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AnimeWill MMO Reviews and Opinions

Whether you care what I think or not. Here is my view on the world of MMORPG's.

Author: gom276

What is a "true" sandbox MMO?

Posted by gom276 Sunday January 25 2009 at 8:42PM
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As the title says. What does a sandbox game mean to you?

The closest I have come to the idea of what a true sandbox MMO would look like and function like was a MMO I played a while back called Ryzom. When I think of sandbox MMO this is what I think of. Which is a world where nearly all players could create their own quests and share them with the world. It was all done through instancing and event planning tools. But the game allowed users to create unique quest lines and guild based lore questing.

This to me is true sandbox. Unless a MMO gives you the tools to create your own quests and lore it will never be considered a sandbox MMO. Until I see a MOO with a Halo 3 FORGE based system that lets me create a instanced dungeon or overland quest with mob spawns and quest givers and unique rewards. I will never consider it a sandbox MMO. Instead today's genre of so called sandbox MMO's are more fitting of the title of "museum" MMO's.

Instead of "sandbox" MMO's like Darkfall should be called museum style games where while you can explore and make your own path there is not really much to do. Quests are still instituted and controlled by the game creators and users are forced to use archaic systems like private chat to setup guild events or player events using message boards. It's weak and tired to call anything that is simply an open world a sandbox.

Unless you can shape the world and create your own unique story and share it with everyone.  It's still just a boring old "museum" or "theme park" MMORPG.

Here's hoping the gaming industry try's it's hand at opening up the world to more true sandbox MMO's with free and open use by gamers for creating user generated content to build upon the developers created world.

tub0rg writes:

While i might concure with your defenition of a sandbox game, while i would argue that a true sandbox game would not be a game anymore since a game is defined by rules wich is the oposite of a sandbox where i create my own rules, calling all other games museum games is going a lot to fare. While i can see the apeal, personally i dont give a rats ass about Quests or lore, probably mainly because i havent senn anything i would consinder intresting or good. the only storys i found interesting in anygame in the last 25 Years were Console games who could not have been more linear.

Sun Jan 25 2009 9:48PM Report
banthis writes:

The main problem with your version of sandbox is your calling it a Sandbox game....what your defining though is a World Creator system which exists in a limited fashion to software like Second Life and Never Winter Nights.     By using the word GAME you imply there is some contented already created for the user thus making it a 'game'.  A game can't be a game if there's nothing already created. 

World Creators liek the Aurora Toolset and etc are NOT games and they are not Sandbox. 

As for MMORPG Sandboxes ... I can't agree with your sentitment on Darkfall.  Darkfall does not have a quest focus at all infact they talk very little about quests.  The game is focused on world exploration, crafting, and combat ... basically a medievil simulation where you can come along and build your own citys, boats, etc.    Of course thats jus twhat the Dev's say...the jury is stll out if the game is this customizable.

A sandbox game most often for MMOs implies a world that exists but the players are able to alter it to make it their own from economy control right down to land ownership.  A world where the player exists but can define his own role it in it using provided tools for crafting, warfare, or even social activity.

Sun Jan 25 2009 10:20PM Report
gom276 writes:

Based on feedback edited to remove references to Game where needed and replaced with MMO.  As that was my original intent.

Sun Jan 25 2009 10:24PM Report
gom276 writes:

Banthis, Darkfall has limited sandbox type functionality to alter the world with in the limited context of the world.  It is a simulation world or museum world.  It's all look and feel but no real user control.  Say you want to offer up a quest to players to players based on some lore you have created yourself.  Is there a way to enter that into the world and make it a part of it.

While second life is about as sandbox as they get.  Ryzom though was a game that has deliberate quest chains and extensive developer created content.  However a user could create a quest and instance housed on the server and share it with friends.  He could act as the quest giver and then offer rewards.  Upon accepting quest you would be sent into the instance and battle it out based on his scripting.  Including dialog and monster spawning and difficulty.

The ability to live in your world and alter it through game mechanics seems so limited to me.  I want control to change the game if I don't like it.  The opportunity to create quest lines and maps that are more interesting and creative or more dynamic than the game can deliver. 

If anything FPS games and the ability to create your own maps has shown me is that users often time can come up with better content then devs can.  Sometimes telling their own story or building upon their characters lore.

It's something that roleplayers would kill for, and I would imagine with the ability to create instanced PvP battles or battlegrounds even the PvP crowd could get behind.  Setting up personal grudge matches against rivaling guilds on user created maps. 

An open world with no real user control after a while becomes stale old and boring.  You can build things and fight but where is the growth or change in that it's still the same old game.

What if guilds could save up enough money and buy their own dungeon that they could build and fill for other players to plunder.  With guild lore attached to it.  No end game content from the devs lately no problem make your own raid.

This to me would be the holy grail of sandbox.

Sun Jan 25 2009 10:39PM Report
Quizzical writes:

A sandbox game is one that you enter and quickly say, "Uhh, what am I supposed to do now?"--because the game doesn't have a canonical answer for that.  That is, the game has many things that you can do, but very few that you must do.  The big problem with many such games is that if you don't have to do anything, many players will skip just about everything, get bored, and quit.

