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Sandboxes often fail because they are B-rate MMOs unable to provide quality content

BaalzharonBaalzharon Member RarePosts: 514
edited August 21 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM
To change my discussion from pay to win MMOs, we'll look at sandbox MMOs and why there have only been three successful ones and all else fails.

So, lets look at singleplayer games to start with, compared to battle royale. Granted completely different games and genres...but there is a good reason battle royales are made and not high quality games like Witcher 3.

Witcher 3 cost millions to make, its budget was extremely high. Voice acting, graphics, story, real gameplay content made by the devs, the world.

Battle royale games you design a tiny map, no voice acting or very little, gameplay content is made by the players and very little by the devs.

That last part is why battle royale games are made. Cheap to make because they don't need to provide content if the players make it for free.

And that is where the discussion of why so many sandbox MMOs fail. That and all are forced PvP with no safe zones, which is one massive reason Ultima Online, Black Desert (well exception to this cause if you level too far its pvp forced) and EVE Online (the three successful ones that still officially exist without going to private/free servers) are the only sandbox MMOs that have succeeded in the genre. While EVE you CAN be PvPed anywhere, generally they made high sec safer and low sec very dangerous, then nullsec is actually safer in my experience for some reason. And BDO the pvp is so casual with no penalty to dying in pvp at all, that it is worth listing.

So that is one reason. The other...content. And this one is more important than safe zones or casual pvp content or whatever.

Ultima Online, BDO and EVE Online all provide an immense amount of content. UO has an amazing housing system, crafting, dungeons, tons of PVE content in general. EVE Online also has a ton of PVE content and many players don't even PvP despite it being considered a pvp MMO. BDO is the same way, the vast majority in BDO don't pvp either despite it being forced pvp at a certain level. 

The three sandbox MMOs spent a lot of money (and time) to provide quality content to the players. Look at all the failed pvp sandbox MMOs...the only content is "players make the content". Code word for "we are an indie company that can't afford quality content, so we are gonna make a B-rate MMO and make the players provide the content for us". And this is where they fail and the companies and devs that can actually make a good QUALITY MMO win out...

Sadly, indie companies love their sandbox MMOs despite so many failing, because they think players making the content is free labor and they don't need to spend anything to make any other quality content. That makes them B-rate MMOs and deserving to fail.

Weirdly, they ignore the success of UO and EVE and keep making low budget MMOs with little quality content made by the devs. 
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Comments

  • NorseGodNorseGod Member RarePosts: 2,092
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  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 3,900
    I wouldn't even say they are b rated.  More like D rated.
    AeanderSteelhelm
  • anemoanemo Member RarePosts: 1,718
    NorseGod said:

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  • AAAMEOWAAAMEOW Member UncommonPosts: 1,058
    edited August 22
    I dont' think UO and Eve have large budget initially.  Eve most likely reinvested more later on when they start making money.  

    They were both indie games IMO.  At least they started out that way.

    You can google more information.
  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member LegendaryPosts: 6,405
    I'm confused.....sandbox mmo = pvp focused mmo now?
    SteelhelmPhaserlightultimateduck
  • Hawkaya399Hawkaya399 Member UncommonPosts: 436
    edited August 22
    So because most players prefer a safe place and ready-made (themepark) content, that somehow translates to meaning ALL players do, so we only need to coerce those who think otherwise, and eventually they'll wisen up and embrace the safer style of gaming?

    The reason population suffers in a lot of these FFA PvP open world MMORPG's (progression heavy) is because the population is small to begin with. I know because I'm one of them. There're just not many of us. Most players don't have the stomach for it. A couple of negative consequences, or a couple cheap tactics employed on them and they run back to the safe places. That's the reason when you go these MMORPGs their population is usually very low. Giving them good content won't change it. Adding safezones will increase their population, or decrease attrition, but that's not because they're making a better game, it's because they're making a different game that'll appeal to a DIFFERENT population--that happens to be much larger.

    And don't back talk me. I've been here a long time. You're free to say this will make a more successful MOMRPG, but don't imply it's better. For me, it would not be better, it would be worse. Why, you say? Because I generally don't want safezones (or instances). I want players to make decisions, include myself, about whether to participate or to grief or to otherwise be a hero. That's good gameplay to me. Removing that by adding safezones forces me to look elsewhere for a different MMO.

    How loudly do I have to shout it? FFA PvP in opne world without instances and without safe zones is a FEATURE. It's what some of us are looking for, specifically. Do you understand that? I will just keep shouting it until it's heard or understood. Thank you.

