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Why are there no sandbox MMO's - Why do they Fail?

GeschaeferGeschaefer Parlin, NJPosts: 117Member

I truly dont get it.

Is it that they arent lucative for the big gaming developers?

Are they too difficult to run?

What is it?

Those of us who have played true sandbox seem to never keep our mouths shut on these forums about he we all want a viable sandbox MMO. - but no ones willing to invest / develope one.

I inderstand that sandbox MMO's have shut down in the past - but at the same time so have themeparks.

I was a player of Pre NGE SWG - had my game destroyed by its makers - and have been waiting patiently for years for a new game to pick up the sandbox torch. 

Does anyone have any true insight as to why there arent any viable sandbox's and why theres no real sandbox prospects on the horizon? 

G.E.Schaefer
Played: EQ1. EQ2. FFXI. SWG. Aion. WAR. LOTRO. TabulaRasa. Hellgate London. Diablo 1. Diablo II. Diablo 3. STO. WOW. Vanguard. Guild Wars. Rift. Terra. The Secret World. EVE. Guild Wars 2. Firefall. Neverwinter.

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Comments

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Err, eve is viable
  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,414Member Uncommon

    My opinion is the sandbox fans overestimate their numbers, and underestimate the difficulty of running a sandbox world (as developers).

     

    Best argument against this is the success of DayZ.   Only a part of real sandbox world, but it has done very very well.

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • bunnyhopperbunnyhopper LondonPosts: 2,751Member
    EVE.

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

  • JimmyYOJimmyYO Columbus, OHPosts: 520Member

    Unfortunatly 9 times out of 10 when you say your game is a sandbox you're also saying quality will take a nosedive. Sandboxes still need to have minimal bugs, instant server response time and a quality gameplay experience. Sadly none of those things come with sandboxes.

    Another phenomena is that sandbox devolopers seem allergic to testing their own product. Either they have very little QA/playtesters or said QA/playtesters suffer from mental disabilities. Very widely known stupid mistakes often come with the sandbox territory for some reason. Stuff that most dedicated gamer 12 year olds would have caught nonetheless.

  • coretex666coretex666 PraguePosts: 1,934Member Uncommon

    Not that I knew the answer, but if I was to give it some thought, I would start with the basics.

    Maybe there is not enough demand for the product, so that the costs would be higher than the revenues. Sandbox games employ several characteristic game mechanisms which may cause lower demand.

    Thinking about costs, they may represent another problem. Maybe a sandbox which would have the potential to sell / hold millions of players would be too expensive to develop.

    Maybe the companies consider it too risky to invest money into sandbox game because they are capable of creating a themepark, but lack the skills / knowledge to develop a profitable sandbox.

    It may be something else. Maybe if you try to look at it from the perspective of the game developing company, you may think of some better answers to your question. Mine or more of a suggestion.

    Neither I want to bring some false hope, nor I claim it is 100% true, but it seems to me that the eastern companies are shifting slightly more towards sandbox with games like ArcheAge (more of a themepark / sandbox hybrid) or the newly announced Black Desert online which is supposed to be a "non-indie" sandbox.

     

    Waiting for L2 EU Classic

  • GeschaeferGeschaefer Parlin, NJPosts: 117Member

    Ye, i have played eve.

    My problem wiht eve (and ive heard this from a lot of former eve players) is that I dont like playing as a ship.

    Its that simple. Eve is good, I just woule prefer developing a character and fighting creatures / missions / other players.

    Im just not into flying my character ship while mining and trying to not get blown up.

    G.E.Schaefer
    Played: EQ1. EQ2. FFXI. SWG. Aion. WAR. LOTRO. TabulaRasa. Hellgate London. Diablo 1. Diablo II. Diablo 3. STO. WOW. Vanguard. Guild Wars. Rift. Terra. The Secret World. EVE. Guild Wars 2. Firefall. Neverwinter.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,453Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Geschaefer

    Does anyone have any true insight as to why there arent any viable sandbox's and why theres no real sandbox prospects on the horizon? 

    A co-worker of mine who is quite the game told me that he started skyrim got to Whitrun and after he killed the dragon he quit. fel the game had no direction for him. He said it was 'too open'.

    My girlfriend's ex played a bit of skyrim and though he liked it had problems "leveling" because after he did all the quests he found couldn't find anymore. Felt it was too boring just wandering around.

    There are a group of people who have their own agenda and want the freedom to fulfill that agenda. There is another larger group of people who just want to start up a game and "play a game".

