"SBG": Dungeon? Public Dungeon?

SBG: Nope and nope. Just need to eat something so I don't die. 

"SBG": Oh........ Soooooooo, when are you going to do some PvP? Raid a village or something?

SBG: I can't do that right now. I need to build shelter first. 

"SBG": Yeah! With some turrets and mines and stuff!!!

SBG: No, just some place I can sleep so nothing can eat me while I'm sleeping. 

"SBG": Oh........So.....This game is stupid. 

Crazkanuk

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  VengeSunsoar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4917

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5/01/14 10:35:35 AM#37
Horizons must definately did not fail due to a lack of PvP. That had absolutely nothing to do with it. Dull pve yes. Horrible launch with tons of lag massive bugs systems not implemented. Those were the reasons.

That being said it's still chugging along and getting updates.

Regarding sandbox I think the opening line days it all "I think it would be easier because they could focus on mechanics instead of threadmilling content. "

I say it's the lack of content variety that it's the very reason they fail. People get bored easier. Sandboxed need just as much variety in content as themeparks

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

  Yoottos'Horg

Novice Member

Joined: 2/15/04
Posts: 270

5/01/14 10:43:03 AM#38
Originally posted by Nemesis7884

I thought it would be a lot easier cause you can focus on perfecting the mechanics rather than threadmilling new content...they say the definition of insanity is do the same things over and over again expecting different results - but thats what we are basically getting in the mmo world for years...

Why are there all kinds of sandboxes in the zombie genre but non in the fantasy (mmo) department?

Why is it so difficult for devs to simply look at existing games, look at the stuff people love about them and the features they dont like and then simply combine the best stuff of them all?

for example

archeage has good sandbox featuers but bad combat and questing

eso has good combat but no sandbox features

tsw has good quests and an interesting skill system but no sandbox features and a boring combat

package all that together and use something like minecraft as the basis of it and you got yourself an interesting sandbox game

You dont even need to invent new fancy shit - just copy the best parts of other games???

Instead of improving and collecting on the best stuff thats out there - devs focus on new content and invention where non is required...a themepark mmo with fancy features is still the same old themepark mmo where you run through quests...ESO is a good themepark mmo - but even the best volkswagen is no ferrari - it simply will never be...

I think you're asking the wrong questions (though my assumption that you're asking the wrong questions could be, well, wrong).

 

What is the "accepted" definition of a Sandbox MMO?

Is it profitable to make said Sandbox MMO?

 

I don't think it's difficult to make one but it certainly is difficult to define one and possibly even harder to find an audience to pay for and play one. The generally acceptable assumption is that the market wants a Sandbow MMO. Maybe it's an incorrect assumption?

If you got nothing else out of this thread at least you got to see attractive women in bikinis.

  obii

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/17/04
Posts: 781

5/01/14 11:55:38 AM#39

Yes, it is hard to make a good sandbox.

Many people will disagree when I claim that wow for example is quite sandboxy.

Yes it is level and quest driven, but they were very clever to implement lots of fluff and side stuff for players to do and keep all kinds of classes entertained.

Ideally a sandbox game lets me play what I want and gives me lots of choices what to do.

  iixviiiix

Elite Member

Joined: 3/04/13
Posts: 603

5/01/14 12:36:01 PM#40

Of course it hard ... you need large fund and have to gather people who know how to put things together to make an MMOGame.

If it easy to make like pen&paper games then we ready have a lots of mmos now.

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