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Theme Park vs Sandbox, What Do The Players Think?


Hendrickson

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What I think is....

 

Yawns.... sorry nodded off there, I tend to tire of reading so many similar things on forums these days....

 

Anyhow where was I .. oh yes, what do I think.......

 

I think if you dont like what you see/have go do summing else you do like - after all whether its a Theme Park or Sandbox no one is twisting your arm to buy it, let alone resub after your first 30days..

 

Every game has its followers and whinners... all people need to actually ask themselves is.. LIKE or DONT LIKE... if you choose the latter and still wanna pay then you only have yourselves to blame so why come here and moan about your inability to make up your own minds...

 

I have played DDO since early BETA (over 6 yrs) and I have seen every comment you can thow at a game, its developers, the licence owners... and it beggers belief why all those same playerse who want to compare, want to moan, want to belitte it... still pay the montly sub 6months, a year, 5 years down the line.. and still want to moan and ******... who is the bigger fool me thinks.

 

I tried WoW and logged off after 20mins, I tried Lord of the Bannanas and it drove me to the edge of boredom after an hour, AoC only kept me interested as far as creating my first female toon then I fell asleep... but rather than go onto the forums and write how bad they were, how such and such games are better cos, and if that game has that, then this game should too... meeh I just quietly logged and went and did summing else......

 

REMEMBER this is just a game, a hobby, a pastime.. if you wanna make it your life prepare your self for some ups and down... but if your starting to comapre and call foul on a game that hasn't even reach adolescence then me thinks its time to leave your darkroom and go outside and smell the fresh air again....

 

 

Why would you read the forums if you're not interested in improving the game?

 

/yawn indeed.

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Name one Sandbox mmorpg that has been released since 2005?

Actually i can only think of one that got released 2003 (Lineage 2)

 

And lineage 2 had over 3 million subs in it's prime.

 

But if a sandbox mmorpg hasn't been released since 2003 how can you say they all fail miserably?

 

Darkfall

 

It had a hugely successful launch! Not quite 1.7 million more like 500k but still it did very well. The main thing with it was the devs were completely independent and a very small team. I think they worked from home up untill launch LoL!

 

It is a FPS/MMO w/open world PvP and full loot as well as territory control and city ownership-sieges. It has player built ships player built citys and every item in game was craftable. They even put in housing.

 

Again the devs FAILED big time. almost no response to critical issues and exploits. Very little communication if any at all and the teribad (I mean this game had loaded lvled chars hanging out where new players spawn to camp them) community that fostered that lack of communication with total lack of any decency. I mean these guys started a clan named NEW to "protect the new players from griefing" but it was really a ruse to consolidate their location to grief them further.

 

I had a clan(guild) of 140(~60 active at any one time) in an alliance of 900+(300 online). it was successful!

Edited by Bystandard
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Did you just call WoW a sandbox MMO, or did I misunderstand your post?

 

WoW is practically the definition of a themepark MMO... EVE on the other hand is indeed a sandbox MMO (or was when I played it a couple of years back, I assume it still is).

 

Pre-NGE Star Wars galaxies was a sandbox MMO, which they turned into a themepark MMO with then NGE.

 

I personally would love a true sandbox MMO, in the style of pre-NGE (pre-cu even) SWG, but either the market for them is much smaller, or investors think it's smaller, or something in between...

 

I haven't seen too much of GW2 yet, but from what I've heard, it's not really a true "sandbox" either, but rather a "non-linear, dynamic themepark", though I could be completely wrong.

 

For me, a true sandbox MMO would not have quest-hubs, storylines, instanced dungeons/PVP. It would also not care about balanced classes, balanced talent trees, loot progression, etc.

 

For me, a proper sandbox MMO would be a dynamic, interactive world where players determine what happens. A world where you can be a lone ranger hunting beasts for resources, an artisan who crafts the finest weapons, a trader who buys and sells resources and items, a soldier of fortune who hunts other players, a diplomat who organises other players, etc. Not every "class" has to be competitive in PvE or PvP. Not every player needs "the best" items to enjoy themselves. Pick a "role" you like, and play it. Proper Roleplaying, as opposed to the "roleplaying" in themeparks which basically play your role for you.

