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Sandbox vs Themepark Discussion Thread

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  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,941Member Uncommon
    Just been looking into glitch - very interesting may give it a try. Actually looks like a great example of an innovative sandbox.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • MargulisMargulis Glendale, AZPosts: 1,614Member

    Originally posted by MMO.Maverick

    Meh. This whole 'my favorite themepark MMO has all the features that sandbox MMO's have' is kind of a silly argument.

    Nice argument for baiting though image

    Although it also maybe shows a lack of experience/knowledge of MMO's and gameplay in them, or maybe a refusal to acknowledge different types of MMO's and gameplay styles.

    Because looking at this thread and others like it, all the arguments that pointed towards the differences have been mentioned. If people still can't acknowledge the differences between games like UO, SWG and EVE and games like WoW or Rift, then it's obviously because people don't want  to see the differences, or lack experience with all those MMO's.

    QFT right there.  QFT

  • MargulisMargulis Glendale, AZPosts: 1,614Member

    Originally posted by Dredphyre

    Sandbox = old skool Legos

    Themepark = Modern Legos.

     

    /end of discussion

    I didn't realize you did stand up.  You coming to the Phoenix area soon? 

  • fivorothfivoroth LondonPosts: 3,653Member Uncommon

    I haven't played a well-done sandbox MMO so it's either a) I don't like sandbox games or b) most of them are indie and lack content or are not what people think them to be.

    I have only enjoyed "themepark" MMOs so I am definitely feeling very sceptical about sandbox MMOs. The latest MMO I am playing is EQ2 and it's great and it's themepark. So all hail themepark MMOs.

    Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,941Member Uncommon

    Being 'sceptical' about games is a bit of a weird statement.  As you say, you will either enjoy sandbox games or you dont.      There are sandboxes out there that people enjoy so its the former.  People with open minds and willing to try different things tend to do just that :)

    edit agree there are not many good mmo sandbox out there, but it is possible, and thats partially what this post is about, many people have not tasted a good mmo sandbox, but if they did, then they would understand why themeparks have become so sterile.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,941Member Uncommon

    Heres a better analogy:

     

    Sandbox = A big fat box of technic lego, thousands of parts.  The fun is using your imagination to design and build your own models.

    Themepark = Build a hero lego set.  You know the one, you can build 3-4 models with lots of specially molded parts.  

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • Brabbit1987Brabbit1987 Ontario, CanadaPosts: 729Member Uncommon

    I am going to go ahead and say, more hardcore RPG gamers enjoy sandboxes. The reason I say this is because sandbox allows you to create your character exactly how you want them. While Themeparks limit you choices greatly.

    A Sandbox allows you to create your own past, present, and future; while a themepark has it set for you.

    A Sandbox is for those who are willing to take the extra time. A Themepark is for those who want to achieve a high status more quickly.

    A Sandbox makes acomplishments feel that much more better, while a themepark, you know while you just gained a skill, 100 others gained the same skill 10 minutes ago, 5 minutes ago, and just now. In about 1 months time, nearly everyone will have the skill.

    A Sandbox is for those who enjoy an ever changing world. A themepark is for those who only like changes made by the developer.

     

    I for one want a virtual game like in the .hack series, which is a sandbox.

    IMO, sandboxes are the future of MMORPG's. People think sandboxes mean more realistic, which is actually incorrect. It's just more advanced and more customizable. What you do may actually have an effect in the game. It gives one the sense of importance in the world, while themeparks just can't offer that.

  • ChuckD1985ChuckD1985 Clarksville, TNPosts: 6Member
    To be a real sandbox you have to have true customization. Big expansive worlds help but just to the end that it allows you to customize your gameplay. If I'm crafting swords I want to be able to change the shape...and I want the mats I use to matter. They should have their own level of quality...think SWG. Also I should be able to pick up a weapon and start using it...and I should get better at that weapon. Obviously housing is key...but those houses should be customizable as well. Without it you are just in an apartment in whatever city you decide on...
    Again...in the end its all about customization.
  • Brabbit1987Brabbit1987 Ontario, CanadaPosts: 729Member Uncommon

    Choosing the shape of a sword would be a neat feature to have in crafting. However, it should have it's limits. I mean a broad sword would not a be a broad sword if it was shaped like a long sword lol. I do agree though with the idea.

