Today's quest comes from our own Garrett Fuller:
A lot of online games have been launched over the past two years that follow a very specific format. Sandbox games are the best way to describe them. However games like: ARK, Life is Feudal, RUST, DayZ, H1Z1, and Reign of Kings all seem to follow a very similar format. You begin with nothing, hope to survive long enough to build up something, and then adventure out a great risk to lose what you have built. It really seems like a fun format, but it never lasts long for me.
I am going back to the original sandbox game Ultima Online and want to focus on what made it great. Ultima had all of the elements of the above games. Fear, risk, and reward were baked into its design. However, Ultima offered players safe zones, places to meet, and a mix of both RPG elements into the sandbox.
It just feels like today we have a host of sandbox titles that are great for a short time, but need a lot more to make the long term leap that their parent games had achieved.
What do you think? Are the host of current sandboxes just a dry batch of clones which offer no real depth? What do they need to hook you longer?