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Themeparks a proven fail formula.

KopogeroKopogero Member UncommonPosts: 1,685
edited June 2016 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM
The way I see it making a persistent, online, virtual world game is something that doesn't take a month, a year, but years and many many years afterwards. Developers have proven that they cannot keep up entertaining their player base with the amount of theme park rides they release as well as their quality, so these games revolve around some repetitive grind over and over, which is bad if your end game is based around this.

The themepark formula is basically like this.

Stage 1 - Generate NPC's across a world that you'll have to visit and do quests to get from level 1 to X
Stage 2 - At max level get inside the dungeon with a party to kill Y and Z boss to get gear.
Stage 3 - Get in a guild to use that gear to get in a bigger dungeon/raid to kill harder boss with 10+ ppl.
Stage 4 - Wait for new dungeons and raids to get released.
Stage 5 - Do a level increase every year so new players don't feel "behind"
Stage 6 - Add some achievement that reward players with titles and mounts for completing game, that you'll use for some time until you get the new ones.
Stage 7 - Make some side PvP arena thing where players can kill each other for some website rating, while waiting for next raid schedule, which usually happens in these themeparks 3 times in the week for 3 hours, and that's only if these themepark rides are high quality like WOW.

So, at the end as you can see this type of game cannot grow to something greater, than just release new dungeons/raids and a class here and there. It's basically remains the same thing, but this is where the sandbox type game has the edge over the themepark.

The sandbox formula

Stage 1 - Generate a world with very few NPC's, since players will mostly be filling their roles in the long run.
Stage 2 - Create classes/professions that will help players build the world from nothing into something.
Stage 3 - Release the game, yes this is pretty much all you need, but the difference will be the game will feature far more classes/professions because of this.

Regardless how less it takes to make a sandbox over themepark, the developer will have far more space over the years to keep making new classes/professions, which would allow players to generate the world with features. Example, you have animal farmer, who's job is to breed and care of animals. You have some bio scientist who can cross breed to design unique species that some tamer could buy and use. Then you have some witch/warlord, who can transform some of these animals into powerful demons. Then you have some jedi (lol, as example) who will unlock the force and players will have to hunt him down for some bounty prize, if he is doing a lot of unwanted damage to the local town.

Bottom line, see where I'm going with this? What's happening is the sandbox MMORPG can only become something greater through time and with players consistently adding conflicts, drama, and unique experiences to players around them. What's happening is everyone starting to be unique individual with unique experience, story, reputation and this allows players to experiment with unlimited possibilities. Where will I end up if I choose to be the bad guy? Will it worth it or is it better to join a guild, do things in a group, safer but also to share the loot with everyone else.

Then after few years instead of developers worrying about releasing new rides that will override the old, they would have a sandbox world with 50+ classes/professions, that will keep building the world from some jungle or desert to, well it will depend from the players themselves into what they want to build it with the tools and technology the developers are giving them. So, at the end you have one MMORPG with different servers, where every server is a different world to explore with different technologies, different architectures, some torn through wars and diseases, others peaceful and highly advanced.

There is a reason why this genre's been dying, and that's because very few could recognize and acknowledge the potential a sandbox MMORPG has over a themepark. As you can see it takes far less resources to create it and through time it can also become far greater than a themepark can. It's also far less casual, because players can play the game consistently at any time through the day, week and year, not just wait on certain times through the week to get that raid going.

The end game features will only grow through time as well as player driven content will ensure players have endless things to do consistently. It won't be anymore a race to get the best gear, but a journey where the player won't feel he is behind or at disadvantage because he will find himself surrounded by many players ahead of him as well as behind him in whatever he is doing and experiencing. In a sandbox MMORPG with player driven quests it can be enjoyable to just be a peasant or a soldier to some commander, where you can slowly climb the ranks, gain his trust or w/e. Just like in real life it will be up to the player himself to know what he wants to do and experience in the game and how much he wants it to sacrifice whatever else he likes doing.

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Post edited by Kopogero on
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Comments

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    Very simple solution. Don't expect it to last forever. Have enough content for a $60 game. Let players finish the game, and come back when there is more content.

    It is a fallacy to assume a game needs to have players play continuous for a long time to a) make money, and b) to be good. 
  • Solar_ProphetSolar_Prophet Member RarePosts: 1,943
    Oh look, this topic again. From the same pretentious and sanctimonious creator... again. 

    Plenty of sandboxes out there right now, and more on the way. Go support one of them. Wait, that would require spending money. Silly me, what was I thinking?