 

Not that a themepark can't be fun, but once you've been on all the rides a couple of times, they become boring. Which means new rides need to be added constantly. This causes an additional problem because not everyone burns through the content at the same pace, meaning that new content can come too soon for some, while too late for others. It also means there has to be constant investment in development of new content, as well as balancing and updating existing content. A sandbox game has the potential advantage of needing less investment in content.

 

Bottom line: they're 2 different versions of the same genre. Personally I like both, for different reasons, but I feel the themepark version is starting to get a bit stale for me, and I'd love to see more developers trying for a true sandbox MMO again.

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I have mixed feelings. SWG was pretty much as sandboxy as a game can be. It did this at expence of leveling and quests which there really was not all that much of. 90% of the time you went to terminal and got like 3 quests to kill mobs of certain kind travelled a bit. Killed some, came back. So that part of the game was terrible.

 

Then again they had the best crafting, player housing, + player cities, player shops + cantinas. That part was very tasty and enjoyable.

 

I personally prefer a theme park with elements from sandbox games thrown in. In my opinion the sandbox parts would offer a nice rest and change of pace from the questing / leveling / grinding for gear.

 

A pure sandbox game however would have to be done pretty damn good to hold any appeal to me.

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is that why every sandbox MMO fails miserably?

 

Not every sandbox MMO fails. Some just don't have very many subs. (But still turn a modest profit) And more importantly -- most have a small budget released by a small studio, and just never catch the attention of enough people.

 

There really is no such thing as a large budget sandbox MMO. I suppose SWG would have fit that bill before, but it was sunk by SOE's incompetency not that it was a sandbox.

 

Also -- players are going to have to accept something less polished than WoW if they ever want to play an MMO again. You can't expect most companies to sink $100s of millions into a product before release.

 

Lastly, a mix of both is the best ideal option. It's just that apparently it's hard to get investment money for a project like that. Because most investors apparently don't know the market and want the "safe bet" ... except they apparently don't notice the trend that everyone is tired of the "safe bet" now.

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I have mixed feelings. SWG was pretty much as sandboxy as a game can be. It did this at expence of leveling and quests which there really was not all that much of. 90% of the time you went to terminal and got like 3 quests to kill mobs of certain kind travelled a bit. Killed some, came back. So that part of the game was terrible.

 

Then again they had the best crafting, player housing, + player cities, player shops + cantinas. That part was very tasty and enjoyable.

 

I personally prefer a theme park with elements from sandbox games thrown in. In my opinion the sandbox parts would offer a nice rest and change of pace from the questing / leveling / grinding for gear.

 

A pure sandbox game however would have to be done pretty damn good to hold any appeal to me.

 

 

 

Yeah, it's got to be both. Even Minecraft started to put in stuff that was basically EQ1 based.

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I personaly dislike being told where to go and when.

 

Maybe its me...

 

Questing is very lame in that sense. I remeber trying LotR and being asked to deliver mail to all the hobits. I know they were trying to "show off" the shire and all but OMG was that lame. I dropped my sub after only a few minutes of that.

 

When I tried Fallen earth it was the same thing. Dull mindless walking back and forth between quest givers. But that is one title that sort of fits the Mixed themed MMO. It didnt do well going FTP not long after release.

 

What I always go back to when descibing a sandbox is:

 

World building.

When I enter an area I think it should hold interest for all player types. There are resources for crafters, grindable mobs for skillers, elite mobs for droppers, story for followers and, landscapes for lookers. Thers should be low and high lvl content to keep the land alive with players and not try to count on new subscriptions to fill these places.

 

What I do find in theme parks is an area is built for a certain task and that is it. Once you go from lvl 20-31your done there. With a sand box you NEED to have that space accessible and interesting to all levels of play for more reasons then one.

