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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » The Sandbox never got its chance.

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67 posts found
  SkillCosby

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/23/08
Posts: 694

 
OP  9/15/11 4:35:17 PM#1

There really is no true definition of "Sandbox MMO". However, the ultimate idea is geared around self-sustaining content, e.g., player economy, large worlds and versatile progression. There is no set path that will lead you to the end; there is no point A to point B.

 

The only chance the sandbox genre ever had, if you would call it that, is with Star Wars Galaxies. Its ultimate demise scares the hell out of developers, as if SOE's / LA's failure was because the game was considered a sandbox.

If you take a look at the master list of MMOs, you will find very few games with the above characteristics. There are probably less than 10. Regardless, the top three active Sandbox games, IMO, are as followed: Eve Online, Darkfall, and Mortal Online. None of these, with mild exception to Eve, experienced AAA development and marketing.

It's never been written that a sandbox game must be hardcore, e.g., first-person, full loot pvp, and full of void material (walking for 15 min without performing some sort of action. However, most naysayers depict the genre as is.

 

What a shame...

  Athcear

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/19/09
Posts: 422

Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by malice.

9/15/11 4:39:18 PM#2

Why doesn't MineCraft fit your description, then?  It seems like the ultimate sandbox.  And is not a hardcore pvp game.

Important facts:
1. Free to Play games are poorly made.
2. Casuals are not all idiots, but idiots call themselves casuals.
3. Great solo and group content are not mutually exclusive, but they suffer when one is shoved into the mold of the other. The same is true of PvP and PvE.
4. Community is more important than you think.

  ninjalady

Novice Member

Joined: 6/25/07
Posts: 65

9/15/11 4:39:25 PM#3

I think you forgot Lineage II

L2 fits the sandbox mold & is better than most games you listed.

I am still playing L2 after 7 years. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  robert4818

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 4/14/03
Posts: 661

"Everyone is born with just a spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."

--Robin Williams

9/15/11 4:42:27 PM#4
Originally posted by precious328

There really is no true definition of "Sandbox MMO". However, the ultimate idea is geared around self-sustaining content, e.g., player economy, large worlds and versatile progression. There is no set path that will lead you to the end; there is no point A to point B.

 The only chance the sandbox genre ever had, if you would call it that, is with Star Wars Galaxies. Its ultimate demise scares the hell out of developers, as if SOE's / LA's failure was because the game was considered a sandbox.

If you take a look at the master list of MMOs, you will find very few games with the above characteristics. There are probably less than 10. Regardless, the top three active Sandbox games, IMO, are as followed: Eve Online, Darkfall, and Mortal Online. None of these, with mild exception to Eve, experienced AAA development and marketing.

It's never been written that a sandbox game must be hardcore, e.g., first-person, full loot pvp, and full of void material (walking for 15 min without performing some sort of action. However, most naysayers depict the genre as is.

 What a shame...

I would argue that its the Sand Box Fanboys who have really ruined the genre (if you can argue that the genre is ruined).

Its not the naysayers who insist that Sandbox means  Full Loot, Large empty worlds.  Its generally the SB Purists who shout down anyone who doesn't want those things in there.  Many base their ideal on old UO, they try to emulate that as much as possible.  Suggst a game have quests "Go back to wow", suggest no full loot pvp (or non-open pvp) "Go back to wow". etc.

 

 

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

  zevni78

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/02/10
Posts: 1119

9/15/11 4:44:19 PM#5

We'll see how Archeage does, if a hit, some companies may take a fresh look at sandbox content again, but what they make would still be built around themepark basics, anything else is too much of a risk.

 

 

  kakasaki

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/11/06
Posts: 1261

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

9/15/11 4:44:29 PM#6
Originally posted by precious328

There really is no true definition of "Sandbox MMO". However, the ultimate idea is geared around self-sustaining content, e.g., player economy, large worlds and versatile progression. There is no set path that will lead you to the end; there is no point A to point B.

 

The only chance the sandbox genre ever had, if you would call it that, is with Star Wars Galaxies. Its ultimate demise scares the hell out of developers, as if SOE's / LA's failure was because the game was considered a sandbox.