    AN' DERE AIN'T NO SUCH FING AS ENUFF DAKKA, YA GROT! Enuff'z more than ya got an' less than too much an' there ain't no such fing as too much dakka. Say dere is, and me Squiggoff'z eatin' tonight!

    We are born of the blood. Made men by the blood. Undone by the blood. Our eyes are yet to open. FEAR THE OLD BLOOD. 

    #IStandWithVic

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    Oh look, this topic again. From the same pretentious and sanctimonious creator... again. 


    Most topics are repeats. It is not like there is a lot new stuff to talk about in the mmorpg genre. If not for repeating the same things again and again, there will be a lot less traffic. 
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    in about 1980 I was looking at my D&D books and I was looking at the Vic20. To me it was painfully obvious at the age of 14 how those two should be combinded. The only game I have ever played that did it the way I thought it would happen was Neverwinter nights 1 (not the single player campgain).

    Gaming has mostly been a themepark, predesigned story quest hunt for that long

    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Member EpicPosts: 6,130
    I'll just come right out and say it, people generally don't like sandbox games. There! Said it! I wish it weren't true, but it is. People do NOT have as much interest in bringing back a sandbox game as you'd think. For instance, for all the hoopla surrounding SWG, there was never a petition that garnered more than a few thousand signatures to bring it back. The Nost..blah Servers for Vanilla WoW are told to go offline and BAM!! 250k signatures in like a month. If you're able to get 250k people to give enough fucks about sandbox to sign a petition, a game will be made. The reality is that people just don't care that much. 

    Crazkanuk

    ----------------
    Azarelos - 90 Hunter - Emerald
    Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
    Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
    Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
    Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US
    ----------------

  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    edited June 2016
    CrazKanuk said:
    I'll just come right out and say it, people generally don't like sandbox games. There! Said it! I wish it weren't true, but it is. People do NOT have as much interest in bringing back a sandbox game as you'd think. For instance, for all the hoopla surrounding SWG, there was never a petition that garnered more than a few thousand signatures to bring it back. The Nost..blah Servers for Vanilla WoW are told to go offline and BAM!! 250k signatures in like a month. If you're able to get 250k people to give enough fucks about sandbox to sign a petition, a game will be made. The reality is that people just don't care that much. 
    yeah I dont think that is true base d on the following:

    1. for nearly zero dollars on advertising, often never even reviewed on sites like Gamespot, and created by a microscopic team most gamers know what sandbox is, they know about the games and a lot of them buy them. We are talking about small dev teams working a shoestring selling 1 million copies while game is still in early access kind of interest.

    2. AAA games like Fallout 4 would not be putting in building features if people didnt like sandbox games.

    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer Member EpicPosts: 8,736
    edited June 2016
    SWTOR, GW2, FFXIV and WoW would like a word with you.

    (Just because something isn't as good as it once was or could be, doesn't make it fail)
  • hallucigenocidehallucigenocide Member RarePosts: 1,000
    to me it seems like theme park is the only successful formula atm.. sandboxes got like what? Eve?

    I had fun once, it was terrible.

  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    edited June 2016
    to me it seems like theme park is the only successful formula atm.. sandboxes got like what? Eve?

    its a bit of the chicken and the egg.

    If the only think on your buffet table is eggs and one slice of bacon over in the corner and that bacon is kind of hidden and burnt from the heat lap how do you know for sure your customers would not prefer bacon?

    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    SEANMCAD said:


    2. AAA games like Fallout 4 would not be putting in building features if people didnt like sandbox games.
    Or you can say Fallout 4 would not be a story driven single player game if people don't like scripted quests. 
  • MyriaMyria Member UncommonPosts: 698
    That poor, poor equine...

    Gotta love the creative uses of the word 'failure' around here.
  • KanethKaneth Member RarePosts: 2,281
    Very simple solution. Don't expect it to last forever. Have enough content for a $60 game. Let players finish the game, and come back when there is more content.

    It is a fallacy to assume a game needs to have players play continuous for a long time to a) make money, and b) to be good. 
    I mostly agree with this sentiment. The online market has far too much competition now to expect the majority to stick to a single game for long periods of time. The only problem you really run into is the people who want to only play a single game have a harder time enjoying it if the community isn't there to support it. Developers need to have a backup plan for when their group oriented content isn't able to be done due to lack of players overall.