     

  • SuprGamerXSuprGamerX Montreal, QCPosts: 531Member

     You need to understand one thing about sandboxes , they aren't made for everyone.  Sandbox MMO's are made for a niche of people like EVE-Online.   CCP hit gold by making the perfect sandbox MMO , but again it isn't for everyone.  

      There are still alot of sandbox MMO's out there , some aren't even listed on this site.   

    Also a Themepark + Sandbox = sure fail in the long run.   You got sandboxed MMO's for every taste , you just gotta surf outside this site to find them.  I'm pretty sure they don't even know wtf GrimDawn is. :)

      Anyways, good sandbox hunt!! o/

  • JimmyYOJimmyYO Columbus, OHPosts: 520Member

    If people can convince investors to make more then 2 Blade movies, More money into Vanguard, letting the EQ2 guys make another EQ, paying Turbine to do anything after DDO, a Ghostrider sequel and much more then anything is possible.

    Investors get duped into making crap more often then successes, I guess sandbox devs are worse at BS'ing the rich folk.

  • GeschaeferGeschaefer Parlin, NJPosts: 117Member
    Originally posted by JimmyYO

    If people can convince investors to make more then 2 Blade movies, More money into Vanguard, letting the EQ2 guys make another EQ, paying Turbine to do anything after DDO, a Ghostrider sequel and much more then anything is possible.

    Investors get duped into making crap more often then successes, I guess sandbox devs are worse at BS'ing the rich folk.

    Ha.

    G.E.Schaefer
    Played: EQ1. EQ2. FFXI. SWG. Aion. WAR. LOTRO. TabulaRasa. Hellgate London. Diablo 1. Diablo II. Diablo 3. STO. WOW. Vanguard. Guild Wars. Rift. Terra. The Secret World. EVE. Guild Wars 2. Firefall. Neverwinter.

  • dariuszpdariuszp PrzeworskPosts: 182Member
    Originally posted by Geschaefer

    I truly dont get it.

    Is it that they arent lucative for the big gaming developers?

    Are they too difficult to run?

    What is it?

    Those of us who have played true sandbox seem to never keep our mouths shut on these forums about he we all want a viable sandbox MMO. - but no ones willing to invest / develope one.

    I inderstand that sandbox MMO's have shut down in the past - but at the same time so have themeparks.

    I was a player of Pre NGE SWG - had my game destroyed by its makers - and have been waiting patiently for years for a new game to pick up the sandbox torch. 

    Does anyone have any true insight as to why there arent any viable sandbox's and why theres no real sandbox prospects on the horizon? 

    1. Because general playerbase is a bunch of kids

    2. Because most of them are idiots

    3. And can't play anything if they are not hold by hand all the time

    This is why EVE is probably last sucessfull sandbox. It's SF so no Elfs and shit. It's P2P so that means more adults in the game. It's big and complex so idiots stay out of the way. It was consider true sandbox MMO and probably it's a last stand for this kind of players.

    Sandbox games have no direction because you should pick a direction and follow it. From the very start, playing EVE you can do multiple things and focus on them or do whatever the hell you want. Some people buy chapes ship just to find how much it takes to travel from one side of the galaxy to another.

    Sandbox games give you tools so you can make fun and those tools can be used to create more tools. In themeparks games you have set of tools (and from at least couple of years same set over and over) and once you get to know them - that's it. You are looking for new toys. New game. But it will be same game, same toys with different colors. Problem with sandbox games is that people feel lost because it's too dam complex. 

    Sandbox games lack direction but they never finish. Themeparks have direction but they finish quite fast. Some people never realize but MMO world need something like Skyrim.

    1. Sandbox world with as many toys as you can create

    2. With themepark elements like short storylines here and there. And by shorts I'm talking about at least 2 hours short.

    This way kids can play their game like a themepark but once they finish and get to know the game, they can stay in sandbox.

    In the end, let me ask you this. What is avarage age in your guild ? In our, in Guild Wars 2 it's around 18. I'm 25. You know what was avarage age in our EVE corporation ? 32. Sandbox games are for grownups. People that really love MMO. Shitty games like Rift, WoW etc are just mix of shitty single player and simple multiplayer. One exception from that is Guild Wars 2 that redesigned some themepark elements. GW2 is not sandbox but still it's first game since EVE that I can call true MMO.

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon

    First off let's stop looking at DayZ, it's not an MMO. The question was about a sandbox MMO.

    As far as I can see the biggest problems with sandbox MMO's that we see today are two main reasons why they don't do so well. First they're from indie companies that have limited resources, so we get bugs, poor implementations and not so great support.

