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Why Are All "Sandboxy PVP Included" MMOs not meeting expectations, excecpt(MAYBE) one?

I know, the topic's been done to death! Yet the TRUE problems have never been addressed by anyone(Developers) with ALL of the issues in focus.

#1: Trying to build with a lack of funds leading to buggy, feature lacking, graphically/(eye/ear candy) inferior results.
#2: Trying to build with adequate funds but still missing a key clue, below.

#3: Expecting that because it is "Sandboxy" the "Builder Players" should have to be the ones that PHYSICALLY (themselves) enforce Orderly Society in their areas of operation. <—Then they are repeatedly surprised when this fails to be a game that meets minimum expectations in income and return on investment.

The creators of EVE Online are perhaps the closest to getting this "complete package" right. They fail(IMO) because HISEC space is not player controlled space which could be conquered and made(sandbox style) into any XSEC space that players want.

My thoughts along this line are simple, but as far as I know, untried. First, territory is taken, held, or lost in the same way that PfO wants to do it. Through Meaningful PVP. Here is the difference: When you control territory, you are allowed controls over how much "Order" or "Law" or whatever you want to call it that you want for yourselves. Meaning from completely open PVP to Paid For guards that instantly enforce protection from random PVP. I'm talking NPC guards here, OLD SCHOOL ULTIMA ONLINE STYLE. The catch is that the players living in these areas have to PAY these guards for the level of service that they want. Pay being ingame coin or materials. There is room here for anything from open lawless PVP to some rules and some player self enforcement to "We pay out the A$$ to make sure that players are not murdered randomly in our demesne."

So, for these smaller operator games like PfO, Mortal, Shadowbane, Darkfall that can't seem to get a "successful" leg up in the market; KEEP THE SANDBOX WAY OF THNGS. Just do not expect ALL of the players that Dearly Beg for sandbox fantasy games(builders yet not really wanting to randomly PVP) to really WANT to police their territory with their characters. Your expectations of your players are holding you back from having a reasonable successful game.

That is, assuming you can deliver enough of the stuff that takes $$$ to make a game which can compete on the other levels.
"I buy Azoth for 5sp/ea. I will trade Enchanting or other rare materials/anything for Azoth. Contact me if interested. GET YOUR COIN EASY!"
"excecpt" - actual comment to follow when I've read it smile
New Guy
Except-actual common sense. Sorry for jumping your shtick Fiery.

I believe that bringslite means the audience is already limited. You are dooming yourself by expecting that non pvp loving fans are going to love having to stand guard when others gather and patrol and ride for pvp vengence etc… against hooligan gankers and such. Maybe that they need carebear pvp safe lands?

Really comments would serve more purpose on this forum focusing on why pathfinder online is having such a hard time getting off the ground. Besides of course not being able to approach its finish line from lack of funding and, let's be honest here, a combo of focus on top endgame settlement mechanics with a virtual freeze in progress waiting for new corp to come through.
Harad Navar
I think a peacekeeper roll for players makes some sense if the population is high enough to make that roll interesting at any hour a player logs on. It would make a paladin roll more attractive.
1) Could peacekeepers be hired by a settlement as opposed to being of the settlement?
2) Could the NPC guards report PvP outlaws in specific areas (paid for guards) so that a peacekeeper could go after them?
3) How long would PvP outlaws be on such a list (e.g, til server reset)?
4) Would there be a peacekeeper watchtower holding with expanded detection in hexes to help track PvP outlaws?
Knowledge can explain the darkness, but it is not a light.
Harad Navar
If the anticipated number of players has been reduced, should settlement citizenship be restructured? If an individual could join a settlement without joining a company, then a company of individuals could erect a holding and claim a hex for itself rather than for a settlement. This would encourage peacekeeper and outlaw companies by being able to have their own base of operations without having to be involved in settlement politics. If the outposts in that hex couldn't completely support the holding, then trade and/or raiding other holdings/outposts becomes more relevant.

Question, since you can build base camps and smallholdings in hexes that can not be claimed by settlements, could you open up broken land hexes to holdings if there was no claim of that hex for a settlement (i.e., company claim of hex rather than settlement claim, even if company is a part of a settlement)?

[Edit} Would companies of players from different settlements be a pseudo-faction?
Knowledge can explain the darkness, but it is not a light.
Duffy Swiftshadow
I think the problem isn't a high level scope issue regarding PvP vs PvE or builders vs gankers or wolves vs sheep, I think the problems really hide in the details.

Financial issues aside, how your mechanics work and feel along with varied methods of progression will drive your player base's day to day interest and growth. The more variety or options available the more likely players will stick around long enough to find more reasons to stick around. The games that make it have solid, fun, and most importantly polished game-play loops for each activity they include that fits their game's stated goals.