    Hell, even though FF XIV is doing well, the Palace of the Damned could be one of those pieces of content that get a bunch of people to resub. The idea of content that is flexible to party size to a certain degree and potentially has a huge replay value, is nearly enough reason for me to resub. Looking on various forums for FF XIV, I don't think I am alone in that thought either.
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    edited June 2016
    SEANMCAD said:


    2. AAA games like Fallout 4 would not be putting in building features if people didnt like sandbox games.
    Or you can say Fallout 4 would not be a story driven single player game if people don't like scripted quests. 
    that is likely the best counter argument to anything i have said in likely a month.

    that said my return is this

    if your buffet table has nothign but eggs and one bacon in the corner that is hard to see and is burt from the heat lamp how do you know for sure you customers do not like bacon?

    The challenge major studios have had for a long time is that they live in a data vacuum. All they know is whatever they create people buy it. well is that because the people do not have options and because the electronic gaming technology as a whole is that revolutary that people will really just eat anything you feed them?
    well then came the rise of the indie and the data that was collected, now people has an option to pick bacon as well and they did.

    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • ArchlyteArchlyte Member RarePosts: 1,405
    CrazKanuk said:
    I'll just come right out and say it, people generally don't like sandbox games. There! Said it! I wish it weren't true, but it is. People do NOT have as much interest in bringing back a sandbox game as you'd think. For instance, for all the hoopla surrounding SWG, there was never a petition that garnered more than a few thousand signatures to bring it back. The Nost..blah Servers for Vanilla WoW are told to go offline and BAM!! 250k signatures in like a month. If you're able to get 250k people to give enough fucks about sandbox to sign a petition, a game will be made. The reality is that people just don't care that much. 
    Nice of you to speak for people. Can you illuminate as to who they are?
    MMORPG players are often like Hobbits: They don't like Adventures
  • ArchlyteArchlyte Member RarePosts: 1,405
    I think a Theme Park contained within a Sandbox is a fine thing. 
    MMORPG players are often like Hobbits: They don't like Adventures
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 16,318
    They are not a fail at all,it is just that now a days all the developers are looking to make cheaper games,so we have not had any improvement on the genre since basically EQ2 with graphics and then again FFXIV with graphics.
    So with all the technology out there the only one being used is graphics,the rest of the game development cycle is shotty at best.

    Themeparks could easily take over gaming if done well,but guess what 99% of the devs consider a themepark, "linear questing" they have no ability to THINK to create NEW themepark ideas.

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

  • syriinxsyriinx Member UncommonPosts: 1,383
    SEANMCAD said:
    to me it seems like theme park is the only successful formula atm.. sandboxes got like what? Eve?

    its a bit of the chicken and the egg.

    If the only think on your buffet table is eggs and one slice of bacon over in the corner and that bacon is kind of hidden and burnt from the heat lap how do you know for sure your customers would not prefer bacon?
    So you are saying its about time devs stop it with the PvP centric asian sand boxes and produce a proper PvE sandbox?

    That said, themepark is certainly a proven formula.  To deny that is ridiculous.  
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon Member EpicPosts: 27,771
    SEANMCAD said:

    if your buffet table has nothign but eggs and one bacon in the corner that is hard to see and is burt from the heat lamp how do you know for sure you customers do not like bacon?


    Don't know why people here love food analogy so much ... but here we go ...

    No you don't know for sure your customers do not like bacon. But you DO know that they like eggs (since they are eating up all the eggs). So a shrewd businessmen will just keep serving up eggs. Why bother to serve bacon if you are not sure? It is not like you make more selling bacons than eggs.

    In fact, devs do try different things like MOBAs, MMO-hybrids and role-base shooters would great successes, right? So you can't claim that they never try new things. 
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    edited June 2016
    Wizardry said:
    They are not a fail at all,it is just that now a days all the developers are looking to make cheaper games,so we have not had any improvement on the genre since basically EQ2 with graphics and then again FFXIV with graphics.
    So with all the technology out there the only one being used is graphics,the rest of the game development cycle is shotty at best.

    Themeparks could easily take over gaming if done well,but guess what 99% of the devs consider a themepark, "linear questing" they have no ability to THINK to create NEW themepark ideas.
    my theory is this

    Gaming technology as a whole is so revolutionary a group of developer with money could almost do anything and it would be a success. Thus you need other data points but if all the developers are doing the same thing then you have no other data points.

