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Is it really THAT difficult to make a good sandbox mmo?

Nemesis7884Nemesis7884 Member UncommonPosts: 1,023

I thought it would be a lot easier cause you can focus on perfecting the mechanics rather than threadmilling new content...they say the definition of insanity is do the same things over and over again expecting different results - but thats what we are basically getting in the mmo world for years...

Why are there all kinds of sandboxes in the zombie genre but non in the fantasy (mmo) department?

Why is it so difficult for devs to simply look at existing games, look at the stuff people love about them and the features they dont like and then simply combine the best stuff of them all?

for example

archeage has good sandbox featuers but bad combat and questing

eso has good combat but no sandbox features

tsw has good quests and an interesting skill system but no sandbox features and a boring combat

package all that together and use something like minecraft as the basis of it and you got yourself an interesting sandbox game

You dont even need to invent new fancy shit - just copy the best parts of other games???

Instead of improving and collecting on the best stuff thats out there - devs focus on new content and invention where non is required...a themepark mmo with fancy features is still the same old themepark mmo where you run through quests...ESO is a good themepark mmo - but even the best volkswagen is no ferrari - it simply will never be...

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Comments

  • Nemesis7884Nemesis7884 Member UncommonPosts: 1,023
    [mod edit]

    imo darkfall is no mmo in a persistant living world - its simply a pvp arena

  • jerkbeastjerkbeast Member UncommonPosts: 253
    EQ Landmark has some fun "sandbox" stuff, and it will be in EQ next....so....maybe?
  • BladestromBladestrom Member UncommonPosts: 5,001
    Sandboxes tend to mean crafting and pvp to consume the crafting output, and an economy. this was fun in the 90's but now it is not enough which is why sandboxes are not made. OP suggestions to 'copy' this and that is converting the sandbox into a themepark don't you realise OP? Copying does not mean cheap to make.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • willbonneywillbonney Member Posts: 71

    Darkfall has made living and owning Cities and Hamlets mean something again.  It means making the whole PvE aspect of the game a whole lot easier.  Boosting prowess earned, loot, and harvesting of rare essences, they have given a huge boost to those clans with connecting territories.  You can even see their boosts when you have stepped into one of their territories with both system messages and on the in-game map (as long as fog of war is uncovered).

    This has turned Darkfall:  Unholy Wars into a more complex version of the board game "Risk."  It's a game changer buddy.  Them releasing the class restrictions as well as new siege machines put into the game for us sooo, and bam! The online fantasy version of "Mount and Blade."

    Willbonney, a.k.a. William H Bonney, a.k.a. William Antrem, a.k.a. Billy the Kid
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  • kertinkertin Member UncommonPosts: 251
    How should devs know which for example combat is better? You prefer ESO combat over AA but I prefer AA combat over ESO :-)
  • rpmcmurphyrpmcmurphy Member EpicPosts: 3,497
    Originally posted by Nemesis7884

    I thought it would be a lot easier cause you can focus on perfecting the mechanics rather than threadmilling new content...they say the definition of insanity is do the same things over and over again expecting different results - but thats what we are basically getting in the mmo world for years...

    Why are there all kinds of sandboxes in the zombie genre but non in the fantasy (mmo) department?

    Why is it so difficult for devs to simply look at existing games, look at the stuff people love about them and the features they dont like and then simply combine the best stuff of them all?

    for example

    archeage has good sandbox featuers but bad combat and questing

    eso has good combat but no sandbox features

     

    I'm curious, what's bad about AA's combat?

    I understand it's not twitch/action combat but isn't there a combo system which livens things up somewhat (if that's your thing).

    ESO has terrible combat in my opinion.

  • -Zeno--Zeno- Member CommonPosts: 1,298

    It's not to difficult.  Remember when you let players control things they EAT THEMSELVES.  Take Darkfall for example.  Its the best sandbox out currently except for the real safe zones they had to put into the game as players from the 1st version of the game would kill others in "safe zones".  Player politics is one of the craziest and most fun things you can ever be a part of.  That is something you will never see in WoW.

