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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
  InporylemQQ

Tipster

Joined: 6/14/12
Posts: 167

5/01/14 12:48:01 PM#41
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 thought we are talking about mmorpg's here

ArcheAge, Black Desert and Bless videos InporylemQQ Youtube

  VengeSunsoar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4917

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

5/01/14 12:55:29 PM#42
I think people generally like the idea of sandboxed. A placed to build to impact the world. ..

Those are the good talking points. They also generally like content including quests and lots of them.

People don't like it when impacting the world includes other people impacting them. People don't like to bee limited or even having to depend on other people.

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

  CrazKanuk

Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 1611

5/01/14 12:58:47 PM#43
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 know, whenever anyone mentions Minecraft == typical sandbox I roll my eyes also. It's basically like saying, "WoW has 8 million subscribers, so we just need to do exactly what they do and we'll also have 8 million subscribers." Or substitute WoW for any other anomalous game which represents a single game, basically, dominating every other game in the marketplace (GTA, COD, etc). 

 

IMO, sandbox MMOs are basically riding on the success of EQN. Otherwise, I'd say we'll never see another attempt at one. 

Crazkanuk

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  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 20652

5/01/14 1:31:39 PM#44
Originally posted by Ramanadjinn

The real difficulty in this thing isn't the mechanics or sandbox features or what the players say or any of this philosophical junk.

The difficulty is funding.

If you want a game with the budget of SWTOR you want to be able to say you'll have the initial sales of SWTOR.

If you want to blame anyone, blame SOE and everquest imo.

Yeh .. it is always about supply and demand.

If there is demand, there will be a way.

 

  Destai

Elite Member

Joined: 8/31/09
Posts: 527

5/01/14 1:45:47 PM#45
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 really get the impression the movers and shakers in the industry don't truly know what people want. There's offerings like SWTOR, WAR, and now ESO that were vain moves to capitalize on the momentum of a game's IP. I also wonder if they think a persistent MMO will be hard to price and market as a sandbox. I started in the EQ generation, and it was always a hope of mine to see that sort of game get a graphical and mechanical upgrade. This didn't happen, much to my dismay. 

Perhaps the powers that be saw the success of the WoW-inspired efficiency model, a model that wasn't there in Vanilla, and realized it was better for profits. It's really hard to say why games make such bad decisions, especially when looking at combat. It could be one of economics and budgets, so they choose between sandbox features and combat. I get the impression that development costs are skyrocketing and the market is incredibly fickle, so there isn't an economical way to approach the desire for worlds over themeparks. 

ESO is a great mistake, it's a tragedy IMO. For many people, it's the game no one asked for and it would have taken a miracle to pull off what people wanted. For myself, I want the whole of Tamriel explorable as a coop game. I wanted all of the factions presented in the other games, with more detail. I wanted raids in the planes of Oblivion, I wanted expansions to Akavir. This will never happen. Because of that, I can't bring myself to play the game. If it had any other title on it, I could be less hateful towards it. 

It's interesting you're suggesting copying the best parts of other games - I feel like that's the trend of the industry. Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar are both great examples of this. Wildstar is extremely aware of the successful ideas seen in other games and is implementing that with their own twist. Still, we hear the same cry that every game is the same. In truth, there's only so many ways to approach a system while adhering to the genre and the expectations of both consumers and investors. 

  Kothoses

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/08/10
Posts: 692

5/01/14 1:49:55 PM#46

The hard part is getting people to even agree what a sandbox is.   Define what a sandbox actually is and then look at the feature set it would need.

 

Once you have defined that is the audience actually there?  On this site sure, but in the mainstream, well PvP sandboxes tend to be pretty niche, PvE ones? well have we had one of those recently?

 

Its all well and good calling for Sandboxes, but what is a sandbox? until the players know what is they are asking for, it will be hard to get developers and publishers behind it.

Promoting thought a new Gaming video blog http://www.youtube.com/user/quinnthalas discussing games, gamers and the internet with gameplay footage as background.

  Archlyte

Elite Member

Joined: 4/21/14
Posts: 412

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5/01/14 1:53:14 PM#47

Apparently it's harder to achieve than the Apollo missions. We seem to live in an age where technology somehow seems to be ahead of where it actually is.

There is also no money or time to devote to such features because you have to devote your time to the WoW core concepts so that people can leave the game in droves in two months.