    As for getting better as you use a certain weapon, I know a few games that have that feature already. However, the effect of getting better does not happen till you reach the ammount of training you need, and then using ability/skill points to rank it up. Mabinogi has this feature, as well as an alpha called planeshift.

    Mabinogi also has housing, but there is not much customizations to it. It's more used for a 24/7 store to sell your goods.

     

    With that said, mabinogi is probably the best "almost sandbox" free to play game I have played.

     

    BTW, if anyone wants the mmorpg industry to turn around, the best way to do it would be by actually getting involved. I been trying to get a game into development fr a long time, but no one ever wants to take initiative to even help. If i could get a group together, I think we could make an mmorpg that makes other mmorpgs seem like kids toys.

  • PhelcherPhelcher Boston, MAPosts: 1,053Member
    Themeparks cost less money, are much..., much easier to make.

    Open world (ie: sandbox) requires complete vision before the project starts. U have to have an entire "vision" of the mechanics involved. Themeparks u can wing it. U can make nearly anything up on the spot to fix a technical solution, etc.


    Nobody in todays age should even remotely be excited about any MMo comming out, unles it is open world. If u are.. then it is out of ignorance, or lack of self control.

    "No they are not charity. That is where the whales come in. (I play for free. Whales pays.) Devs get a business. That is how it works."


    -Nariusseldon

  • TahamtanTahamtan los angeles, CAPosts: 232Member

    I am a big fan of Sandbox MMOs compared to themepark. I think Sandbox has a lot more room for creative ideas and for new games and since the investment is after low-hanging fruits, then themepark MMOs are easier sell to Angels and VCs. On the other hand, there are plenty of room left for future Sandbox MMOs and creative developers to go after. 

  • bardlehelbardlehel Torrance, CAPosts: 8Member

    I'm wondering if one could make the distinction between sandboxes and themeparks by necessity of social interaction.  One of the reasons I loved UO and really don't like WoW-style games is that it was a truly online game--where interacting with other players was the central part of gameplay.  With WoW style games, being in a guild or interacting with other players is totally optional.  

    Next to having the freedom and ability to be creative in sandbox MMOs, trying new things out all the time, I miss the community and player interaction.  Themeparks never really hold me because it feels like the MMO is tied to a game where players have the option of being social or anti-social, playing through quests and not talking to anyone--as if it were a hybrid between a single-player game and a game with a large lobby with some multiplayer features tied in.

    No doubt theme-park style MMOs can be commercially successful because they cater to casual gamers and soccer moms who don't like FFA PVP.  But how to make a sandbox MMO that could be commercially successful post-WOW would be another thread.  Of course, its only part game-design;  more than half the battle is marketing/business strategy.

    If there are any good MMOs where there is heavy player interaction (rich social environment), please let me know. That is what I'm looking to play right now.  Dissapointed with SWTOR as again, there is no need for other players to talk with me at all.

  • prodigaL_sonprodigaL_son SCS, MIPosts: 21Member

    I have played SWG, WoW, Rift and did the beta test for SWTOR.  Besides SWG, all the other games felt identical.  Run to the splooge on your map, click the shiny thing, run back.  BORING.  SWG was my first MMO and I didn't get to really indulge in it like I would want to now, but I remember its openness.  I liked that, but being new to online gaming I was a bit overwhelmed and gave up.

    Knowing what I know now, I wish I could go back and enjoy SWG (before my friend claims they ruined it).  Games like EVE seem very intriguing, but when I DLed it I just didn't enjoy how technical it was.  Sometimes I wanna just have some mindless fun.  Not only that, but I enjoy slashing faces with an axe!

    One of the most fun RPGs I played (not an MMO) is Mount and Blade.  The games fighting mechanics and large battles are amazing.  I get really pissed and love just hacking and slashing.  I feel like there is actually skill involved rather than just counting combo points and clicking my finisher (yay, I have my cd and he doesn't, i win!). 

