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Is there really an untapped market for sandbox MMOs? Smed offers an answer

LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,669Member Uncommon

TheMittani: You’ve mentioned a desire for more sandbox MMOs in your Reddit AMA, and sandboxes are obviously a major draw for EVE players. Do you have plans for adding sandbox elements to PS2, and if so, would you like to discuss them? If there really is an untapped market for sandbox MMOs, why haven’t we seen more of them, besides Eve and SWG?

Smedley: Sandbox elements - SOE is redefining itself as a creator of emergent gameplay experiences. That's our future. You can call it sandbox but it's so much more than that. A good example is Player owned bases in Planetside 2. That's coming. We're going to make huge continents that are empty and have vast resources on them and players can fight it out and put down their own bases there and other players can come and obliterate them. Sound familiar EVE Players? Actually we had something like this in Star Wars Galaxies too. THAT is content. At some point as an industry we need to realize that we have already lost the race to outpace players in making content. I personally thought SWTOR was a great game. I loved Diablo III. The problem is you get to the endgame and as game makers it's not just expensive. it's impossible to stay ahead of the curve.
 
Think about this statement - If WoW had come out yesterday.. at what point would people be "done" with the content. We need to focus on game systems that are perpetual and give players a lot more control over what they can do rather than JUST putting yet another dragon in front of them with scripted content. We need to be doing both in order to be successful. And that's our plan.

Source: http://themittani.com/features/mittani-interviews-soe-ceo-john-smedley

There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
"Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

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Comments

  • SephrosSephros Somewhere, CAPosts: 396Member Uncommon
    Player generated objectives are huge in the longevity of a game. Glad someone is starting to read whats been infront of them for a decade or more.

    Error: No Keyboard Detected!
    Press F1 to continue......

  • dave6660dave6660 New York, NYPosts: 2,543Member Uncommon

    Many players will not be able look past the fact you're talking about SOE and The Mittani.  Two of our favorite super villians.

    “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
    -- Herman Melville

  • rungardrungard st. john''s, NFPosts: 1,035Member
    i smell eq3..sandbox edition.
  • WurzaagWurzaag BrusselsPosts: 9Member
    love you smed, cant wait for eqnext
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,669Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by dave6660

    Many players will not be able look past the fact you're talking about SOE and The Mittani.  Two of our favorite super villians.

    I feared that initially, but then figured 'screw it' - this post is for the rest of us who find this stuff interesting. :)

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • HazelleHazelle Brampton, ONPosts: 760Member
    Originally posted by Sephros
    Player generated objectives are huge in the longevity of a game. Glad someone is starting to read whats been infront of them for a decade or more.

    It's Smedley dude.  If you were talking to him about peanuts he'd praise the offering peanuts to players in mmorpgs and suggest that SOE is developing in that direction.

  • gravesworngravesworn charleston, WVPosts: 324Member
    Brings a little hope for the future of gaming. I have to agree about wow. If vanilla came out yesterday it would have been bashed and slaughtered for lack of shit to do. Terran mill and southshore pvp ftw.
  • ZylaxxZylaxx Erlanger, KYPosts: 2,574Member
    Originally posted by dave6660

    Many players will not be able look past the fact you're talking about SOE and The Mittani.  Two of our favorite super villians.

    As well as it being planetside 3.  I do not play FPS and I dont have the reflexes of young people so I prefer the slower paced style of MMO tab target combat.

    Everything you need to know about Elder Scrolls Online

    Playing: GW2
    Waiting on: TESO
    Next Flop: Planetside 2
    Best MMO of all time: Asheron's Call - The first company to recreate AC will be the next greatest MMO.

    image

  • pyrofreakpyrofreak In the middle of, PAPosts: 1,481Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Hazelle
    Originally posted by Sephros
    Player generated objectives are huge in the longevity of a game. Glad someone is starting to read whats been infront of them for a decade or more.

    It's Smedley dude.  If you were talking to him about peanuts he'd praise the offering peanuts to players in mmorpgs and suggest that SOE is developing in that direction.

    I've never seen Smed described so aptly.

     

    Also Mittens isn't a troll, he's a professional bullshitter. There's a difference.

     

    The bullshitter makes money.

    Now with 57.3% more flames!

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    I am sandboxer at heart but I just hope not all devs start to jump on sandbox bandwagon since it might burn bright and get dark quick again.

    On the other hand let's  not forget that Smeadley  is CEO of company that first created great (but awfully bugged, not thought well enough and with few things that took way too long to fix = lke abandoned houses & cities) sandbox and then turned it into some weird and bad hybrid that drove off 80% of remaining players.

     

    So kinda - I take his words with a huge bag of salt and time will see what will happen with P2 and it's sandbox elements- after few years.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,214Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by dave6660

    Many players will not be able look past the fact you're talking about SOE and The Mittani.  Two of our favorite super villians.

    I feared that initially, but then figured 'screw it' - this post is for the rest of us who find this stuff interesting. :)

    It's not that the idea isn't interesting but that there is more to how SoE will implement it than Smedly is letting on.  With them it is rarely so simple as: here is a sandbox.