    Secondly, the main reason IMHO, is that they all follow the FFA PvP Full Loot ruleset. This may be something that hardcore sandbox fans insist has to be present for it to be a "true" sandbox but the simple fact is it scares the majority away. Not so much because it's FFA but because it's implemented poorly and you end up with a gankfest.

    Pre NGE SWG had a flagging system in place which worked well. EVE has Empire 1.0 space ranging down to 0.0 every man for himslef space. Both systems work to the point that rampant griefing is minimal but it's still possible for someone to kill you in 1.0 sec space, if they're determined enough and prepared to pay the consequences.

    People throw the real life argument into the mix here saying they can go attack anyone they want in the street so they should be able to do it in their sandbox, but just like in real life where you have laws and law enforcement to prevent this sort of behaviour, sandbox MMO's need the same thing. If you don't you end up with low population games, new players being scared off in their first few hours of play and yet another sandbox failure.

  • dreamscaperdreamscaper Somewhere, NCPosts: 1,582Member Uncommon
    Sandboxes generally require player initiative. In my opinion the vast majority of players wants to be guided, not guide themselves. Hence the popularity of the themepark model.

    <3

  • KenzeKenze Posts: 1,214Member Uncommon

    its "cool" to seem to be  hardcore and be seen wanting a sandbox but very, very few want to actualy play a sandbox mmo.

     

    Watch your thoughts; they become words.
    Watch your words; they become actions.
    Watch your actions; they become habits.
    Watch your habits; they become character.
    Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
    —Lao-Tze

  • GruntyGrunty Fort Worth, TXPosts: 7,043Member Uncommon
    the combination of unlimited open world pvp, griefers, gankers and their preferred targets
  • RednecksithRednecksith Madison heights, MIPosts: 1,238Member

    I think the main reason is that most sandboxes are full-loot non-consentual FFA PvP. Despite what players who enjoy such a playstyle think, they're a very small minority in an already niche genre. Problem is, they ruin it for a lot of people.

    Funny thing is if that all these so-called 'hardcore PvPers' would just quit ganking / griefing newbies, their precious genre might actually grow. But then again, that might mean they'd have to fight someone who might present a challenge...

    I for one would love a PvP optional sandbox game. Until one comes out, I guess I'll have to stick with Minecraft  or Terraria for my creative fix.

  • Bior337Bior337 Warwick, RIPosts: 25Member

    Sandboxes are actually quite viable.

    However, they're harder to design. Its much easier to just make a quick and dirty poorly designed WoW clone. Sure the themeparks have all failed, but that doesn't stop the publishers from chasing what they see as the "big money".

     

    Its mainly because developers don't make MMOs anymore, publishers do.

  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,924Member Uncommon

    1.) They are more tricky to program, particularly if your going for more complex sandbox systems with housing and the likes. Sure, games like eve are very simple, but in many Sandbox cases the player wants a far more complex system in place.

    2.) The strong get stronger and the weak... just stay weak. Much like in RL,  once you get power your pretty much stuck at top. Unlike RL, there isn't all that many risks you need to worry about that you will likely not lose that power. A new player stands very little chance to ever reach the level of which the other player is.

     

    Sandbox is fun, but if you miss the initial rush, your just not going to enjoy it. You would just be a flimsy pawnin the world with an extremely unlikely chance to get better. Minecraft works so well as a sandbox game due to the fact you can easilty join a new server that just started and have a variety of different maps to play giving you and everyone else a start. A traditional MMO will just disapoint a lot of people. No one wants to be stuck at the bottom tier, they want to be up top. A sandbox MMo pretty much leaves everyone in the dust.

     

    It is NOT that they can be more work then Themepark, in fact you can argue they are less work once you have the basic sandbox elements in place. Themeparks require a lot of time investing more in story and adding content while sandbox can typically just add new land and areas with far less effort.

  • Bior337Bior337 Warwick, RIPosts: 25Member
    Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

    First off let's stop looking at DayZ, it's not an MMO.

    Um... its more of an MMO than the majority of themepark games released in the last 7 years. How the hell isn't it an MMO? If games like DDO and SWTOR and World of Tanks are MMOs then so is Dayz.

  • Bior337Bior337 Warwick, RIPosts: 25Member
    Originally posted by JimmyYO

    If people can convince investors to make more then 2 Blade movies, More money into Vanguard, letting the EQ2 guys make another EQ, paying Turbine to do anything after DDO, a Ghostrider sequel and much more then anything is possible.