Mon Jan 26 2009 12:34AM Report
Slampig writes:


Mon Jan 26 2009 2:17AM Report
Floh writes:

For me Sandbox does not primarily mean "free to CREATE everything i want" but "free to DO everything i want". The sandbox is the fundament to play around in and mayben even create minor stuff with your bare hands basically. That "free to create everything" happens when the devs decide to drop a shovel in the sandbox so you can start to build the big stuff. That shovel are the tools that some games offer to create content like Ryzom, SWG or even CoH as NCSoft is planning something along those lines.

The awesome storyteller system in SWG is uninstanced btw which takes it a step up from Ryzoms system imho.

Mon Jan 26 2009 5:29AM Report
fansede writes:

 Hmm, are you looking for a simulator which you can create your own things?

Second Life -

Sims Online 2 -

Tales of the Desert - havent played it..

Other online sim games



Mon Jan 26 2009 2:11PM Report
Aerensiniac writes:

Im not sure i wouldnt want to see all the retards and trolls in todays gaming community to make their own quests. Then i didnt even mention about the sexual part of something like this.

Sand box is totaly good as it is if it stays on the level of enviroment modification, exploration (experience the game in true 3d unlike in wow where you cant even climb a freaking tree), and skills.

Mon Jan 26 2009 3:30PM Report
rwp80 writes:

Your logic is backwards.


A game that has everything pre-written is hardly a game at all. Gone are the days where a linear experience could be called a game.


Sandbox games, such as Darkfall, are indeed sandbox. A good sandbox game does have depth and content, except the difference is that the player's use and reach of the content is not linear.


What you defined as 'true sandbox' is actually 'world creation'. If you create something, then it's not a game, but a musem of player-made content, such as Second Life.


Second Life's gameplay is far more 'museum-like' than Darkfall's.


As I said, your logic is backwards.


Tue Mar 03 2009 4:18PM Report
Blissey writes:

ryzom is the best example of a sandbox style game 

Tue Dec 01 2009 9:51PM Report
Gurubear writes:

What about Wurm Online?

You can dig the land, level it, raise it up, cut down trees, plant forests, build boats. farm, hunt, create cooperative villages, mine and get eaten by a wide selection of fauna.

Oh, and its got sand too.

Fri Apr 16 2010 5:46PM Report
Atak writes:

true sandbox =  no npcs, no premade citys. You start in the wild.

Wurm online and Xsyon are the only true sandbox everything else is themepark w/ very little sandbox elements

Tue Jun 29 2010 1:01AM Report
Atak writes:

also if it does not have terraforming, it's not a true sandbox

Tue Jun 29 2010 1:04AM Report
ReaverKane writes:

Yeah wurm is what i think defines a Sandbox, there are only 5 types of NPCs, Bartenders (that feed players with less than 24h of game). The tutorial NPC, Guards (for settlements), merchants and fauna.

Everything in the game world can be altered and (mostly) is buildt by players, even the tutorial area is regularly mantained by players helping the GMs.

The only flaw on wurm is the graphics, the game runs on java, and has very outdated (first person only) graphs.

Sat Sep 04 2010 6:56PM Report
happyfarts writes:


Instancing? Personal Quests & Dungeons?? Is that all a sandbox mmo should be to you?! Bah!

A perfect sandbox mmo is a game that manages to strike a perfect balance between between realism (based on whatever sci-fi/fanstasy setting's physics n rules) and fun. Emphasising on the realism!

Realism in terms of freedom of choice and movement. I'm strongly in favour of game creators supplying content. Bloody hell! I demand it even! In particular it's lore and history for the more RP oriented

A sandbox mmo to me is a game were ppl can follow any role they choose. Be a plotting politician, keeper of the peace, an explorer, sell-swords for hire and whatnot. A sandbox mmo would let you build your house where you chose, or ur guild's city where you conquered.

If you want ot make quests, put up a quest on a billboard at the local villages and BE the quest giver! If you wanted to own a dungeon chase out a mob spawn or build one! Give the players the power to trigger war or bring peace between npc nations! Let there be places to explore and discover, secret skills & treasure to find! Let named demons/monsters die once and drop one head!!

Another thing, I find the that PvE mobs with the intelligence of a land-mine stifles player creativity. Let mobs work in a group in varying levels of intelligence & observation! Migration! Give them the power to adapt or improve! Wolves don't drop boots but skeletons warriors bloody drop all they carry and not just some random piece! Let them hold grudges (those with a brain), respect or fear for a player or his/her guild! Let humanoids  loot n equip dead player gear n skill up from it! Let THEM bring the thunder for a change & seize player or npc villages!

What about crafting? Let players have a multitude of resources to craft items from of varying quality! Different materials from different places in areas that make sense! Let players researh or quest for rare designs! Give them the ability to customise their gear and their fellow's! Bring guild gear into to full swing with banners, shield crests, tabards, guild tatoos and some bloody decent guild crests!

A bit demanding? Well of course it bloody is! Great things cost blood, sweat n tears!

Darkfall had seemed on the right track pre-beta but had 3 serious short-comings: no skill cap/skill decay, little to no player customisation and more importantly, absolute zero non-PvP gratification/content ... did i say 3? I forgot to add their horridly clunky chat system (though i heard they should be fixing that)

Can't anyone friggin get it right? Please?! Bloody Please!!

p.s. instancing has no place in a sandbox. It is purely a theme park concoction, which was readily adopted since it allowed one to split the load on the servers

Wed Sep 28 2011 2:51PM Report writes:
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