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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Sandbox vs Themepark Discussion Thread

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  VengeSunsoar

Elite Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4834

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

4/20/12 12:38:52 PM#221
Originally posted by LEmmopeasant
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Originally posted by Hurvart
Originally posted by Sythion
Originally posted by Hurvart
 Perhaps all I want is to be able to craft the best swords on the server. And be famous for that. I can log in and play one hour and perhaps sell a few swords.

What is this game where you can play 1 hour a day and be the best crafter on your server? Must not have many players, if that's possible to do.

Some days you will probably have to play more. But you can play in smaller chunks. You are not forced to finish raids or events that lasts 4-5-6 hours like you are in some themeparks. I can perhaps play 6 hours/day if I play 1 hour in the morning, 3 hours in the afternoon and 2 hours before I go to bed late evening. But perhaps its not possible for me to ever play 5-6 hour sessions.  My point is that you have more freedom to plan your time and figure out and find something that works for you if you play a sandbox. Because you are not on rails and there is more freedom and more options in general.

 I have played a number of sandboxes.  While yes you can play as little or as long as you want, EVERY activity in a sandbox requires a significant amount of time.  Playing one hour a day you will never be the best or even among the very good ones at anything in the game ever, unless the game has a skill/level cap.

Yes, someone could play sandbox one hour a day and eventually max out their craft. Once they max, they will be equal with other maxed crafters. Why is there debate over this?

Uninterrupted session time required to progress is not dependent on themepark/sandbox. It's just game design. Either game archetype can be designed to suit long or short sessions.

VengeSunsoar, in ANY game without a skill/level cap, you will always be overcome by someone playing 5x more hours than you.

 I never said you wouldn't be overcome by someone playing more hours than you in a game without a skill cap. 

I don't have any issues with that.

What I said was playing an hour a day will not make you the best at anything in a sandbox.  You may max out your crafting, however in sandbox games most times you have to harvest the material as well which means you need to have more skills than just crafting.  Typically the more rare an item is, the more dangerous an area it is in.  So once again you will not be the best at crafting because you cant' get the materials.

Or if you try to buy the materials or set up a network of people to buy from you will still fall behind because all of that takes time and the person that plays more will have a wider network, more time to peruse/shop/talk.

The idea that playing an hour a day in a sandbox will let you be the best at anything with or without a skill cap is completely ludicrous.

I agree ether type should be suited to suit long or short sessions, however thus far that has not been the case.  While we can argue ideals, and we likely would agree.  In practice that has not been true.

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

  LEmmopeasant

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/12/12
Posts: 46

4/20/12 8:31:25 PM#222
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Originally posted by LEmmopeasant
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Originally posted by Hurvart
Originally posted by Sythion
Originally posted by Hurvart
 Perhaps all I want is to be able to craft the best swords on the server. And be famous for that. I can log in and play one hour and perhaps sell a few swords.

What is this game where you can play 1 hour a day and be the best crafter on your server? Must not have many players, if that's possible to do.

Some days you will probably have to play more. But you can play in smaller chunks. You are not forced to finish raids or events that lasts 4-5-6 hours like you are in some themeparks. I can perhaps play 6 hours/day if I play 1 hour in the morning, 3 hours in the afternoon and 2 hours before I go to bed late evening. But perhaps its not possible for me to ever play 5-6 hour sessions.  My point is that you have more freedom to plan your time and figure out and find something that works for you if you play a sandbox. Because you are not on rails and there is more freedom and more options in general.

 I have played a number of sandboxes.  While yes you can play as little or as long as you want, EVERY activity in a sandbox requires a significant amount of time.  Playing one hour a day you will never be the best or even among the very good ones at anything in the game ever, unless the game has a skill/level cap.

Yes, someone could play sandbox one hour a day and eventually max out their craft. Once they max, they will be equal with other maxed crafters. Why is there debate over this?

Uninterrupted session time required to progress is not dependent on themepark/sandbox. It's just game design. Either game archetype can be designed to suit long or short sessions.

