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Maybe on GD a sticky topic difference between sandbox and themepark?

EvasiaEvasia Member Posts: 2,827

Maybe would be wise to make such a topic and make it sticky, where mmorpg.com mod explains whats difference between sandbox and themepark mmo's, for general discussion.

There are so many who dont know what sandbox is or themepark mmo, so they constantly make topics about it.

What do you guys think, good idea?

Games played:AC1-Darktide'99-2000-AC2-Darktide/dawnsong2003-2005,Lineage2-2005-2006 and now Darkfall-2009.....
In between WoW few months AoC few months and some f2p also all very short few weeks.


  • MahniMahni Member Posts: 64

    I think it would be great to see a consensus definition here.  I've seen the term "sandbox" thrown around with different explicit and implied definitions many, many times.


    To pull from a previous thread, I believe it may be difficult to reach a consensus opinion because...

    I believe the term "sandbox" as it applies to mmorpgs is not clearly defined

    But...I think there are a constellation of features that could be seen as being prototypical of a "sandbox" mmorpg and I believe there are a handful of concepts that could be seen as being the motivating factors for developing / playing a "sandbox" mmorpg such as "freedom of choice"

    I believe "sandbox" mmorpgs do not have a list of necessary and / or sufficient features

    I do not believe that they have a list of necessary and / or sufficient features because there is not a rule-based definition.  Some may put forth a series of "necessary" features, and some would argue that they are missing a necessary feature, or others would argue that one of the features was not "truly necessary".  I believe arriving at a consensus about features that would be "sufficient" would likely be hopeless.

    I believe "sandbox" mmorpg is not a concrete concept, but is an aspirational concept

    I think that there are a set of features of a prototypical sandbox mmorpg that serve an aspirational purpose.  I am skeptical about how much of a broad appeal it has as an aspirational concept (not everyone agrees that "sandbox" is "better" than linear / themepark.  I am skeptical about how much of a mass market appeal a "sandbox" mmorpg would have given competition from more "linear" mmorpgs.

    I believe "sandbox" is a matter of degree - not a "type" or "kind" of game or mmorpg

    I believe that "sandbox" lies on a continuum - it is a matter of degree.  I see a mmorpg such as EVE Online as being more sandbox than a mmorpg like WoW - but I wouldn't say that EVE is the epitome of sandbox and WoW is the antithesis of sandbox.  Rather I would think there is a continuum where neither of these mmorpgs would be at the "end points".


    But I think if we list the "constellation of features" I referred to, the following could be included:

    A playing environment that:

    • Is Large (full of content for players to interact with)
    • Is Unitary (existing within a single instance or server shard)
    • Is Dynamic (responsive to player interaction rather than being static)
    • Is Persistent (effects of player interactions remain in effect unless otherwise acted upon - whether these actions are warfare, economic, housing, politics, etc.)
    • Is Non-linear (navigation or exploration of the world is not dictated in a linear fashion by the environment)
    • Supports many players (the massively multiplayer part of mmorpg)

    Character design and advancement that:

    • Is mostly free of restrictions (such as arbitrary classes, levels, or prerequisites for various skills)
    • Supports characters that advance in abilities through gameplay (the rpg part of mmorpg)

    Gameplay that:

    • Is mostly free of restrictions (most player interactions are available to all players, not dependent on character advancement or loot possession - although the probability of success may differ)
    • Supports a large selection of player-generated goals (such as adventuring, exploring, crafting, socializing, competing etc.)
    • Has a large selection of tools to use to interact with the environment (where tools and be skills or gameplay features that support various goals)
    • Has a large selection of things to interact with in the environment
    • Supports interactions between players (again, the rpg part of mmorpg)




  • paulscottpaulscott Member Posts: 5,613

    So you're going to what a new tag for 8 or so games that are mostly  unargueable?

    I find it amazing that by 2020 first world countries will be competing to get immigrants.

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