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Why are sandboxes failing?

filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906

People seem to want a sandbox but they are all dead compared to other mmo's.  Why are these games failing when they seem so ideal?  My theory is the developers are making anarchy sandbox games instead of civilized sandbox games.  Once they start putting order to the sandbox people cry and start calling it themepark.  I feel that anarchy sandbox designs do not work at all.  But has anyone made a sandbox where they had civilized towns with guards enforcing laws if you were stupid enough to break them?  Mortal Online attempts such feats but the way it is implemented gives much reason for player dislikes.  Sandboxers claim they want total anarchy gameplay yet developers know this is just a waste of time because without civilizations to create a box for the sand you just have a sandpile.

Are you onto something or just on something?
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Comments

  • GolelornGolelorn Member RarePosts: 1,388
    What sandboxes???
  • ThourneThourne Member RarePosts: 752
    Mmoprgs are a niche market of video games
    Sandboxes are a niche of the MMORPG market
    OWPVP is a niche of sandboxes and devs keep sticking owpvp in their sandboxes

    So, you have a niche of a niche in a niche market that can't get enough players to float...not suprising.
  • rounnerrounner Member UncommonPosts: 686
    Your arguments are too ambiguous. If you are arguing that law and order would make ffa pvp more popular, then you should say that. Otherwise the thread devolves into an argument over the definition of sandbox.
  • MikehaMikeha Member EpicPosts: 8,862
    Becuase there are no good sandbox games. 
  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 6,880
    Mortal Online is the poster boy of what is wrong with sandbox MMOs......
  • SeirothSeiroth Member UncommonPosts: 29
    It is completely ludicrous that you'd suggest we are even getting real sandbox MMOs. They either fall into the quasi-sandbox genre but still have way too many themepark elements to really be a sandbox or they are just garbage. What is going on is we just aren't getting good games. Doesn't matter what we ask for. Could be any genre. If all we get is garbage well, nobody is going to like it. Lets see how awesome an MMO does when its truely 100% a sandbox game AND it has the production quality of any other AAA title out there. Great example? Something like skyrim, but an MMO and have all the player tools to make it a sandbox experience. What does that mean? Means we have the tools to make content, effect the world and people around us and we get the tools to tell meaningful stories through our characters and our actions. Think Ultima Online but with a much broader toolset to reflect the fact that we're 18 years later and should have something to show for it. AKA - more features (right now most of the time games have less)
  • TwoThreeFourTwoThreeFour Member UncommonPosts: 2,155
    The best sandbox currently out is Hafen.
  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 20,474
    OP - can you give specifics?

    What sandboxes are failing?
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    Thourne said:
    Mmoprgs are a niche market of video games
    Sandboxes are a niche of the MMORPG market
    OWPVP is a niche of sandboxes and devs keep sticking owpvp in their sandboxes

    So, you have a niche of a niche in a niche market that can't get enough players to float...not suprising.
    What *is* surprising is that there are still devs want to risk their likelihood on niche of a niche. 
  • FirstKnight117FirstKnight117 Member UncommonPosts: 106
    The best sandbox currently out is Hafen.

    @TwoThreeFour

    Hafen? Details or a link? Just curious.

    @filmoret

    Yes going to echo Kano and add, please define "failing" :: financially? Popularity? Functionally? etc.
  • filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906

    Which sandbox is failing?  Well Arcadia, Mortal Online, Darkfall, Wurm,  Anything labeled sandbox is not popular at all.  Except for H1Z1 which does not qualify as an mmorpg really.


    @rounner I was describing what might be causing sandbox mmorpg's so unpopular.


    @seiroth so you are calling skyrim sandbox because you can attack anyone anywhere?  Why exactly is Skyrim considered sandbox because you cant do nothing  but attack things and talk to things?  Skyrim is a horrible example of sandbox.