VengeSunsoar, in ANY game without a skill/level cap, you will always be overcome by someone playing 5x more hours than you.

 I never said you wouldn't be overcome by someone playing more hours than you in a game without a skill cap. 

I don't have any issues with that.

What I said was playing an hour a day will not make you the best at anything in a sandbox.  You may max out your crafting, however in sandbox games most times you have to harvest the material as well which means you need to have more skills than just crafting.  Typically the more rare an item is, the more dangerous an area it is in.  So once again you will not be the best at crafting because you cant' get the materials.

Or if you try to buy the materials or set up a network of people to buy from you will still fall behind because all of that takes time and the person that plays more will have a wider network, more time to peruse/shop/talk.

The idea that playing an hour a day in a sandbox will let you be the best at anything with or without a skill cap is completely ludicrous.

I agree ether type should be suited to suit long or short sessions, however thus far that has not been the case.  While we can argue ideals, and we likely would agree.  In practice that has not been true.

Now we are talking what it takes to become "famous" in an mmo. I really don't want to talk about this, but I can use the highlighted sentence again. In ANY online game, you will always be less famous than someone playing 5x as often as you. Doesn't matter what kind of game it is.

If you don't think that's accurate, I need to understand how, in themeparks, 5 hours progress can be equal to one hour of progress?

I think originally, the heart of our little back-n-forth was whether or not it's possible to make any progress in a one hour session. For example, a raid that takes two hours to finish can't be completed. Or, if our sandbox crafter has to travel 2 hours to get to an ingredient, but everytime they log out, they have to respawn at a point that's no closer.

  norbertdicke

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/18/12
Posts: 1

4/23/12 4:58:31 AM#223

Why cant these mmorpgs get it right the first time? Why is it when I see all these advertizements of mmorpgs saying return look at all our improvements, look at all our changes. You been in development for 4 to 5 years, probably even earlier than that, you have waves after waves of closed beta testing, open beta testing, internal testing, etc. Then you still release a half assed product and then you tell us well dont worry about the crap now, we have so much potential, you as a player voice your opinion on the half assed products flaws and you get free month fan boys telling you your a troll (half of which wont even be playing after the free month is up and its time to pay). Then they say, well you shouldnt blast its flaws because it has so much potential, potential that doesnt get realized until months later and the games half dead. polo ralph lauren

Then here come the banners, here comes the advertizements, come join us now, give us your time and money and see all the improvements we made. No, we need companys that need to start delivering on products at release, no nothing has to be 100% perfect it never will, but the rate and the quality of products being released now can be immensily improved.

  Shaydryn

Novice Member

Joined: 2/01/12
Posts: 15

4/24/12 5:28:31 PM#224

I'm confused by all these people saying "Oh, themeparks are better because I have real life obligations and don't have much time to play."

Seriously?

Have any of you ever been on some of the top-tier raids in WoW? 

Yeah...they don't take any time at all... *rollseyes*

Sometimes I wonder if the majority of the people on these forums actually play any games, or just sit here and try to be armchair developers all day long. Discussion is good, sure, but the prevailing attitudes toward specific aspects of games on these forums is mind-boggling at best.

P.S. Sandbox ftw.

  User Deleted
4/24/12 5:40:46 PM#225
Originally posted by Shaydryn

I'm confused by all these people saying "Oh, themeparks are better because I have real life obligations and don't have much time to play."

Seriously?

Have any of you ever been on some of the top-tier raids in WoW? 

Yeah...they don't take any time at all... *rollseyes*

Sometimes I wonder if the majority of the people on these forums actually play any games, or just sit here and try to be armchair developers all day long. Discussion is good, sure, but the prevailing attitudes toward specific aspects of games on these forums is mind-boggling at best.

P.S. Sandbox ftw.

Like you I feel that sandboxes are less demanding on my time.  True even sandboxes can take up huge chunks of time, heck any passtime can if you let it.

