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Do Sandboxes Overwhelm You With Choices?

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  • IkifalesIkifales tucson, AZPosts: 265Member Uncommon

    It depends on the game. I think that when you are reading about the features it can be overwhelming, just like a new job is can feel overwhelming at first. 

    Once you delve in and start learning one thing at a time, it all comes together eventually. 

    My first MMO was SWG. When I logged in I had no idea what to expect form an MMO and I had no business in that game. A couple people decided to take pity on me and show me the ropes, from that point on the whole game opened up for me.

    So yes and an no is my answer!

    Yes they can be overwhelming, and no it just takes some patience and the ability to make friends who know what they are doing.

  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,734Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Squeak69

    thats where i disagree, a sandbox game is a openword in whicih you can reate what you want whether it be a village, or a catle or whatever, SWG is the best example of a good sandbox MMO, becuase you could create whereever you wanted.

    i just dont understand how a game in which you have nothing but a crafting system and no building system is considered a sandbox, its just a open world game with a lack of content, and thats it,

    saying its about autorship when you cant actully do anything more in it then you could in a theme park and in fact less most of the time is silly, thats just a excuse cause once agian all this stuff your saying gives you author ship is still once agian stuff you can do in a open world game with no content is the same as what you can do in a open world theme park.

    main diff here is the tools the game give you and some of these sandbox games give you even less then the theme park ones do.

    P.S. i guees a good exam,ple of a snadbox gmae in my opion that is comeing out soon or has, not tracking it myselkf much, would be archage

    How does your description conflict with what I described?  You describe a system of player authorship, in a game where parts of it are dev-authored (the specific range of "sand" elements, and their parameters.)  And because it's considerably more player authoring than usual, we describe it as a sandbox.

    Crafting is building, so depending on how much of the game world you're crafting, a game is more or less a sandbox.

    Sandboxes are about the sand, whether or not the games you're thinking of have it.  It's the defining element.  The reason we call it sandbox!

    So a sandbox can be terrible at giving players sand in the same way a themepark can be terrible at giving players rides.  That doesn't change the fundamental definitions or traits of either; bad games are just bad games.

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,439Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Axehilt
    Originally posted by Squeak69

    why is he talking so slow, oh wait you must be like a tourist or something who thinks talking slower will make you saying it wrong make more ence.

    anyway, i reallity theme park often give the exact same amount of choices that a sand box dose, it just also give a story you can follow to.

    lets review, what peple claim a sand box should be is.

    ability to roam anywhere freely ( open world)

    crafting

    player based economy ( no matter how messed up)

    buil;ding ( ok this is one i think is required in sandbox for some reason other dont agree)

    hmmmm looking at this list and i know ill get hanged for this, dousnt that descibe WoW minus the building aspect.

    just saying alot of those "theme park" MMOs you can do this stuff in, heck i tend to do most of this stuff in them, my faverite kind of MMO is one that has both good story elements and sand boxy style game play o the side.

    That's part of why most players' definition of sandbox is terrible.

    The other part being that obviously the terms "sandbox" and "themepark" were used because sandboxes involve sand (player authorship; the player can change the world by manipulating the "sand") and themeparks involve rides (dev authorship; the devs populate the world with "rides".)  So the key differentiator is who's authoring the experience.

    So the thing that makes a sandbox a sandbox is (wait for it...) the sand.  Elements of the game which are player-authored; player-manipulated; player-created.

    Obviously a game must have some dev authorship to even function as a game.  EVE's developers set a lot of game rules to ensure the game actually works, and even a more sandboxy game like UO has many fixed systems players don't control.  These game rules make the game more themepark-like, but obviously nobody's necessarily pushing for a "pure" sandbox, and by calling a game sandbox you're merely describing a game which generally has more player authorship than usual.

    If you count the mods, which is more player authorship that usual (a lot more than other games with mods), then you have clearly defined Skyrim as both themepark and sandbox. The dev tools being outside of the game instead of inside but result it greater freedom of artistic expression.

    Words fail, especially the word sandbox. Time to start using freedombox...

  • atticusbcatticusbc Posts: 1,068Member Uncommon

    i think a true sandbox wouldn't actually give you any choices. you wouldn't log in and have x, y, and z options. you'd log in and have a world to do what you wanted in. and if you don't know what you want to do, and aren't willing to go for it then you shouldn't be playing sandboxes.