 

Skills that accent all types of play are vital to a sandbox. Leaving a player with a choice between grenade use or traps or crafting is what makes that character into an avatar.

 

And lastly is community. The main and most centric feature of any MMO is community. Since the dawn of an AH style market(note eve is a different story even though it is an AH archetype) community has broken up and crumbled to dust. I wont label myself with a vote for one way or another but when you needed to actually MEET a player to trade, it built community. AH actually deters community building because one of the most profitable game plays is to sit at the AH refreshing the list and buying low and selling high destroying the fun of it and leaving lower lvl players at disadvantage.

Edited by Bystandard
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They dont.

A lot do, but take eve online for example ;)

 

I would say the same amount of theme park mmo's fail too

 

Darkfall, SWG, Shadowbane all Sandbox MMOs that failed miserably. So you have one success EVE which even then it's still a niche market.

 

Themepark MMOs are doing really well once they go F2P. But that's more of a comment on the MMO business model and not the games. AoC, DDO, LotrO, EQ2, EQ, DCUO are all doing really well.

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Which themepark MMORPGs have "succeeded massively"? (besides WoW - and frankly I wouldn't call WoW purely themepark anyway)

 

EQ, EQ2, LotrO, where HUGE successes but over time their playerbase has thinned out which is expected. Other games like AoC, DCUO, DDO, and many others didn't find huge success until they went F2P. Regardless they are still successes.

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Name one Sandbox mmorpg that has been released since 2005?

Actually i can only think of one that got released 2003 (Lineage 2)

 

And lineage 2 had over 3 million subs in it's prime.

 

But if a sandbox mmorpg hasn't been released since 2003 how can you say they all fail miserably?

 

Darkfall

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EQ, EQ2, LotrO, where HUGE successes but over time their playerbase has thinned out which is expected. Other games like AoC, DCUO, DDO, and many others didn't find huge success until they went F2P. Regardless they are still successes.

 

 

And comparatively which sandbox MMORPGs have "failed massively" along side them?

 

 

Although again calling EQ1 a "themepark" is plain strange, compared to SWTOR it was positively sandboxy.

 

Conversely there's several huge F2P sandbox games out there.

Edited by Goretzu
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Yeah, it's got to be both. Even Minecraft started to put in stuff that was basically EQ1 based.

 

I disagree. Make the "tools" players have interesting enough, and you don't need quests and dungeons. If the world itself offers enough to be engaging itself, it doesn't need someone saying "oh deary me I've lost my father's sacred sword!". You could argue that it doesn't hurt to have it in either, but I'm not sure...

 

In older (MMO)RPG's, you could talk to most NPC's you met. Often they'd only offer a few lines of dialogue for flavor. But some would send you on a quest. Some of these quests could be singular events that would net you a little money. Others could be a longer storyline with possibly more interesting rewards. The intent of this design was to create a world that is inhabited, where stuff happens. It would stimulate you to talk to NPC's and explore the world.

 

But, people are lazy. So, people would look for "quest guides" online to see which NPC's they needed to speak to. This then causes the next step: "if people look it up anyway, why not make it visible in-game?" Enter the quest-available-icon. But hey! I need to do quest A and B and C and D, but they're all over the place! And after I do A, B is not in a logical place...! Tada, quest-hubs and hand-holding through all of them. (this is of course a generalisation and probably not historically acurate, but still).

 

I think that in essence, Themepark and Sandbox are mutually exclusive. Yes, I'm sure you can make one with-a-bit-of-the-other, but a true sandbox game will suffer if themepark "rides" are added. And vice-versa. A themepark needs well balanced classes, whereas a sandbox doesn't. A sandbox game needs a large, open world open to inventive player-use, a themepark game would suffer from this.

 

Take SWG for instance. The NGE turned this into a themepark game by adding pre-defined, "balanced" classes (they weren't, but they were supposed to be), a levelling quest-line that takes you by the hand and around the galaxy, instances that grant the end-game gear and localised, pre-defined PvP. It did much of this in a still more "sandboxy" way than most MMO's, and it kept the player cities with player owned stores and player crafted everything, but it wasn't a "sandbox" anymore. It was simply a themepark with some sandboxes here and there to play in. Only they were a bit small. And dirty. And someone else was always using them...