  Xeronn

Novice Member

Joined: 3/21/09
Posts: 44

4/25/12 2:13:11 AM#226
If a game is demanding your time you`re doing it wrong imho . You alocate what time you can to a game , and that`s that . That the game is a themepark , a sandbox or a rts or even chess is irrelevant (or should be) to how much time you alocate to it
 
What is relevant is the nejoyment you get from that game though . And this is where things get complicated
 
Some see enjoyment where others see a waste of time , and the other way around , but in the end  , when you draw the line , it`s still you sitting on your ass in front of a pc screen staring at pixels . gaming time is gaming time...it`s "wasted" anyway in the sense that you dont do something better in that time , but hey as long as you (an me and everyone here) enjoys it , all`s cool
 
Now then , only now , i think , do we get to talk about the details and tehniqualities of them pixels . Some love beeing told they are great over and over . Some love a "physical" challange . Some love maximizing there immersion in another world . I dont think there`s something wrong with any of them objectively speaking...
 
But subjectively , i believe that video games and mmorpg`s in special should not try to emulate other forms of media (movies , music) but rather creat something new and different...unfortunatelly i`m in a very small minority, most people apparently want mmo`s that feel as cinematic as possible and with complex scripted stories
 
For me though , if i want to read a story , i dont see any reason why i should settle for a subpar story in a video game rather then a book? sooooo many books i plan on reading...if i want a few hours of that sort of enjoyment....
 
Same for movies .
 
and if you`ll say it`s about combining those experiences , then i`ll say i`m gona go and watch a playthrough on youtube instead of iterrupting my cinematic experience with (ussualy) tedious game mechanic . I`m in a certain state of mind when i`m watching a movie , relaxed , etc , that`s never compatible with a state of mind i havce when playing a twitch rts/fps etc , so i dont end up enjoying the experience at it`s maximum potential
 
Games like starcraft , DOTA and it`s kids , involving , focused , balanced , skill -based , etc ...and most importantly you fight players not npc`s . But the issue with these is..I `m of an age , job , etc etc...you all know the story...but for me i spend 8 hours / day beeing involved in tasks that require skills and decision making....i very rarely feel like playing something that requires me to stay focused and uber-involved and on the edge when i get home
 
games like wow are the exact antithesis of what i`m looking for . I still cant wrap my head around things like binding gear and instances and no loot pvp...but then again i cant wrap my head around the reason why people listen to bieber...and i`m a minority so that`s that..
 
And i`ve played eve for exactly the reasons why most people seem to hate the game . It`s most of the times a very relaxing game , it doesnt push you and point you and nag you and spam you with yellow dots and millions of icons. And you have full controll over how far you want to push the"dificulty" , whenever you want to do that
The skill system , skills over time not by xp , allso made eve a lot more casual friendly then most mmo`s today  . Once you get out oof that psihologycal roadbloack of "neet to lvl" , you`ll soon learn to chill about skill lvls and just play the game\
Soo...what if an older player will beat you (allways they say...false)...it`s not suposed to be a world populated by still npc`s and thousands of super-human-god-things like all other mmo`s , If you want a really epic and memorable battle , you`ll have to accept that a lot of soldiers will die and a lot of them wont be able to do anything about it . War was allways like that . It`s not about "me vs you" ...thats mortal combat...
  wilhelmblom

Novice Member

Joined: 1/30/11
Posts: 30

Add me if u wanna talk about
MMo´s :D

Skype: wilhelmblomgren

4/28/12 4:41:10 PM#227
Clearly sandnox, it´s the future :D

Graphics:Gtx 560
memory:8gb
processor: intel core i5 3,3ghz
Hdd: 1tb

  Heinz130

Novice Member

Joined: 3/13/12
Posts: 227

War...war never change

4/30/12 10:18:12 PM#228

I always sayd that a sandbox can have the same quality and dinamics has a themepark....