    Is there any game out there that is an MMO that plays like Mount and Blade?  If there isn't why the heck havent developers tries to make it?

     

  • prodigaL_sonprodigaL_son SCS, MIPosts: 21Member

    Originally posted by bardlehel

    I'm wondering if one could make the distinction between sandboxes and themeparks by necessity of social interaction.  One of the reasons I loved UO and really don't like WoW-style games is that it was a truly online game--where interacting with other players was the central part of gameplay.  With WoW style games, being in a guild or interacting with other players is totally optional.  

    Next to having the freedom and ability to be creative in sandbox MMOs, trying new things out all the time, I miss the community and player interaction.  Themeparks never really hold me because it feels like the MMO is tied to a game where players have the option of being social or anti-social, playing through quests and not talking to anyone--as if it were a hybrid between a single-player game and a game with a large lobby with some multiplayer features tied in.

    No doubt theme-park style MMOs can be commercially successful because they cater to casual gamers and soccer moms who don't like FFA PVP.  But how to make a sandbox MMO that could be commercially successful post-WOW would be another thread.  Of course, its only part game-design;  more than half the battle is marketing/business strategy.

    If there are any good MMOs where there is heavy player interaction (rich social environment), please let me know. That is what I'm looking to play right now.  Dissapointed with SWTOR as again, there is no need for other players to talk with me at all.

     

    Great post

     

  • GeminiStaticGeminiStatic Miami, FLPosts: 182Member

    Originally posted by prodigaL_son

     

    Is there any game out there that is an MMO that plays like Mount and Blade?  If there isn't why the heck havent developers tries to make it?

     

    I hear  Vindictus or whatever is kinda like that

  • MadimorgaMadimorga Atlanta, GAPosts: 2,014Member Common

    Typical themepark:  Boring and never ending grind for levels and gear.

     

    Typical Sandbox:  Boring and never ending horde of 14 year old gankers and not much else to do besides fight them off.

     

    Keyword:  Typical.

     

    A solid hybrid with safe zones, rich housing and crafting options, and optional quests with good storyline could hold my attention, but typical MMOs now bore me silly within hours.

    image

    I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.

    ~Albert Einstein

  • RanDominoRanDomino Beverly Hills, CAPosts: 1Member

    TLDR version: Scripting is lame, Emergence ftw.

    I just made a free EQ2 account and uninstalled within a couple hours.  The reason was pretty clear-cut: I was on the "Golden Path," their (I am not kidding) name for a 'quest track' for players to follow from level 1 all the way to the endgame- first you get the tutorial "kill a wolf and bring be its hide so you learn how to use a sword and walk around" quests, then the "there are orcs attacking, kill some raiders and then do infiltration quests of their base camp followed by sabotage, assassination of officers/shamans, and finally taking down the General" quests, then the "kill 20 of the same thing that are standing in a 200-foot wide area right over there (and nowhere else in the entire world) and bring me their right femur, presumedly leaving the rest of the body to rot oh nevermind it just vanished" quests... And then you get a Reward and a quest to go talk to Genericus McPathcontinuer in the next area over and you get to do it all over again except everything has a different skin and different irrelevant backstory to ignore.  And I felt like I was stuck on the "Golden Path," because every quest lead directly into another level-appropriate quest on a linear storyline in which success was a) guaranteed and b) irrelevant to the world.

    Oh and you can be 20 ft from a hostile mob who's looking right at you and they just ignore you.  Totally immersive dawg.

    If this is what themepark MMOs are like, I want nothing to do with them.  You get the spectacle of an RPG but it has the depth of a kiddy pool (maybe that would be a better name for them, even- "hey, it has water, it's just like the ocean.  Here's a picture of a shark, ooh, wow, exotic!").

