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Do you think the phrases "Themepark" and "Sandbox" should be used less?

YakkinYakkin irvine, CAPosts: 919Member

Sandbox appears to have become a new buzzword, and there are people decrying it's supposed misuse in titles deemed to be anything BUT a sandbox.

Now as to whether they are valid in their anger, I can't really say, nor will I try to say anything about it, mostly because I'm always out of the loop, but this does bring me to my point.

 

Do you think it would be more beneficial to minimize the use of phrases such as "Themepark" and "Sandbox" and start being more specific about what EXACTLY is desired from an MMO?

Because Themepark and Sandbox, IMO, are so vague at this point, that being more specific would potentially make it easier for developers to to find niches in the MMO genre that they might be able to tap into, rather than creating a massive mish-mash of partially complete/underutilized or plain subpar mechanics in an attempt to grab everyone and their kitchen sink.

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Comments

  • OG_ZorvanOG_Zorvan Fresno, CAPosts: 615Member

    Those terms should be replaced by a simple game rating system.

    Themeparks shall be changed to "Rated NM for Noob Masses".

    Sandboxes shall be changed to "Rated EE for Everybody Else".

     

    You're welcome.

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

    Those terms should be replaced by a simple game rating system.

    Themeparks shall be changed to "Rated NM for Noob Masses".

    Sandboxes shall be changed to "Rated EE for Everybody Else".

     

    You're welcome.

     

    Not really what I was trying to get at. I mean I've always heard outcries for "more sandbox, more sandbox!" from people (although there probably is a good reason for that), but it sometimes feels like they are really vague at times, which kinda makes me wonder if devs are taking what they say at face value, and not really GETTING what the statement really means.

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCPosts: 6,255Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by OG_Zorvan

    Those terms should be replaced by a simple game rating system.

    Themeparks shall be changed to "Rated NM for Noob Masses".

    Sandboxes shall be changed to "Rated EE for Everybody Else".

     

    You're welcome.

    actually I believe this is what the OP was talking about trying to get away from.

     

    the terms have been used as promotion and demotion.

    Sandbox == good

    Themepark == Bad.

    thats how it been on this forum.

    but a themepark can be good and a Sandbox can be bad. but the way people misuse the term,

    its losing its meaning. Just like MMO at one point had meaning, but lost its meaning, once people started calling any online multiplayer game a MMO.

    right now, people are calling any game they like, a Sandbox, as a synonym for being a good game.

    image

  • YakkinYakkin irvine, CAPosts: 919Member
    Originally posted by MMOExposed
    Originally posted by OG_Zorvan

    Those terms should be replaced by a simple game rating system.

    Themeparks shall be changed to "Rated NM for Noob Masses".

    Sandboxes shall be changed to "Rated EE for Everybody Else".

    You're welcome.

    actually I believe this is what the OP was talking about trying to get away from.

    the terms have been used as promotion and demotion.

    Sandbox == good

    Themepark == Bad.

    thats how it been on this forum.

    but a themepark can be good and a Sandbox can be bad. but the way people misuse the term,

    its losing its meaning. Just like MMO at one point had meaning, but lost its meaning, once people started calling any online multiplayer game a MMO.

    right now, people are calling any game they like, a Sandbox, as a synonym for being a good game.

    You summed up my intended point far better than I did in my entire OP.

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

    Plenty of developers don't use the terms correctly and then 'marketing' sugar-coat every term to appeal to everyone because the finance dept. are under massive pressure to get a ton of subs very quickly, at launch when buzz and shiny are most effective. Don't expect mmorpg.com to stop throwing as much fuel on the confusion as possible. image

    Wiki: 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandbox_(video_games)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theme_Park_(video_game)

    is a start.

  • Recon48Recon48 QC, IAPosts: 221Member
    Not really.  The two words are an early indicator for me as to whether I will put any more of my time looking for more details about a game.  Typically when I see a title labeled a themepark, I generally don't look any further into it.  When I see one called a sandbox, it raises enough intrigue that I'll read more about it and decide whether the right systems are in place for me to potentially become interested.
  • MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCPosts: 6,255Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Recon48
    Not really.  The two words are an early indicator for me as to whether I will put any more of my time looking for more details about a game.  Typically when I see a title labeled a themepark, I generally don't look any further into it.  When I see one called a sandbox, it raises enough intrigue that I'll read more about it and decide whether the right systems are in place for me to potentially become interested.

    but again you missed the OP's point.