 

I could go on for hours about how they did all the wrong things with SWG (even though I have to admit that they did manage to turn the NGE into quite a fun game towards the end, allbeit on with many flaws), but that's not the point of this post.

 

The point is that I believe that a true sandbox MMO should deliberately stay away from themepark elements, and vice versa. For the record, "adding more stuff to do at max level" isn't "sandbox". Adding player housing or player-crafted vehicles isn't "sandbox". Even adding capturable cities isn't necessarily "sandbox".

 

"Sandbox" is allowing players to use the tools within the game to create their own "content". Wanna capture a city? Gather enough friends and kick all the enemies out...

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And comparatively which sandbox MMORPGs have "failed massively" along side them?

 

 

Although again calling EQ1 a "themepark" is plain strange, compared to SWTOR it was positively sandboxy.

 

Conversely there's several huge F2P sandbox games out there.

 

EQ1 is still a themepark it just didn't have any of the modern features we have now. It defently didn't have any real sandbox elements.

 

 

Darkfall failed, SWG, Shadowbane. the only real successful Sandbox is EVE but even then it's got a very small population because the market for Sandbox MMOs will always be a niche market. it's about as succesful as a Sandbox MMO can ever become.

 

 

 

edit: Are we going to include Second Life in this discussion? because that would be a succesful Sandbox allthough really it's just a giant "adult" chat room made for cybering.

Edited by jarjarloves
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EQ1 didn't really have sandbox elements, but it still felt more open. Especially when you add in the potential of illusions and raising factions with various places. I had an Enchanter and despite being a high elf I could illusion as Dark Elf, toss a temp +faction buff on NPCs and enter Neriak and do my banking and vendor stuff there, etc.

 

And I think the market for EVE is small, not because it's a sandbox MMO, but because of how no-holds-barred it is. It can take you hours, days, or weeks to afford certain ships and you can lose them in minutes. There is also an inordinate amount of time spent just tracking down enemies to fight.

 

If we had EVE-style open space universe for SWTOR with Imperial, Republic, and Neutral factions. I think it would be wildly popular. "Zero-sec" style large-scale warfare for people who want to side with the Imperials or Republic officially, but allow people to stay neutral for the purposes of just having a random station somewhere. Setting up their own mining/crafting empire, etc. Without fear of getting destroyed by a random gank-fleet, etc.

Edited by ActionPrinny
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If we had EVE-style open space universe for SWTOR with Imperial, Republic, and Neutral factions. I think it would be wildly popular. "Zero-sec" style large-scale warfare for people who want to side with the Imperials or Republic officially, but allow people to stay neutral for the purposes of just having a random station somewhere. Setting up their own mining/crafting empire, etc. Without fear of getting destroyed by a random gank-fleet, etc.

 

that's what expansions are for. I doubt we will ever get totaly free space flight like eve probably something more like X-wing vs Tie Fighter. They said they are workiing on something big.

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EQ1 is still a themepark it just didn't have any of the modern features we have now. It defently didn't have any real sandbox elements.

 

 

Darkfall failed, SWG, Shadowbane. the only real successful Sandbox is EVE but even then it's got a very small population because the market for Sandbox MMOs will always be a niche market. it's about as succesful as a Sandbox MMO can ever become.

 

 

What's the different between an themepark with nothing in it (an empty field) and a sand box?

 

Not a lot.

 

EQ1 had almost none of the rails you see in a game like SWTOR, you couldn't build player houses, but then being able to build player housing doesn't make a game a sand box, it just means you can build player housing.

 

It's bizarre you can claim SWG is a massive failure, but in the same breath claim AoC is a massive success (although it has player guild cities itself), when SWG did better with the sub model of the two. :confused:

 

There was very little structure in early EQ1, and no real "rides".

Edited by Goretzu
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What's the different between an themepark with nothing in it (an empty field) and a sand box?