    Example:

    Developer 1: we increased graphics and sells went off the charts (well yeah graphics are cool)
    Developer 2: we did what you did and saw the same results
    Developer 1: we decided to it again and sells went off the charts again
    Developer 2: so did we

    but how do they know the exact same result would not have happened if they invested in game features instead? they dont. its a data vacuum 

    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    I don't think it's possible in today's era as people are to adverse to people getting in their way or causing them some sort of displeasure or discomfort.  Most people in the early MMO virtual worlds were misfits.  Mainstream people expect a certain level of courtesy and will leave if it's not given.  You can even see it in this message board.  A lot more was tolerated in the past in terms of what people wrote.  Now you will get scolded if you say something out of order.  I think that's why we don't see virtual worlds built.  They require players to have conflicts and do bad things to each other.  That provides the motivation to play and overcome.  Most people aren't interested in overcoming that though.  It would be like living in a world where there was no or very little law enforcement and it's run by the outlaws.
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 33,585
    SEANMCAD said:
    Wizardry said:
    They are not a fail at all,it is just that now a days all the developers are looking to make cheaper games,so we have not had any improvement on the genre since basically EQ2 with graphics and then again FFXIV with graphics.
    So with all the technology out there the only one being used is graphics,the rest of the game development cycle is shotty at best.

    Themeparks could easily take over gaming if done well,but guess what 99% of the devs consider a themepark, "linear questing" they have no ability to THINK to create NEW themepark ideas.
    my theory is this

    Gaming technology as a whole is so revolutionary a group of developer with money could almost do anything and it would be a success. Thus you need other data points but if all the developers are doing the same thing then you have no other data points.

    Example:

    Developer 1: we increased graphics and sells went off the charts (well yeah graphics are cool)
    Developer 2: we did what you did and saw the same results
    Developer 1: we decided to it again and sells went off the charts again
    Developer 2: so did we

    but how do they know the exact same result would not have happened if they invested in game features instead? they dont. its a data vacuum 
    Good point.  Safer (especially with big money involved) to continue to repeat what has been proven to see before.  Hard to get those who hold the purse strings to fund something that has never been tried before, as there's no guarantee of success (or failure) and no one really want's to invest millions of dollars on the unknown.

    As to the OP, unfortunately 7 out of 8 (yes, I made that up) MMORPG's are more or less themeparks, so you can't really say the formula has failed.




    "See normal people, I'm not one of them" | G-Easy & Big Sean

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    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing POE at the moment.

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  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 6,997
    I think themeparks were a very viable formula for 2004-2014......Now though I think many of us are just burnt out on them, at least those of us that have played several of them.....Basically now if I hear a game is going to be questing on rails with lots of hand holding, I am not interested.
  • ArchlyteArchlyte Member RarePosts: 1,405
    Flyte27 said:
    I don't think it's possible in today's era as people are to adverse to people getting in their way or causing them some sort of displeasure or discomfort.  Most people in the early MMO virtual worlds were misfits.  Mainstream people expect a certain level of courtesy and will leave if it's not given.  You can even see it in this message board.  A lot more was tolerated in the past in terms of what people wrote.  Now you will get scolded if you say something out of order.  I think that's why we don't see virtual worlds built.  They require players to have conflicts and do bad things to each other.  That provides the motivation to play and overcome.  Most people aren't interested in overcoming that though.  It would be like living in a world where there was no or very little law enforcement and it's run by the outlaws.
    I think that there is some truth to this, that there is a bit of a threshold that has to be maintained in order to have the average player return and not feel like they are facing a personally perceived dubious amount of conflict simply by logging into the game. 

    Expectation of fun goes up against layers of Frustration, and when that is not an impartial computer but some person of odious manners, well that is often too much. 

    If players doing beneficial things for each other is rewarded wouldn't that be a way to balance that out though?
    MMORPG players are often like Hobbits: They don't like Adventures
  • ErevusErevus Member UncommonPosts: 94
    MMOs that are based on GRIND wether they're categorised as Sandbox or Themeparks are doomed to fail.
    Players are bored to it, even devs are bored to it.
    The era of thousands of players competing their way to the top through endless grinding has come to an end.
    IMO MMOs that handing the end game to the players right from the begining seems to be the next thing.

    "We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing"

    Benjamin Franklin
  • scorpex-xscorpex-x Member RarePosts: 1,030
    Sandbox games aren't popular, players like hand holding.  You are judging everyone by what you like.

    All the current mmorpg titles are theme parks, make a decent amount of money and are still running 5-15 years later.
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