    If (using your example) you overlook any game called themepark.

    Why call the MMO a themepark rather than Sandbox, even if its not a Sandbox?

    The term has become a synonym for Good Game.

    So calling a themepark MMO, a Sandbox, will draw in attention in a misleading way.

    If I want a Sandbox MMO, I would like to get a Sandbox MMO, not a themepark MMO that a developer figured would be better to call a Sandbox to sell more boxes.

    and vice verse.

    image

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by Enigmatus

    Not really what I was trying to get at. I mean I've always heard outcries for "more sandbox, more sandbox!" from people (although there probably is a good reason for that), but it sometimes feels like they are really vague at times, which kinda makes me wonder if devs are taking what they say at face value, and not really GETTING what the statement really means.

    There are actually several different concepts that get lumped under "sandbox" and you have to research a little but abot the poster's history to understand what they mean by the word.  To some extent, it becomes a catch-all for "not a themepark".

    I use the word a fair bit and am actually part of the problem because although I have a very clear concept in my own head of what I mean when I say it, my simulation-instead-of-story world ideas are not interchangable with the more PvP-centric defintions that are floating around in many other peoples' heads.

  • worldalphaworldalpha Milton, ONPosts: 403Member
    Based on this thread I guess I should include the word sandbox into my gane description.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    Working on Social Strategy MMORTS (now Launched!) http://www.worldalpha.com

  • ThaneThane berlinPosts: 2,232Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by OG_Zorvan

    Those terms should be replaced by a simple game rating system.

    Themeparks shall be changed to "Rated NM for Noob Masses".

    Sandboxes shall be changed to "Rated EE for Everybody Else".

     

    You're welcome.

    yea right, because the random noob masses aint crying for a sandbox for ages now. 

    did you actually read the forums lately? :)

    "I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!"

  • Paradigm68Paradigm68 New York, NYPosts: 884Member Uncommon

    Why? They describe types of games. I personally happen to be interested in a sandpark style game over a themepark type game. If a new game comes out that is zoned, on rails, forces your char to be the main character of the storyline and doesn't allow for a robust choice of player activities, I want to know.

    And they are not new. People have been arguing about sandbox v themepark on this site for years.

     

     

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,657Member Uncommon

    The terms are fine for describing content. Too often people use it to pigeon-hole a game - a practice so common on these forums that the concept of diverse content in an MMO has become completely foreign, resulting in ridiculous terms like 'sandpark' to describe what they've recently discovered MMOs have always been.

     

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  • LarsaLarsa NurembergPosts: 990Member

    Indeed, the words are fine, no need to change them.

    Less fine is that some people (both fans and games studios) recently started to use the term "sandbox" for a lot of completely unrelated things.

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

  • MMOwandererMMOwanderer LisbonPosts: 415Member
    Originally posted by Enigmatus

    Because Themepark and Sandbox, IMO, are so vague at this point

    No it isn't. I will agree with ou that sandbox as indeed become a buzzword and should probably be let go, but themeparks are still very easy to point out, specially the big budget AAA ones.

  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer ChairPosts: 5,587Member Uncommon
    I don't think they should be used less and less, but I think we need better definitions of what they mean.
  • RydesonRydeson Canton, OHPosts: 3,858Member Uncommon

         The thing that gets me.. I don't have a problem with themeparks.. In fact I love going to themeparks, as long as they have MORE rides then I can enjoy in a day.. That is the problem with today's "themepark" MMO's..  They are basically a very limited 1 ride game.. You don't have numerous options to mix things up..  Lets looks at the 2 recent games I played and quit.. Rift and SWTOR..  Both of these games have very limited starting points and have almost a 1 track path from beginning to end.. This is ok for the first character, but after that.. BORING..  When I look back at older games such as WoW, we were giving 6 starting cities with numerous options on leveling.. EQ was even better with over a dozen starting locations, and paths to take..

