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Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online 

General Discussion  » Why TESO wasn’t designed as a true sandbox MMORPG

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101 posts found

Novice Member

Joined: 2/26/13
Posts: 22

Whatever blows your hair back...

OP  2/26/13 1:50:58 PM#21
Originally posted by Reklaw

I want a true sandbox, but full loot FFA PVP only if it's optional else it's not a sandbox game but yet a game where the developers force you to play a certain way. Which is not what a true sandbox should be like in my opinion.


A sandbox game is about freedom to do what you want, how you want it and when you want it. Not how developers want you too play, but just developers given players the tools to shape or make a name in that world.




These two statements are contradictory, what if some player's want to kill and loot other player's?


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2/26/13 2:04:12 PM#22

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2/26/13 2:06:33 PM#23

mmorpg players have no idea what they want.




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2/26/13 2:17:16 PM#24
Originally posted by Zaskar70

If there is one thing that I’m certain of in the MMORPG genre it’s that true sandbox games don’t work

For the vast majority of the players that are out there.

I began my MMORPG journey in 1998 in what I still consider the ultimate sandbox game, Ultima Online.

Back in 1998 only 2 mainstream MMO’s existed, Ultima Online and Lineage and as far as anyone in the West was concerned Lineage didn’t exist because we didn’t hear about it, so for most western gamers it was Ultima Online or nothing.

Ultima Online was the great experiment, a free roaming, do anything, skill based world to explore. There were no quests to do, no guides, no tutorials, nothing to nudge you in any one direction. You chose your starting city and you were thrown into the world.

Ultima Online was a dangerous place to be, far more dangerous than any other MMORPG I have ever played since. Seeing another player while out exploring the world was a very tense moment, you could almost feel the tension between the two of you, it was this way because Ultima Online was a true sandbox in that anything could happen, you could lose everything you had on you, you could make a new friend, or you could choose to avoid one another.

There were no true safe areas in Ultima Online. The city’s were a lot safer than the wilds though you could still be robbed by a thief without ever knowing it or even killed outright before the guards could respond. A common macro in that game when going to a bank in town was “Bank, Guards!, Thief!” since the thieves would hang out at the banks to relieve you of your adventuring loot before you could deposit it.

Playing the game could be incredibly frustrating, for example on several occasions after jumping in my boat and sailing to a resource rich mining area on one of the coasts I would mine for hours only to have a couple guys sail into view, block me in with their boat before I could react and subsequently murder me. I would have to stand there on my boat which was now their boat as a ghost and watch as they looted my lifeless body, transferred all the ore it took me hours to mine to their boat, use my boat key which was now their boat key to deconstruct my boat to sell later. If they were nice they would rez me and gate me to some town, or more often than not just ignore my poor ghost until they sailed to a port and I could get off their boat and go to a healer to get rez’d.

People couldn’t really handle a true sandbox game back then, the crying and loss of subscriptions became so great that Ultima Online had to change to survive so they split the game in two and created Trammel, an exact mirror of the old world Felucca but with one twist, it was no longer a true sandbox for there was no player vs. player allowed, you could live in absolute security and thus the great experiment ended and the first true sandbox game had failed.

In my opinion if any AAA dev studio put out a true open world sandbox game today the tears would be endless and the screams of rage deafening.

Anyone who posts that they want a true sandbox game but wasn’t around to play Ultima Online before Trammel doesn’t really understand what they are asking for in my opinion.

Very immature understanding about Ultima Online.


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Joined: 2/26/13
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Whatever blows your hair back...

OP  2/26/13 2:26:36 PM#25
Originally posted by KoreanSoWhat

Very immature understanding about Ultima Online.

I have no idea what you mean by that,  I "understood" Ultima Online quite well. I played it faithfully until I left for DAOC in 2001.


Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 3451

I actually still like MMORPGs

2/26/13 2:29:20 PM#26
Meridian 59 was the shit in 98...everyone hung up on UO missed out!


Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 3451

I actually still like MMORPGs

2/26/13 2:34:43 PM#27

You know what I never get. Everyone agrees that the Elderscrolls games are Sandboxes. But, they are 90% about quests. Most of what you do in Elderscrolls games is undergo quests.

I thought quests were the enemy of sandboxes?


Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/05/10
Posts: 344

2/26/13 4:30:44 PM#28
Originally posted by Fendel84M

You know what I never get. Everyone agrees that the Elderscrolls games are Sandboxes. But, they are 90% about quests. Most of what you do in Elderscrolls games is undergo quests.

I thought quests were the enemy of sandboxes?