    Are you onto something or just on something?
  • grafhgrafh Member UncommonPosts: 320
    Like someone else said. There havent been any real good sandbox games lately, and the ones that are out suck. They arent true sandboxes like SWG or Shadowbane. Also the market isnt as interested in this as they used to be. Nobody has enough time to invest anymore and other excuses. Crowfall is trying to be pure sandbox, but we will see how that shapes up.
  • filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906
    grafh said:
    Like someone else said. There havent been any real good sandbox games lately, and the ones that are out suck. They arent true sandboxes like SWG or Shadowbane. Also the market isnt as interested in this as they used to be. Nobody has enough time to invest anymore and other excuses. Crowfall is trying to be pure sandbox, but we will see how that shapes up.

    Which brings me to the OP which is trying to figure out why they are failing.  Simply saying they aren't good doesn't really give much information. 
    Are you onto something or just on something?
  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer Member EpicPosts: 8,692
    filmoret said:

    Which sandbox is failing?  Well Arcadia, Mortal Online, Darkfall, Wurm,  Anything labeled sandbox is not popular at all.  Except for H1Z1 which does not qualify as an mmorpg really.


    @rounner I was describing what might be causing sandbox mmorpg's so unpopular.


    @seiroth so you are calling skyrim sandbox because you can attack anyone anywhere?  Why exactly is Skyrim considered sandbox because you cant do nothing  but attack things and talk to things?  Skyrim is a horrible example of sandbox.

    HAHA! H1Z1. I forgot about that game.
  • SlyLoKSlyLoK Member RarePosts: 2,578
    Most seem to try and push PvP as a core feature. IMO that is what is holding them back. Once / If anyone decides to shoot for a PvE sandbox experience with  optional ( if any ) PvP ( duels / arena ) I think we will see a large successful sandbox game.

    PvPers have always and will remain the lower population.. especially those interested in open pvp.
  • waynejr2waynejr2 Member EpicPosts: 7,768
    edited October 2015
    rounner said:
    Your arguments are too ambiguous. If you are arguing that law and order would make ffa pvp more popular, then you should say that. Otherwise the thread devolves into an argument over the definition of sandbox.

    Which version of Law and Order?  The original Series with Chris Noth and Jerry Orbach was great or anytime Jerry Orbach was on it.  Didn't get into most of the other series.  L&O Criminal Intent was fun to watch.

    If you are going to model this on TV Crime Shows, I would suggest Starsky and Hutch or Miami Vice.  If you are looking for more of a Role Playing thing, you might try Banacek as a basis and it would be sort of like TSW only for cheap detective mmorpgs.

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  • ste2000ste2000 Member EpicPosts: 6,194
    edited October 2015
    Not enough money to make a decent one.
    In my opinion a good Sandbox is far more expensive to make than a Themepark where generally the content is copy and paste.

    Unfortunately though, only Indies are interested in making one, and Indies do not have the financial cover to make a AAA Sandbox.
    Big companies are not interested because their marketing department decided that Sandboxes don't have mass appeal, though no AAA Sandbox has been made yet, so where the marketing gets their data is still a mistery to me (Maybe they just look at MO numbers, who knows).

    So we are stuck with crappy Sandboxes, until an Indie hit the jackpot and magically they manage to make a great game with little money.
    Only then you will  see big companies suddenly jumping on the sandbox  train.

  • flizzerflizzer Member RarePosts: 2,392
    I want a modern looking sandbox without forced PvP.  Either make separate servers or flag for PvP.  
  • mgilbrtsnmgilbrtsn Member EpicPosts: 3,283
    I think the question is flawed.  The question should be 'Why do MMOs fail?'  Mortal Online didn't go anywhere because it was a bug ridden mess and continues to have issues.  Darkfall was a PvP full loot game which turns a lot of people off, and not necessarily because it's a sandbox.  H1Z1 is questionable of whether it's in the category.  They closed CoH which wasn't a sandbox; they closed WAR which wasn't a sandbox; they closed Vanguard - saga of heroes which wasn't a sandbox; Chronicles of spellborn... Tabula Rasa.