    IF that can ever be put aside, and I can actually be listened to, then I'd further explain that I advocate for better ways for players to police themselves in these MMO's. It boils down to one simple problem: How do you create a sense of lawfulness, a sense of consequences, amidst so much mayhem and murder? This is why so many players can't stomach it. It's hard to police in a FFA open world with no instances are safe zones. Fact. When there're enough ruthless killers, cheaters and ninja stealers, there has to be ways to enforce some kind of balance. And this is where the true innovation must occur. Of course, this is assuming it's understood players like myself want FFA PvP in an open world without instances or safe zones, be it in an MMORPG or an FPS-style MMO, and there's no deception or ploy to make it into somehing else. Truth be told, deception and ploys are far more common than an honest attempt on these terms. Why? Because making a game that appeals to a different and larger population of plaeyrs is so much more appealing and profitable. Lying a bit to get there is a means to an end. (so it's much more common to find MMO's that attempt to cunningly sell themselves as PvP open world and dangerous, but in reality are safe havens from said features)

    So tell me, as a businessperson, choose your audience:
    $1000000 and 100000 princes and princesses
    $100 and 10 smelly PvP griefers and 1 masochist

    Who? If you c hoose the latter, you'll eventually lie as a means to an end. If you stick to your guns, you're a hero in my book, but it's hard to find people who'll stay on a sinking ship, or fight what looks like a losing battle. But for those few souls who do fight against the odds, it'll probably have something to do with enabling players to better police themselves. It's key to resolving this.

    EDIT: It's also possible some people just wnat to PvP and mostly only PvP. When they play progression-heavy games like MMORPGs, they're bound to grief or to complain about the grind. I have to wonder why they play MMORPGs, if there's so much bitterness about it? They grief not out of choice but out of necessity. Why not play an FPS? They don't for some reason. Maybe the hunt is sweeter because the grind makes it more meaningful? Maybe the cries and screams of their prey means more when there's more to lose? Either way, this causes conflict because somehow the two extremes have to meet in the same game world. It's hard to please both without splitting the world apart--and thus creating safezones or different rule areas.

    I speak out of experience. I've weahtered many a griefer. And in my expeirence, they're normal people who just like to do a lot of PvP.
    Post edited by Hawkaya399 on
  • CaffynatedCaffynated Member RarePosts: 514
    TL;DR for all of the muppets who didn't read the OP: Most sandbox games fail because they don't create any content and leave a barren world with nothing to do but PvP and stack rocks. The few successful sandboxes created tons of content (UO, Eve, BDO) and devs should learn from their example instead of continuing to release these doomed to failure empty sandboxes. 
    SteelhelmHawkaya399
  • LimnicLimnic Member RarePosts: 1,116
    edited August 22
    Well several things to address.

    UO is probably the closest thing to a sandbox mentioned as an example there, and you'd be a little hard pressed to provide a decent list of sandbox or emergent gameplay activities in it.

    Also, sandboxes have a lot of content. The mechanics that allows it to be a sandbox in the first place is the content. A form of such that actually takes quite a lot of time and effort to implement well.

    If you want to be critical of the difference between the non-sandbox examples that were offered versus the sandboxes that "don't create content" then we can address it more accurately with this following statement;

    Most sandboxes lack "directed" content.

    There are plenty of things to do and achieve in even the more basic sandbox games. From the simple side of exploring, building, and yes PvP, to more novel elements like dungeon crafting, building actual communities, and creating your own narrative content.

    And that's more the rub right there. The classical concept of the sandbox is that it is an undirected narrative where collaborative user experience creates the lore and story players experience.

    Problem is, most players are not roleplayers, they are metagamers.

    When users don't care about creating user experiences, they have to instead be lead or pushed into them. Hence the "successful" titles that railroad people into doing certain things and behaving certain ways. Using quests, bounties, contracts, etc to guide players into specific lines of action.
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  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 5,527
    A true sandbox game is one where the players can make things. Houses. Towns. Cities. Fortresses. Castles. Player Quests. Terraforming. Etc. That's why it is called a "sandbox." Think about what kids do in a sandbox. They use the sand to make stuff. 

    If the developer is having to make a lot of the content, then it's less of a sandbox and more of a theme park with some few sandbox elements.

