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Im really curious what does sandbox exactly to mean other people. Because I see those so called sandbox mmo's and I dont really understand how exactly they are sandbox. Does unrestricted character progression make a sandbox? Or is it gameplay without any poorly thought through gameplay devices that are designed to keep the player playing and thus keep him paying? Allthough I think the gear threadmills and other forms of power creep are just unnecessary at this point where most mmorpgs are going f2p or b2p and there is no real reason to have a poorly designed gameplay meant to consume time not bring entertainment. Because lets face it, power creep isnt there so you can have fun, its there so you keep paying your subscription. I think its time to move on from those flat out bad gameplay designs and onto truly sandbox gameplay.
What I think about when I hear sandbox is exactly what that word means. A box full of sand, a playground. Player driven content, the ability to affect the enviroment and not with phases or something alike. Think minecraft on massive scale, thats a sandbox mmo. Now add to that better graphics obviously, some forms of character progression obviously but not character progression that is the centre of all the gameplay. Add to that economy which is completely player driven. No developer set currency, just resources. Currency is a bad concept in general and you should know that. Imagine giant cities created by players, imagine faction wars where the faction isnt made up of npcs but players.
You can say thats just not going to happen, but the truth is it can happen and most likely everntually will. Go search up starforge, or hell, even think minecraft. Now imagine those games created with a giant budget. Now you can say that such a game would never be able to get such a budget because investors don't gamble their money, they invest into games that are sure to sell in their opinion. But now we have kickstarters, indie developers are actually starting to gain attention and survivng as an indie developer is not an impossible task anymore.
I think games like that will eventually happen. Not from the hands of developers controlled by investors or corporations, but from indie developers backed by players. We just need to give it a bit of time.
Also at some point I think I went completely off topic or missed the point of the topic ;_;