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Why It's Worth Being Hopeful for the Future

Steven Messner Posted:
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Sandbox games are, in many ways, the antithesis of this design. They drop you into expansive worlds without much direction and you're free to choose how you fit into that world. But sandboxes can be a huge turnoff for many players because, sadly just like real life, there are the haves and the havenots. There is no promise that you'll have a good time when playing. The allure is that the choice between having fun and not having fun is often in your hands. One wrong move could spell real disaster and that's exciting.

The other big difference between these two styles of MMORPG tends to be in how each adds more content to the game. Looking over expansions to popular theme park MMOs, a lot of what is added could be described as more content but not more depth. Most games add a new zone, a few new dungeons, and maybe, if players are lucky, some new feature (like World of Warcraft's flying mounts, or Pet Battles) that has some impact on how you play the game. They are essentially shoving more meat into the grinder that is their fanbase.

Sandbox games, however, usually don't emphasize content in quite the same way. Instead of bolting on new areas or dungeons, they tend to focus on adding more depth and features. Looking at EVE Online today compared to when it launched over a decade ago, and it's easy to appreciate how vastly more rich the game has become in its complexity.

Albion Online has that same potential. Already the developers have shared a small roadmap of features, including fishing, which they are working on. Looking at the list, you can see that most of those developments are ways of enhancing and adding nuance to already existing features instead of just bolting on new features entirely. Assuming the game continues to be successful and they continue to get the funding they need, I see no reason why the experience won't continue to deepen as time goes on and more and more features and mechanics are overlapped. Instead of just tacking on new continents or dungeons and hoping that their novelty will satiate players (spoiler alert: it never does), Albion Online has the rare opportunity to make meaningful additions to the base game that will be releasing next year.

I realize that not everyone will share this sentiment, especially if you've sunk some of your hard earned money in order to play the game now only to find it underwhelming. But if you're like me and you've found something truly special at the heart of Albion Online—even if there's just not enough of it—I think there is merit to keeping a watchful eye on the way it evolves over the next year. Albion Online is a large box already filled to the brim with sand, and I'm hopeful that with a little time, we'll start getting some really fun tools to shape it with.

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Steven Messner

Steven is a Canadian freelance writer and EVE Online evangelist, spreading the good news of internet spaceships far and wide. In his spare time, he enjoys writing overly ambitious science fiction and retweeting pictures of goats. Speaking of retweeting, you should probably drop everything and go follow him on Twitter @StevenMessner