Arguably one of the oldest forms of MMO game but one of the least popular today. Sandbox MMORPG games offer players extreme levels of freedom and choice, as opposed to the hand-holding approach of theme park MMO games. But is there any room for these games in mainstream media?
There’s a host of sandbox titles available online today. Darkfall Online and Mortal Online are amongst the most popular. With large budgets, a massive following and some truly unique features, both these games had the potential to break the mainstream genres. However, both fell short, extremely short. Imagine running 10m in a 100m race, falling flat on your face and then getting stomped into the track by a passing stampede; that’s how much these games failed.
With the world at your feet, classless character progression and the ability to manipulate the world around you; there’s no better dream for an MMO fan. However, they are still nothing but dreams as sandbox after sandbox falls short. Rather than a world littered with endless possibilities, we get a large box full of broken glass bottles and cat feces.
So why does the sandbox genre fail to appeal to the larger parts of the market? They all offer the regular features seen in typical MMO games, but they also add more with character progression and freedom.
What are your thoughts? Are we as MMO gamers ready for the sandbox approach? Or do we crave the gentle experience provided by today’s typical MMO approach?