If you take a look at the master list of MMOs, you will find very few games with the above characteristics. There are probably less than 10. Regardless, the top three active Sandbox games, IMO, are as followed: Eve Online, Darkfall, and Mortal Online. None of these, with mild exception to Eve, experienced AAA development and marketing.

It's never been written that a sandbox game must be hardcore, e.g., first-person, full loot pvp, and full of void material (walking for 15 min without performing some sort of action. However, most naysayers depict the genre as is.

 

What a shame...

You are correct in saying sandbox does not equal hardcore, full-loot PvP, etc... However, I don't think it is the nay-sayers who say this. The sad truth is that so called sandbox fans who insist that sandbox equals all of the above.

Sadly, indie developers believe this also. The proof is of the three games you mentioned, two (MO and DF) are full-loot PvP gankfests with very little "sand" in the box.

A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true...

  Isawa

Novice Member

Joined: 6/20/08
Posts: 1066

9/15/11 4:45:20 PM#7

IMO...For a good deal of people who play games (not necessarily gamers), everything that makes a sandbox successful in world requires too much work. Folks who enjoy player housing, crafting, political systems, and other forms of self-sustaining content are often quite differant than the must level to end game ASAP and do that content, make a new toon and do same thing crowd.

SWG was pretty complicated for the average new to gaming person. I know people with little gaming experience that just rush through everything, skipping storyline (not impressed by TOR's VOs) and play just to lvl and gain loot.

Lots of people require direction, and when left in an open world they don't have the desire nor creativity to contribute.

  waynejr2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3729

RIP City of Heroes!

9/15/11 4:46:15 PM#8

These guys never give up.  They Hail UO as king god of sandbox.  Then swg.  There have been a host of others as well.

They understand that the market can't support it but they try their tricks.  The latest is that sandbox never got a chance.  Anyone with money looking to invest in a sandbox mmorpg should just forget about them as you can't trust what they say.

  Marcus-

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/28/06
Posts: 968

9/15/11 4:48:18 PM#9
Originally posted by robert4818
Originally posted by precious328

There really is no true definition of "Sandbox MMO". However, the ultimate idea is geared around self-sustaining content, e.g., player economy, large worlds and versatile progression. There is no set path that will lead you to the end; there is no point A to point B.

 The only chance the sandbox genre ever had, if you would call it that, is with Star Wars Galaxies. Its ultimate demise scares the hell out of developers, as if SOE's / LA's failure was because the game was considered a sandbox.

If you take a look at the master list of MMOs, you will find very few games with the above characteristics. There are probably less than 10. Regardless, the top three active Sandbox games, IMO, are as followed: Eve Online, Darkfall, and Mortal Online. None of these, with mild exception to Eve, experienced AAA development and marketing.

It's never been written that a sandbox game must be hardcore, e.g., first-person, full loot pvp, and full of void material (walking for 15 min without performing some sort of action. However, most naysayers depict the genre as is.

 What a shame...

I would argue that its the Sand Box Fanboys who have really ruined the genre (if you can argue that the genre is ruined).

Its not the naysayers who insist that Sandbox means  Full Loot, Large empty worlds.  Its generally the SB Purists who shout down anyone who doesn't want those things in there.  Many base their ideal on old UO, they try to emulate that as much as possible.  Suggst a game have quests "Go back to wow", suggest no full loot pvp (or non-open pvp) "Go back to wow". etc.

 

 

 Then it sounds like we need a developer who will grow a pair, and design the game they want, not what every "SB Purist" thinks they should

  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16585

9/15/11 4:52:24 PM#10

There are still companies making sandbox games, both CCP and Zenimax are working on one each and Arche age is a hybrid.

Zenimax have one of the founders of Mythic as lead designer and CCP have the guy behind Eve. 

UO is probably still the sandbox that had the best team originally but you shouldn't count it out all together. SWG didn't really do so bad until SOE & LA totally screwed it up, it had still over 200K players and considering what it costed them to make it was pretty good. Some moron got the idea that making it more like Wow would earn them more money...