They gave me archeage

And the armagedon starts for the themepark lill noob world

Not saying archeage is perfect,but its a outstanding start (besides owful MO and similars)

For you themepark ppl,enjoy your so beloved WoW and hes clones GW2 and tera whatever

 

WoW 4ys,EVE 4ys,EU 4ys
FH1942 best tanker for 4years
Playing WWII OL for some years untill now
many other for some months

  Enochi

Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/09
Posts: 12

5/01/12 3:09:51 PM#229

hmm dont know if this fits here or not but one of the things I love about ragnarok online was the Castle fights. For a window of about 2 to 3 hours twice a week you could attempt to take control of a castle by smashing the center crystal in a keep. If you sucessful did it the crystal would immediately respawn under your guilds control and warp all other guilds out of the castle. If you managed to control the castle at the end of the time period your controled the castle till the next battle typically a couple of days. While your guild held the castle your guild master could retrieve a speical item every day and the whole guild had acess to a spiecal dungeon underneath the castle that would spawn rare boss monsters. (This was espically nice as all bosses in the game where open world and thus regualarly farmed.) Castle in the captitol city had the nicest reward and where the most fought over where as castles in the outer towns had weaker rewards. Your guild could also upgrade the castle defenses to make it easier to hold on to.

 

My fondest memory in a sandbox was the time when I as an Assasin class with 5 minutes left on the clock I snuck past the defenders only to find a pair of dudes running a stealth search pattern around the crystal. Preparing to die in the attempt to grab said crystal (both where higher level then me) I was surprised when they broke off to guard the door with the rest of the guild. Once they where far enought away I attacked the crystal to see there whole guild start to barrel down on me and... reach right after I shattered the crystal not leaving them enough time to run back through the castle. Was the only time my guild ever got a Prontera Castle.

 

That being said my other greatest memory was the time my Wow guild first down the Lich kind in a 10 man. I was off tanking and we had him down to about 13%. I get sucked into the sword and die enraging good ole Arthas leading to the main tank dying along with most of the raid. We where stoked though we had gotten him to 11% and where sure we would get it next time but as we watched this one crazy warlock kited the lich king around finally droping him to 10% by himself while the whole guild cheered him on triggering the Cutsceen. It was fantastic time.

 

The glory days of both of those game are past but hope developers can look forward and see that it is moments like these that define games. Building a game that lets you feel epic and powerful is the most important part.

  Heinz130

Novice Member

Joined: 3/13/12
Posts: 227

War...war never change

5/01/12 11:52:05 PM#230
Originally posted by Enochi

Building a game that lets you feel epic and powerful is the most important part.

If youre a n00b you dont deserve to feel powerfull,since youre not

Go play tetris

Wait for archeage for a sandbox perfection + themepark quality and dinamics

WoW 4ys,EVE 4ys,EU 4ys
FH1942 best tanker for 4years
Playing WWII OL for some years untill now
many other for some months

  Heinz130

Novice Member

Joined: 3/13/12
Posts: 227

War...war never change

5/04/12 10:57:46 AM#231
Originally posted by Shaydryn

I'm confused by all these people saying "Oh, themeparks are better because I have real life obligations and don't have much time to play."

Seriously?

Have any of you ever been on some of the top-tier raids in WoW? 

Yeah...they don't take any time at all... *rollseyes*

Sometimes I wonder if the majority of the people on these forums actually play any games, or just sit here and try to be armchair developers all day long. Discussion is good, sure, but the prevailing attitudes toward specific aspects of games on these forums is mind-boggling at best.

P.S. Sandbox ftw.

This

WoW 4ys,EVE 4ys,EU 4ys
FH1942 best tanker for 4years
Playing WWII OL for some years untill now
many other for some months

  musicmann

Novice Member

Joined: 12/25/05
Posts: 1122

5/04/12 11:41:19 AM#232
Originally posted by Shaydryn

I'm confused by all these people saying "Oh, themeparks are better because I have real life obligations and don't have much time to play."

Seriously?

Have any of you ever been on some of the top-tier raids in WoW? 