    It's rare to find a pure sandbox game anymore. Minecraft comes close. SWG had a lot of sandbox content but there were theme park elements. 
    SteelhelmPhaserlightiixviiiixGdemamiHawkaya399Hatefullultimateduck

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  • alkarionlogalkarionlog Member RarePosts: 2,640
    To change my discussion from pay to win MMOs, we'll look at sandbox MMOs and why there have only been three successful ones and all else fails.

    So, lets look at singleplayer games to start with, compared to battle royale. Granted completely different games and genres...but there is a good reason battle royales are made and not high quality games like Witcher 3.

    Witcher 3 cost millions to make, its budget was extremely high. Voice acting, graphics, story, real gameplay content made by the devs, the world.

    Battle royale games you design a tiny map, no voice acting or very little, gameplay content is made by the players and very little by the devs.

    That last part is why battle royale games are made. Cheap to make because they don't need to provide content if the players make it for free.

    And that is where the discussion of why so many sandbox MMOs fail. That and all are forced PvP with no safe zones, which is one massive reason Ultima Online, Black Desert (well exception to this cause if you level too far its pvp forced) and EVE Online (the three successful ones that still officially exist without going to private/free servers) are the only sandbox MMOs that have succeeded in the genre. While EVE you CAN be PvPed anywhere, generally they made high sec safer and low sec very dangerous, then nullsec is actually safer in my experience for some reason. And BDO the pvp is so casual with no penalty to dying in pvp at all, that it is worth listing.

    So that is one reason. The other...content. And this one is more important than safe zones or casual pvp content or whatever.

    Ultima Online, BDO and EVE Online all provide an immense amount of content. UO has an amazing housing system, crafting, dungeons, tons of PVE content in general. EVE Online also has a ton of PVE content and many players don't even PvP despite it being considered a pvp MMO. BDO is the same way, the vast majority in BDO don't pvp either despite it being forced pvp at a certain level. 

    The three sandbox MMOs spent a lot of money (and time) to provide quality content to the players. Look at all the failed pvp sandbox MMOs...the only content is "players make the content". Code word for "we are an indie company that can't afford quality content, so we are gonna make a B-rate MMO and make the players provide the content for us". And this is where they fail and the companies and devs that can actually make a good QUALITY MMO win out...

    Sadly, indie companies love their sandbox MMOs despite so many failing, because they think players making the content is free labor and they don't need to spend anything to make any other quality content. That makes them B-rate MMOs and deserving to fail.

    Weirdly, they ignore the success of UO and EVE and keep making low budget MMOs with little quality content made by the devs. 

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  • iixviiiixiixviiiix Member RarePosts: 1,959
    I Just don't understand why developers try to put sandbox sand castle building together with PVP .
    Anyone with right mind know that it don't work .

    Short term gaming like fortnite , maybe . But long term game is a mess .

    MMOExposedSteelhelm
  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 6,900
    Once again OP proves my theory that most people DEFINE "Sandbox MMOS" as "PvP Focused/Forced MMOs". These two terms can be used interchangeably. Thats why most Sandboxes fail. 

    Sandbox MMOs aka PvP Forced MMOs tend to turn into a Rust lite, one big griefing simulator, and then developers wonder why they always fail?

    How about some PvE Focused Sandbox with Faction based PvP? Try something different for once. 
    iixviiiixSteelhelmNorseGodHatefull

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  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 6,900
    To change my discussion from pay to win MMOs, we'll look at sandbox MMOs and why there have only been three successful ones and all else fails.

    So, lets look at singleplayer games to start with, compared to battle royale. Granted completely different games and genres...but there is a good reason battle royales are made and not high quality games like Witcher 3.

    Witcher 3 cost millions to make, its budget was extremely high. Voice acting, graphics, story, real gameplay content made by the devs, the world.

    Battle royale games you design a tiny map, no voice acting or very little, gameplay content is made by the players and very little by the devs.

    That last part is why battle royale games are made. Cheap to make because they don't need to provide content if the players make it for free.

    And that is where the discussion of why so many sandbox MMOs fail. That and all are forced PvP with no safe zones, which is one massive reason Ultima Online, Black Desert (well exception to this cause if you level too far its pvp forced) and EVE Online (the three successful ones that still officially exist without going to private/free servers) are the only sandbox MMOs that have succeeded in the genre. While EVE you CAN be PvPed anywhere, generally they made high sec safer and low sec very dangerous, then nullsec is actually safer in my experience for some reason. And BDO the pvp is so casual with no penalty to dying in pvp at all, that it is worth listing.