There are rather few AAA MMOs coming out every year, one or 2. There will be more sandbox games but frankly do I think that the devs will have to try to make them more fun, most of them just can't appeal to the larger number of players.

A AAA MMO cost a lot of money to make so anything below 250K players isn't good there. Sandboxes usually mean full loot FFA PvP and that scares off many players unless it is very well done (and it rarely is).

If both CCP and Zenimax messes up is there only one thing that could save MMO sandboxes: That Rockstar makes a MMO.

  hockeyplayr

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/27/10
Posts: 555

9/15/11 4:55:06 PM#11

i feel like runescape has always fit into that genre but people disregard it cuz its now over run by immature 13 year olds.  In it's prime it was amazing though

  robert4818

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 4/14/03
Posts: 661

"Everyone is born with just a spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."

--Robin Williams

9/15/11 4:57:43 PM#12
Originally posted by Marcus-
Originally posted by robert4818
Originally posted by precious328

There really is no true definition of "Sandbox MMO". However, the ultimate idea is geared around self-sustaining content, e.g., player economy, large worlds and versatile progression. There is no set path that will lead you to the end; there is no point A to point B.

 The only chance the sandbox genre ever had, if you would call it that, is with Star Wars Galaxies. Its ultimate demise scares the hell out of developers, as if SOE's / LA's failure was because the game was considered a sandbox.

If you take a look at the master list of MMOs, you will find very few games with the above characteristics. There are probably less than 10. Regardless, the top three active Sandbox games, IMO, are as followed: Eve Online, Darkfall, and Mortal Online. None of these, with mild exception to Eve, experienced AAA development and marketing.

It's never been written that a sandbox game must be hardcore, e.g., first-person, full loot pvp, and full of void material (walking for 15 min without performing some sort of action. However, most naysayers depict the genre as is.

 What a shame...

I would argue that its the Sand Box Fanboys who have really ruined the genre (if you can argue that the genre is ruined).

Its not the naysayers who insist that Sandbox means  Full Loot, Large empty worlds.  Its generally the SB Purists who shout down anyone who doesn't want those things in there.  Many base their ideal on old UO, they try to emulate that as much as possible.  Suggst a game have quests "Go back to wow", suggest no full loot pvp (or non-open pvp) "Go back to wow". etc.

 Then it sounds like we need a developer who will grow a pair, and design the game they want, not what every "SB Purist" thinks they should

Ironically, I don't think we need to really go "full sandbox".  I just want a game with a good solid mix of the best parts of Sandbox (freedom, multiple goals/paths, immersive world) with the best parts of Theme parks (Decent stories, exciting quests, dugneons).  

Really, a good mix is probably better IMO than a purity in either direction.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16585

9/15/11 4:59:24 PM#13
Originally posted by waynejr2

These guys never give up.  They Hail UO as king god of sandbox.  Then swg.  There have been a host of others as well.

They understand that the market can't support it but they try their tricks.  The latest is that sandbox never got a chance.  Anyone with money looking to invest in a sandbox mmorpg should just forget about them as you can't trust what they say.

Sandbox gameplay can actually be fun. It works great in sologames and companies like Bethesda and Rockstar have proven that again and again.

That MMOs havn't really done the same only means that no one actually made it right, not that you can't make a good sandbox game.

Those single player games have sold very well so there is a market for a good MMO sandbox, the problem is that it would probably be rather different from what most people expect for it to sell, and very different from games like Mortal online.

If you want to invest money in a MMO sandbox I would recommend you to invest them in Zenimax (owned by Bethesda), they have people from games like Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion and Fallout 3, they actually know how to make games that sells.

  Marcus-

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/28/06
Posts: 968

9/15/11 5:01:25 PM#14
Originally posted by robert4818
Originally posted by Marcus-
Originally posted by robert4818
Originally posted by precious328

There really is no true definition of "Sandbox MMO". However, the ultimate idea is geared around self-sustaining content, e.g., player economy, large worlds and versatile progression. There is no set path that will lead you to the end; there is no point A to point B.

 The only chance the sandbox genre ever had, if you would call it that, is with Star Wars Galaxies. Its ultimate demise scares the hell out of developers, as if SOE's / LA's failure was because the game was considered a sandbox.