Yeah...they don't take any time at all... *rollseyes*

Sometimes I wonder if the majority of the people on these forums actually play any games, or just sit here and try to be armchair developers all day long. Discussion is good, sure, but the prevailing attitudes toward specific aspects of games on these forums is mind-boggling at best.

P.S. Sandbox ftw.

This i agree with. It doesn't matter if the mmorpg is a Sandbox or Themepark, there's no difference in time in either one. If you have 3 hrs. set to do a linear handholding raid, or 3 hrs. checking on harvestors and crafting, the time is the same. The only difference is what people find fun and that changes from person to person.

With the cost of these new and shiney Themeparks coming out with VO and cutscene's that are now approaching 100 million and some going beyone that, it would seem that a proper Sandbox mmorpg that let's the players thrive and live in a virtual open world that has the systems and tools for promoting a strong social  community would be a better investment.

Honestly, sandbox players just want to have a huge, lush and alive game world that allows them to go and do whatever they wish. A strong player run economy that whatever is in the game ties into a very deep crafting system that can be made and sold, out of combat social tools/systems, fluid combat and skill system that let's the player make their own choice's at any given time, huge open world pvp that the player can control when they want to and not want to participate and affects the differing factions upon the outcome, content that goes hand in hand with the whole lore of the game itself, that doesn't handhold but happens in random area's and by being there makes them part of a random event that changes the game world on a permanent basis. The biggest thing is that, sandbox players want to take part and have fun from day one of login.

Themepark players want to reach whatever the top level is in the game and then start the so called FUN end game grind. Their enjoyment is tied into getting the next tier gear and dungeon crawling hrs. on end everyday to get it. They want their pvp instanced and inside of a so called warzone with a server ranking and commendations to get better pvp gear. Everything is about you the player and being social is not very important. They don't want any type of death penalty or item decay and only cares about being the highest gear stat player in the whole game. They don't care if the game is instance's inside of instance's and actually loves following the yellow brick road from one hub to the next. It's all about combat and the only thing outside of that, fishing.

So, one let's you play and do/be whatever you want and the other stamps a number on your ass and tells you what to do, where to go and how to play. Sandbox for me all the way.

  dontadow

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 1048

5/04/12 11:43:43 AM#233

This conversation is so moot.  You are arguing what genre of game is better a simulation or an rpg. how about a sports game or a platform game?  first person shooter? 

RPGs are questing and advventuring, u can't vchange that, u can't go back and prevent Gygax and Arenson from defining it.  NO ones building ports in Lord of the Rings.  

Simulation games, by design, are built so that you have to put in a lot of work and effort for any outcome. Endgame raids are sutpid and require the same thing.  HOwever, as gw2 proved, you can do a traditional rpg multiplayer game without grind and without work. I just don't think that a simulation game would work that way. Part of the thirl of a simuilation game is building your final product and working for it, so you actually choose to work to reach the final outcome.  

  Heinz130

Novice Member

Joined: 3/13/12
Posts: 227

War...war never change

5/06/12 12:01:07 PM#234

This thread exists just becouse themeparks still have some features that sandbox still dont

Graphs and dinamics

Archeage will be the first sandbox that will have themeparks graphics and dinamics,after that threads like this will not have a point to exist

WoW 4ys,EVE 4ys,EU 4ys
FH1942 best tanker for 4years
Playing WWII OL for some years untill now
many other for some months

  cyress8

Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/05
Posts: 866

BOOYAKA!

5/06/12 12:04:43 PM#235
Originally posted by Heinz130

This thread exists just becouse themeparks still have some features that sandbox still dont

Graphs and dinamics

Archeage will be the first sandbox that will have themeparks graphics and dinamics,after that threads like this will not have a point to exist

 The war will still wage.  I have high hopes for Archeage.  Give us sandboxers a decent home besides EVE. 

BOOYAKA!

  verynew

Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/11
Posts: 12

5/07/12 1:13:07 PM#236

Recent discussion about ESO have lead me to idea that fundamental difference between SB and TP is in treatment of things left on the ground.