    BTW - This weekend is a free weekend for everyone.  New players and returning can try out the game.

    http://darkfallonline.com/news/one-year-anniversary

    The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

  • DoushiDoushi Member UncommonPosts: 96
    I dont think its hard, its just the "sandbox"  elites will bash the game to oblivion for the tiniest reasons. I am suprised that some companies actually tries to make those people happy, mmo players are most ungratefull player base in hole industry.

    mmorpg.com, the 4chan of mmo forums.

  • RamanadjinnRamanadjinn Member UncommonPosts: 1,365

    The real difficulty in this thing isn't the mechanics or sandbox features or what the players say or any of this philosophical junk.

    The difficulty is funding.

    If you want a game with the budget of SWTOR you want to be able to say you'll have the initial sales of SWTOR.

    If you want to blame anyone, blame SOE and everquest imo.

  • Nemesis7884Nemesis7884 Member UncommonPosts: 1,023
    Originally posted by rpmcmurphy
    Originally posted by Nemesis7884

    I thought it would be a lot easier cause you can focus on perfecting the mechanics rather than threadmilling new content...they say the definition of insanity is do the same things over and over again expecting different results - but thats what we are basically getting in the mmo world for years...

    Why are there all kinds of sandboxes in the zombie genre but non in the fantasy (mmo) department?

    Why is it so difficult for devs to simply look at existing games, look at the stuff people love about them and the features they dont like and then simply combine the best stuff of them all?

    for example

    archeage has good sandbox featuers but bad combat and questing

    eso has good combat but no sandbox features

     

    I'm curious, what's bad about AA's combat?

    I understand it's not twitch/action combat but isn't there a combo system which livens things up somewhat (if that's your thing).

    ESO has terrible combat in my opinion.

    eso has superb combat systems (the combat is unresponsive at times but that has nothing to do with the mechanics)...

    aa combat is just the usualy standard tab target roation combat like it has been since...ever... and hard cc basically means in pvp the one that shoots first wins

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,165
    As the definition of what makes a sandbox style game varies wildly between almost every player, yes making a good sandbox is very challenging.

    Some people say they must have FFA PVP with full loot, others reject that idea entirely. What drives progression in a sandbox, for some, skills that advance through repetitive use, but EVE uses basically a time based progression system and there are other ways.

    Does a sandbox style game have levels? To some folks, never, but then SWG, considered by many to be one of the classic sandbox games not only had levels, it had clearly defined classes and consensual PvP only as well.

    So again, what really makes a good sandbox, which game or games from the past should they copy? The ones that were financially successful as WOW? Forget WOW, I doubt the revenues from all sandboxes ever made don't come close to what SWTOR currently makes, while most sandbox style games are financial train wrecks, EVE not withstanding. (And some folks claim EVE is not a proper sandbox.)

    The task is definitely not easy, SOE appears to be willing to give it another go, but my guess when EQ Next finally arrives many will decry that it is not a proper sandbox because it lacks, or included one feature or another.

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  • sword4hiresword4hire Member Posts: 22
    Originally posted by Nemesis7884

    I thought it would be a lot easier cause you can focus on perfecting the mechanics rather than threadmilling new content...they say the definition of insanity is do the same things over and over again expecting different results - but thats what we are basically getting in the mmo world for years...

    Why are there all kinds of sandboxes in the zombie genre but non in the fantasy (mmo) department?

    Why is it so difficult for devs to simply look at existing games, look at the stuff people love about them and the features they dont like and then simply combine the best stuff of them all?

    for example

    archeage has good sandbox featuers but bad combat and questing

    eso has good combat but no sandbox features

    tsw has good quests and an interesting skill system but no sandbox features and a boring combat

    package all that together and use something like minecraft as the basis of it and you got yourself an interesting sandbox game

    You dont even need to invent new fancy shit - just copy the best parts of other games???