    This was really disappointing in light of how much I liked the original Everquest, which I played for a few months around 2000-2001 (I got bored of grinding, which took fooooorrrrrreeeeeevvvvvvveeeeeerrrr).  For me the best part of EQ1 wasn't the fighting or the questing, but the world.  I don't mean PVE as in "kill AI-controlled mobs" but just traveling around and taking it all in.  I ran from Qeynos to Freeport when I was in the upper-teens levels, just because I was tired of Blackburrow.  That was a massive quest in itself, which no NPC assigned and for which I received no XP or phat lewts.  I canoed around Lake Rathe for HOURS.  I went to Paineel and Felwithe just to look at the architecture.  I looked up what mobs listed in the EQ Beastiary site didn't have pictures (and were in zones where I wouldn't immediately die) just to take pictures of them.  Wildlife photography as a quest, again with no quantified in-game reward!  I tried to do this one quest where there were ten pieces of a staff scattered around the world- none dropped as loot; just sitting on the ground, theoretically retrievable without any combat.  One was on a sunken ship with zombie pirates; one was on an ancient tower surrounded by spectres, on an island in an oasis in a desert (solution to both: "Invisibility to Undead" spell), etc.  Epic.

    One of my favorite games is Dwarf Fortress, for a similar reason- it's not that you can 'do anything' (which would mean there is nothing to do, because there would be no direction), but that the gameplay is emergent rather than scripted.  Goblin attack?  Okay; you can rush out to fight them head-on; or you can set up a flanking attack; or you can have a bunch of traps in your entryway; or you can engineer a cave-in on them; or you can funnel them near some monsters that will attack them; or... It's not that you can do anything; it's that you have an incredible amount of freedom over how to respond to what events do occur.  The same goes for Nethack, although there's more direction there because of the stated goal (descend, find Amulet, ascend).  A lot of you sandbox RPG-lovers might like Notrium, too. 

    The key to this kind of game is the 'physics' engine.  In DF you have what are basically 'atoms,' single blocks of stone or other materials which can be combined in intuitive ways, like LEGOs.  In Nethack it's similar.  In Everquest, the world at least seemed to make sense from a physics and economics perspective; that went completely out the window in EQ2 when I watched hundreds of orcs spawn three at a time, run up a beach, and get slaughtered by high-level dwarves- and their base camp was a barren glacier with about six tents.  Where are they all coming from?? It doesn't make any sense!

    I don't need every square inch to have content!  Some of my favorite parts of games are massive barren wastelands, because I can BELIEVE that.  I don't know if it was in this thread or the one about MMO world size comparisons, but someone mentioned that SWG has huge empty spaces on most planets.  Great!  A hundred square miles with one dungeon, twenty miles from the nearest town, generated algorithmically rather than hand-drawn, stick in a few hand-made features, put in some wildlife that behaves realistically, and we're there.  If there's a feature for player-added content like buildings or terrain modification, awesome, even better, but that's not the real difference between sandbox and theme park MMOs imo.

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,181Member Uncommon

    Why are so many posters confused about what a sand box game is?  Anyone who has played a sandbox game knows that having a class/level system immediately disqualifies the game from being called a sandbox.

    Even the staff writers on MMORPG are confused as seen by Adam Tingle's article on Fallen Earth.  It has a class/level system hence by definition cannot be a sandbox.  Adam, you should know better.

    I noticed people calling Wakfu a sandbox. Come on, it has a class level system, hence in no way shape or form is it a sandbox.

  • CavemanBECavemanBE GeelPosts: 37Member

    .

  • XzenXzen Los Alamos, NMPosts: 2,607Member Common

    Originally posted by Ozmodan

    Why are so many posters confused about what a sand box game is?  Anyone who has played a sandbox game knows that having a class/level system immediately disqualifies the game from being called a sandbox.

    Even the staff writers on MMORPG are confused as seen by Adam Tingle's article on Fallen Earth.  It has a class/level system hence by definition cannot be a sandbox.  Adam, you should know better.

    I noticed people calling Wakfu a sandbox. Come on, it has a class level system, hence in no way shape or form is it a sandbox.

    UO was my first mmorpg. Leveling and class systems do not disqualify a game from being a sandbox. The lack of tools or ability for a player to have an impact on the game world, like building houses and towns in the open world and other player created content, does. While the skill system is ideal and gives the players another layer of freedom it is not a requirement.