Then there are the religious prohibitions against it: Thou shalt not make a game in the image of something that was less solo/console/handholding. The demographics of now, and two years from now, are ever pointing toward the kind of player who only wants the most ephemeral game experience with no learning curve or disparity of achievement among players.

Homogenists of the world unite!

  Torik

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/02/09
Posts: 2328

5/01/14 1:54:48 PM#48
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar

People don't like it when impacting the world includes other people impacting them. People don't like to bee limited or even having to depend on other people.

That's the paradox of  multiplayer sandboxes.  People want to play them for the freedom but having to interact with other players automatically reduces that freedom in one form or another. 

I love sandboxes and have spent hundreds of hours in single player sandbox games.  However, multiplayer games tend to limit my freedom in such ways that the games do not feel like sandboxes.  eg.  I cannot play EVE because the game restricts my freedom in such ways that it becomes unplayable.

  LeGrosGamer

Novice Member

Joined: 7/06/13
Posts: 214

5/01/14 1:55:08 PM#49

Doing a decent to good sandbox MMO ain't that hard.  The problem aren't the players (which might sound surprising to most), it's actually the Devs / Pubs fault.    Now, I'm not saying we should get WoW clones, but the Pubs really need to start paying attention and do what Blizzard is doing ever since the release of WoW.  Blizzard has 1 MMO under their belt for over 10 years now and is sitting at the top of the mountain as being the best MMO with the most population, and for a P2P that is truly something to brag about and my hat goes off to Blizzard. 

 

  The problem I have now, is taking companies like Trion, Gpotato, NCSoft, Nexon, Aeria Games, Perfect World (All branches), Snail Games, R2 Games, SOE, Turbine, I can name more but I'm forgetting.  Imagine if all these Devs/Pubs would of sticked to one project instead of releasing 5-6-7-8+ titles that look pretty much the same?  We'd be having a game list on this site of about 40 GOTY instead of 200+ in which 190 are crap.   All the companies I've mentioned in this paragraph have titles that over lap on each other and stealing one's other player base.    Ragnarok, which was one of the best titles back in the day had the name ruined with Ragnarok 2 which looks like ROSE online / FLYFF.  NCSoft had LineAge going their way but decided to release 5-6 titles that look alike.  Nexon on the other hand, I shouldn't be putting Nexon in this paragraph but I am, but they do have some good things going their way, having Maple Story and Atlantica Online, 2 way different MMOs but Atlantica Online needs you to have a base salary of a Yankees baseball player to be able to fully pull in the potential the game has to offer.

 

  All in all, after playing over a hundred MMOs for 20 years, WoW is by far the most complete and the most popular game because it is the only major release by Blizzard, so every resource heads to WoW. 

 

  While games in the 2nd paragraph are getting no where near the updates WoW is getting, only because the crew is sprayed thin to work on 6-7 titles.    

 

  My only hope from this point on, are when the indie titles start releasing, that the indie Devs will work on their dream project and not start releasing new titles year after year to the point where their first title gets abandoned and we are back to square one.   And yes I've got my eyes on you Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous.  And I've got my eyes on the Torchlight MMO, but that's a story left to be told for 2017-2018.  :)

 

  IceAge

Novice Member

Joined: 8/23/05
Posts: 1023

5/01/14 3:09:49 PM#50
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...

Short answer : No! Is not THAT difficult to make a good SandBox MMO

Long Answer: Yes! It is difficult to make a good SandBox MMO. Way more difficult then themepark's. Why? Because today market consists in a very high percent of thempark gamers and if you want your SandBox game to succeed, you need to cater to that type of gamers too. Failing to do that, your game may become very niche . ( I am talking from a big  MMO Studio/Company perspective , as I believe the indie companies, can't have the power to create a true SandBox MMO , at least not yet ).

I am still very , and I mean VERY surprised as to why no company has tried to copy the Runescape basics and make a big Sandbox mmo ( no browser ) .

From my point of view, Runescape is the only true Sandbox game and it was always been like that. If I would have been a developer and if I wanted to start a Sandbox project, first I would look at RS. I mean look at them, they always have 50+k of online players. That, is a lot in today's market if you ask me, and that is a game which has been on the MMO scene for like 13 years ( also is my very first MMO and I enjoyed it a lot ).

Been waiting for a (real) 3D game with Runescape basics ( specially PvP , but also crafting ) for like .. 11 years, since I quited RS.