    EDIT: typos

  • ksternalksternal Hainesport, NJPosts: 81Member
    Thats a good thing thou, not all players are the same like basically every single MMO out there is now.
  • TsaboHavocTsaboHavoc PinheiralPosts: 351Member
    Originally posted by Squeak69
    Originally posted by Torik
    Originally posted by TsaboHavoc
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
    Originally posted by Axehilt

    Nobody who played Glitch would claim the game "overwhelmed" them with choices.  "Empty" and "nothing to do" would be the words they would use.

    You can't create an empty world with nothing to do and expect players to like it just because you slap a "sandbox!" sticker on the box.

    So sandboxes underwhelm me with lack of choice.  I want a game filled with interesting possibilities, and they simply provide some terrain (or star systems) to move through very slowly and whatever tools they provide for me to manipulate that world are typically dull (if not outright tedious.)

    Which isn't to say sandbox is a bad idea.  Just that you have to approach it more like Terraria or ATITD or Puzzle Pirates, where the world is manipulatable and that's what makes it a sandbox, but the moment-to-moment gameplay is enjoyable: it's a game.

    There is no sandbox where choice overwhelms currently.  If you took Terraria and added 20 features which were all available from the beginning of the game, you would have a sandbox where choice is overwhelming.  But too much choice isn't the typical sandbox problem.  The typical sandbox problem is they're empty.  If there's barely any game, there's barely any choice.

     This.  Sandbox idea is great.  In practice there really are very few meaningfull choices.  It comes down to a few tasks repeated thousands of times.  Very few gameplay options.

     

    am i the only one seeing the irony here....

     

    u just described a ... them..p..a.. urg..

    You just pointed out the reason why themeparks can feel more 'sandboxy' then some of the games specifically designated as sandboxes.

    why is he talking so slow, oh wait you must be like a tourist or something who thinks talking slower will make you saying it wrong make more ence.

    anyway, i reallity theme park often give the exact same amount of choices that a sand box dose, it just also give a story you can follow to.

    lets review, what peple claim a sand box should be is.

    ability to roam anywhere freely ( open world)

    crafting

    player based economy ( no matter how messed up)

    buil;ding ( ok this is one i think is required in sandbox for some reason other dont agree)

    hmmmm looking at this list and i know ill get hanged for this, dousnt that descibe WoW minus the building aspect.

    just saying alot of those "theme park" MMOs you can do this stuff in, heck i tend to do most of this stuff in them, my faverite kind of MMO is one that has both good story elements and sand boxy style game play o the side.

    compare what u can do in UO with u can do in Wow for example.. ur statement isnt true. oh and the story is more a burden than bonus in my book, u know u are the special snowflake as much as any other guy running around. in a themepark u are just a faceless clone running to "endgame".

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,316Member Uncommon

    In UO you could do a lot.  That is a good example of a sandbox.

    Compare Ryzom to WoW.  Not so favourable anymore.

    Sandbox should mean more meaningfull choice.  All too often it means less choice, and little content.

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • crasset15crasset15 TallinnPosts: 183Member
    Originally posted by atticusbc

    i think a true sandbox wouldn't actually give you any choices. you wouldn't log in and have x, y, and z options. you'd log in and have a world to do what you wanted in. and if you don't know what you want to do, and aren't willing to go for it then you shouldn't be playing sandboxes.

    To have a world where you can do what you want in, you need many options that have been added by the devs. If a game wouldn't give any choices, it would just be a map where you can't interact with your surroundings in any way.

    Games like dayz aren't really sandbox, because a lot of the options you would expect are simply not added into the game by developers, and therefore you can't choose to do some things which you could if the game allowed it.

    - I want to take a boat and go fishing. I can't because that option hasn't been added by the devs.

    - I want to craft a spear out of wood, I can't because that option isn't in.

    - I want to remove a fuel tank from a car, put my survival supplies in it, and bury it. Again I can't because the game doesn't allow such specific choices.

    - I want to take a bucket and collect rain water in the middle of a field. I can't.

    - I want to dig a cave/mine in the side of a mountain. The game doesn't allow it.

