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[Column] WildStar: The Marriage of Theme Park & Sandbox

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  • LarsaLarsa NurembergPosts: 990Member

    Suzie uses a very decent definition for sandbox, funnily from a forum post on a competing website, anyone else sees the irony? I thought MMORPG.com has forums too. :)

    A sandbox MMO is a game that drops you into a player driven world.  Players are given tools, and sand, and they get to make whatever they want with it.  just like when you were a kid in your sandbox with a shovel and pail.  You didn't have much fancy stuff, but you had fun.

    Sadly nothing in the article about Wildstar seems to point to a "player driven world". On the contrary, everything points to a developer driven world. From the article as well: What Carbine is adding, however, are quests and events that will cater to the sandboxers in the game.

    From this quote I get the impression that the guys at Carbine have no idea what they're talking about. Quests for sandboxers? Sounds like cigarettes for non-smokers. Ah well.

    I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    Originally posted by Ozmodan
    Originally posted by Kuinn
    Originally posted by Ozmodan

     

    Classes are a figment of someone's imagination.  They have never ever fit in a sandbox game.  If you are a railroad engineer and you want to be a chemist, you just go learn chemistry, your railroad skills will probably suffer, but they don't prevent you from being a chemist.  A sandbox game has to be skill based.  Yeah you could do a hybrid with classes, but it won't work as well and won't be a true sandbox.

    Sorry but this is simply wrong. Sandbox games are defined by player driven content and it is perfectly possible to have player driven content with classes. What you are talking about is freedom to design your character the way you want, which is fine, but not a requirement for a sandbox game which is again, player driven content.

  • someforumguysomeforumguy HomePosts: 3,540Member Uncommon

    Lol. 'non-lineair quests from a semi-static pool'. What does that even mean?

    And then his hybrid themepark/sandbox example. A campfire that you can place and leaves the player the puzzle to where he should place it. O wow, such a sandboxy freedom! Lol. That is just similar to any kind of buff that you can activate as player. 

    The guy is just throwing around the term sandbox as some kind of gimmick to attract potential players. His campfire example is way too shallow to use that term. I don't think it is smart for the dev to use the word sandbox for this game.

    And yeah, it is possible to create a hybrid. The whole point of a sandbox game is that you get the freedom to create anything in it, Even a themepark if you want. But this game won't even get close to becoming a sandbox.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by someforumguy
    Lol. 'non-lineair quests from a semi-static pool'. What does that even mean?And then his hybrid themepark/sandbox example. A campfire that you can place and leaves the player the puzzle to where he should place it. O wow, such a sandboxy freedom! Lol. That is just similar to any kind of buff that you can activate as player. The guy is just throwing around the term sandbox as some kind of gimmick to attract potential players. His campfire example is way too shallow to use that term. I don't think it is smart for the dev to use the word sandbox for this game.And yeah, it is possible to create a hybrid. The whole point of a sandbox game is that you get the freedom to create anything in it, Even a themepark if you want. But this game won't even get close to becoming a sandbox.

    Where is the sandbox MMORPG that exists where you the player can create a themepark?

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    Also, read through this thread, and you'll see one of the reasons why developers are hesitant to touch the sandbox 'genre'. You can't get any 10 sandbox 'fans' to agree on what a sandbox is, and they'll argue about it vocally.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • MargulisMargulis Glendale, AZPosts: 1,614Member
    Doing a little more research on the game you'll find that they use the holy trinity and that gameplay still boils down to questing, dungeons and ultimately raiding. Youtube "wildstar raid" and you'll see the devs talking about it.

    This game is 100% theme park. And throw in their "quests in 144 characters or less" gimmick and that just narrows in on bland lifeless questing and story even more. This is a for sure pass for me.
  • SirBalinSirBalin Joppa, MDPosts: 1,150Member Uncommon
    I think what some people forget is that as soon as you put restrictions on a sandbox, its no longer a sandbox.  Freedom to choose is what really makes a game a sandbox.  That said, if you mix the two...you don't have a sandpark...you just have a themepark with less restrictions.

