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Reader Comments (25)

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 8:18AM Kaemin said

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It's always been an item or object of some kinda. In Fallen Earth it was a motorcycle. In Mortal it was a city. Just depends on the scope and aim of the game i guess.

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 8:30AM Xilmar said

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I'm a carebear. Don't like it, but that's my thing in sandbox MMOs. The plan usually boils down to getting as rich and influential as possible and doing whatever can be done with that wealth and power, with the people around me.

Before the inevitable flaming, just want to point out that carebearing should be frowned upon in sandbox MMOs. Our society is the definition of carebearing and it's holding the human species back quite a bit. Since mmos are virtual worlds with no direct impact on real life, we should strive to be better humans at least there.

Basically when starting a new mmo, the first things are skimming the wikis, FAQs, guides and various places that provide gameplay assistance. This happens usually for the first few lvls, usually while still on a trial account.

Last couple of days of the trial are always spent on finding guilds, clans, alliances, corporations or whatever name they have for a constant group of people. MMOs without socialising is just a crowded single player game.

Making the first payments is a strategic move very well thought of by this average, beer hungry student. If the financial investment receives the board of directors' approval, so to speak, and a group of players has been found, it's time to kill, loot, sell, grow, rinse and repeat.

End goal? That's easy... have a cool adventure in a game, with like-minded people, some basic long term goals and most of all, as much fun as possible doing whatever the games allows me and my mates to do.

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 9:22AM archipelagos said

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@Xilmar Being a carebear holds the human species back? You betcha. Care to explain why?
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Posted: Dec 20th 2010 9:56AM Beau Hindman said

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@Xilmar hehe You said so many things that made my head swim! :)

For myself, the entire point of a new "sandbox" MMO (a definition that applies to many types of games, more than you'd think) the last thing to do is to look up wikis and walkthroughs. That kind of defeats the point of being lost in a sand box! :)

I'm not even going to touch the entire humanity/carebear thing.

Beau
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Posted: Dec 20th 2010 10:28AM Xilmar said

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@Beau Hindman

FAQs, not walkthroughs. Don't care for someone telling me where to go, just interested in finding out what professions i can have, what resources are there to be used, what special gear sets are at very low lvls. All this is before the lvl 10 mark of most elf-fantasy MMOs.
and the most important thing is reading what class does what. absolutely hate playing warhammer for example and having 5 healing classes, but only 2 of them actually heal, the rest deal shit damage.

and i get what you're saying about the lost in the sandbox thing, but i disagree. you are correct, it's just that for me a sandbox gameplay means i have many ways of completing one task, and hopefully i also have the option of choosing what type of task i will do. that's just my opinion, i assume different from yours. depends on what games you play, ofc, but in general asking noob questions is well...noobish. and that's like masturbation: no reason to be embarrassed about it, but no reason to be proud of it either.

just wanna say this, in general, not to you specifically Beau..."being lost in a sandbox" should not, under any circumstance, allow players to constantly play stupid.



oh and archipelagos gotta run now, drinking time in eastern europe, but if you actually wanna hear my reasoning, check back here in a few days, when bans are less likely to be given out.
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Posted: Dec 20th 2010 10:51AM epilepticemu said

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@archipelagos Xilmar's proooobably going to say something like:

We help people with genetic defects/learning disabilities, which lets them survive to have children, which means it's no longer "survival of the fittest," and we're actually selecting FOR negative traits! Thus our species is weakening! If we were wolves, would special needs wolves survive? NO! They would NEVER make it to be displayed on sexy t-shirts with three wolves howling at the moon!"

Buuut as it relates to sandbox games, it just comes down to whatever each player enjoys. I enjoy safer sandboxes in games and real life.
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Posted: Dec 20th 2010 11:09AM Beau Hindman said

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@Xilmar You said "the first things are skimming the wikis, FAQs, guides and various places that provide gameplay assistance. " -- that reads pretty darn close to saying "walkthroughs." Actually, it is pretty literal.