    So that is one reason. The other...content. And this one is more important than safe zones or casual pvp content or whatever.

    Ultima Online, BDO and EVE Online all provide an immense amount of content. UO has an amazing housing system, crafting, dungeons, tons of PVE content in general. EVE Online also has a ton of PVE content and many players don't even PvP despite it being considered a pvp MMO. BDO is the same way, the vast majority in BDO don't pvp either despite it being forced pvp at a certain level. 

    The three sandbox MMOs spent a lot of money (and time) to provide quality content to the players. Look at all the failed pvp sandbox MMOs...the only content is "players make the content". Code word for "we are an indie company that can't afford quality content, so we are gonna make a B-rate MMO and make the players provide the content for us". And this is where they fail and the companies and devs that can actually make a good QUALITY MMO win out...

    Sadly, indie companies love their sandbox MMOs despite so many failing, because they think players making the content is free labor and they don't need to spend anything to make any other quality content. That makes them B-rate MMOs and deserving to fail.

    Weirdly, they ignore the success of UO and EVE and keep making low budget MMOs with little quality content made by the devs. 

    you know better you stop before the FBI bust your door for heavy drug usage
    They smoked it but didnt inhale... they know the truth

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  • CaffynatedCaffynated Member RarePosts: 514
    Amathe said:
    A true sandbox game is one where the players can make things. Houses. Towns. Cities. Fortresses. Castles. Player Quests. Terraforming. Etc. That's why it is called a "sandbox." Think about what kids do in a sandbox. They use the sand to make stuff. 

    If the developer is having to make a lot of the content, then it's less of a sandbox and more of a theme park with some few sandbox elements.

    It's rare to find a pure sandbox game anymore. Minecraft comes close. SWG had a lot of sandbox content but there were theme park elements. 
    The problem is very few people want to play in an empty sandbox and those empty sandbox games fail over and over. 

    Sandboxes that come with toys, pre-built castles, and hidden surprises fair much better and are the only sandbox MMOs that have been successful. If you want to make a sandbox MMO that won't be shutting its doors in a year, it's probably a good idea to follow their example. 

    Or you could make another empty world and go "the players are the content! Wait why is nobody playing my game? Guess I'll die."
  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 5,527
    Amathe said:
    A true sandbox game is one where the players can make things. Houses. Towns. Cities. Fortresses. Castles. Player Quests. Terraforming. Etc. That's why it is called a "sandbox." Think about what kids do in a sandbox. They use the sand to make stuff. 

    If the developer is having to make a lot of the content, then it's less of a sandbox and more of a theme park with some few sandbox elements.

    It's rare to find a pure sandbox game anymore. Minecraft comes close. SWG had a lot of sandbox content but there were theme park elements. 
    The problem is very few people want to play in an empty sandbox and those empty sandbox games fail over and over. 

    Sandboxes that come with toys, pre-built castles, and hidden surprises fair much better and are the only sandbox MMOs that have been successful. If you want to make a sandbox MMO that won't be shutting its doors in a year, it's probably a good idea to follow their example. 

    Or you could make another empty world and go "the players are the content! Wait why is nobody playing my game? Guess I'll die."
    I would agree that PvE oriented sandboxes may not have a great track record. It's hard to be pitted against an environment that isn't fighting back.

    But games with open world PvP can do well in a sandbox format.
    Gdemami

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 16,303
    Name ONE piece of content that is/was actually fun that you would do over and over and has NO REWARDS?

    You probably cannot name a single one,i can >>"Besieged".My point is that content mmo's are not delivering very good content at all,most if not all is VERY boring generic content.

    Go kill this because i will give you this.
    Go do this because i will give you xp.

    Yeah real fun content.
    The only thing i found fun was the combat "if it was intuitive/fun/challenging" and doing it with other players.So then of course your character and classes have to be really good as well to bring it all together.
    The errands crap has NEVER been good in mmo's.Well by good i mean as a whole,sure there might be a few quests that had several points to connect the dots you thought were decent but overall...NOPE.
    My point is that 99.9% of all games are B rated at BEST !!.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • ronanxronanx Member UncommonPosts: 26
    Because AAA devs don't make games to make great games they make games to make money.
    DMKanoNorseGodGdemamiSteelhelmkenguru23
  • ronanxronanx Member UncommonPosts: 26
    Amathe said:
    A true sandbox game is one where the players can make things. Houses. Towns. Cities. Fortresses. Castles. Player Quests. Terraforming. Etc. That's why it is called a "sandbox." Think about what kids do in a sandbox. They use the sand to make stuff. 