    Instead of improving and collecting on the best stuff thats out there - devs focus on new content and invention where non is required...a themepark mmo with fancy features is still the same old themepark mmo where you run through quests...ESO is a good themepark mmo - but even the best volkswagen is no ferrari - it simply will never be...

    If it were as easy as all that id like to think someone would of done it by now. But as with most things to make a mmo Devs need money and they usually get that money from investors those investors want a return on what they put in so a formula is followed that formula seems to be the themepark mmo. When the first "successful" sandbox comes out (and again we'll judge that success by how much money it makes) it will become the new formula. Fortunately there are some indie Devs out there who understand this and are trying to make the games we want instead of just what makes a buck a great example of this is Trials of Ascension I wont go into detail about here but I suggest looking at it. Another thing to keep in mind is that were not only gamers were consumers and these company's want our money so do your research before throwing it at kickstarters and crowdfunders back the games you want to play not just what's popular or "looks" good ,That's my 2cents thanks.

  • InporylemQQInporylemQQ Member Posts: 165
    I don't think it being hard is the problem. The true sandbox crowd is just so so so much smaller that the typical theme park or sandpark fanbase is. It's not financially wise to make sandbox mmorpg's.

    ArcheAge, Black Desert and Bless videos InporylemQQ Youtube

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441

    Yes, it is that hard.

    Most MMO devs steals most if not all mechanics from older games but if you want to make a good sandbox that actually have plenty of players you are in the dark. Using UOs mechanics wont work, UO was never that huge and a few games have tried doing something that as least is based on them and they have very few users indeed. Eve is pretty big but there is no room for another Eve. SWG had it's point and you could probably steal at least the crafting system but still considering the IP it didn't do that awesome most devs want either...

    So you would actually be forced to invent new mechanics for everything (well, maybe except crafting) and making new mechanics is not easy even if other older games have done it in the past.

    A good new sandbox would be forced to stop looking on earlier MMOs and create something new. It could however use mechanics from a pen and paper RPG game, many of the systems there (but not D&D/Pathfinder) would actually work very well for a sandbox, like Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, Warhammer fantasy RPG, Cyberpunk and many more...

    Even if you do that you still need a long Alpha and beta to test out and polish all the new ideas, sometimes something seems cool but doesn't really work while other times something that just is an temporary emergency fix is actually awesome. That long time means you need a rather large budget for a sandbox, something like at least 50M bucks. And since sandboxes never had a million + players most investors don't want to put that much money in a game.

    Only reason Undead labs got that much money for their zombie MMO is that their lead designer made Diablo, Warcraft 3 and Guildwars so Microsoft considered whatever they wanted to make an acceptable bet. Sadly do few studios have someone like that as lead designer.

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    Originally posted by InporylemQQ
    I don't think it being hard is the problem. The true sandbox crowd is just so so so much smaller that the typical theme park or sandpark fanbase is. It's not financially wise to make sandbox mmorpg's.

    I doubt that. Singleplayer sandboxes are hugely successful, like Skyrim, GTA, Sims and so on...

    The reason for that is that there are many well made single player sandboxes with very varying gameplay. With MMOs you have very limited choice (if you don't like Eve you have very little choice indeed). All MMO sandboxes are for example very PvP driven (nothing wrong with PvP based games but it is still a very limited choice).

    A few good sandboxes that actually differs from eachother would open up the door, we MMO players will play any good game no matter if it is sandbox, themepark or something else.

    And frankly is Eve still a sandbox and one of the larger MMOs out there and considering how old it is is that impressive indeed.

  • Mors.MagneMors.Magne Member UncommonPosts: 1,549

    Yes, it's very difficult indeed to make any sort of ground-breaking game.

     

    The creator of Elite (and upcoming Elite: Dangerous) is a high-flying Cambridge University graduate who has experienced his fair share of making games that were not quite so successful.

