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I've been desperately trying to find a AAA sandbox MMO with absolutely no luck. Basically every sandbox game I find is complete garbage, unfinshed, has terrible graphics, no story or purpose, terrible mechanics, and so on.
I've tried countless cookie-cutter MMO's that are out now, just to find the EXACT same game with different graphics, and not much else.
TERA is a perfect example of what I mean, but there are *so many* others, if not, every single other game.
This is all you do:
1) Start your character in the same exact starting area for each toon you create
2) Pick up quests
3) Go to area X and kill Y monsters of type Z, where the mobs are ALWAYS there, constanly respawning at the same exact location, which are always of the same level, with absolutely NO variation. They don't even have the intelligence to defend each other. Only variation is to pick up/gather some objects on the ground, which are always in the same area as well.
4) Turn in Quest(s)
5) Go back to step 2
6) There is no step 6
Besides pvp, which I haven't tried (but not my point), and some linear dungeons, that's really ALL there is to TERA and just about 30 other games I've tried in just the last 2 years.
There's a reason Ultima Online is STILL going after what, 15 years?? It has not gone F2P, and STILL gets subs. Ever wonder why? Most of you probably know the answer.
Because it's a sandbox and different from almost every other game out there.
You do whatever you feel like doing. You can start in many different towns, and you can go anywhere you feel like, in other words, my favorite part on an MMO that is now GONE from almost ever MMO out there. You will randomly come across all types of monsters and creatures, but yes, there are certain types that you'll find in dungeons, which does make sense. But in the wilderness, you can find wandering mobs which aren't nearly all in the same location. You can harvest and mine almost ANYWHERE you want, not just in one exact location.
Exploring is bascially dead in almost every game. Like the steps above. You move in a linear path from area 1 to area 2 to area 3, and that's basically the entire game. For the most part TERA's (and most every other game) area's and maps always have mobs that are higher level than the last area. It's ridiculously linear. Sure, you can go to a different area, but you won't be able to kill anything. Again, EXACTLY like countless other games. The worse, being the Asian Grinder games. These games are almost identical in design. Nothing differentiates one game from another, except slightly different graphics and sound effects.
I've found some sandbox like games (with difficulty), but honestly, most of them are the quality of 3 smart HS/college kids working in their basement for a school project. Even supposedly AAA titles like Mortal Online, which I thought was TERRIBLE. Graphics suck, playability sucked, and the mindless kill anyone anywhere for the sake of griefing and stealing all their crap, does NOT define a sandbox. The game is complete anarchy, and that seems really stupid to me, let alone, not even remotely enjoyable.
I've googled sandbox games, and tried all of them. Really, every one in the list. They are all TERRIBLE. The quality of all them was sub-bar, playabiliy sucked, and most were made of completel empty worlds where nothing was happening. Exploing just to find nothing is pointless.I read a GREAT article where the author argued that open world/full loot pvp with 0 restrictions in completely mindless and does not define a sandbox. Some people disagree, but sorry, it doesn't. You don't need it to be a sandbox game. I wish I had the link.
I mean, the ability to kill anyone at any time and steal everything they are carrying (that took them hours or days to collect) is mindless and completely infuriating. Especially when you can have a high level character killing newbs. People say that's "realistic", which is total BS. That's like an adult or hell, and MMA fighter going to the mall and beating up children, and taking their lunch money. At least in real life, if you did this, the people in the surrounding area, let alone the police, would beat you to a pulp, shoot you, and if you survied, you'd be in jail for years.
With no real repercussions for murdering every one you come across, and full loot, no restriction pvp, you basically have anarchy. Who wants to start a new character in a world like that? It's the same thing as me going shopping and worrying about every other shopper having a gun, shooting me, and taking my wallet. Or hell, like most open world pvp, they kill you just because they can, which is just griefing. No thanks.
Gamers aren't as stupid as the industry thinks they are. We don't need every game to be a cookie-cutter MMO. SSDD. I try each game and get bored of them in a few days, if I even last that long. The industry thinks these are the games we want, but obviously many of them start out as subs, or you need to buy the retail box, and then guess what happens? They lose players or they fail getting subs or box purchases and then go free to play. FAIL.
Why can't there be mobs that work together? How about traveling heards of animals or creatures? Ones where there are the alphas, then babies they protect, and so one. If you attack one, the rest try to protect each other and come after you. Or, some just run, just like packs of animals in say, Africa. You could have predetors, dossile animals, skittish ones, or even friendly ones you could herd or tame (like UO).
You could come across random camps or mobs or varying levels and power, that aren't always in the same place. So, you could find a orc encampment that they are actually building and fortifying. Depending when you find it, their contruction could have just begun, so you have a better chance of taking them out, or for an established fort, you'll need a large team of people to take it, and maybe even control it, take owner ship of it, etc. Maybe then other groups of intelligent mobs would try to take it from you and you would have to defend it.
Mobs you work together to raid towns is a GREAT idea, like in UO, but the AI could be drastically improved, so they would work together, and use tactics. Like, Warriors in the front, mages and archers in the back, etc.
What ever happened to dungeons?? I don't mean those cookie cutter instances. I mean even small caves, or winding dungeons where different creatures live, and they have many different levels, like say, blackburrow? in Everquest. Man, I so miss dungeons. Instead of poping mobs on top of you, maybe you could clear the entire dungeon, and new mobs would come in to defend it, you know, from the entrance, and try to take it back. What about treasure chests? Anyone remeber those? Hardly any games remember the joy of finding them in the old-school D&D rpgs I grew up playing.
Those are only a couple of my ideas. I have countless others.
I'm so "MEH!" with MMO's today. Their just so mindless, repetitive, and challenge free. It's like following a recipe to make food. Step 1->Step 2->Step 3. That's not a game.
The industry thinks that's what we want, but it isn't. Most of us what AI in the creatures we fight. Most of us want to explore. Most of use want variation. There's a reason all of these games go f2p so quickly. Why aren't they getting the hint?