         Replayabilty was wide open.. I loved being a half elf druid from Surefall Glades in EQ, and finding my way to socialize with others.. EQ was all about discovery..  Being  a veteran EQ druid, I took pride in being an elite traveler in the game.. I had the means to be a taxi and escort, and the knowledge to guide anyone anywhere and track down virtually anything in the zone.. It was great to get tells from people I didn't even know, and was recommended to help or join others in their adventures..  Word of mouth and reputation was alive and well in EQ (early)..  EQ allowed the skilled and mature player to thrive, while exposing the less then desireables to fend for themselves..  Sorry.. I got side tracked there.. 

        Anyways..  Sandboxes are ok as long as you have the proper tools and rules to govern the cheaters.. BUT.. themeparks can be equally rewarding as long as you aren't tunneled into a single line.. 

  • YakkinYakkin irvine, CAPosts: 919Member
    Originally posted by GeezerGamer
    I don't think they should be used less and less, but I think we need better definitions of what they mean.

    Well that would definitely be more helpful, but then again I'm not sure this is possible considering everyone and their mother has their own definition as to what creates a sandbox. As it is, I get the feeling that developers are just taking the stuff that is easiest to implement of these ideas as an attempt to pacify people, while ironically drawing their ire even more, even though they only have the vague nature of the definition of sandbox to blame for...and other things.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,989Member Uncommon

    No, first it was WOW clone, so I stopped using that in favor of Theme park and I feel the term accurately describes a particular design model that has become predominant in recent years.

    Sandbox is a more nebulous term an there is no clear agreement on what it means amongst fans of the design, so it's harder to apply.

    It certainly doesn't mean a MMO is "better", very few sandbox games are considered very highly these days, but it does reflect a desire for less linear content, a more open world design regardless of the specific tools that are provided in the game world.

    I do agree they should not be used as insults, I've had great fun with many theme park style games, I'm just a bit burned out on them now and looking for some more variety.

     

     

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  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer ChairPosts: 5,587Member Uncommon

    TP= Play in our world.

    SB=Play in your world.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    actually I believe this is what the OP was talking about trying to get away from.

    Yup.

    Nothing's going to stop parrots from parroting, of course.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by worldalpha
    Based on this thread I guess I should include the word sandbox into my gane description.

    Oh, no, that sounds like a sure bet for raking in the cash, don't it?

    But don't forget, first we attach the 'sandbox' or 'themepark' label, then we microanalyze to destruction (regardless of brand).

    In any case, anything the company/makers of the game say about it, is automagically a lie.  That's just a given.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • Ice-QueenIce-Queen USA, GAPosts: 2,451Member Uncommon
    I'm not sure they should be used less or more, I do think like Geezer said above though, they should be more defined when a company uses the "We're going to be a sandbox game", or we're just going to get company's using it as a catch phrase to get attention for their games, only to disappoint people when they find out the game is just another themepark, and/or WoW Clone.

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  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,924Member Uncommon
    I think people should stop thinking of games being solely sandbox and solely themepark. The issue comes that, while we love to think sandbox exists and would be great, in truth most sandbox games do have elements of themepark in it which actually are part of what makes it great. Look at minecraft, it is very much a sandbox but the elements of having to get blocks and having to do such and such task is a themepark element. A true sandbox would entail true freedom which becomes quickly boring to the user. We want a game that makes us work towards something with more guided elements (themepark origins) while giving the ability to use those resources in creative ways with more freedom (sandbox).
  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by Purutzil
     The issue comes that, while we love to think sandbox exists and would be great, in truth most sandbox games do have elements of themepark in it which actually are part of what makes it great.

    But there's a huge (huge!) contingent of people that will make snap decisions about a new game based on the existance or lack of a single game feature.

    Instances, for example.  Housing.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • Crazy_StickCrazy_Stick Privacy Preferred, NCPosts: 1,059Member

    I think that if you can no longer tell the difference between a themepark MMO and a sandbox MMO then you have argued yourself into a state of dementia within the hyperbole of senseless fan elitism and confused loves. I’d recommend time away from PC game boards and more sun if pressed. The terms are not any more over used than flat head or phillips head screw drivers when talking over a home project by people that understand what they are commenting upon. The good and bad bias is purely a fiction created by an individual poster’s psychological needs for affirmation. They can be good or bad purely on their own merits irregardless of play model type. It is what it is, no more, no less...

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