    Incognito
    www.incognito-gaming.us
    "You're either with us or against us"

  • drchocapicdrchocapic ParisPosts: 27Member
    Last time I played Wildstar, it was pretty much WoW in space so unless they've made massive changes since then (and they might have, it's been more than a year) I would not call it a sandbox in any way, shape or form.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by afhn2110
    I think what some people forget is that as soon as you put restrictions on a sandbox, its no longer a sandbox.  Freedom to choose is what really makes a game a sandbox.  That said, if you mix the two...you don't have a sandpark...you just have a themepark with less restrictions.

    Where does a sandbox MMORPG exist that doesn't have some sort of restrictions?

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • AzothAzoth montreal, QCPosts: 720Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by someforumguy
    Lol. 'non-lineair quests from a semi-static pool'. What does that even mean?

     

    And then his hybrid themepark/sandbox example. A campfire that you can place and leaves the player the puzzle to where he should place it. O wow, such a sandboxy freedom! Lol. That is just similar to any kind of buff that you can activate as player. 

    The guy is just throwing around the term sandbox as some kind of gimmick to attract potential players. His campfire example is way too shallow to use that term. I don't think it is smart for the dev to use the word sandbox for this game.

    And yeah, it is possible to create a hybrid. The whole point of a sandbox game is that you get the freedom to create anything in it, Even a themepark if you want. But this game won't even get close to becoming a sandbox.



    Where is the sandbox MMORPG that exists where you the player can create a themepark?

     

    In a sandbox when player create quests for other players, it  becomes a ''theme park feature'' to the player taking it. The quest is player created but from there anyone doing the quest will be on rail pretty much. It could be a full story quest or simply a delivery quest.

    With a real sandbox with all the needed tools you could if you want create a dungeon for others to raid.

    So in a sandbox you can create theme park, but doing it the other way around has never been seen. The content is player or devs driven, I don't see how it could be in between. 

    You couldn't take wow for exemple and all of a sudden give the player tools to terraform or destroy buildings but it would mess with the quests, the npc and the cities.

    For it to work you would need area specificaly designed to be only sandbox even then it would just be like playing 2 games.

  • AzothAzoth montreal, QCPosts: 720Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by afhn2110
    I think what some people forget is that as soon as you put restrictions on a sandbox, its no longer a sandbox.  Freedom to choose is what really makes a game a sandbox.  That said, if you mix the two...you don't have a sandpark...you just have a themepark with less restrictions.


    Where does a sandbox MMORPG exist that doesn't have some sort of restrictions?

     

     

    You are just being silly. Sure there is restriction, it's all coded so it can never be total freedom. 

    The Sanbox is limited by the tools given and the box itself.

  • PhryPhry HampshirePosts: 6,289Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Azoth
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by afhn2110
    I think what some people forget is that as soon as you put restrictions on a sandbox, its no longer a sandbox.  Freedom to choose is what really makes a game a sandbox.  That said, if you mix the two...you don't have a sandpark...you just have a themepark with less restrictions.


    Where does a sandbox MMORPG exist that doesn't have some sort of restrictions?

     

     

    You are just being silly. Sure there is restriction, it's all coded so it can never be total freedom. 

    The Sanbox is limited by the tools given and the box itself.

    Eve Online of course..  basically if a game has classes and levels, its a themepark, no question about it.image

  • TuchakaTuchaka san diego, CAPosts: 468Member

    i am very much looking forward to this game but any time we are asked to believe that....

     

    themepark +sandbox = 50/50 split sorry but BS any mariage of themepark and sandbox ends up the same sandbox getting the shaft and themepark getting top bililng. Sorry heard way too many of these lies over the years to take it seriously. However I am very optomistic about this game and i wish them wel.l and very likely will play the game but honestly sandbox mmo's are pretty much dead, we get some lip service here and there for sandbox elements and its always very watered down at best

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Azoth

    Originally posted by lizardbones  

    Originally posted by afhn2110 I think what some people forget is that as soon as you put restrictions on a sandbox, its no longer a sandbox.  Freedom to choose is what really makes a game a sandbox.  That said, if you mix the two...you don't have a sandpark...you just have a themepark with less restrictions.
    Where does a sandbox MMORPG exist that doesn't have some sort of restrictions?    
    You are just being silly. Sure there is restriction, it's all coded so it can never be total freedom. 

