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A Single Player RPG with Open World is a Sandbox

MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 7,113

I made a thread recently here criticizing Skyrim, the so called Sandbox RPG that released this month.



I notice from over the net, that many people feel that Skyrim is a Sandbox because it has a "Open World".



But this confuses me. if Sandboxs are defined by having a "Open World" or not, than shouldnt we also consider all MMORPGs to also be Sandboxes, since they all have open persistent worlds (of course we excluding the CORPGs because thats a different genre of gaming the just share this site)

 

based of these flawed views I have seen on this, it has to be asked again. What do you define a Sandbox RPG as?

Cant say Player housing, because many MMO which commonly are considered Non sandbox also have this feature.

 

well how about a Skill System?

Truth of the matter is, a Skill System and a Class system are pretty much the same deal. But instead of having many different classes with unique skills, you have a Single parent class with many skills within it.

Take for example Skyrim's skill system vs Rift's skill system.

The Classes in Rift, regulate which armor and weapons I can wear, as well as which Trees I get and which spells I can possibly get.



While in Skyrim

I get access to all Trees, all Weapons, all Armor, and all Skills (excluding tree skills of course)



well with the Skyrim example, thats pretty much the same thing as having 1 parent class instead of having 4 parent classes like Rift does.



imagine if Rift had only 1 class combined. it would offer all armor,weapon, spell, trees, just like the access I get in Skyrim.



how does this make it a sandbox?



well maybe its the player made contents right.



So is Eve == to NWN? or Second Life?

fill me in here. what do you consider player made contents? players setting up a server wide event would be play made contents, correct? whats stopping you from doing that in the so called "Non Sandbox MMO"?



Sandbox == Exploration?

well whats stopping you from exploring in Everquest, WoW, Rift, etc?





seems like many of these checklist limits, are mentally self inflicted.

 

But hey, what you think?

image

«13

Comments

  • kashiegamerkashiegamer Member Posts: 263

    You should've put this in the General Gaming, as your subject is a single player RPG.

     

    I apologize if I'm not yet sharing my own take on the matter. As of the moment I'm confused with whether you're criticizing skyrim or you're criticizing the players.

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  • KenFisherKenFisher Member UncommonPosts: 5,035

    Here's my 2 cents on the matter.  The way I see it, there are two definitions of sandbox depending on a players background.

     

    To illustrate this:

     

    1. Ask a console player who has never touched an MMORPG what games (specifically console RPGs)  they consider to be sandboxes.

    2. Ask an MMO vet  playing since the late 90s what games (specifically MMORPGs) they consider to be sandboxes.

    3. For confusion of this, ask an MMO vet playing since the late 90s who is also an avid console RPG player, which games they consider to be sandboxes.

     

    The games won't be the same, because in context the definitions are different.


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now working in Network Security.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  When I don't understand, I ask.  Such is not intended as criticism.
  • kashiegamerkashiegamer Member Posts: 263

     

    These are my initial thoughts on the matter:

    Back in 2003, when I first started playing Morrowind, the Elder Scrolls community back then (we were just a small community back then) as far as I remember, never called the game sandbox. I have my original CD case and I looked on it, and it described Morrowind as open-world and open-ended. No sandbox description. So I don't know what year did the term Sandbox surfaced as a description for the Elder Scrolls series.

    I think (this is just an opinion) that the term sandbox was applied to the series when people realized the power of the original Elder Scrolls Construction Kit (for Morrowind), which was also carried over to Oblivion. I think that was the trigger for people to call the Elder Scrolls a Sandbox, because literally, the game developers are enabling players to mod the game anyway they like, without the need to hack. The only restriction back then was the hardcoded commands which make the game functional.

    I think that made people call the game a sandbox--since you can build anything you want in the game. Try to observe the veterans of the Elder Scrolls series when Bethesda is releasing a game (Elder Scrolls, Fallout, etc). Their first question usually is: WHEN WILL THE CONSTRUCTION SET/KIT BE RELEASED? When veterans hear Elder Scrolls, they already know they can do anything with it because of the construction set. That, for them (again my opinion) makes the game a sandbox.