  • TelilTelil telfordPosts: 282Member

    Persoanally.i think the level/skill debate should end. neither make a sandbox.

    Now if you level from 1 to 2, then have points to spend on skills/stats then that to me is sandbox. You are given the tools ( lik a bucket and spade ) and left to do what you want with it.

    No quest hubs should be in a sandbox. there should be quests about but bot ones that send you to the next apropriate level area but more like the EQ quest a previous poster explained....searching for ground drops all over the world. Quests that are more for exploration than finding the right mobs to fight.

    A sandbox with me has to have lots of content, but lots of options too. I should be able to Skill/level in whatever way i choose! be it fighting mobs or my training partner, it's up to me.

    I should be able to explore, like i did in EQ! go to a much higher level area and be careful.

    I need secrets to find out and discover that will not be in a manual. i need lore to give me background about my world.

    Most of all! i need a bucket and spade!

  • XzenXzen Los Alamos, NMPosts: 2,607Member Common

    Originally posted by Telil

    Persoanally.i think the level/skill debate should end. neither make a sandbox.

    Most of all! i need a bucket and spade!

    Agreed. The system used to advance your character has no bearing on weather or not an mmorpg is a sandbox or theme park.

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,181Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Xzen

    Originally posted by Ozmodan

    Why are so many posters confused about what a sand box game is?  Anyone who has played a sandbox game knows that having a class/level system immediately disqualifies the game from being called a sandbox.

    Even the staff writers on MMORPG are confused as seen by Adam Tingle's article on Fallen Earth.  It has a class/level system hence by definition cannot be a sandbox.  Adam, you should know better.

    I noticed people calling Wakfu a sandbox. Come on, it has a class level system, hence in no way shape or form is it a sandbox.

    UO was my first mmorpg. Leveling and class systems do not disqualify a game from being a sandbox. The lack of tools or ability for a player to have an impact on the game world, like building houses and towns in the open world and other player created content, does. While the skill system is ideal and gives the players another layer of freedom it is not a requirement.

    Well sorry I have to disagree with you.  Yeah, you can probably have levels, but you just cannot have a sandbox with classes.  Classes just limit character development far too much, without a skill system, it just cannot be a sandbox in any shape or form.  I just don't know of any game that has classes and is considered a sandbox.

    So yes Class systems most certainly disqualify a game from being called a sandbox.  How you can even think otherwise is beyond me.  Calss systems just put your character development into a straight jacket.

  • EverSkellyEverSkelly AlytusPosts: 334Member

    One class could have a lot of options to advance.

    Let's say you're a wizard. You could specialize in ice magic, fire, shock (electricity), earth damage, death damage, nature damage, wtf damage, long or short range damage, AoE or single target damage, and so on and so on, it's all in developers' imagination.

    So i don't think that sandbox should be classless. I can give you an example, in EQ you can have like 10,000 alternate advancement levels, if i'm not mistaken. That's a lot of points to improve your character. 

    So again, i don't think classless system is a necessity for a sandbox - you can have classes and thousands of ways to make them different. 

    i think classes makes it easier for people to identify themselves with the character.

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,941Member Uncommon

    I finally got my head around the differences when discussing in another thread.  One of the key differences is that a themepark has an endgame (obviously) but also it tends to focus on the big 4 activites, PVP,Raiding, instances,battlegrounds.  So for a themepark the development team and game design is focused on say 25% investment in those 4. A sandbox invests across all of the activities with a far more even distribution.  Themepark maximises its top 4 to keep the gameplayer, Sandbox offers lots of smaller actities that combine to keep the gameplayer.

     

    Slow travel

    Crafting

    Fishing

    Collecting

    Roleplaying

    Housing

    Politics

    Planning

    Coaching

    Mining

    Gathering

    Trading

    Economics

    trying out gear for looks. 

    Theorycrafting 

    PVP

    Battlegrounds

    Raiding

    Hunting 

    Improving skills

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

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