But I get what you're saying about the other stuff, wanting to know what classes do what. I would argue for just trying them out and finding out for yourself, but not everyone has the time (or job) I do.

As an employee of this website, though, I would hope that you don't DO anything ban worthy, especially now that you're basically saying you're going to try to pull one over on us while we are having a holiday! lol

Beau
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Posted: Dec 20th 2010 11:30AM Dblade said

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@Xilmar I'm not sure how not liking PvP is a problem in real life society. Don't extend the word carebear to mean more than it should.

If you mean "risk-averse," well that's where the lack of consequences in an MMO come in to play. You can't lose your life savings or be unable to pay the rent in an MMO.
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Posted: Dec 20th 2010 1:16PM Kaemin said

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@Beau Hindman I'm so confused....
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Posted: Dec 20th 2010 8:55AM ZoneOuT said

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what makes a sandbox mmo for me is the community, so my goals in them usually involve community like helping build a player city or helping out at player run events and of course tons of pvp. AH/Bestine raids and blowing up player bases were tons of fun in SWG.

I think the goal of grinding to level cap is not so urgent in sandbox mmos like in theme parks.

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 11:30AM 8zero said

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Survival.

Minecraft is the perfect example of a Sandbox game. MMO developers should take note. Going on 900,000 games bought is no small accomplishment.

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 11:37AM Dblade said

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Most of the goals I've tried don't exist or aren't worthwhile. In EVE I wanted to be a transport pilot or run a salvage company, but the game is designed to make those worthless. People just use alts, or can't really trust either even in their own corporation.

In Fallen Earth it was worse, because there was nothing to do. You soloed to cap, everyone could craft their own items, and PvP was pointless.

Sandboxes really are inefficient forms of themeparks, with most people centering on the same goals as them: character strengthening and PvP.

Posted: Dec 21st 2010 7:41AM Machinator said

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@Dblade

I like your comment. Most things I've tried to do in sandbox games gets shat on by griefers, so then what I end up doing is just RPing a valiant griefer PK :-D

One of my most successful and rewarding "characters" though, was an old man mage character I had in UO. I would sit on a log in the town of Vesper, babbling stories, begging from players and working on my magery (funded by my main chars).
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Posted: Dec 20th 2010 12:24PM Heraclea said

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If I am playing a game with open ended play and user defined goals, my first goal usually is to see the game world. Ideally, such a game will be full of interesting or awe inspiring monuments to visit, and makes it possible for me to see them. If there are borders I will find them. If it's possible to fall off the edge of the world I will do it for kicks. I've wandered the Shadow Shard, climbed the volcano in the Wild Lands of Zelata for no particular reason, and visiting the floating islands of Nagrand.

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 12:59PM InkSix said

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Well, the only one I ever played was EVE. I wanted to have a big company and be very rich, something I can' accomplish in real life. However, I didn't know how to go about that dream, as all I ever got as missions from my NPC's were violent battles. I couldn't figure out how to fight well or equip my ship well, so I quit.

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 1:47PM Anatidae said

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Well, most Sandbox MMOs don't provide much of a sandbox other than a loose set of tools for killing another player.

What I find interesting about the possibility of sandbox MMOs is the idea that players might create societies and meta-games within the main game. I'd like to see like-minded players gather and form their own town/space station/whatever where their laws were enforced (with tools that make it possible to enforce without being logged in 24/7). I'd like to see nations go to war because of actual player actions that pissed off leaders of the player factions.

And in a micro scale, I'd like to see a game where someone who wants to be, say a baker, can actually have a fun experience making the most of that meta-game within the world. A sandbox shouldn't have a magical auction house (no matter how convenient) that can transport goods instantly, but rather a system to find and order things from players and where the player has set up shop will dictate the delivery time (unless you go and pick it up yourself, which might speed up the process - which is like EVE Online).

