WildStar Discusses Sandbox vs Theme Park

Every Wednesday the guys over at Carbine Studios update us on the progress of WildStar or give us some new info, images or videos to oggle at. This Wednesday was a special post as Executive Producer, Jeremy Gaffney, talked about where WildStar falls in as a MMORPG. Is it a sandbox or theme park game?

Well as it turn out it’s a hybrid of the two. Gaffney writes that players will be able to choose how they want to play.

As a player, you get to choose what’s important to you…

If you want to play without a ton of direction and choose your focus, rock on. If you want clear goals and some guideposts to give some rewards and meaning to the variety of content we make, we’re cool with that too. Play how you want.

Now that might all sound all good and dandy, but I’m sorry to say MMOs do not work on choice, they work on incentives. If the story-line/questing system provides more money or XP than playing on your own, players are going to complete the quests whether they’re sandbox players or not. The incentive is what drives players choice.

Through experience we all know questing is by far the fastest way to gain XP in most of today’s MMORPG and I don’t see WildStar being any different. So to say your game is a hybrid, seems more like a marketing strategy than actuality.

In my mind the only way to have a true hybrid is if the quests offered little to no XP or rewards, with the only incentive being the store-line itself. This way there’s zero incentive for sandbox players and it still provides direction and a story for rail players, where eventually they’ll beĀ assimilatedĀ into the sandbox gameplay and won’t need the stories to keep them going.

1 Comment

  1. If the story related quests gave little to no XP as you suggest – then the players would still be without a choice to level. They would just go and grind on Elite mobs for example that gave them the best XP. You wouldn’t change anything, only direct them in another direction when they chose to level instead of discover the story.

    That’s not sandbox.

    What you need are a variety of ways to level up all with similar XP or rewards.

    Which is how many MMOs are now anyway.

    For example – in AION, grinding on open world elites is just as fast as doing quests which is just as fast as levelling in instances.

    It’s personal preference for the most part – however there are times when you want to mix it up to level fastest (most people wouldn’t be aware of the most expedient way in any case and just do what they enjoy the most).

    I don’t think levelling is the greatest concern when it comes to Sandbox/Themepark anyway. I just thought your post was shortsighted and felt like commenting.

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