You thought wrong. See Daggerfall as best example. You do there mostly quests and pretty much no other activities. Is it sandbox? 100%. Be a warrior, knight, thief, murderer and so on. Work on your reputation (or destroy it and be forgotten). And many other little things. But it has nothing to do with if there are quests or not. Second thing: as in case of Darkfall some pay argue but EvE is also contains quests, just called a different name there. So yeah, quests are not enemy of sandbox. Quests build around one single main story and nothing else are (+ nothing else or nearly nothing else to do).


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Joined: 4/30/09
Posts: 1127

2/26/13 4:55:36 PM#29
Originally posted by Zaskar70

If there is one thing that I’m certain of in the MMORPG genre it’s that true sandbox games don’t work

 It does work, it is just that the vast majority of people are sheeps and they like to be told want to do and what is good for them.


It is the same reason why democracy hasn't always been a good system of government - because people likes to defer responsibities of thinking and follow the mob.


Plato was spot on this point.


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Joined: 11/30/05
Posts: 115

2/26/13 5:48:56 PM#30

I'd like to see a system close to SWGs flagging system.

- There would be several Factions you could join in. Players guilds also available.

- Some factions would have agressive relationships with each other = FFA PVP with fulloot (FFA). And this would also to be subject to change when players would rise in to higher positions in to Factions and there be able to alter Faction relation ships.

- If guilds would Declare(mutually) a War = FFA

- if you attack certain Faction or Guild (FoG) NPCs or Players = you'd get flagged for FFA  for certains amount of time against that particular FoG. And continuous agression against them would gain you longer "Red" FFA status with particular organisations.

So if you'd like to go around as non agressive player/Guild it would be possible, but you'd have to avoid  joining most FoG and accept that you cannot attack other FoG players/NPCs. And many good loot/materials would be behind other FoG facilities and areas, but not all.

A tasty option could also be that some players might be able to get "Red" Murderer Flag. After attacking enough FoG. And gain ability to attack anyone in game, but their ability to enter any "puplic" place should be severely limited by FoG Guards attacking them on sight and by their inability to use any FoG based Markets.

This way "Blue" players would be in relative safety if they'd choose to live that way. "Red" players life should be made miserable enough so that they would not be too common. Making very develpopped character naked rather easy kill for geared would be a start :)


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Whatever blows your hair back...

OP  2/26/13 6:05:43 PM#31

I really wish sandbox MMO's did work as far as the consumers are concerned I should have said.

I knew while playing Ultima Online that sailing out to mine the great ore spots was a risk, I did it anyways accepting that risk. Some days I came home with a ton of ore to play with, other days I payed the piper.

Sure I was pissed off every time I got murdered and robbed, but I never got mad at the game or the designer's, it was always my choice to go to the high risk high reward spots I had nobody to blame but myself.

If more MMO players could accept that kind of risk or better yet deal with that kind of loss perhaps TESO would have been what some of you are wishing it was.

I began my MMO career in a high risk environment so it doesnt bother me, I cant imagine beginning to play MMO's in one of the many low risk or no risk games that followed it and being ok when suddenly put into a high risk setting.

This is why its my opinion that western AAA titles like TESO are afraid of the sandbox design, Asain MMO's seem to be more accepting of the high risk design that lends itself to sandbox MMO's.

I never experienced more elation, joy, and sheer terror in any other MMO to date that I did while playing Ultima Online, I just wish more people could experience that type of game play without raging uncontrolably.


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Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2604

2/26/13 6:34:07 PM#32
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by DavisFlight
Originally posted by asmkm22
As much as I want to rally around your flag or whatever, I'm pretty sure they just said something like "we just wanted to create WoW with Elder Scrolls lore."


Games like Eve and UO have more subs than most so called "sure shot success" themepark games.

But sandboxes don't work! Neither do WOW clones, as seen by the complete failure of all the WoW clones of the last 8 years.

I guess we should be glad it's not a WOW clone then, instead they decided to try something else from the past.

Nah, it looks pretty much like WoW.


If they had been trying to clone DAoC instead, there wouldn't be quest based leveling, instances, phasing, or megaserver garbage.

If they had cloned DAoC instead it might actually be good.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/20/10
Posts: 1515

2/27/13 7:36:52 AM#33

Eve online says hi!

But seriously, it just needs to be a well implemented sandbox with proper funding.  All the sandboxes that have been released in the past decade are catastrophes of game design, painfully exploitable, or poorly programmed.  Even Eve suffers from this with its painfully slow pacing.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/12/13
Posts: 163

2/27/13 8:41:30 AM#34

The OP's experience doesn't mirror mine neither I agree with his gross reductionism and evidently biased analysis.


In terms of sales numbers and long-term profitability, EVE and Ultima Online salute you (the latter still holds subs after 15 years of going live). Yeah, yeah, I might agree that dumb and convenient fit the masses better but, still, the themepark crapfests that've been published in the last 7 years are far from being considered financial success cases.