    The Sanbox is limited by the tools given and the box itself.



    I'm asking people to show me something that exists in the world, based on the definitions they've given for "sandbox". Of course there are no examples, because their definitions are exaggerations. They are comparing Wildstar's sandbox features to things that do not exist. That's silly.

    If people are going to get all pissy about Wildstar saying they have sandbox content, then they need use things that actually exist to compare it against. SWG, UO, Eve or even a Minecraft Multiplayer server would all be good examples of "sandbox" that most people would accept.

    ** edit **
    For instance, in Eve, players can't destroy planets. There are restrictions. According to the post above, as soon as you put restrictions on a sandbox, it's no longer a sandbox, so Eve is not a sandbox. It's a dumb argument.

    Restrictions are a game thing, not a sandbox/theme park thing.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • StryckerStrycker Marietta, GAPosts: 56Member

    Sandbox is most notably:

     

    1. Skill based character progression; Yes, optimal builds are made but as the game progresses these optimal builds change and/or people discover new combinations. It essentially creates an evolving meta game in character progression

     

    2. Ability to visually impact the environment; Non-instanced player housing most notably, preferably ability to create cities and so forth. This requires modern map design to be thrown out the window; Lots and lots of open terrain is required. I'll also put in here, SWG harvesters were a strong point of sandbox gameplay, being able to visually see a field of harvesters someone put up

     

    3. Going back one step; Modern map design has no place. Yes, this results in those who say your world is bland, but the blandness is replaced by a level of immersion due to the increase in size (Asheron's Call). Also increases immersion because a modern detailed map is not required to navigate

     

    4. Removal of quest system as primary means of leveling; A randomized mission system is acceptable, but what is considered unacceptable post-WOW - the primary means to leveling is this old little system called "hunting". Wander out, explore in any direction, kill things, run into crazy monsters that you might not be able to handle, etc. This results in a GRIND, indeed, but so is questing at this point.

     

    Sandbox (RPG): A MMO sub genre in which the player has open ended skill based character progression, can visually impact the environment in an entirely open world with limited borders, and develops their avatar through exploration, hunting, and other means seperate from the modern questing system.

     

    (Erryone happy?)

     
     
     
  • darkhalf357xdarkhalf357x Brooklyn, NYPosts: 1,164Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Po_gg

    I never liked sandbox conception in mmo's - hard to control it from development side, gameplay is too playerbase-dependant, and let's face it, most playerbase su**s big time :) and I'm more of a content oriented guy anyway.

    On the other hand, I love the GTA series, and they were the first ones labeled as sandbox. And that's why I really looking forward to WildStar's half park / half sandbox experience, this kinda sandbox sounds great. I mean when you have a story, a nice world design, and you can go anywhere, do anything, but you have a goal in the long run. I guess I will enjoy both the explorers and the builders.

    Why is GTA labeled a sandbox?  Wasn't it just a bunch of 'theme park rides' that you could do anyway you like?   The problem here is we will constantly argue sandbox versus themepark endlessly until we all agree on a single definition for both.  Right now it means a bunch of different things to different people.

    image
  • DraronDraron A town in, KYPosts: 993Member
    IMO, the best examples of a mix between the two are Mabinogi and Runescape.
  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,718Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by darkhalf357x
    Originally posted by Po_gg

    I never liked sandbox conception in mmo's - hard to control it from development side, gameplay is too playerbase-dependant, and let's face it, most playerbase su**s big time :) and I'm more of a content oriented guy anyway.

    On the other hand, I love the GTA series, and they were the first ones labeled as sandbox. And that's why I really looking forward to WildStar's half park / half sandbox experience, this kinda sandbox sounds great. I mean when you have a story, a nice world design, and you can go anywhere, do anything, but you have a goal in the long run. I guess I will enjoy both the explorers and the builders.

    Why is GTA labeled a sandbox?  Wasn't it just a bunch of 'theme park rides' that you could do anyway you like?   The problem here is we will constantly argue sandbox versus themepark endlessly until we all agree on a single definition for both.  Right now it means a bunch of different things to different people.