    Just like their "F2P" model being a funnel into a subscription.  I want to hear more from him than the idea that giving players some freedom in their game play is the way forward.  Take, for example, the assertion that "THIS is content".  It's not content.  It's a canvas.  That, to me, is a fundamental difference between a themepark and a sandbox game.  The idea that he's still thinking about delivering content, albeit "player driven", should make one wonder if he really gets it.  Players don't necessarily need content to consume if they're given a little freedom.  I guess it depends on how you define "content" but overall I'm still very dubious.

  • bunnyhopperbunnyhopper LondonPosts: 2,751Member

    It's a no brainer that a major part of the issue with longevity these days in mmos is due to the fact it is all scripted content and next to no actual longer term style community/player driven content.

     

    When you churn out mmos akin to single player games, it's no wonder people lose interest in the rapidly.

    "Come and have a look at what you could have won."

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
     
    Think about this statement - If WoW had come out yesterday.. at what point would people be "done" with the content. We need to focus on game systems that are perpetual and give players a lot more control over what they can do rather than JUST putting yet another dragon in front of them with scripted content. We need to be doing both in order to be successful. And that's our plan.

    Source: http://themittani.com/features/mittani-interviews-soe-ceo-john-smedley

    good quote

    Smed / SOE has a mixed history thats well deserved for its negatives but they do try new things

  • morbitangelmorbitangel heerlenPosts: 54Member

    "You can call it sandbox but it's so much more than that. A good example is Player owned bases in Planetside 2. That's coming. We're going to make huge continents that are empty and have vast resources on them and players can fight it out and put down their own bases there and other players can come and obliterate them. Sound familiar EVE Players? Actually we had something like this in Star Wars Galaxies too. THAT is content"

     

    and it takes him this long to realise they already had it years ago <shakes head and moves along>

  • miguksarammiguksaram Fort Meade, MDPosts: 826Member Uncommon
    While it's hard to take seriously coming from Smed you can't really deny the fact that SoE games are the ones who have recently gone from standard theme park to a more "create your own content" style.  EQ2's recent editions come to mind.
  • AstropuyoAstropuyo Stock, CAPosts: 1,797Member

    I'm shocked.

     

    He actually countered himself years ago...

     

    He's grown!

     

    SMED HAS GROWN ALL!

     

    Rejoyce! They realize how much we "sandboxers" will play the crappiest games so long as it gives us freedom to choose.

    Wait....err that's good isn't it?

     

    EDIT: What makes me want to scream "Serenity now!" is the sheer fact he totally forgot he's the one who put the kill switch on "go" with SWG's sandbox elements in favor of a "Wow" gameplay.

     

    So wrong Smed YOU didn't have jack. The early devs HAD jack. You know the guys who don't just direct work flow all day (shut up, that's all I do and I am in a lesser state of finiances than Smed..so yeah he just directs and talks).

    He's a glorified media director. Just saying.

     

    Growing up though!

  • JimmyYOJimmyYO Columbus, OHPosts: 520Member
    Yeah he supports sandbox games as he slowly tries to make almost every game he supports more and more like WoW.... I can almost guarantee EQ NExt will have a WoWish themepark feel to it. Dominated by a cash shop of course.
  • SicaeSicae LulePosts: 110Member
    Talk is cheap
  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,002Member Uncommon

    Well, Smed's not a favorite of mine, (though never did me any harm, never really played SOE titles to any great length) but I will agree with his ideas that he put forth.

    I don't think Planetside 2 is for me, (I'm just not a FPS sort of guy, too slow) but if these features continue to roll out more people will enjoy them and come to expect them in future titles.

     

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • stratasaurusstratasaurus Seattle, WAPosts: 220Member

    No there is no untapped market for Sandbox games.  sometimes companies make the big mistake of listening too much to what players say they want.  Bioware totally fell into this trap.  Everyone said hey we don't want endgame grinding and progression like other MMOs have we want a MMO based around story.  Well they really got exactly what they asked for and then 3 months in huge drops in subs and game in spinning downwards.

     

    Same thing with Sandbox games, everyone likes the CONCEPT of a sandbox game but most players really don't like the actual reality of playing a sandbox game.  Lets face it, there are not as many hardcore MMO players anymore, people are starting to prioritize and lots of the old MMO players are moving into a more casual role.  Sandbox games do not work for casual players, it is not that they are harder then themepark games it is just that it takes a lot more time to advance and do things.  Now you may not agree with themepark style but the truth is the only Sandbox game that could ever hold over 1M players would be a hybrid sandbox/themepark.

  • MindTriggerMindTrigger La Quinta, CAPosts: 2,596Member
    In my opinion, this is one of the smartest things I've ever seen Smed say.  I have to laugh/cry though to see him refer to Star Wars Galaxies after they *destroyed* the emergent gameplay in that game.

