It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
Ryzom is a true sandbox.
I know there's a ton of threads about what a sandbox is, whether some games are sandboxes, etc. So here's +1 more
There are no classes in Ryzom, just skills to be learned. Everyone can use all skills, at any time. The only limit is what the player has leveled that skill to, and what actions the player has created for that skill
No Pre-made Actions
There are no pre-made actions in Ryzom, no Fireball+1 spells, etc. Every action the player makes, whether prospecting, harvesting, crafting, fighting, casting, or healing, has to be created by the user. For example, you want to hit an enemy with your sword. You have to create an action to do this, made out of components of sword damage, speed, endurance costs, aim, etc. Maybe you want a faster hit rate? You can trade off for more stamina cost, less accuracy, less damage, etc.
The point here, is that everything the player does, has to be created by the player. Except walking and running, I guess
There are no quests, except very simple ones to earn a bit of money, or build faction. No quest hubs, no storylines to follow, nobody with a ? over their heads, no progression of one zone to the next.
There are no instances, except for housing. The world is wide open, with no zones (except a few between major lands). You can play from 1-250 and never change a zone.
Everything is Player Made
The only drops are materials, "mats", used to craft things. Armor, weapons, etc, never drop from mobs. There are also no weapons, armor, etc, on the vendors; well, there are, but they only carry low level generic items. Any decent piece of armor, weapon, etc, is player made.
There are also no pre-made recipes, players have to learn what mats are best to make what kind of item. There are basic outlines only; for example: to make range ammo, you need three types of item: something sharp, some kind of shaft, and some kind of weight. The sharp thing could be a tooth from a mob, or a seashell, etc. There are multiple types of each item, and multiple grades. Learning your own secret recipe to make something is a guarded secret, especially for magic items.
A Virtual World
Ryzom is a true virtual world. There are seasons, where the plants change, snow falls, the mobs migrate in herds to a new area. Predators will attack prey, and then go sleep in their dens. Rain falls, and some mats can only be dug up when it is wet, and in the fall, and at night, for example.
A True Sandbox
Probably the first question people ask when they land in the game, is "What am I supposed to do now?" And the answer is, whatever you want to do. It is confusing, there is no NPC there with a ? over their head to get you started, no task to complete, no place to visit.
So what is there to do, really? There are some Outposts that produce special mats, people PvP over the ownership of these. Other than that, you can level your skills, and make stuff, that is about it. You can group up to kill stuff, or gather mats, or go after boss level creatures. But there are no dungeons to conquer, no fancy armor to win, no magic weapon to take from a boss, no quests to gain access to a special area.
It is this lack of direction that is the reason many people don't like sandboxes. If you want to live in a virtual world, creating everything of value in the game, including your own actions, then a sandbox is for you.
But if you want entertainment, like going to a movie, or seeing how a neat story unfolds, then you probably don't like sandboxes very much.
RIP City of Heroes. One of my favorite MMO's.