    These are my initial thoughts, what's yours?

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  • XzenXzen Member UncommonPosts: 2,607

    No open world is open world. Having an open world does not make a game a sandbox. Open world allows you to build houses and castles and boats sometimes it even lets you alter the landscape. Sociopolitical elements. Player generated content.

  • PukeBucketPukeBucket Member Posts: 867

    Originally posted by ActionMMORPG

    Here's my 2 cents on the matter.  The way I see it, there are two definitions of sandbox depending on a players background.

     

    To illustrate this:

     

    1. Ask a console player who has never touched an MMORPG what games (specifically console RPGs)  they consider to be sandboxes.

    2. Ask an MMO vet  playing since the late 90s what games (specifically MMORPGs) they consider to be sandboxes.

    3. For confusion of this, ask an MMO vet playing since the late 90s who is also an avid console RPG player, which games they consider to be sandboxes.

     

    The games won't be the same, because in context the definitions are different.

    A sandbox can have stuff in it.

    Mostly it's progression style. Many MMOs are dubbed "themeparks" because you basically go to each fun area and wait in line to take a ride. Then wait in line and then ride another ride. Just the line is usually a level cap.

    I also think it has different meanings indeed for console games vs mmorpg players. 

    Ideally a sandbox game on a console is a video game like any other, but you're able to avoid the progressing story and go knuckle around as you please. For a MMORPG I think it's more of a matter of giving players control in the world. 

    In reality they're all a hybrid since the general term "game" means there are goals. 

    The only real pure sandbox games I can think of is obviously Minecraft and a few Sim games.

    I used to play MMOs like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

  • azmundaiazmundai Member UncommonPosts: 1,419

    Why do you always try to oversimplify things in your posts?

    There are no simple answers.

    Sandbox means different things to different people. For example the folks at MMORPG consider Star Wars to be an MMO, while I do not.

    There is no black. There is no white. There is only grey.

    Skyrim appears to be a Single Player Sandbox. I haven't played it yet so I wouldn't know.

    SW:TOR is not a sandbox. It does not have open worlds. If it were, Corusant would be bigger than everything in WoW, 3 - 4 times over. Not practical I understand .. but as it is if Corusant in the movies or in any sane person's imagination was NYC, Corusant in SWTOR is like a hut in backwoods Alabama somewhere.

    Again I cant speak to Skyrim so I used SWTOR as an example.

    The different in skills you bring up is equally as obvious if you implore some thought. A mage in WoW cannot learn to cast corruption. A player in TSW that has fireballs, frost novas and arcane blasts can still learn to cast corruption.

    The main difference for me between sandbox and themepark is freedom. themepark pigeonholes you into very specific characters that go along very specific paths within a game world. A sandbox does not do this.

    LFD tools are great for cramming people into content, but quality > quantity.
    I am, usually on the sandbox .. more "hardcore" side of things, but I also do just want to have fun. So lighten up already :)

  • WorstluckWorstluck Member Posts: 1,269

    A sandbox game to me, is a game in which the developers have created a world for us, however instead of telling us what to do, they give us the tools to make our own story, our own world.  CREATIVITY!  A game like Eve is a great example.  Sure there are 'themepark' elements  in Eve, but you don't need to partake in any of that.  You can create your own world and story for yourself and your friends.  There are many options on how to play the game.  Now take a look at WoW or EQ2 or any of those games and you really do not have a lot of choices in your playstyle.  If you play those games hardcore, you have one choice, and that is to raid or die.  It's linear.  Sandbox games give you options on how you want your world to turn out.   It has nothing to do with open world, player housing, FFA pvp or any of that.  It's just that many of the sandbox MMO's have those elements because they work well with being a non-linear game.