I'd like to see a game where being a bandit on the road is a viable game play, but filled with huge risks. Ideally, I like to see game mechanics where showing up with a group of thugs and threatening to kill a player is enough to have the player drop some coin for freedom. Or the player can call the thug's bluff, because actually attacking another player is loaded with emulated "social" consequences (like in real life - fines, prison, death, etc...). And killing another player is even more filled with problems. So a thug would threaten, then attack with the goal to subdue and perhaps they are a right evil guy and they kill their victim.

And conversely, a world that emulates not only guilds, towns, and other social structures, but emulates consequences for breaking laws. So the thug that killed enough people is able to be caught and "jailed" which might mean banishment to some prison island for X time. Now that prison island is a sandbox area of its own filled with the most vile players - like a bad movie. And that prison is escapeable to some extent too. And, remaining in prison might even yield rewards that the scum of the earth players could find rewarding too. Basically, it is a way to separate (for a time) the players who like grief PvP from the players who want a more ordered sandbox world, while still allowing for the two to mix occasionally. Both the "prison" side of the world and the "lawful" side of the world would be equally fun to play in.

I'd like to see a sandbox game where at least half of every ability/spell/whatever is not built to: Do damage, protect from damage, buff stats, or debuff stats. UO had many spells (like Polymorph) that did nothing to help you kill anyone. Players used these completely non-combat spells very creatively. I once personally used polymorph to hide as a chicken when a player killer was hunting miners working in the mountains. It actually worked. So funny.

Further, every "combat" ability have a non-combat effect for role play. Or at least a similar ability you could use. For instance, it would be just fun if you could throw a fireball and set your friend on fire. Even if only for visual sake. Now he could "stop, drop and roll" to put it out, or walk through water, etc... Just stuff like that makes a world feel deeper than it is. It gives players reasons to interact with one another, other than just joining an instance to kill a boss.


While WoW is fun, I often find myself in groups and raids where almost no one is talking. We all just go through the motions. Ultima Online was almost always filled with chatter. It still is. Most of the fun in that game is the social aspect. I think that is what sandbox games can provide - interesting reasons to interact with other human players.

Otherwise, most MMOs are bad single player games you experience with others. When you can play something like Dragon's Age and it puts a game like Champions to shame, one has to wonder why Champions is an MMO at all - and so many others like it.

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 1:51PM pixledriven said

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Sandbox has become sort of synonymous with open PvP at this point.

In that setting, my goal is usually to get with a decent guild (read: good size / skill ratio) and start controlling space. Be it actual outer-space, or just "that mine over there".

Locking down resources creates alliances (not to mention the PK vs NPK wars) and nothing is more fun that Alliance vs Alliance battles.

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 7:35PM xBludx said

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@pixledriven

It is true about the pvp. I enjoy pvp, but it shouldn't be the only thing you can do in a sandbox.

The sandbox game that makes it possible for multiple playstyles and communities to thrive and interact in one world will change the face of online gaming.

For example, there should be goals attractive to pvpers including territory control, warfare, etc. There should be goals for people who enjoy trading and building influence through politics and economics/finance. Of course, there should be ways for the commercially oriented to interact with the more martially focused players. There should also be a place for crafters, architects, ship-builders, engineers, etc.

These roles should not be defined by classes. Players should be free to develop however they see fit. However, it should be extremely difficult, to achieve mastery of more than one field because of the commitment in time, knowledge and skill that it would take to achieve mastery in single field.
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Posted: Dec 20th 2010 2:33PM Valdamar said

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Exploration would be my main purpose, and being able to survive out in the world so that I could explore it all. When I ran out of places to explore I'd either quit, or if I enjoyed other aspects of gameplay I'd focus on those instead, but exploration would be my primary driving instinct/aim.

Posted: Dec 20th 2010 5:20PM UrkenInvader said

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Ultima Online was the first and last sandbox game.

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