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News & Features Discussion  » WildStar: Sandboxes & Theme Parks - Further Analysis

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29 posts found

Novice Member

Joined: 10/05/03
Posts: 6721

Gaming should be about fun, not gender equality.

10/27/12 5:44:20 PM#21
Originally posted by ShakyMo
Originally posted by adam_nox

Seems like everyone is running around with their own personal set of rules about what is or isn't a sandbox.  And that's fine, but being a sandbox is more of meeting at least a few criteria out of a wide array rather than meeting every single one.

Those criteria are:

1. large open areas that require real exploration to discover significant amounts of content.

2. can terraform or customize geography in some way, housing, player cities, guild forts.

3. crafting is as efficacious as combat

4. quests don't tell you where to go (I don't really count this one but I throw it in because some do)

5. player is not guided towards questgivers and content aka the escalator

6. players must rely on other players at some level

7. limited ability to grief other players in some way, through property destruction, disruption of content, or non-consentual pvp

8. no classes or levels, maybe even no xp.  skills are emphasized.

9. highly involved character creation and customization

10. Graphics that attempt to be less stylized, more realistic for the immersion factor.

11. Some sort of frontiers or world pvp that involves capturable terrain or structures for profit.

12. Large powerful enemies roam open world where any number of players can raid.

13.  Open world dungeons, factional/group pvp dungeons (once again, a bit iffy but mmos have become so instanced and dynamic that this is considered sandboxy by comparison).

That's 13.  I'm sure I'm missing some, but someone should compile a list, clean it up, and just repaste every time a topic comes up, and in my opinion, if you have 5 of these, you are on the cusp of being a sandbox at the least, maybe could be considered a hybrid if you can come up with even 3.  Even then, I'm skeptical Wildstar could without stretching the truth a bit.

You'll note dynamic events is NOT on the list lol.


2 player driven content

3 fully persistent world no instanced dungeons, no minigame pvp, multi copies of world zones etc..

4 player actions alter the world, permenantly


Sandbox has always been centered on PLAYER DRIVEN CONTENT, everything else is just gravy and optional and some have even nothing to do with sandbox.

Ofcourse you can have end game in a sandbox, if that is what the players decided to "create".

Crafting is not integral to sandbox, players can create content which has nothing to do with crafting.

PvP minigames can be part of a sandbox game, again if players decide to create PvP minigames then that is exactly what sandbox is about. In Eve you have lots of player driven PvP mini-games and even dev. initiated one's. What is important is who drives the content.

Graphical immersion has nothing to do with sandbox. That is like saying UO was not sandbox because it had shitty 2.5D non realistic gfx.

So again, what defines a sandbox is player driven content and nothing else.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/01/07
Posts: 1075

10/27/12 6:02:55 PM#22
One thing I remember from watching some video with Richard Garriot talking about UO.. He was talking about how he didn't want to create the world for players to play in, but he wanted to give them the tools to do so. He goes on to talk about this thief character he encountered ingame who was stealing items from newbies. He (as a GM) came down to help this new player, and the thief pointed out to him that he gave him the tools to do these actions, and that's when he realized "omg what have I created here?" lol.. Even one of the creators of the game had no idea what people would do with those tools.

Novice Member

Joined: 10/05/03
Posts: 6721

Gaming should be about fun, not gender equality.

10/27/12 6:05:11 PM#23
Originally posted by afropuff420
One thing I remember from watching some video with Richard Garriot talking about UO.. He was talking about how he didn't want to create the world for players to play in, but he wanted to give them the tools to do so. He goes on to talk about this thief character he encountered ingame who was stealing items from newbies. He (as a GM) came down to help this new player, and the thief pointed out to him that he gave him the tools to do these actions, and that's when he realized "omg what have I created here?" lol.. Even one of the creators of the game had no idea what people would do with those tools.

Exactly this, this is sandbox. Create a virtual and give players the tool to drive the content forward rather than developer creating the content and let players consuming it. That is the core of sandbox games.


Advanced Member

Joined: 3/25/07
Posts: 1528

10/27/12 6:07:16 PM#24

I dont know why people think quests = automatic themepark.

Every Sandbox should have quests, Eve has them, AC had them.  What differs is you arent forced to do them at a specific time as the only way to level.  You can go anywhere you want and do any quest you want at any "level" or not at all and have alternative ways to level

It sounds like thats what they are trying to do



Elite Member

Joined: 2/17/07
Posts: 2290

NGE, LOTRO, STO, KOTOR, Lego Star Wars > NGE 2 (SWTOR). SWG>ALL. Above hopefully subject to change.

10/27/12 8:47:34 PM#25

With them shutting down City of Heroes the way they did, I am not touching this with a barge pole

Even if that was not the case the screenshot in the OP does not make it look attractive, it looks like a cheap F2P game

The way they describe it being a thempark/sandbox hybrid sounds the same as SWTOR in finding its extra side quests. So does not make it sound too interesting.