    - I want to start up an industrial furnace to melt scrap metal into a desired crafting component. I can't.

    - I want to get salt from sea water. I can't.

    - I want to draw a map on a piece of paper. I can't

    - I take berry seeds from a plant, and want to start my berry farm. I can't.

    - I want to catch wild boars in a forest, build a fenced area for them, and start an animal farm. I can't.

    - I want to make a crude scope for my hunting rifle from a pair of binoculars. I can't.

    - I want to put a rope between 2 cars and tow the one that isn't working. I can't

    - I want to make a fire with a magnifying lens. I can't

    - I want to chop a bunch of wood and build a cottage. I can't

    - I want to shoot a bird, use the feathers in arrows, and cook the meat. I cant

    - I want to put dirt on my face and do the zombie walk to fool other players. I can't

    - I want to build a deadfall trap. I can't

    The game simply lacks the majority of creative gameplay choices that players would want to make, and the list of choices you do have is not very long. Most of the playtime you spend on moving from one location to another, not on doing a specific activity in the gameworld.

  • AdamaiAdamai derbyPosts: 469Member
    Love sand box games and the whole emphasis on makinging my own way in the game. Hate hand holding and direction. It ruins games.
  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,734Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by mmoguy43

    If you count the mods, which is more player authorship that usual (a lot more than other games with mods), then you have clearly defined Skyrim as both themepark and sandbox. The dev tools being outside of the game instead of inside but result it greater freedom of artistic expression.

    Words fail, especially the word sandbox. Time to start using freedombox...

    Without mods, it's definitely a themepark.  Because you can't really manipulate Skyrim's world and once you're done riding the rides (consuming all the content) then you're done.

    With mods, yes it's a sandbox.  Especially for the mod creators, but also for anyone who customizes their Skyrim with exactly the elements they want.  Although in the latter case there's certainly a spectrum between the artist who uses paints created by others to create something truly their own, and a person who just downloads a bunch of google images and creates a collage of art that is predominantly the creation of others.  So just installing one big conversion mod hasn't really turned the game into a sandbox for that player.

    We don't really need a new term.  Since a sandbox is about sand (malleable game elements) it's fundamentally a "freedombox".    While the denotion between sandbox and themepark isn't always 100% clear, it doesn't have to be: these are genre-like definitions.  Nobody sits around questioning whether WOW is a first-person shooter just because there are a few sequences where you're shooting things from a turret.  And nobody considers WOW a sandbox just because things like the Auction House are very player-driven.

    If we needed a new term it would be "open world PVP".  That's the most common way sandbox is mis-used, with players thinking that's what sandboxes are about.

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • SengiSengi HamburgPosts: 350Member
    Originally posted by Sovrath

    ...

    However, there are people who are wired differently and/or play these games to be entertained and to get a specific type of entertainment experience.

    So, for example, a coworker of mine who is a "gamer" prefers games such as Dishonored or Bio-Shock (among many others) because they are first and foremost games. He wants to be given challenges and he wants to overcome them and then move on.

    A game such as skyrim didn't hold him at all (regardless of the argument of it being sandbox or open world, let's just accept the game doesn't force you down its game play paths) and he only played about 15 minutes after the starter part.

    His comments were that it was too open, too many options and wandering around was to him boring. Even if that meant opening up opportunities or discovering.

    He wants linear game play with challenges, doesn't have to be strictly linear but he wants set paths where he is clear where the next stop is. ...

    It was always completely mysterious to me why someone would look at a game with many options and cry out: „I don’t know what to do“. It always seemed to me like a spoiled child that has a lot of toys and still can’t keep itself busy on its own.

    But when I read this post I think it is something differed. The sentence is actually not finished. It actually should be: “I don’t know what to do to win this game.” There are players that approach every game with the question in mind how to beat it. It's a game so there must be a way to win. Most the time this question is more subconscious or implied in the way they think of gaming.

    So there are two types of games, the ones that have clear victory condition, like Chess, and the ones that don’t, like Legos. But there can also be hybrids. That’s why Skyrim has much sandbox content as well as a linear central storyline.