    Investors get duped into making crap more often then successes, I guess sandbox devs are worse at BS'ing the rich folk.

    What's wrong with Vanguard?

  • JimmyYOJimmyYO Columbus, OHPosts: 520Member
    Originally posted by Kenze

    its "cool" to seem to be  hardcore and be seen wanting a sandbox but very, very few want to actualy play a sandbox mmo.

     

    We wouldn't know there aren't any good ones for non Sci Fi fans.

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,949Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Geschaefer

    I truly dont get it.

    Is it that they arent lucative for the big gaming developers?

    Are they too difficult to run?

    What is it?

    Those of us who have played true sandbox seem to never keep our mouths shut on these forums about he we all want a viable sandbox MMO. - but no ones willing to invest / develope one.

    I inderstand that sandbox MMO's have shut down in the past - but at the same time so have themeparks.

    I was a player of Pre NGE SWG - had my game destroyed by its makers - and have been waiting patiently for years for a new game to pick up the sandbox torch. 

    Does anyone have any true insight as to why there arent any viable sandbox's and why theres no real sandbox prospects on the horizon? 

    A sandbox MMO is a lot harder to make. In a themepark game you generally know what the players want to do, in a sandbox they can more or less do anything.

    Creating tools for the players might sounds easier at first glance than making loads of quests but when you stop to think about it you will see that there is a lot of problems with that.

    You need to make it so your players can entertain themselves all the time.

    And there is not really someone you can copy either, UO wouldnt really work today, Eve is so niched that a copy would have very hard to take Eves players and ever harder to find new and while the SWG vets say something other the game never were that popular and lost players fast already before the NGE (yeah, I know it had great crafting).

    No, you would have to make a new system for scratch or do like CCP is doing for WoDO, take an P&P system and mod it into a MMO system.

    Few devs dare to take such chanse or for that matter all that work, that is why Bethesda chickened out and made ESO into a themepark instead.

    I for one wait for WoDO and hope that Rockstar will make a MMO, they both have funding and guts enough to make a real sandbox MMO.

  • JimmyYOJimmyYO Columbus, OHPosts: 520Member

    What's wrong with Vanguard?

    http://forums.station.sony.com/vg/posts/list.m?topic_id=58842

    And heres a sample of the latest patch from the recommitted devs. If that isn't enough the last 4 patches before it were just like this one:

    http://forums.station.sony.com/vg/posts/list.m?topic_id=58871

     

  • SephrosSephros Somewhere, CAPosts: 396Member Uncommon
    I think dayz shows that the sandbox and hardcore crowd arent as small as everyone thinks. 1.1 mil unique id's. Thats one per account bought. Before the graphic glitch situation that lasted far to long, they were having 200k players per 24 hour.period. Those are great numbers, and that was for an alpha mod for petes sake. There is a demand, hopfully the standalone dayz product will crush those numbers, and all the other devs will do headspins. They have already noticed the want for a product like that. Now they are behind the eight ball.

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

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Bior337
    Originally posted by jmcdermottuk

    First off let's stop looking at DayZ, it's not an MMO.

    Um... its more of an MMO than the majority of themepark games released in the last 7 years. How the hell isn't it an MMO? If games like DDO and SWTOR and World of Tanks are MMOs then so is Dayz.

    It's a mod for an FPS game. The servers hold 64 people, hardly Massive, that first M in MMO. Is Battlefield or CoD an MMO? No, same thing. You're also correct about World of Tanks, which isn't an MMO, but a lobby based FPS 15v15 game with tanks instead of people with guns but it has a cash shop so people are fooled into calling it an MMO, but it isn't.

    Planetside 2 plans to allow 2000 people per continent to fight it out, Massive! GW2 currently has 500 players per server in W v W v W, 1500 total, again Massive. 64 players to a server is basic FPS territory. It's multiplayer but not Massive.

    The title MMO is applied to a lot of games these days that are not MMO's and never will be until they can allow and least a couple of hundred players to interact in the game and not just in a lobby.

    I'm being a bit pedantic, I know, but this is one of my pet hates. Putting a pig in a stable doesn't make it a horse. The same applies to a lot of games people are currently calling MMO's but which fail to meet the basic tenent of Massively multiplayer online. And that's not numbers of subs or boxes sold but numbers of people interacting within the gameplay itself.

    Sorry for derailing the thread there but as I said, pet hate. Back to sandbox MMO's and their failings. Already said it. It's the FFA Full Loot without consequences scaring players off that's the main fault.

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