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • AmarantharAmaranthar OhioPosts: 2,430Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by stratasaurus

    No there is no untapped market for Sandbox games.  sometimes companies make the big mistake of listening too much to what players say they want.  Bioware totally fell into this trap.  Everyone said hey we don't want endgame grinding and progression like other MMOs have we want a MMO based around story.  Well they really got exactly what they asked for and then 3 months in huge drops in subs and game in spinning downwards.

     

    Same thing with Sandbox games, everyone likes the CONCEPT of a sandbox game but most players really don't like the actual reality of playing a sandbox game.  Lets face it, there are not as many hardcore MMO players anymore, people are starting to prioritize and lots of the old MMO players are moving into a more casual role.  Sandbox games do not work for casual players, it is not that they are harder then themepark games it is just that it takes a lot more time to advance and do things.  Now you may not agree with themepark style but the truth is the only Sandbox game that could ever hold over 1M players would be a hybrid sandbox/themepark.

    Bull, is my opinion. Players are dropping off of every themepark game to come out since WoW. They still buy, proving they are looking for something, but they don't stick.

    Sandbox, and I've always called it "Sandbox World", which seems to be what he's getting at, has tremendous possibilities. The key is to do it right. Cash shops, first person views, things like that are a detraction. And wide open PvP can be too if there's no means to control it, but their efforts for "community" may help that a lot (much like with Eve). Maybe not enough to bring it into the big numbers (thinking 2 million steady customers).

    Time will tell overall for this game. But for a great Sandbox game, I think the possibilities of great success are fantastic.

    Once upon a time....

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Originally posted by stratasaurus

    No there is no untapped market for Sandbox games.  sometimes companies make the big mistake of listening too much to what players say they want.  Bioware totally fell into this trap.  Everyone said hey we don't want endgame grinding and progression like other MMOs have we want a MMO based around story.  Well they really got exactly what they asked for and then 3 months in huge drops in subs and game in spinning downwards.

     

    Same thing with Sandbox games, everyone likes the CONCEPT of a sandbox game but most players really don't like the actual reality of playing a sandbox game.  Lets face it, there are not as many hardcore MMO players anymore, people are starting to prioritize and lots of the old MMO players are moving into a more casual role.  Sandbox games do not work for casual players, it is not that they are harder then themepark games it is just that it takes a lot more time to advance and do things.  Now you may not agree with themepark style but the truth is the only Sandbox game that could ever hold over 1M players would be a hybrid sandbox/themepark.

    Yeah...I'll call bunk on this as well. Sandbox/Themepark has no correlation on the amount of time/effort it takes to do anything. Does drawing a quick sketch take longer then watching all 3 of Peter Jacksons LOTR movies?

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    Originally posted by stratasaurus

    No there is no untapped market for Sandbox games.  sometimes companies make the big mistake of listening too much to what players say they want.  Bioware totally fell into this trap.  Everyone said hey we don't want endgame grinding and progression like other MMOs have we want a MMO based around story.  Well they really got exactly what they asked for and then 3 months in huge drops in subs and game in spinning downwards.

     

    Same thing with Sandbox games, everyone likes the CONCEPT of a sandbox game but most players really don't like the actual reality of playing a sandbox game.  Lets face it, there are not as many hardcore MMO players anymore, people are starting to prioritize and lots of the old MMO players are moving into a more casual role.  Sandbox games do not work for casual players, it is not that they are harder then themepark games it is just that it takes a lot more time to advance and do things.  Now you may not agree with themepark style but the truth is the only Sandbox game that could ever hold over 1M players would be a hybrid sandbox/themepark.

    image

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • TibernicusTibernicus Fall River, MAPosts: 433Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    TheMittani: You’ve mentioned a desire for more sandbox MMOs in your Reddit AMA, and sandboxes are obviously a major draw for EVE players. Do you have plans for adding sandbox elements to PS2, and if so, would you like to discuss them? If there really is an untapped market for sandbox MMOs, why haven’t we seen more of them, besides Eve and SWG?

    Smedley: Sandbox elements - SOE is redefining itself as a creator of emergent gameplay experiences. That's our future. You can call it sandbox but it's so much more than that. A good example is Player owned bases in Planetside 2. That's coming. We're going to make huge continents that are empty and have vast resources on them and players can fight it out and put down their own bases there and other players can come and obliterate them. Sound familiar EVE Players? Actually we had something like this in Star Wars Galaxies too. THAT is content. At some point as an industry we need to realize that we have already lost the race to outpace players in making content. I personally thought SWTOR was a great game. I loved Diablo III. The problem is you get to the endgame and as game makers it's not just expensive. it's impossible to stay ahead of the curve.
     
    Think about this statement - If WoW had come out yesterday.. at what point would people be "done" with the content. We need to focus on game systems that are perpetual and give players a lot more control over what they can do rather than JUST putting yet another dragon in front of them with scripted content. We need to be doing both in order to be successful. And that's our plan.

    Source: http://themittani.com/features/mittani-interviews-soe-ceo-john-smedley

    Finally, one of the suites wakes up and realizes where the real profit is to be made in the MMo space.

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