     

    Skyrim is a sandbox game to me.  Yes, you can play the game linearly, and do the all the main quests in a row, but you don't have to do anything to progress in the game.  You can do whatever you want.  Look at something like Mass Effect 2, sure you have dialogue choices and there are actions you can take that will change the outcome of the game, however you have no choice on how to play really.  The outcome of the game is achieved the same way pretty much every time.  Skryim lets you choose your  path to greatness :D

    image

  • arcanistarcanist Member Posts: 163

    To me sandbox means choices. In Skyrim if I wanted to become archamage I'd really only have one option. Follow the mages guild questline. Now I find questing and missions a bit boring. I'd rather have the choice to assasinate rivals, and bribe superiors as well as do the quests.

  • PukeBucketPukeBucket Member Posts: 867

    Originally posted by azmundai

    Why do you always try to oversimplify things in your posts?

    There are no simple answers.

    ...

    The main difference for me between sandbox and themepark is freedom. themepark pigeonholes you into very specific characters that go along very specific paths within a game world. A sandbox does not do this.

    LoL Well said.

    "If they call it cranberry juice? Why is there pear consentrate in it? Why is there pineapple juice in it? Does it actually say juice? Or does it use the word cocktail?"

    That seems to come up quite often from a couple of the same posters around here.

    I used to play MMOs like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

  • kashiegamerkashiegamer Member Posts: 263

    So to summarize what I said on my second post:

    1.) During Morrowind's early days, we didn't call the game sandbox, we only called it open-world and open-ended.

    2.) People (in my opinion) started calling the series a sandbox game when they realised how strong the construction set/kit is, which started in Morrowind, and was carried over to Oblivion, which will also be carried on to Skyrim.

    3.) Taken alone, The Elder Scrolls series is just an open-ended, open-world series of games. The sandbox component is its free Construction Set/Kit.

    4.) A good indication that the construction set/kit made the players call the game a sandbox is that whenever Bethesda releases a game (Elder Scrolls or Fallout), veterans almost always initially ask, "When will the construction set/kit arrive?"

    5.) Point number 4 indicates that players have an initial impression that every Elder Scrolls game has an available Construction Set/Kit, which makes them categorize the Elder Scrolls series as a Sandbox Game.

     

    What does the construction set/kit do? Well it's purpose is obviously in the name, but just to summarize, the construction set lets players modify the game anyway they want to--from skill progression, to creating new objects, creating new quests, inserting new music, dialogue, sounds, production and implementation of scripts, addition of new shaders, etc...

     

    Personal Trivia:

    There was once a mod in Morrowind that made construction within the game entirely possible, meaning that instead of creating objects in the construction set, you can make objects within the game itself. It used a glorified Armorer skill system. This mod eventually became (as i see it) the inspiration for the current Smithing skill in Skyrim. The mod's name (IIRC) is Complete Morrowind.

    My Blog About Hellgate Global, an ARPG/FPS hybrid MMO:
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    Hellgate Global Official Fan Blog
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  • XzenXzen Member UncommonPosts: 2,607

    Minecraft = Sandbox

    Final Fantasy 13 = Theme Park

    UO = Sandbox

    EQ = Theme Park

  • snapfusionsnapfusion Member Posts: 954

    "Sandbox == Exploration?

    well whats stopping you from exploring in Everquest, WoW, Rift, etc?"



      You clearly have just run out of things to post about.  If you have drifted so far from the mark to make that statement, that leap, then maybe you have just gone senile on us, or maybe this is just a troll post.

    How could someone with the word MMO in their forum name make a post like this.

  • kashiegamerkashiegamer Member Posts: 263

    ^this was why my initial inquiry was the purpose of his post. Is he really cricizing the players or the term sandbox or is he just criticizing Skyrim. To be honest I think that this was a post made to invite players bash Skyrim, which is why I also asked why diid he post here instead of the General Gaming section.

    My Blog About Hellgate Global, an ARPG/FPS hybrid MMO:
    http://kashiewannaplay.wordpress.com/

    Hellgate Global Official Fan Blog
    http://t3funhellgate.wordpress.com/

    Currently Playing: Hellgate Global, LoL, Skyrim, Morrowind
    Recently Played: Cardmon Hero, Cabal, Oblivion

  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,603

    sorry but morrwind, oblivion, skyrim are sandboxes.