Novice Member

Joined: 6/20/11
Posts: 381

10/27/12 9:09:11 PM#26
Sandbox or Theme Park means nothing to me. I like the look of WildStar, but the determining factor for whether I play it or not will be the PvP. If it's fun and has a good system in place (not instanced gear grinds), then count me in.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/31/12
Posts: 646

10/28/12 4:55:47 AM#27
Originally posted by Myrdynn

I dont know why people think quests = automatic themepark.

Every Sandbox should have quests, Eve has them, AC had them.  What differs is you arent forced to do them at a specific time as the only way to level.  You can go anywhere you want and do any quest you want at any "level" or not at all and have alternative ways to level

It sounds like thats what they are trying to do


I agree. There should be quests in a sandbox. Everyone needs something to do on those days when they just don't feel up to "doing their own thing". Quests also help the world feel a bit more alive with the interactivity, and also help give a sense of "doing something".

I mean sure, it's great and all to say "Okay, today my goal is to get my sword arm trained and gather a bunch of Grok leather.". But sometime, as I said, you just want to "veg out" and not come up with your own stuff. This is where quests make for great "filler" and add a nice variety to your everyday game mix.

The issue with questing regarding sandboxes has never been the quests themselves, I don't believe. I believe the main issue sandbox gamers have with quests is when the devs make those quests mandatory to advance or gain an advantage that someone ignoring the quests won't be able to obtain.

I think a sandbox developer has to look at quests the same way you'd look at a Cash Shop. Everything should be fluff, or for a small convenience.

Say you do a quest for Farmer Brown to go rope hime some cows. You go rope the cows and come back.

Now if this was a themepark game, Farmer Brown would give you 2,000 xp, some copper, and a +5 agility necklace.

But what happens when an expansion comes out? Noone, not even most newbies, does Farmer Brown's quest anymore because the expansion has better rewards. So now you have a game filled with content just like Farmer Brown's quest that gets ignored because "it's outdated".

This is a major waste of developer time and resources even in a themepark, but especially in a sandbox game. Particularly if the game has only a small dev team.

Now let's look at that same quest in a sandbox game.

Farmer Brown asks you to go rope him some cows. You go rope the cows and come back.

Farmer Brown thanks you and you receive a  couple pieces of cow hide, a stack of beef, and a stack of straw.

There's absolutely no advantage to doing his quest. Everything he gives is available to you right out there in the gameworld to collect yourself.

But it's a nice "change of pace" to have that "goal" laid out for you.


Now here's the really important difference between a quest in a themepark and one in a sandpark: story.

Every gameworld should have a story behind it, and a way to tell you that story without you having to run to the forums "lore page" or read a book in real life to understand it.

Themeparks of course use quests to give you bits of the story, or even little individual stories of the questgivers themselves or the surrounding area. And most people skip right through the story without giving it a second thought.


"I don't have time to read/listen to this shit, I just want to run through this quest line and grab the rewards before I log off."

The biggest flop in themepark history, SWToR, showed this problem loud and clear to the world. The most used keyboard button while playing SWToR is the "space" key.

But in the sandbox, with no essential rewards from the quests and thus no need to "run though them", the quest now provide what they were best suited for from the beginning. The lore. The story. A canvas backdrop to add your story to. A connection of the player to the world around him/her. And also a connection to other players, as through the story you get a sense of "history". Which faction has done what to the other faction.

And at the same time, it provides the players with endless roleplay possibilities beyond just "Do I play a thief  and steal from everyone I meet, or roleplay a mass murderer and just gank everyone?". Somewhere in the lore, you read that there was an unknown rogue hundreds of years ago who stole from King Linhard's coffers and waylaid his merchant caravans to give money back to the poor of his kingdom. So perhaps you decide that you are that unknown rogues direct decendant, and proceed to take up his work against the current ruler of old Linhard's kingdom. Pehaps you make youself known to the rest of the gameworld, and soon the devs, through your actions. And perhaps YOU become part of the lore of a new quest that is added.

And because noone needs to rush though these "flavor quests", maybe (just maybe) thousands of players in years to come will have the chance to hear YOUR story as well.

People always talk about "dynamic content". Well folks, there is nothing more dynamic than story. Revolutions, rebellions, scandals all fade away over time when you rely solely on what people can immediately see and hear. Actions are quickly forgotten in short time. However, stories told of those actions and events can live on forever.



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Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3548


10/28/12 5:25:45 AM#28

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/01/10
Posts: 143

10/28/12 5:34:05 AM#29
Originally posted by ShakyMo
Originally posted by tom_gore

I have a feeling that the devs have no idea what a sandbox is...


yeah, they think sandbox means "random shit happening"  or something.

theres not 1 sandbox feature in that entire atricle.   Been able to progress through events or not doing quests isnt sandbox.

Theres lots of themeparks that arent quest heavy - e.g. GW2, daoc, everquest

Guild wars 2 is a game based entirely on questing, just because the "dynamic events" arent called quests doesnt mean they dont follow the same format as quests

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