If you take a look at the master list of MMOs, you will find very few games with the above characteristics. There are probably less than 10. Regardless, the top three active Sandbox games, IMO, are as followed: Eve Online, Darkfall, and Mortal Online. None of these, with mild exception to Eve, experienced AAA development and marketing.

It's never been written that a sandbox game must be hardcore, e.g., first-person, full loot pvp, and full of void material (walking for 15 min without performing some sort of action. However, most naysayers depict the genre as is.

 What a shame...

I would argue that its the Sand Box Fanboys who have really ruined the genre (if you can argue that the genre is ruined).

Its not the naysayers who insist that Sandbox means  Full Loot, Large empty worlds.  Its generally the SB Purists who shout down anyone who doesn't want those things in there.  Many base their ideal on old UO, they try to emulate that as much as possible.  Suggst a game have quests "Go back to wow", suggest no full loot pvp (or non-open pvp) "Go back to wow". etc.

 Then it sounds like we need a developer who will grow a pair, and design the game they want, not what every "SB Purist" thinks they should

Ironically, I don't think we need to really go "full sandbox".  I just want a game with a good solid mix of the best parts of Sandbox (freedom, multiple goals/paths, immersive world) with the best parts of Theme parks (Decent stories, exciting quests, dugneons).  

Really, a good mix is probably better IMO than a purity in either direction.

 I agree, completly... let them (devs) come right and and call it a sandbox hybrid, so theres no confusion as to what its not...

I'd love to see it, but i'm not holding my breathe 

 

I

  RefMinor

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3542

Hipster

9/15/11 5:03:35 PM#15
Sandbox is a niche market, there will not be a WoW scale sandbox, EVE gets what 300k and that is a successful one, a fantasy version might get 2 or 3 times more at most.

It's the same as 20m people buying Dan Brown and 20k buying Dostoyevski, one is infinitely more challenging but both parties enjoy their choice and that's the important bit. There just isn't the volume Market for sandboxes.

The sandbox crowd will continue to get titles made, they will have budgets in a scale with the their likely success. Some will be intelligently made and will be a success like Eve.

Any of us hoping for an AAA sandbox are deluded.

*my opinion is based on Archeage not being particularly sandboxy, if it is a true sandbox game and a decent success then sandboxes might see bigger budgets.
  kakasaki

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/11/06
Posts: 1261

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

9/15/11 5:06:21 PM#16

Hell, just give me a game like Shadowbane with the city building/player run economy minus the bugs and exploits...

 

I'll be happy.

A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true...

  Marcus-

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/28/06
Posts: 968

9/15/11 5:06:50 PM#17
Originally posted by RefMinor
Sandbox is a niche market, there will not be a WoW scale sandbox, EVE gets what 300k and that is a successful one, a fantasy version might get 2 or 3 times more at most.

It's the same as 20m people buying Dan Brown and 20k buying Dostoyevski, one is infinitely more challenging but both parties enjoy their choice and that's the important bit. There just isn't the volume Market for sandboxes.

The sandbox crowd will continue to get titles made, they will have budgets in a scale with the their likely success. Some will be intelligently made and will be a success like Eve.

Any of us hoping for an AAA sandbox are deluded.

 

*my opinion is based on Archeage not being particularly sandboxy, if it is a true sandbox game and a decent success then sandboxes might see bigger budgets.

 Hmmm...

what percent of the themepark mmos out  right now wouldnt mind your 900k subs?

  RefMinor

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3542

Hipster

9/15/11 5:12:26 PM#18
Originally posted by Marcus-
Originally posted by RefMinor
Sandbox is a niche market, there will not be a WoW scale sandbox, EVE gets what 300k and that is a successful one, a fantasy version might get 2 or 3 times more at most.

It's the same as 20m people buying Dan Brown and 20k buying Dostoyevski, one is infinitely more challenging but both parties enjoy their choice and that's the important bit. There just isn't the volume Market for sandboxes.

The sandbox crowd will continue to get titles made, they will have budgets in a scale with the their likely success. Some will be intelligently made and will be a success like Eve.