    I can choose to do what I want when I want. I can quest, dungeon crawl, work solely on crafting, heck, pick flowers for all I want.

    whether or not there is a class or skill system is immaterial.

    And not all mmo's have an open world. some of them lead you on a path from one place to another.

     

  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,603

    Originally posted by azmundai

    Why do you always try to oversimplify things in your posts?

    There are no simple answers.

    Sandbox means different things to different people. For example the folks at MMORPG consider Star Wars to be an MMO, while I do not.

    There is no black. There is no white. There is only grey.

    Skyrim appears to be a Single Player Sandbox. I haven't played it yet so I wouldn't know.

    SW:TOR is not a sandbox. It does not have open worlds. If it were, Corusant would be bigger than everything in WoW, 3 - 4 times over. Not practical I understand .. but as it is if Corusant in the movies or in any sane person's imagination was NYC, Corusant in SWTOR is like a hut in backwoods Alabama somewhere.

    Again I cant speak to Skyrim so I used SWTOR as an example.

    The different in skills you bring up is equally as obvious if you implore some thought. A mage in WoW cannot learn to cast corruption. A player in TSW that has fireballs, frost novas and arcane blasts can still learn to cast corruption.

    The main difference for me between sandbox and themepark is freedom. themepark pigeonholes you into very specific characters that go along very specific paths within a game world. A sandbox does not do this.

    ah good someone who gets it.

  • PukeBucketPukeBucket Member Posts: 867

    Originally posted by Sovrath

    sorry but morrwind, oblivion, skyrim are sandboxes.

    I can choose to do what I want when I want. I can quest, dungeon crawl, work solely on crafting, heck, pick flowers for all I want.

    whether or not there is a class or skill system is immaterial.

    And not all mmo's have an open world. some of them lead you on a path from one place to another.

     

    I remember  a time playing MMOs when I wished all the quests were all sort of hubbed together.

    That day came and I had to admit that I was wrong about something.

    What keeps SWTOR for example from being a sandbox you can see pretty early on with the Jedi quest line. I run along for my main story and I see several padawan captured in cages. I can not interact with them. I can't free them now, I can't start the quest by just being in the area, or anything. I have to do my main quest, level up to 4, and then find the "sweet" spot to initiate saving the padawan and therefore being rewarded for it.

    It's became a horrible crutch in themepark gaming.

    I used to play MMOs like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

  • CalmOceansCalmOceans Member UncommonPosts: 2,437

    Wanted to practice this document.

    I summed up the arguments of all in this thread and bunched them up in a diagram.

    Here you go lol:

    (oh yeah, darkwind = DarkFALL)

  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,603

    Originally posted by PukeBucket

    Originally posted by Sovrath

    sorry but morrwind, oblivion, skyrim are sandboxes.

    I can choose to do what I want when I want. I can quest, dungeon crawl, work solely on crafting, heck, pick flowers for all I want.

    whether or not there is a class or skill system is immaterial.

    And not all mmo's have an open world. some of them lead you on a path from one place to another.

     

    I remember  a time playing MMOs when I wished all the quests were all sort of hubbed together.

    That day came and I had to admit that I was wrong about something.

    What keeps SWTOR for example from being a sandbox you can see pretty early on with the Jedi quest line. I run along for my main story and I see several padawan captured in cages. I can not interact with them. I can't free them now, I can't start the quest by just being in the area, or anything. I have to do my main quest, level up to 4, and then find the "sweet" spot to initiate saving the padawan and therefore being rewarded for it.

    It's became a horrible crutch in themepark gaming.

    I know exactly what you are talking about and I agree.

    Not only did I walk up to cages but I could walk up to the same cages and free the same people.

    Still, I did enjoy my time in SWToR so I keep my preorder.

    I just ordered the latest American McGee's Alice returns.

    Why?

    Well, I have a fondness for young goth alice making her way through a sick an twisted wonderland and cleaving her way through it as well.