I'd dare to say that this "one size fits all", "ultra-casual", "superconvenient", "look for the lowest common denominator among gamers" just doesn't work, both from an artistic, technical and financial points of view. My 2 cents is to go back to an specialized market-segments model, that is, specialized games for niche publics.


Lastly, in terms of gaming, many of us prefer the concept of a virtual world with a high degree of interaction, with player run economy and politics and a risk/reward paradigm. In other words, the tabletop rpg mechanics applied to the mmorpg world (as it was originally conceived).


Back in my UO days, I'd join up with other white-knights of fortune to protect travellers and merchants, for a fee, from Britain to Trinsic. I could have been a merchant, or a bandit, but I chose to be a kind bodyguard; you just made your own story, no need for an on-rails personal story. And yes, I had my frustrations, I was robbed, I was ganked, my house was put on fire... but I always struggled to go on, my frustrations were part of my character's biography, made me feel even more attached to him, like he was carrying out an interesting existence in the virtual world - you rise, you fail, you succed again, meet REAL friends and enemies on the way.


And the victory, oh, when the victory came! I've never felt such a thing again.


There was a wise man who said "there's no party without cruelty", which is a way to say that you cannot taste the true ardors of success unless you've previously gone through the halls of pain. This is true for every game or leisure activity, from football to poker.


It's a pity that mmorpgs have forgotten this precious lesson somewhere along the road (probably after WoW-BC, hehehe).


EDIT: typos

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/14/13
Posts: 1852

2/27/13 8:54:34 AM#35
Originally posted by walltar
Well Archeage will be sandbox, so all sandbox lovers could go play it. I would love TESO as sandbox, but i like both sandbox MMOs ( played EvE, UO, Darkfail) and themepark MMOs (AOC, SWToR, GW2) But most people dont like sandbox games so i dont see Big AAA MMO as viable option. They need to make money they are not charity, they are company, whose purpose is to maky money by making games.

ArcheAge is an hybrid MMO it's not a sandbox MMO. It has some features that you would find in a sandbox game but it's also a themepark.

And if we go by Smeds discription of EQNext then their is an big AAA title sandbox coming our way. It will be like comng home for many of us EQ vets, a true successes to the mother of all 3d MMO's. A sandbox that has epic PVE and a PVP system with next gen features and graphics.

Personally i thi k EQNext will be a hybrid MMO this is the way MMO should go now.


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2/27/13 11:45:42 AM#36
Guys, what about making two servers, one smaller server where the player population and PvP is quite guild based, like the flagging system Lesrach mentioned, and the other server very player based, with barely any to no NPCs, i'd think for lore sake some greater lore-mentioned characters should be in this server, but all blacksmiths, soldiers, bakers, alchemists, etc, etc. Would be players. And/or maybe allow players to create their own servers and configure them in basic and advanced options, also allowing players to add mods...Seeing mods have been very important in the past TES titles, I can't imagine a new TES game without, really. That said, aslong as there's fast paced mouse-button action combat, with first person and third person options, and a dynamic, immersive, questline with subquests and a main questline, and alot of options to fool around, i'll be more than happy.

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Joined: 4/22/06
Posts: 2395

2/27/13 11:49:56 AM#37
Originally posted by Rthuth434



because for the millionth time a shot caller who use to be at Mythic did what Mythic does best, rehash their old work.


CAlling BS. I just wish a former mythic dood would just remake the darn game, yet they never have. They have made like daoc + wow + other shit thats awful = poopsticks . And thats what we get, poopsticks, which aren;t much fun. Please can i haz daocburger 2.0.

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Joined: 12/05/05
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Who did wrong? The advertiser hired to sell the game or the consumer who put faith in advertising?

2/27/13 11:51:19 AM#38
so just to summarize the OP: TESO won't be a true sandbox because people used to kill him in UO.

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2/27/13 11:53:06 AM#39
Originally posted by Jetrpg
Originally posted by Rthuth434


because for the millionth time a shot caller who use to be at Mythic did what Mythic does best, rehash their old work.

CAlling BS. I just wish a former mythic dood would just remake the darn game, yet they never have. They have made like daoc + wow + other shit thats awful = poopsticks . And thats what we get, poopsticks, which aren;t much fun. Please can i haz daocburger 2.0.
Have you not seen Camelot Unchained?

The Listener

Joined: 3/04/08
Posts: 5267

2/27/13 12:25:28 PM#40

To the OP:

Nice post that acurately reflects a lot of my own memories of the early MMO days. Total sandboxes are a bloody mess that only sound good in theory and are beloved by all the hardcore posers who want us to know how tough they are when they're posturing in forums.

[mod edit]


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