     

    It's all about having a vision and expressing it using applied mathematics.

  • AkulasAkulas Member RarePosts: 2,649

    Cant build a house + terraform then it isn't a sandbox.

     

    Yes it's hard because I haven't seen any yet.

    This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  • willbonneywillbonney Member Posts: 71
    Originally posted by emperorwings

    Cant build a house + terraform then it isn't a sandbox.

     

    Yes it's hard because I haven't seen any yet.

     

    Horizons had in depth Crafting system to build Houses or "Dragon Lairs."  Failed due to lack of PvP and terribad PvE.

    Xsyon had great Terraforming mechanics, however developer implementation on many other key features helped it flop. 

    If you're a sandbox-minded person, you just have to sacrifice a little bit more than the "instant gratification" Themepark model.

    Willbonney, a.k.a. William H Bonney, a.k.a. William Antrem, a.k.a. Billy the Kid
    "I'll make ya' famous."
    "Best dollar 'n eighty I ever spent."
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  • DamonVileDamonVile Member CommonPosts: 4,818

    What are the great sandbox games ?

    EVE, SWG ......???

     

  • willbonneywillbonney Member Posts: 71
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    What are the great sandbox games ?

    EVE, SWG ......???

     

    Ultima Online.

    After Tabula Rasa flopped, Richard Garriott went to making "facebook" games.  I hear he's back now though working on a serious title.

    Willbonney, a.k.a. William H Bonney, a.k.a. William Antrem, a.k.a. Billy the Kid
    "I'll make ya' famous."
    "Best dollar 'n eighty I ever spent."
    www.billyba.com

  • Fenrir767Fenrir767 Member Posts: 595

    I'd have to say the only gear Sandbox games were EVE and UO while SWG grabbed it's fans it also had just as many detractors and players that quit the game around launch or not to shortly afterwards. Creating a Sandbox that appeals to everyone is difficult Sandboxes also tend to be a very time intensive style of game something that society is moving away from as a whole with mobile games and MOBA's it doesn't mean that we can't have this time intensive great gaming experiences it just seems that it's more profitable to have those experiences in single player games where you can check out and check in with the save and load options.

    Until someone figures out a way to take the best of the sandbox and the best of the themepark and not make a game you have to spend 20+ hours a week on I doubt we will see that next great thing whatever it is.

  • JemcrystalJemcrystal Member UncommonPosts: 1,935
    Does Darkfall have a PvE server?


  • fivorothfivoroth Member UncommonPosts: 3,916
    There are no sandbox games except for UO which is ancient history and arguably eve if you consider that to be sandbox.

    How do people know that sandbox mmos will be that much better if we have never had any of them? Are you guys talking about your fantasies hoping that some day they might see the light of day?

    Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

  • NildenNilden Member EpicPosts: 3,073
    Originally posted by Loke666
    Originally posted by InporylemQQ
    I don't think it being hard is the problem. The true sandbox crowd is just so so so much smaller that the typical theme park or sandpark fanbase is. It's not financially wise to make sandbox mmorpg's.

    I doubt that. Singleplayer sandboxes are hugely successful, like Skyrim, GTA, Sims and so on...

    The reason for that is that there are many well made single player sandboxes with very varying gameplay. With MMOs you have very limited choice (if you don't like Eve you have very little choice indeed). All MMO sandboxes are for example very PvP driven (nothing wrong with PvP based games but it is still a very limited choice).

    A few good sandboxes that actually differs from eachother would open up the door, we MMO players will play any good game no matter if it is sandbox, themepark or something else.

    And frankly is Eve still a sandbox and one of the larger MMOs out there and considering how old it is is that impressive indeed.

    Minecraft PC reaches 15M copies sold, total sales approaching 50M

    Any time someone claims there is no market for sandbox I roll my eyes.

     

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  • bcbullybcbully Member EpicPosts: 10,149
    I think it is OP. It requires original thought problem solving and planning. 
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