    Take a game like that and take an elderscrolls game and compare them. they are very different. One leads you from one area to another and the other says "well, here you are, do what you feel you want to do and we'll see what happens.

    That's why elderscrolls games are, if one needs to put them in a category, sandboxes. And why Alice is linear and a themepark (I suppose).

    SWToR is a themepark of course. One might be able to eschew the main storyline and just do what you want but the thrust of the game is to follow your particular story.

    Same with LOTRO. I play it closer to a sandbox than a theme park but I would still call it a themepark game.

    I recall playing Lineage 2 and then trying the beta of WoW and coming back to L2 and saying "hey, I wish we had quests to give some context to why I was killing these monsters as opposed to going to a field and just 'having at it'".

    Still, in the end, L2 was, for me, the better game.

  • XzenXzen Member UncommonPosts: 2,607

    Originally posted by Sovrath

    Originally posted by PukeBucket


    Originally posted by Sovrath

    sorry but morrwind, oblivion, skyrim are sandboxes.

    I can choose to do what I want when I want. I can quest, dungeon crawl, work solely on crafting, heck, pick flowers for all I want.

    whether or not there is a class or skill system is immaterial.

    And not all mmo's have an open world. some of them lead you on a path from one place to another.

     

    I remember  a time playing MMOs when I wished all the quests were all sort of hubbed together.

    That day came and I had to admit that I was wrong about something.

    What keeps SWTOR for example from being a sandbox you can see pretty early on with the Jedi quest line. I run along for my main story and I see several padawan captured in cages. I can not interact with them. I can't free them now, I can't start the quest by just being in the area, or anything. I have to do my main quest, level up to 4, and then find the "sweet" spot to initiate saving the padawan and therefore being rewarded for it.

    It's became a horrible crutch in themepark gaming.

    I know exactly what you are talking about and I agree.

    Not only did I walk up to cages but I could walk up to the same cages and free the same people.

    Still, I did enjoy my time in SWToR so I keep my preorder.

    I just ordered the latest American McGee's Alice returns.

    Why?

    Well, I have a fondness for young goth alice making her way through a sick an twisted wonderland and cleaving her way through it as well.

    Take a game like that and take an elderscrolls game and compare them. they are very different. One leads you from one area to another and the other says "well, here you are, do what you feel you want to do and we'll see what happens.

    That's why elderscrolls games are, if one needs to put them in a category, sandboxes. And why Alice is linear and a themepark (I suppose).

    SWToR is a themepark of course. One might be able to eschew the main storyline and just do what you want but the thrust of the game is to follow your particular story.

    Same with LOTRO. I play it closer to a sandbox than a theme park but I would still call it a themepark game.

    I recall playing Lineage 2 and then trying the beta of WoW and coming back to L2 and saying "hey, I wish we had quests to give some context to why I was killing these monsters as opposed to going to a field and just 'having at it'".

    Still, in the end, L2 was, for me, the better game.

    Maybe ArcheAge will be able to mash them together and we can all finnaly get what we like all in one game.

  • just2duhjust2duh Member Posts: 1,290

     Sadly, I think the two sub genres have melded into a single, less impressive, catagory these days.

     A sandbox to me should mean atleast this one thing, being a fully open world and having tons of "toys&joys" you can make your own fun with for infinity. Not many Sandbox games do that anymore though, and neither do purely Open Worlds.

     Take Saint's Row: The Third for example.

     Going by it's past, I would have thought it to be a Sandbox before actually playing/finishing it. Sure it gives a few toys to play with, but the world offered has next to no reasons or purposes to actually use them in the end (same thing happened with GTA4 or any other recent games of this type).

     It actually turned out to be a cross between the two sub-genres, and not living up to either side of them, and personally I feel that is what the entire sandbox/open world thing has become now. Basically a thing of the past for those of us who remember what the difference used to be.

  • VhalnVhaln Member Posts: 3,159

    Think it depends on the genre.  "Sandbox" tends to be a very contextual term, relative to other games in the same genre, rather than being relative to all games.