In TP they would disappear on their own in SB someone must take care of them: dead bodies must attract scavengers (rats, crows, vulturs, demons, marauder, crabs) and cleaners. It might look trivial, but such small details define entire vision. Same way TP would give their NPCs some sort of immortality and SB would let NPC die to replace it with some other NPC. That define difference between static and dinamic environment.

Control over land and ability to build houses isn't as important as dynamic web of relations (affection, hostility, interest, demand, fear ect.) between Players, NPCs and Things.

  Muntz

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/09/09
Posts: 292

5/07/12 1:22:12 PM#237
Originally posted by verynew

Recent discussion about ESO have lead me to idea that fundamental difference between SB and TP is in treatment of things left on the ground.

In TP they would disappear on their own in SB someone must take care of them: dead bodies must attract scavengers (rats, crows, vulturs, demons, marauder, crabs) and cleaners. It might look trivial, but such small details define entire vision. Same way TP would give their NPCs some sort of immortality and SB would let NPC die to replace it with some other NPC. That define difference between static and dinamic environment.

Control over land and ability to build houses isn't as important as dynamic web of relations (affection, hostility, interest, demand, fear ect.) between Players, NPCs and Things.

Seems more of an ecosystem then a Sandbox/Themepark difference. I think the terms SB and TP are at such a high level that they are hard to define but more importantly it's hard to talk of anything of substance. It seems like an ecosystem could exist in either and is far more interesting to discuss. I know UO initially tried to put in some ecosystem mechanics but they were removed as the players were difficult to account for in balancing the system. 

  verynew

Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/11
Posts: 12

5/07/12 1:57:49 PM#238
Originally posted by Muntz
Originally posted by verynew

Recent discussion about ESO have lead me to idea that fundamental difference between SB and TP is in treatment of things left on the ground.

In TP they would disappear on their own in SB someone must take care of them: dead bodies must attract scavengers (rats, crows, vulturs, demons, marauder, crabs) and cleaners. It might look trivial, but such small details define entire vision. Same way TP would give their NPCs some sort of immortality and SB would let NPC die to replace it with some other NPC. That define difference between static and dinamic environment.

Control over land and ability to build houses isn't as important as dynamic web of relations (affection, hostility, interest, demand, fear ect.) between Players, NPCs and Things.

Seems more of an ecosystem then a Sandbox/Themepark difference. I think the terms SB and TP are at such a high level that they are hard to define but more importantly it's hard to talk of anything of substance. It seems like an ecosystem could exist in either and is far more interesting to discuss. I know UO initially tried to put in some ecosystem mechanics but they were removed as the players were difficult to account for in balancing the system. 

Ecosystem is just one facet of difference between them. If NPCs aren't immortal, then you can build-up friendship with NPC of low rank and then help with his promotion by killing his bosses - after 5 or 6 assasinations your friend would get to an important middle rank, where he would bring you significant benefits. And his old low rank position would be occupied by another NPC. And bottom ranks would be generated. It would create endless cycle of NPC progression.

  Muntz

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/09/09
Posts: 292

5/07/12 2:43:32 PM#239
Originally posted by verynew
Originally posted by Muntz
Originally posted by verynew

Recent discussion about ESO have lead me to idea that fundamental difference between SB and TP is in treatment of things left on the ground.

In TP they would disappear on their own in SB someone must take care of them: dead bodies must attract scavengers (rats, crows, vulturs, demons, marauder, crabs) and cleaners. It might look trivial, but such small details define entire vision. Same way TP would give their NPCs some sort of immortality and SB would let NPC die to replace it with some other NPC. That define difference between static and dinamic environment.

Control over land and ability to build houses isn't as important as dynamic web of relations (affection, hostility, interest, demand, fear ect.) between Players, NPCs and Things.