  • BurntvetBurntvet Baltimore, MDPosts: 2,941Member Uncommon
    Choice is always a good thing. In fact, I think the lack of choice and inability to allow different play styles, is a prime reason most of the big MMOs have tanked these last several years. Show me a game that failed, and I'll show you a linear themepark with 1 path.
  • DisdenaDisdena Troy, NYPosts: 1,093Member
    Originally posted by Axehilt

    Without mods, it's definitely a themepark.  Because you can't really manipulate Skyrim's world and once you're done riding the rides (consuming all the content) then you're done.

    With mods, yes it's a sandbox.  Especially for the mod creators, but also for anyone who customizes their Skyrim with exactly the elements they want.  Although in the latter case there's certainly a spectrum between the artist who uses paints created by others to create something truly their own, and a person who just downloads a bunch of google images and creates a collage of art that is predominantly the creation of others.  So just installing one big conversion mod hasn't really turned the game into a sandbox for that player.

    We don't really need a new term.  Since a sandbox is about sand (malleable game elements) it's fundamentally a "freedombox".    While the denotion between sandbox and themepark isn't always 100% clear, it doesn't have to be: these are genre-like definitions.  Nobody sits around questioning whether WOW is a first-person shooter just because there are a few sequences where you're shooting things from a turret.  And nobody considers WOW a sandbox just because things like the Auction House are very player-driven.

    If we needed a new term it would be "open world PVP".  That's the most common way sandbox is mis-used, with players thinking that's what sandboxes are about.

    Okay, I have to cut you off here. The topic is about whether players of sandbox games get overwhelmed by choices. It's clear that your definition of sandbox, no matter how much you enjoy explaining it, is not the type of sandbox that's being discussed here.

    I can't pretend like I have proof that the majority of people discussing sandbox MMOs use a certain definition of sandbox, but the author of the article linked in the OP clearly is using a different definition than you are. Case in point: she alludes to the fact that Skyrim is a sandbox game, and she's not talking about mods when she says it. She's referring to the fact that a player who does not understand sandbox gameplay may stop playing the game after plowing through the main story quest. This observation doesn't make any sense if you define sandbox games as those with malleable game elements. There's no point in insisting upon another definition, because that would invalidate the central premise that's being discussed.

    So let's not get sidetracked over a definition. Even if you feel it's a misuse (and by the way, who died and made you Merriam and/or Webster?), the author is treating the sandbox genre as one in which most or all of the gameplay is undirected—that is, you do it because you want to, not because the game instructs or incentivizes you to do it. With that in mind, can having too much choice and too much freedom in a game like that have a negative effect on the player's experience?

    image
  • Squeak69Squeak69 Colorado Springs, COPosts: 956Member
    Originally posted by TsaboHavoc
    Originally posted by Squeak69
    Originally posted by Torik
    Originally posted by TsaboHavoc
    Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
    Originally posted by Axehilt

    Nobody who played Glitch would claim the game "overwhelmed" them with choices.  "Empty" and "nothing to do" would be the words they would use.

    You can't create an empty world with nothing to do and expect players to like it just because you slap a "sandbox!" sticker on the box.

    So sandboxes underwhelm me with lack of choice.  I want a game filled with interesting possibilities, and they simply provide some terrain (or star systems) to move through very slowly and whatever tools they provide for me to manipulate that world are typically dull (if not outright tedious.)

    Which isn't to say sandbox is a bad idea.  Just that you have to approach it more like Terraria or ATITD or Puzzle Pirates, where the world is manipulatable and that's what makes it a sandbox, but the moment-to-moment gameplay is enjoyable: it's a game.

    There is no sandbox where choice overwhelms currently.  If you took Terraria and added 20 features which were all available from the beginning of the game, you would have a sandbox where choice is overwhelming.  But too much choice isn't the typical sandbox problem.  The typical sandbox problem is they're empty.  If there's barely any game, there's barely any choice.

     This.  Sandbox idea is great.  In practice there really are very few meaningfull choices.  It comes down to a few tasks repeated thousands of times.  Very few gameplay options.

     

    am i the only one seeing the irony here....

     

    u just described a ... them..p..a.. urg..