 

Not a lot.

 

EQ1 had almost none of the rails you see in a game like SWTOR, you couldn't build player houses, but then being able to build player housing don't make a game a sand box, it just means you can build player housing.

 

It's bizarre you can claim SWG is a failure but in the same breath claim AoC is a massive success (although it has player guild cities itself).

 

There was very little structure in early EQ1, and no real "rides".

 

 

 

wow really? Sandbox allows the players to create content.

 

EQ1 very much had rails it just they where very wide rails. They most defently forced you in a direction and you grinded the way up to the top

 

Cities especialy instanced cities like AoC aren't Sandbox per say. AoC has become a success ONLY after it became F2P.

 

SWG however was a complete and utter failure even BEFORE NGE and CU

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that's what expansions are for. I doubt we will ever get totaly free space flight like eve probably something more like X-wing vs Tie Fighter. They said they are workiing on something big.

 

X-Wing vs TIE Fighter pretty much was free space flight (aka not on rails). Heck, EVE pretty much works on the same premise. You just warp into each system or belt by clicking on their marker in your HUD. Being able to just point in a random direction and jump to lightspeed would be a great way for exploration. Then you could spice it up by being able to bump into random encounters while at lightspeed. Something like your scanners sense a nearby pirate base of operations to clear out (that would be instanced to you), or you get hit by an interdiction bubble by the enemy military and have to fight, etc.

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wow really? Sandbox allows the players to create content.

 

EQ1 very much had rails it just they where very wide rails. They most defently forced you in a direction and you grinded the way up to the top

 

Cities especialy instanced cities like AoC aren't Sandbox per say. AoC has become a success ONLY after it became F2P.

 

SWG however was a complete and utter failure even BEFORE NGE and CU

 

SWG was anything but a failure. It had its failure moments, sure, but an outright failure -- Most certainly not. Possibly one of the greatest sandbox style MMOs ever made.

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X-Wing vs TIE Fighter pretty much was free space flight (aka not on rails). Heck, EVE pretty much works on the same premise. You just warp into each system or belt by clicking on their marker in your HUD. Being able to just point in a random direction and jump to lightspeed would be a great way for exploration. Then you could spice it up by being able to bump into random encounters while at lightspeed. Something like your scanners sense a nearby pirate base of operations to clear out (that would be instanced to you), or you get hit by an interdiction bubble by the enemy military and have to fight, etc.

 

I mean in the sense that it is a free roaming universe in EVE. I'm thinking it will be more like you fly to an space battle like it is now but once you get there you get full control of your ship.

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SWG was anything but a failure. It had its failure moments, sure, but an outright failure -- Most certainly not. Possibly one of the greatest sandbox style MMOs ever made.

 

no it was an utter failure. It was bleeding subs at around 10k a month LONG before the CU.

 

 

a couple of articles from the programers about it's failure

 

http://rubenfield.com/?p=86

 

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/06/15/ex-star-wars-galaxy-designer-talks-nge/

Edited by jarjarloves
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wow really? Sandbox allows the players to create content.

 

EQ1 very much had rails it just they where very wide rails. They most defently forced you in a direction and you grinded the way up to the top

 

Cities especialy instanced cities like AoC aren't Sandbox per say. AoC has become a success ONLY after it became F2P.

 

SWG however was a complete and utter failure even BEFORE NGE and CU

 

SWG was a bug-riddled, unfinished mess at launch, yes. But, at it's core it was a rare gem. However, it could not get the number of players LA wanted from the license. That, combined with whining players who wanted balanced "classes" and easier jedi, ruined the game.

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It had it's ups and downs, no doubt, but utter failure is not what I would use to describe it. Plenty of loyal fans and subscribers and there still would be right now is Lucasarts was a greedy piglit. No attention could be taken about from SWTOR, not even a small amount -- so they canned it. On that note, SWTOR is now bleeding subs like a stuck pig as well. People are leaving in droves soon after 50, does that mean this game is a utter failure too?
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