    If the developer is having to make a lot of the content, then it's less of a sandbox and more of a theme park with some few sandbox elements.

    It's rare to find a pure sandbox game anymore. Minecraft comes close. SWG had a lot of sandbox content but there were theme park elements. 
    The problem is very few people want to play in an empty sandbox and those empty sandbox games fail over and over. 

    Sandboxes that come with toys, pre-built castles, and hidden surprises fair much better and are the only sandbox MMOs that have been successful. If you want to make a sandbox MMO that won't be shutting its doors in a year, it's probably a good idea to follow their example. 

    Or you could make another empty world and go "the players are the content! Wait why is nobody playing my game? Guess I'll die."
    There hasnt been any sandbox mmo's though..there have been a few survival multiplayer games masquerading as MMO's.
    DMKanoSteelhelmHatefull
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 26,925
    edited August 22
    Wizardry said:
    Name ONE ...
    They are talking about sandbox games there won’t be quests and the rewards are “what “ you are doing not gifts along the way. Conan Exiles is a sandbox and I love that game. So there’s your one game. Just because you can’t enjoy yourself doesn’t mean others are in the same boat.



  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 3,900
    iixviiiix said:
    I Just don't understand why developers try to put sandbox sand castle building together with PVP .
    Anyone with right mind know that it don't work .

    Short term gaming like fortnite , maybe . But long term game is a mess .

    I'd argue safe sandboxes are mess as you have overcrowding and ghost towns.  
    Sovrath
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 26,925
    iixviiiix said:
    I Just don't understand why developers try to put sandbox sand castle building together with PVP .
    Anyone with right mind know that it don't work .

    Short term gaming like fortnite , maybe . But long term game is a mess .

    I'd argue safe sandboxes are mess as you have overcrowding and ghost towns.  
    There should be pve armies to contend with in order to keep those towns/ cities 
    MMOExposed



  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 20,859
    ronanx said:
    Because AAA devs don't make games to make great games they make games to make money.

    Bingo.

    When your AAA budget is well over 100million dollars now - the only reason to make it is to make 100s of millions more.


    SteelhelmHatefull
  • cochscochs Member UncommonPosts: 90
    Indie's do the best they  can with what they have, and make games within their budget.  It's really as simple as that.

    Why indie's keep making the same types of games is in the hope that this time they are doing something that will make it work better.  As a game dev myself I agree that a lot of the time it obviously won't.  A lot of indie's just want to make an mmo even if they don't really have any solid ideas for how to make it work.  But some indie's do have ideas that might work.  Or they  might not, but the only way to know is to try.  That's the thing about making games, it's enough of an art that until you put it all together you really don't know.  


  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 20,859
    ronanx said:
    Amathe said:
    A true sandbox game is one where the players can make things. Houses. Towns. Cities. Fortresses. Castles. Player Quests. Terraforming. Etc. That's why it is called a "sandbox." Think about what kids do in a sandbox. They use the sand to make stuff. 

    If the developer is having to make a lot of the content, then it's less of a sandbox and more of a theme park with some few sandbox elements.

    It's rare to find a pure sandbox game anymore. Minecraft comes close. SWG had a lot of sandbox content but there were theme park elements. 
    The problem is very few people want to play in an empty sandbox and those empty sandbox games fail over and over. 

    Sandboxes that come with toys, pre-built castles, and hidden surprises fair much better and are the only sandbox MMOs that have been successful. If you want to make a sandbox MMO that won't be shutting its doors in a year, it's probably a good idea to follow their example. 

    Or you could make another empty world and go "the players are the content! Wait why is nobody playing my game? Guess I'll die."
    There hasnt been any sandbox mmo's though..there have been a few survival multiplayer games masquerading as MMO's.

    And another Bingo!

    There are no sandbox MMOs - there are some that have some sandboxy features but not enough to be actual sandbox games IMO - there are always too many constraints in place.

    ArcheAge and BDO are not sandbox games for example.


    GdemamiSteelhelmIsilithTehrothLimnicHatefull
  • NorseGodNorseGod Member RarePosts: 2,092
    ronanx said:
    Because AAA devs don't make games to make great games they make games to make money.
    What? You mean this guy doesn't have a passion for games or looks out for the interest of gamers? RIP my worldview.


    Sovrath
    Come home, North Man.

    Rolling for Spicy.
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