    You just pointed out the reason why themeparks can feel more 'sandboxy' then some of the games specifically designated as sandboxes.

    why is he talking so slow, oh wait you must be like a tourist or something who thinks talking slower will make you saying it wrong make more ence.

    anyway, i reallity theme park often give the exact same amount of choices that a sand box dose, it just also give a story you can follow to.

    lets review, what peple claim a sand box should be is.

    ability to roam anywhere freely ( open world)

    crafting

    player based economy ( no matter how messed up)

    buil;ding ( ok this is one i think is required in sandbox for some reason other dont agree)

    hmmmm looking at this list and i know ill get hanged for this, dousnt that descibe WoW minus the building aspect.

    just saying alot of those "theme park" MMOs you can do this stuff in, heck i tend to do most of this stuff in them, my faverite kind of MMO is one that has both good story elements and sand boxy style game play o the side.

    compare what u can do in UO with u can do in Wow for example.. ur statement isnt true. oh and the story is more a burden than bonus in my book, u know u are the special snowflake as much as any other guy running around. in a themepark u are just a faceless clone running to "endgame".

    actully iagree when useing UO as a example, but then UO is alot diffrent from the pile of sandbox games that have been comeing out of late, my point isnt getting aaccross here,

    ill make it simple, alot of things are claiming to be sandbox games are just open world games with no content and some niffty tools, while iin and of its self a awsome thing most of these games tolls are nothing special that standard theme parks have,

    there are exeptions yes but the percentage of them out there are not real sandboxed they are open worlds and nothing more, and a open world theme park is the same thing exept it has a story in it as well.

    to be honest i dont actully think of WoW as a sand box for the same reason i dont think of most of those so called sandbox games one ether cause you cant change anything in the world.

    trust me im addicted to true sandbox games, and what more i actully enjoy gmaes that are a mix or theme park and sandbox, cause sometime i just wanna follow a story and some time i just wanan go off and do my own thing.

    F2P may be the way of the future, but ya know they dont make them like they used toimage
    Proper Grammer & spelling are extra, corrections will be LOL at.

  • Squeak69Squeak69 Colorado Springs, COPosts: 956Member
    Originally posted by Disdena
    Originally posted by Axehilt

    Without mods, it's definitely a themepark.  Because you can't really manipulate Skyrim's world and once you're done riding the rides (consuming all the content) then you're done.

    With mods, yes it's a sandbox.  Especially for the mod creators, but also for anyone who customizes their Skyrim with exactly the elements they want.  Although in the latter case there's certainly a spectrum between the artist who uses paints created by others to create something truly their own, and a person who just downloads a bunch of google images and creates a collage of art that is predominantly the creation of others.  So just installing one big conversion mod hasn't really turned the game into a sandbox for that player.

    We don't really need a new term.  Since a sandbox is about sand (malleable game elements) it's fundamentally a "freedombox".    While the denotion between sandbox and themepark isn't always 100% clear, it doesn't have to be: these are genre-like definitions.  Nobody sits around questioning whether WOW is a first-person shooter just because there are a few sequences where you're shooting things from a turret.  And nobody considers WOW a sandbox just because things like the Auction House are very player-driven.

    If we needed a new term it would be "open world PVP".  That's the most common way sandbox is mis-used, with players thinking that's what sandboxes are about.

    Okay, I have to cut you off here. The topic is about whether players of sandbox games get overwhelmed by choices. It's clear that your definition of sandbox, no matter how much you enjoy explaining it, is not the type of sandbox that's being discussed here.

    I can't pretend like I have proof that the majority of people discussing sandbox MMOs use a certain definition of sandbox, but the author of the article linked in the OP clearly is using a different definition than you are. Case in point: she alludes to the fact that Skyrim is a sandbox game, and she's not talking about mods when she says it. She's referring to the fact that a player who does not understand sandbox gameplay may stop playing the game after plowing through the main story quest. This observation doesn't make any sense if you define sandbox games as those with malleable game elements. There's no point in insisting upon another definition, because that would invalidate the central premise that's being discussed.

    So let's not get sidetracked over a definition. Even if you feel it's a misuse (and by the way, who died and made you Merriam and/or Webster?), the author is treating the sandbox genre as one in which most or all of the gameplay is undirected—that is, you do it because you want to, not because the game instructs or incentivizes you to do it. With that in mind, can having too much choice and too much freedom in a game like that have a negative effect on the player's experience?

    once agian that is WoW cause once your past the tutorial you got a lot of directions to go in or you can jsut wonder off and do your own thing i know i did, i hit max level and only did half the content,

    GODS grinding for vanity pets is tough but it sure levels you fast

    F2P may be the way of the future, but ya know they dont make them like they used toimage
    Proper Grammer & spelling are extra, corrections will be LOL at.

