Sandboxes get a lot of flak in today's themepark-dominated MMO industry. That said, sandbox developers who do it right will be laughing all the way to bank, according to CCP
senior designer Matthew Woodward
Woodward recently gave a talk at GDC Online
titled The Other White Meat: Design Architecture for Sandbox Games. The presentation focused on the three pillars used by the firm to power its long-running EVE Online
MMORPG. Woodward stressed social aspects, goals and goal-driven players, and most importantly, emergent gameplay.
"The big win is that emergence is cheap. A lot of emergent gameplay discussion is about the One Big Moment. In EVE
, the big heist that happened six years ago, in Ultima Online
, the assassination of Lord British," Woodward explained. "If you do this well, people will play your game forever. People will pay for it forever."
Massively sent two plucky game journalists -- Beau Hindman and Karen Bryan -- to Austin, Texas, for this year's GDC Online, where they'll be reporting back on MMO trends, community theory, old favorites, and new classics. Stay tuned for even more highlights from the show!