But I am telling you .. I am still waiting and I hope someone will finally make a Sandbox. A real Sandbox with a balanced Pvp with full or partial loot, a very (perfect) economy including crafting & trading and also with a system which grouping , making friends aaaaaaaaand involving players into large events matters a lot. 

 

Reporter: What's behind Blizzard success, and how do you make your gamers happy?
Blizzard Boss: Making gamers happy is not my concern, making money.. yes!

  Yamota

Elite Member

Joined: 10/05/03
Posts: 6703

Gaming should be about fun, not gender equality.

5/01/14 3:16:14 PM#51

Sandbox MMOs are not that difficult to make. Asheron's Call 1 was an excellent sandbox MMO and it was released 15 years ago. The issue is not that but rather that themepark MMOs are for some reason more profitable. They are easier to make and attract more people. So big name devs, who care mainly about money, go for the more profitable ways of creating MMOs.

So indy companies is where we need to look for good sandbox MMOs. Problem is that they dont have the cash so rarely can they create a triple A sandbox MMO.

  Torik

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/02/09
Posts: 2328

5/01/14 3:33:58 PM#52
Originally posted by Yamota

Sandbox MMOs are not that difficult to make. Asheron's Call 1 was an excellent sandbox MMO and it was released 15 years ago. The issue is not that but rather that themepark MMOs are for some reason more profitable. They are easier to make and attract more people. So big name devs, who care mainly about money, go for the more profitable ways of creating MMOs.

So indy companies is where we need to look for good sandbox MMOs. Problem is that they dont have the cash so rarely can they create a triple A sandbox MMO.

Was Asheron's Call really a sandbox? 

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 20652

5/01/14 3:58:16 PM#53
Originally posted by Torik
 

That's the paradox of  multiplayer sandboxes.  People want to play them for the freedom but having to interact with other players automatically reduces that freedom in one form or another. 

 

The simple solution is to provide pve freedom (like you can complete your mission in multiple ways as in many SP games like Dishonored) but no pvp freedom (have it turned off).

 

  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3869

RIP City of Heroes!

5/02/14 6:35:46 PM#54
Originally posted by Kyleran
As the definition of what makes a sandbox style game varies wildly between almost every player, yes making a good sandbox is very challenging.

Some people say they must have FFA PVP with full loot, others reject that idea entirely. What drives progression in a sandbox, for some, skills that advance through repetitive use, but EVE uses basically a time based progression system and there are other ways.

Does a sandbox style game have levels? To some folks, never, but then SWG, considered by many to be one of the classic sandbox games not only had levels, it had clearly defined classes and consensual PvP only as well.

So again, what really makes a good sandbox, which game or games from the past should they copy? The ones that were financially successful as WOW? Forget WOW, I doubt the revenues from all sandboxes ever made don't come close to what SWTOR currently makes, while most sandbox style games are financial train wrecks, EVE not withstanding. (And some folks claim EVE is not a proper sandbox.)

The task is definitely not easy, SOE appears to be willing to give it another go, but my guess when EQ Next finally arrives many will decry that it is not a proper sandbox because it lacks, or included one feature or another.

This is the starting point for the issue.  There has to be a concise definition of what is and is not a sandbox as well as a consensus amongst the people.  If you can't solve that "simple" problem, you can't go onto the next step.

When someone qualifies sandbox with "proper sandbox" or any other adjective, you know they are extremist in their position and can be ignored.  Heck, there have been people who called wow a sandbox.

  drivendawn

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/11
Posts: 1024

5/02/14 7:02:31 PM#55
Originally posted by Torik
Originally posted by Yamota

Sandbox MMOs are not that difficult to make. Asheron's Call 1 was an excellent sandbox MMO and it was released 15 years ago. The issue is not that but rather that themepark MMOs are for some reason more profitable. They are easier to make and attract more people. So big name devs, who care mainly about money, go for the more profitable ways of creating MMOs.

So indy companies is where we need to look for good sandbox MMOs. Problem is that they dont have the cash so rarely can they create a triple A sandbox MMO.

Was Asheron's Call really a sandbox? 

Yup I would say it was.

  fantasyfreak112

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/20/13
Posts: 523

5/02/14 7:05:43 PM#56
Sadly all it takes to be a sandbox nowadays is to make decisions based on the game rather then $$.
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