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

     

    Okay, I have to cut you off here. The topic is about whether players of sandbox games get overwhelmed by choices. It's clear that your definition of sandbox, no matter how much you enjoy explaining it, is not the type of sandbox that's being discussed here.

    I can't pretend like I have proof that the majority of people discussing sandbox MMOs use a certain definition of sandbox, but the author of the article linked in the OP clearly is using a different definition than you are. Case in point: she alludes to the fact that Skyrim is a sandbox game, and she's not talking about mods when she says it. She's referring to the fact that a player who does not understand sandbox gameplay may stop playing the game after plowing through the main story quest. This observation doesn't make any sense if you define sandbox games as those with malleable game elements. There's no point in insisting upon another definition, because that would invalidate the central premise that's being discussed.

    So let's not get sidetracked over a definition. Even if you feel it's a misuse (and by the way, who died and made you Merriam and/or Webster?), the author is treating the sandbox genre as one in which most or all of the gameplay is undirected—that is, you do it because you want to, not because the game instructs or incentivizes you to do it. With that in mind, can having too much choice and too much freedom in a game like that have a negative effect on the player's experience?

    But even with the definition you give, Skyrim wouldn't be a sandbox. I'm of the thought that Axehilt's definition, while still somewhat vague, is the better one.

    And if we insist on dividing games between the two camps, I'd say Skyrim leans stronly on the themepark side.

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

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    What about the types of choices available in the games themselves? There are choices that are provided by the developer, through the game and choices that originate with the player.

    For instance, in WoW the choice of progression path, type of character and type of combat the player wants to engage in are all options provided by the game itself. The player is choosing amongst the choices laid out by the game.

    In Eve, the progression path is also provided by the game itself. The player can choose what direction to take with their progression, combat style and type of character, but the available choices are provided by the game.

    The difference is in the choice of activities. While nearly all the available activities in Eve are provided by the developer, the choice of 'what to do' is up to the player and the option to engage in game play outside of the choices provided by the developer exists. If I'm not mistaken, some of the choices added by the developer came directly from what players were doing.

    Compare this to WoW where the choices of what to do outside of developer provided activities are limited to role playing. Any other activity in the game is something provided by Blizzard. They have built a company on being able to provide enough activity and choices of millions of people in one game.

    So, comparing the sandbox example to the theme park example, when the choices must come from the player, even if they are not overwhelming, could it just be that many players are not provided enough game play choices? They aren't overwhelmed so much as not entertained, so to speak.

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

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by waynejr2
     

     How would you feel if you went into that bar to buy a drink from the bartender and for a tip, he will tell you rumors then you get a chance to choose one or more items from that list?

    I would feel annoyed .. more text to read? I would much rather there are more dungeons to choose from on my LFD.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Wakygreek
    I would rather have the choice and not use it then to not have the choice and wish it was there.

    Not if i have to sort through the choices everytime and there are lot of irrelevant ones. That is a waste of my time.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member

    I've seen so many conflicting definitions for what constitutes a 'true' sandbox, I don't even bother with the op's implicits.

    But setting aside the assumptions buried in the original op, you aren't left with much of a topic.

    Obviously, even the Survive or Die games could include tutorial content, game makers aren't obligated to keep their customers in the dark.

    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.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,455Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Wakygreek
    I would rather have the choice and not use it then to not have the choice and wish it was there.

    Not if i have to sort through the choices everytime and there are lot of irrelevant ones. That is a waste of my time.

    Well, how do you "work it in life?"

    Do you wake up every morning and sift through every choice imaginable before you can even take a step out of bed or do you fall back on "who you are" and "how your life is" and then go from there?

    I would say a good sandbox should allow for a player to say "based on who I am, this is what I want to be and what I want to do". The game should then be clear on how you can follow  those paths.

    And if you change you can change your paths.

    The problem here is that there are people who would enter a "sandbox" game and look around for a predetermined path without them bringing anything to the table.