    It's not my label, the press called it sandbox so I can only guess, but maybe because you got a map, and the freedom to do anything (inside the game's limits ofc) and it was a new thing. As you said sandbox means different things to anyone.

    For me it's the above, I like to have a story or a goal even in sandbox games. Maybe that's why I had the most boring and dull gametime experience in games like minecraft or second life... Ok, Eve wasn't boring, it was just pointless (only an opinion, sorry Eve'rs :) )

  • haplo602haplo602 Posts: 212Member Uncommon

    Random quests do not a sandbox make.

     

     

  • shantidevashantideva bongholmPosts: 186Member
    Rollercoaster tycoon is a bit of a themepark sandbox...not very mmo though but still=)

    "Train by day, Joe Rogan podcast by night, all day!"

  • skydiver12skydiver12 burgundPosts: 432Member

    One could argue if changing some of the nature of quests (as a system) makes a game more "Sandbox". However the main chunk for Sandbox comes from (valid) player activities outside quest.

     

    For me, any game that even remotely wants to qualify as a sandbox or hybrid needs to offer valid choices in game activity at lvl1. For a Sandbox you need systems where players can chose their way of advancement with items and characters and for that these things CAN NOT be included:

     

    1. That excludes item tiers

    2. QUEST -> INSTANCE -> RAID Item structure

    3. "Bound to" Mechanics. (Worlddrops need to be tradeable)

     

    Have those and your game isn't a sandbox hybrid but a pure themepark. Reading through the article this guy even thinks random (or hidden) quest locations are valid enough to call it hybrid? 

    This is a joke and probably the biggest abuse of the word sandbox hybrid i've heard.

    If he wants to be a hybrid he needs valid advancment (level) outsie quests not just hide them!

     

    It's pretty easy: 

    Themepark: Quests ( Mainstory) is told. Instance / raiding at max level for advancement. Daily chore quests for additional timesink.

    Hybrid: Offers equal advancements outside those quests and instance tiering

    Sandbox: You create this damn amazing story all by your actions in the world and gear even up.

     

    Jeremy Gaffney, chant it over and over and you may not come off like a (clueless) buzzword throwing suit.

     
     
  • YakkinYakkin irvine, CAPosts: 919Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    I'm asking people to show me something that exists in the world, based on the definitions they've given for "sandbox". Of course there are no examples, because their definitions are exaggerations. They are comparing Wildstar's sandbox features to things that do not exist. That's silly.

    If people are going to get all pissy about Wildstar saying they have sandbox content, then they need use things that actually exist to compare it against. SWG, UO, Eve or even a Minecraft Multiplayer server would all be good examples of "sandbox" that most people would accept.

    ** edit **
    For instance, in Eve, players can't destroy planets. There are restrictions. According to the post above, as soon as you put restrictions on a sandbox, it's no longer a sandbox, so Eve is not a sandbox. It's a dumb argument.

    Restrictions are a game thing, not a sandbox/theme park thing.

     

    Would Terraria count?

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Azoth
    Originally posted by lizardbones   Originally posted by someforumguy Lol. 'non-lineair quests from a semi-static pool'. What does that even mean?   And then his hybrid themepark/sandbox example. A campfire that you can place and leaves the player the puzzle to where he should place it. O wow, such a sandboxy freedom! Lol. That is just similar to any kind of buff that you can activate as player.  The guy is just throwing around the term sandbox as some kind of gimmick to attract potential players. His campfire example is way too shallow to use that term. I don't think it is smart for the dev to use the word sandbox for this game. And yeah, it is possible to create a hybrid. The whole point of a sandbox game is that you get the freedom to create anything in it, Even a themepark if you want. But this game won't even get close to becoming a sandbox.
    Where is the sandbox MMORPG that exists where you the player can create a themepark?  
    In a sandbox when player create quests for other players, it  becomes a ''theme park feature'' to the player taking it. The quest is player created but from there anyone doing the quest will be on rail pretty much. It could be a full story quest or simply a delivery quest.

    With a real sandbox with all the needed tools you could if you want create a dungeon for others to raid.

    So in a sandbox you can create theme park, but doing it the other way around has never been seen. The content is player or devs driven, I don't see how it could be in between. 