    The point being that many MMOs and games in general fail for various reasons and not necessarily because it happens to be in a certain category.  Things aren't usually as simple as that.

    Concentrate on enjoying yourself, and not on why I shouldn't enjoy myself.

  • time007time007 Member UncommonPosts: 1,050
    edited October 2015
    nah, its just the mainstream wants themeparks.  its not that sandboxes fail, its just less players play them.  I would guess the majority of players (i.e. more than 51%) want themepark games and sandpark games.  

    if a game is a sandbox, people start calling it a "grinder" because there aren't any quests.  People don't want to grind mobs all day instead of questing and other ingenious forms of questing we've seen in gw2.  the majority of players are used to quests.  

    i like grinding mobs for exp.  i dont mind OWPVP if there are OWPVP rewards such as DAOC style +points to stats for each rank you get.  I dont like OWPVP awards such as "Rank 2: you can now cast a banner that gives you a 5% speed boost for 5 seconds".  

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  • BaitnessBaitness Member UncommonPosts: 656
    I think that as long as sandbox remains so closely tied to pvp, the genre will not succeed.  There is a subset of sandbox fans that see the games only as an opportunity to harass other players, and by nature of a sandbox they are fully capable of doing that.  In my experience these players end up chasing out the rest of the playerbase.

    I also think sandboxes struggle with motivating players.  With the themeparks you just need to run that crappy dungeon 3 more times to get the token to get the item that will increase your healing to help your group clear the dungeon you are actually interested in.  Carrot-on-a-stick gameplay is constant motivation, and despite it being implemented very poorly these days, I still think it is an important aspect of RPGs.  A lot of sandboxes neglect to give the player these important short term goals.
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Member RarePosts: 14,247
    filmoret said: People seem to want a sandbox but they are all dead compared to other mmo's.  Why are these games failing when they seem so ideal?  My theory is the developers are making anarchy sandbox games instead of civilized sandbox games.  Once they start putting order to the sandbox people cry and start calling it themepark.  I feel that anarchy sandbox designs do not work at all.  But has anyone made a sandbox where they had civilized towns with guards enforcing laws if you were stupid enough to break them?  Mortal Online attempts such feats but the way it is implemented gives much reason for player dislikes.  Sandboxers claim they want total anarchy gameplay yet developers know this is just a waste of time because without civilizations to create a box for the sand you just have a sandpile.

    You conflate too many interests in one, which is why you are scratching your head over this. Just because soeone wants a sandbox doesn'tmean they want PVP and vice versa. Yes, there are those in the middle. However, most PVPers want a PVP game, not a play-house-and-pvp game, and most sandbox fans want to build and create things without people smashing it, killing them and then looting everything they have. 

    "Sandboxers claim they want total anarchy..."  They do? Interesting. 

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  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Member RarePosts: 14,247

    flizzer said:
    I want a modern looking sandbox without forced PvP.  Either make separate servers or flag for PvP.  
    Call me carebear, but Archeage with more sea dangers and roving mobs that attack caravans in a PvE only setting would be kinda cool. 

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • randomtrandomt Member UncommonPosts: 1,218
    It's because no one has managed to make an EvE Online type of sandbox on the ground, yet.. EvE is the only one with a real market and complex geopolitical gameplay along side of your standard mmo grind type gameplay that has succeeded for many many many years. But eh.. space ships arent everyone's cup of tea.  Mmo's need to stop making worlds with a single market (auction house), for example.. 
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  • filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906
    Minecraft and Trove are proof that people do want sandbox games.  Yet I believe the problem with sandbox is everyone wants their own.  Which is why the most successful ones have your own personal world that only you can manipulate.  Or a limited number of players like H1Z1 and Ark.  When you start throwing thousands of people in the same world it is hard to have your own personal anything.  Maybe the desire to just build things with blocks outweighs the desire to do this with 100 other players online.
    Are you onto something or just on something?
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