    This is not to say that any of these games shouldn't have amazing tutorials. But I think there should be enough coming from the player that informs him/her on what they want to do/be and the game should then make it clear on how they can proceed.

    if the player has absolutely no idea I would say that the game might not be for them.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Wakygreek
    I would rather have the choice and not use it then to not have the choice and wish it was there.

    Not if i have to sort through the choices everytime and there are lot of irrelevant ones. That is a waste of my time.

    Well, how do you "work it in life?"

    Games are not life. Games are entertainment. Bad, boring choices are not entertaining.

  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,734Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Disdena

    Okay, I have to cut you off here. The topic is about whether players of sandbox games get overwhelmed by choices. It's clear that your definition of sandbox, no matter how much you enjoy explaining it, is not the type of sandbox that's being discussed here.

    I can't pretend like I have proof that the majority of people discussing sandbox MMOs use a certain definition of sandbox, but the author of the article linked in the OP clearly is using a different definition than you are. Case in point: she alludes to the fact that Skyrim is a sandbox game, and she's not talking about mods when she says it. She's referring to the fact that a player who does not understand sandbox gameplay may stop playing the game after plowing through the main story quest. This observation doesn't make any sense if you define sandbox games as those with malleable game elements. There's no point in insisting upon another definition, because that would invalidate the central premise that's being discussed.

    So let's not get sidetracked over a definition. Even if you feel it's a misuse (and by the way, who died and made you Merriam and/or Webster?), the author is treating the sandbox genre as one in which most or all of the gameplay is undirected—that is, you do it because you want to, not because the game instructs or incentivizes you to do it. With that in mind, can having too much choice and too much freedom in a game like that have a negative effect on the player's experience?

    It's not my definition.

    It's the original definition someone coined years ago.

    I heard a different, later article about sandboxes from a developer and picked up the term from there.

    • Sandbox = sand = malleable game elements.
    • Themepark = rides = static (dev-built) elements.

    Which is really the only definition that makes any sense, because any other definition doesn't have any right to be called "sandbox".  Literally.  The other definitions share almost no similarities to the term.

    • If you're talking about open world games, why would you liken them to sandboxes, which are closed freeform environments?
    • If you're talking about open world PVP, why would you like them to playful spaces which weren't about territorial dominance?

    We should all be disappointed that some game journalists have no clue what the term means and so they toss it around haphazardly, sure.  But one mistaken journalist doesn't get to re-write the term, and certainly can't re-write the underlying logic behind the original true definition.

    "Joe stated his case logically and passionately, but his perceived effeminate voice only drew big gales of stupid laughter..." -Idiocracy
    "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." -Socrates

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,455Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Wakygreek
    I would rather have the choice and not use it then to not have the choice and wish it was there.

    Not if i have to sort through the choices everytime and there are lot of irrelevant ones. That is a waste of my time.

    Well, how do you "work it in life?"

    Games are not life. Games are entertainment. Bad, boring choices are not entertaining.

    You are being deliberately obtuse now you can answer the question.

    My god does it have to be that hard? And I've already said that peopel base their decisions on who you are and what they want to be/accomplish.

    edit: of course "games aren't life". geesh.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by Icewhite
    I've seen so many conflicting definitions for what constitutes a 'true' sandbox, I don't even bother with the op's implicits.But setting aside the assumptions buried in the original op, you aren't left with much of a topic.Obviously, even the Survive or Die games could include tutorial content, game makers aren't obligated to keep their customers in the dark.

    I am a little surprised that the topic has gotten this far without devolving into a sandbox vs theme park thread, even if it has gotten derailed a bit by the definition of a sandbox. People have brought up some good points and I think there are a couple things brought up here that wouldn't have been brought up on the Massively site because of the format of their discussions. This thread has made it farther than most of my threads, and has been interesting to me, if it's not been interesting to anyone else, so I'm pretty happy with it. :-)

    In regards to choices, a theme park has a more structured set of choices to make throughout the player's time in the game. A sandbox on the other hand will not necessarily present choices to the player, even though that's an option for sandbox game play. At some point, the player is left to decide which choices to make. This is a narrow view of the differences between the two types of games, but it allows for a discussion to happen without having to get into all the ways that theme parks and sandboxes are alike or different.

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

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