Any of us hoping for an AAA sandbox are deluded.

 

*my opinion is based on Archeage not being particularly sandboxy, if it is a true sandbox game and a decent success then sandboxes might see bigger budgets.

 Hmmm...

what percent of the themepark mmos out  right now wouldnt mind your 900k subs?

 

A lot, but the AAA's are gunning for WoW like numbers, the sandbox version of WoW like success would be gunning for 1m tops. The potential levels are markedly different.
  Marcus-

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/28/06
Posts: 968

9/15/11 5:15:01 PM#19
Originally posted by RefMinor
Originally posted by Marcus-
Originally posted by RefMinor
Sandbox is a niche market, there will not be a WoW scale sandbox, EVE gets what 300k and that is a successful one, a fantasy version might get 2 or 3 times more at most.

It's the same as 20m people buying Dan Brown and 20k buying Dostoyevski, one is infinitely more challenging but both parties enjoy their choice and that's the important bit. There just isn't the volume Market for sandboxes.

The sandbox crowd will continue to get titles made, they will have budgets in a scale with the their likely success. Some will be intelligently made and will be a success like Eve.

Any of us hoping for an AAA sandbox are deluded.

 

*my opinion is based on Archeage not being particularly sandboxy, if it is a true sandbox game and a decent success then sandboxes might see bigger budgets.

 Hmmm...

what percent of the themepark mmos out  right now wouldnt mind your 900k subs?

 

A lot, but the AAA's are gunning for WoW like numbers, the sandbox version of WoW like success would be gunning for 1m tops. The potential levels are markedly different.

 And they keep falling short, its a shame really...

 

I'm thinking a million subs is pretty nice penny.

  Yalexy

Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 1020

9/15/11 5:20:53 PM#20

Sandbox never got that much attention from developers, because developers tend to be more interested in creating content to play through. It has been this way way before MMOs started to get alot of attention.

Creating a game with readily available content to consume by the players is way easier to think about then creating a balanced box of tools that the players could use to create their own content. This the prime-reason for so little sandboxes around imho.

FFA-PvP gets allways mentioned when talking about sandboxes and this is for a good reason actually. In a classic sandbox with three year olds playing in them building castles there was allways the possibility to head over to the other corner and destroy the castle of the others, allthough there could've been made agreements between the players not to do so. A sandbox doesn't outrule the possibility to do it however by default.
So with this in mind it doesn't come as a surprise that sandboxes most of the time have FFA-PvP enabled.

Most sandboxes do fail in one part tho, and that is the fact, that they're lacking either tools or content and noone ever said that a sandbox can't have several areas with different rulesets where you can relax and still do something.

With the games mentioned by the OP, we can see that sandboxes can be somewhat succesful aswell as fail. It all comes down to the diversity of tools, rulesets and content.

SWG or EvE are good starting-points to look at, when you want to develop a sandbox, but to get it right and draw alot of players into the game you can't stop where SWG and EvE are currently, you need to provide even more diversity so that everyone can find his place in the sandbox. We basically have to merge the sandbox with the themepark, where the player can instantly switch between the two. We just have to make sure that the two don't interfere with each other in a way that would imbalance either of them.
For example, we could make high-sec in EvE into a 100% PvP-free zone, if we make sure that you can't use most of the stuff found there in low-sec or 0.0 and drastically reduce the monetary rewards there aswell. In transaction we add traditional PvE-stuff like dungeons and big storylines to high-sec for those who're not interested in PvP at all. Basically EvE is allready setup in this way to some degree, but it doesn't go far enough, and alot of players simply dislike not to be able to play with a toon and only spaceships instead.

Darkfall or Mortal Online om the other hand don't have alot of tools or content to begin with. They're basically very empty sandboxes with nowhere enough sand for more then a handful of players. And those exclusively interested in PvP are rather playing FPS or RTS, where they have a level playingfield and don't have to deal with timeinvestments other then training their personal skills.

If there'll ever be a developer who gets the two (sandbox and themepark) mixed up in a reasonable way, where the players can choose to play the way they want without being forced into competing with others actually, then we'll see a sandbox that will actually have lots of players interested.

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