     

    When I want a single-player story, I'll play a single-player game. When I play an MMO, I want a massively multiplayer world.

  • Cactus-ManCactus-Man Member Posts: 572

    I think sandbox has very different meanings inside the MMO space compared to outside it.

    Some important distinctions I make,

    Open World/Free Roaming - a type of level design that focuses on letting the player move freely on the map and minimizes invisible walls, loading screens and artificial barriers.  ex GTA, Spider Man

    Sandbox Game - a game that allows creative play and promotes the concept of "many ways to solve a problem" or "no right way to play the game".  ex Just Cause 2, Deus Ex, Skyrim

    MMO Sandbox - a game that focuses on simulation of a world in a virtual environment, minimizes scripted content and focuses on player interaction creating content.  Content isn't literally created in the sense of players designing and scripting content themselves (NWN) rather player interaction leads to emmergent content between players.  ex Eve, UO

    All men think they're fascinating. In my case, it's justified

  • xDayxxDayx Member Posts: 712

    My definition of Pure-sandbox

    1.No levels(skill based)

    2.No quests

    3.No classes(skill-based)

    4.Heavy on construction/building/crafting

    5.No instances. Open world

    6.Tools to help economy and players come together ...or to tear each other apart ;)

     

  • Gamerx21Gamerx21 Member Posts: 5

    The only topic I ever created on these forums was similar to this, questioning the definition of a sandbox game and it got locked. http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/post/4376469#4376469

    The moderators said it should of been posted in sandbox vs themepark, though I was specifically just trying to find out if there was a clear definition of a sandbox game. Unfortunately, I learned there is no clear definition, and "sandbox" games in general mean different things to different people. I'm on your side OP.

  • PukeBucketPukeBucket Member Posts: 867

    Originally posted by Xzen

    Originally posted by Sovrath


    Originally posted by PukeBucket


    Originally posted by Sovrath

    sorry but morrwind, oblivion, skyrim are sandboxes.

    I can choose to do what I want when I want. I can quest, dungeon crawl, work solely on crafting, heck, pick flowers for all I want.

    whether or not there is a class or skill system is immaterial.

    And not all mmo's have an open world. some of them lead you on a path from one place to another.

     

    I remember  a time playing MMOs when I wished all the quests were all sort of hubbed together.

    That day came and I had to admit that I was wrong about something.

    What keeps SWTOR for example from being a sandbox you can see pretty early on with the Jedi quest line. I run along for my main story and I see several padawan captured in cages. I can not interact with them. I can't free them now, I can't start the quest by just being in the area, or anything. I have to do my main quest, level up to 4, and then find the "sweet" spot to initiate saving the padawan and therefore being rewarded for it.

    It's became a horrible crutch in themepark gaming.

    I know exactly what you are talking about and I agree.

    Not only did I walk up to cages but I could walk up to the same cages and free the same people.

    Still, I did enjoy my time in SWToR so I keep my preorder.

    I just ordered the latest American McGee's Alice returns.

    Why?

    Well, I have a fondness for young goth alice making her way through a sick an twisted wonderland and cleaving her way through it as well.

    Take a game like that and take an elderscrolls game and compare them. they are very different. One leads you from one area to another and the other says "well, here you are, do what you feel you want to do and we'll see what happens.

    That's why elderscrolls games are, if one needs to put them in a category, sandboxes. And why Alice is linear and a themepark (I suppose).

    SWToR is a themepark of course. One might be able to eschew the main storyline and just do what you want but the thrust of the game is to follow your particular story.

    Same with LOTRO. I play it closer to a sandbox than a theme park but I would still call it a themepark game.

    I recall playing Lineage 2 and then trying the beta of WoW and coming back to L2 and saying "hey, I wish we had quests to give some context to why I was killing these monsters as opposed to going to a field and just 'having at it'".

    Still, in the end, L2 was, for me, the better game.

    Maybe ArcheAge will be able to mash them together and we can all finnaly get what we like all in one game.

    I thought the disco video pissed everyone off? LoL

    I used to play MMOs like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

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