    You couldn't take wow for exemple and all of a sudden give the player tools to terraform or destroy buildings but it would mess with the quests, the npc and the cities.

    For it to work you would need area specificaly designed to be only sandbox even then it would just be like playing 2 games.




    Where is the real world example of an MMORPG Sandbox that fits this definition?

    You can RP this type of stuff in any game, even WoW. But that's not the same thing as players creating content that becomes part of the game. Where is the MMORPG Sandbox that makes this happen?

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Enigmatus

    Originally posted by lizardbones I'm asking people to show me something that exists in the world, based on the definitions they've given for "sandbox". Of course there are no examples, because their definitions are exaggerations. They are comparing Wildstar's sandbox features to things that do not exist. That's silly. If people are going to get all pissy about Wildstar saying they have sandbox content, then they need use things that actually exist to compare it against. SWG, UO, Eve or even a Minecraft Multiplayer server would all be good examples of "sandbox" that most people would accept. ** edit ** For instance, in Eve, players can't destroy planets. There are restrictions. According to the post above, as soon as you put restrictions on a sandbox, it's no longer a sandbox, so Eve is not a sandbox. It's a dumb argument. Restrictions are a game thing, not a sandbox/theme park thing.  
    Would Terraria count?

    Terraria isn't an MMORPG, but that's why it works. Ditto for Minecraft servers. You're not going to get much more sandbox than a Terraria or Minecraft server and still have an RPG style game. But no, Terraria doesn't count as it's not an MMORPG.

    In these sandbox threads, people keep coming up with definitions for sandboxes that do not apply to well known, existing sandboxes (UO, SWG, Eve), and then apply those definitions to new games, using that as proof that the new games do not have sandbox content.

    If Wildstar has content that allows players to change the landscape, and generate player driven content, then they can say they have sandbox content. It might be bad sandbox content, it might be weak sandbox content, and it might be a tiny percentage of the game, but it's sandbox content.

    ** edit **
    Wildstar is billing itself as having sandbox content, not being a sandbox. There's a difference, and this is a better take on the whole sandbox/theme park thing anyway. It's a spectrum from "Sandbox" to "Theme Park" and games lay somewhere on that line. Wildstar is closer to "Sandbox" than WoW, Rift or TSW. That's what they're saying.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • AzothAzoth montreal, QCPosts: 720Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by Azoth

    Originally posted by lizardbones  

    Originally posted by someforumguy Lol. 'non-lineair quests from a semi-static pool'. What does that even mean?   And then his hybrid themepark/sandbox example. A campfire that you can place and leaves the player the puzzle to where he should place it. O wow, such a sandboxy freedom! Lol. That is just similar to any kind of buff that you can activate as player.  The guy is just throwing around the term sandbox as some kind of gimmick to attract potential players. His campfire example is way too shallow to use that term. I don't think it is smart for the dev to use the word sandbox for this game. And yeah, it is possible to create a hybrid. The whole point of a sandbox game is that you get the freedom to create anything in it, Even a themepark if you want. But this game won't even get close to becoming a sandbox.
    Where is the sandbox MMORPG that exists where you the player can create a themepark?  
    In a sandbox when player create quests for other players, it  becomes a ''theme park feature'' to the player taking it. The quest is player created but from there anyone doing the quest will be on rail pretty much. It could be a full story quest or simply a delivery quest.

     

    With a real sandbox with all the needed tools you could if you want create a dungeon for others to raid.

    So in a sandbox you can create theme park, but doing it the other way around has never been seen. The content is player or devs driven, I don't see how it could be in between. 

    You couldn't take wow for exemple and all of a sudden give the player tools to terraform or destroy buildings but it would mess with the quests, the npc and the cities.

    For it to work you would need area specificaly designed to be only sandbox even then it would just be like playing 2 games.



    Where is the real world example of an MMORPG Sandbox that fits this definition?

    You can RP this type of stuff in any game, even WoW. But that's not the same thing as players creating content that becomes part of the game. Where is the MMORPG Sandbox that makes this happen?

     

    I never said that there was a Sandbox with those feature now. I was explaining what an hybrid game would be to me.

    I guess putting work order or fetch quests in eve is somewhat related to what I was explaining, in the lowest scale possible.

     

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