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What does the term Sandbox mean?

I believe overall, this is the biggest issue Albion faces and what makes it so small for the type of game it wants to become.

 

In Albion Online, this is how I view the open world "sandbox". It's small little zones, sectioned off into small parcels of land to be played by the few that control it.

 

This is the terrain in Albion that we are all stuck following. It's so full of small "ravines and canyons" that it literally dictates where you can go, how you get there and how you are trapped. 4 entrances/exits MAX to any 1 zone.

 

Now take a look at a very simple game concept of what a true open world "sandbox" could and should be.

 

"If you're not kill'n, you're either die'n or not try'n"

 

Sandbox also could mean that you can pick up any weapon or item in the game and use it. While you might not be very efficient or be able to do much of anything with the item, you can still use it.

 

A lot of players bring up the dreaded word UO, because that game did have a lot of fundamentally simple things right. Below are a few things besides the world that can make a game feel like a "sandbox".

 

Alchemy: Find a bottle, some regeants (herbs) and a mortar/pestal and BAMM you can "try" to create a potion

 

Fighting: Grab a halberd, katana, mace, quarter staff; you can use any of them.

**You might not swing the weapon very fast or ever hit a mob, but you can still use it

Lumberjacking/Mining: You skill didn't determine if you could mine or cut trees, but it did factor in to how much you could find and the rarity of ores you could find.

50% skill Miner could find maybe 3-4 Ore and lost half of it when they smelted it to ingots

 

100% skill Miner (Grandmaster) could find 10-20 and maybe lost 1:20 when smelting to ingots

 

Now take Albion Onlines system of Mining/Lumberjacking

Tier 4 gets 3 wood/ore specific to T4 and below

Tier 7 gets the same amount a Tier 4 would get from the same node. The only benefit is that the Tier 7 can get higher ores, but has ZERO bearing on lower tier.

To fix this, the could implement a better skill system.

 

What Albion Online was?

This game "was" billed as a hardcore open-world pvp sandbox. When I visit Albion Online's website now, I don't see the word or phrase sandbox anywhere, it's been removed. So a lot of founders, the ones that are forwarding ideas of escape and managing pvp through reputation / criminal systems, etc., were under the impression they were in a sandbox game. And this game originally mentioned that it was a hardcore full loot pvp sandbox. I think we're now seeing, and the developers are now acknowledging, this isn't a sandbox game. As players how do you know it's not a sandbox game?

 

Some defining elements of sandbox games:

You don't have to fight. Ex. Your a blacksmith / miner, and that's all you are. You make stuff and are known for that.

NPCs exist, so you don't 'need' other players to make stuff for you. Ex. I need a sword, head to the town's blacksmith shop.

Towns/Cities are different, defining, and do or don't offer certain services.

Environments are very different with creatures that inhabit only that environment. They don't all drop silver. They drop things they would carry or find important.

System Guilds exist, primarily for skill advancement and questing. Ex. Only certain spells or spell levels are opened if I become a member of "The Snake Worshipers" and progress up their guild ladder.

 

Some defining elements of role playing games:

You are good or you are evil. Your actions define your character as such.

Quests feed a story. These can be led by Event Managers, players, or the game itself. But there is an overarching storyline.

Decisions matter. If you decided to help NPC A then NPC B hates you and you can't 'fix' that to see their content.

 

"Albion Online is the first true cross-platform Sandbox MMO. Available now on Windows, Linux, Mac and Android."

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