Seems more of an ecosystem then a Sandbox/Themepark difference. I think the terms SB and TP are at such a high level that they are hard to define but more importantly it's hard to talk of anything of substance. It seems like an ecosystem could exist in either and is far more interesting to discuss. I know UO initially tried to put in some ecosystem mechanics but they were removed as the players were difficult to account for in balancing the system. 

Ecosystem is just one facet of difference between them. If NPCs aren't immortal, then you can build-up friendship with NPC of low rank and then help with his promotion by killing his bosses - after 5 or 6 assasinations your friend would get to an important middle rank, where he would bring you significant benefits. And his old low rank position would be occupied by another NPC. And bottom ranks would be generated. It would create endless cycle of NPC progression.

What you describe is an ecosystem of NPCs. 

I still don't think a sandbox is required to implement an ecosystem. The NPC system you describe does not have to have issues even if it is a quest giver in a themepark. In a simple form I've had to deal with NPC quest givers that you could kill in what is considered a Themepark. The NPC would respawn at a later time and then you could pick up the quest. However, it could be made more complicated by allowing for succession and the newly promoted guy gives the quest or a different quest if you wanted it more complicated still.

Idea makes the world more alive the implementation can be difficult. 

  verynew

Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/11
Posts: 12

5/08/12 2:04:24 AM#240
Originally posted by Muntz
Originally posted by verynew
Originally posted by Muntz
Originally posted by verynew

Recent discussion about ESO have lead me to idea that fundamental difference between SB and TP is in treatment of things left on the ground.

In TP they would disappear on their own in SB someone must take care of them: dead bodies must attract scavengers (rats, crows, vulturs, demons, marauder, crabs) and cleaners. It might look trivial, but such small details define entire vision. Same way TP would give their NPCs some sort of immortality and SB would let NPC die to replace it with some other NPC. That define difference between static and dinamic environment.

Control over land and ability to build houses isn't as important as dynamic web of relations (affection, hostility, interest, demand, fear ect.) between Players, NPCs and Things.

Seems more of an ecosystem then a Sandbox/Themepark difference. I think the terms SB and TP are at such a high level that they are hard to define but more importantly it's hard to talk of anything of substance. It seems like an ecosystem could exist in either and is far more interesting to discuss. I know UO initially tried to put in some ecosystem mechanics but they were removed as the players were difficult to account for in balancing the system. 

Ecosystem is just one facet of difference between them. If NPCs aren't immortal, then you can build-up friendship with NPC of low rank and then help with his promotion by killing his bosses - after 5 or 6 assasinations your friend would get to an important middle rank, where he would bring you significant benefits. And his old low rank position would be occupied by another NPC. And bottom ranks would be generated. It would create endless cycle of NPC progression.

What you describe is an ecosystem of NPCs. 

I still don't think a sandbox is required to implement an ecosystem. The NPC system you describe does not have to have issues even if it is a quest giver in a themepark. In a simple form I've had to deal with NPC quest givers that you could kill in what is considered a Themepark. The NPC would respawn at a later time and then you could pick up the quest. However, it could be made more complicated by allowing for succession and the newly promoted guy gives the quest or a different quest if you wanted it more complicated still.

Idea makes the world more alive the implementation can be difficult. 

I think that people really hope to find "living world" in SB. Probably TP can do it was well, but then people would call it SB. And while implementation would be difficult - it should be possible and rewarding for those who would successed.

At one point in time I came across discussion of finite resources in SB MMORPG and how it gives too much power to monopoly. But recently I heard final speech in "great dictator", then I understood that "finite resources" and monopolies constructed around them are poisonous for a good (living) SB MMORPG.

And just a few days ago I was reminded about "butterfly effect", then I understood that people dreaming about SB MMORPG actually want kind of fluid world, where their actions bring chain reactions affecting entire world without breaking it apart.

Naturally finding right solution for a flow of information across entire system is a challenge for designer, but if Chaplin have this vision of "wonderful adventure" of  "free and beautiful" live so many years ago, then right answer to this challenge should exist, should be possible.

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