All the stuff about types of players and what makes it a real sandbox is in my opinion mostly B.S. Yes not every game is for every player, but there is a potential audience out there and the potential audience for each game is not a static group shared by similar games. Sure there is some overlap between games but it's really not that big a deal unless someone else has beaten you to the punch with making almost the same exact game. Despite liking a lot of what EVE offers I'm not a diehard EVE player, I ignore half the game, it's not ultimately for me. I could care less for Shadowbane or Darkfall's specific systems despite the grander scope of territory play appealing to me. PFO's proposed goals on the other hand are checking off a lot of the right boxes for me and thus I'm here. From those I've talked to it's similar, this game happened to hit enough of the right boxes for them while other games didn't.

A little more on point: Why do I believe PFO and some of those other in-progress games are struggling? Because currently their game-play loops are a combination of shallow and not fun with a distinct lack of variety. Specifically for PFO PvE is tedious and eventually trivial slog that gets decreasingly rewarding the longer you do it. PvP is just all around a frustrating mess. Territory isn't interesting because of lack of value and frustrating influence mechanics. Combined with weak PvP capture mechanics it's shallow and not fun to engage in. Crafting and gathering is acceptable, but fairly simple and not particularly engaging outside of maybe logistics planning. For a new game to survive they need to overcome these sort of problems, in PFO's case it may mainly be due to financial issues, but without seeing their final design doc it's hard to tell if some of it is bad game design. I assure you some of it most certainly is (no one designs anything perfectly out the gate that's just reality) and if things were going better it would mostly likely eventually get iterated on and fixed. But if because of financial struggles it never finishes enough to find it's legs it in the first place the problems never get resolved and the game falls into a death spiral. That is the major risk of crowdfunding these sort of games.
Why would the payment for security be in coin or materials or goods instead of in freedom?

If anything, deviation from the default in either direction should be expensive.
@ New Guy

That is pretty much exactly what I meant, sans the carebear comment. These games seem to want and expect ALL players to embrace ALL facets of PVP. At the minimum they think that Enough players should/will embrace it to keep aggressive random PVP fans out of their territory. OR that it will be considered enjoyable gameplay for all to TRY.
I posted this in the sub forum that I did because it is a topic that is about a more general concept than just PfO.

@ Harad Navar

Those are great ideas for the crowd of players that WANT TO ROLE AS SHERRIFF TYPES. There are those out there and I think that they are likely part of the niche crowd that might be attracted to PfO. There never seem to be enough though to keep these games from eventually turning into wastelands with nought but wolves vs. wolves, do there? I just feel that there are also potential players out there that would be content to pay for and play a game that they can go about their business in within a safer, more "lawful" zone, even if they have to work harder or pay more to have it through means alternate to random PVP.

@ Duffy

It is true that every game example that I offered is one that is failed or struggling for a variety of reasons and would have a very tough time making it despite my conceptual idea of a "fail tendency" in larger PVP scope. Yet consider: How great the PVP is or even how good the PVE is really is small potatoes to many MMO players if the building, crafting, and trading is adequate. They are primarily "The Builders". They may or may not be an important slice to these smaller Indie Developer's design mindsets… but I feel that they are missing something here. I certainly am not suggesting that they should be a group free from being conquerable by players. These players also want sandboxes. They also have entertainment money to spend.

@ Decius

What/how would "freedoms" be limitable in a sandbox like I described? Certainly players would have to know that their NPC guards do not protect them outside their own lands. Having to pay higher "taxes" would surely be a bit limiting. Any other ways or suggestions?

@ All

Fantasy Sandbox MMOs are Wanted. That is plain as day by looking around the internet. They are wanted by a variety of player types. Why do they always devolve to Open World PVP fests and never really get successful except for maybe one example(which is Sci Fi)? It could be inexperience in design, lack of money, poor concepts, but I think it is that each alienates too many of the possible "niche base" of potential customers with too narrow an Open World PVP concept. That can be said for going TOO FAR in either direction.
"I buy Azoth for 5sp/ea. I will trade Enchanting or other rare materials/anything for Azoth. Contact me if interested. GET YOUR COIN EASY!"
Stilachio Thrax
[quote="Bringslite of Staalgard@ Decius

What/how would "freedoms" be limitable in a sandbox like I described? Certainly players would have to know that their NPC guards do not protect them outside their own lands. Having to pay higher "taxes" would surely be a bit limiting. Any other ways or suggestions?

Not speaking for Decius, but if you dial 'Lawful' to 11 in your territory, the 'law' affects everyone. Just as a visitor can't come in and gank someone, residents of the settlements shouldn't be able to gank a visitor either, for example.

However I do think both extremes of the Law-Chaos scale in settlements should pay equally for either the tight security of a lawful settlement or the wild west 'anything goes' of a chaotic, open pvp settlement. Law is paying for the guards, chaos is paying to keep the residents from burning the place down. Middle of the roads settlements pay less, but have less security and more restricted pvp options.
Virtus et Honor

Steward of Ozem's Vigil, Lord Commander of the Argyraspides Iomedais
From an in-universe viewpoint, if the guards are being paid in coin they don't care who controls the holding, and anyone with the coin can hire the guards to keep the peace. If they are being paid for by their use of the holding itself, that should be sufficient.

From the design viewpoint, having to pay for control both by PvP and then a supplemental payment is two different costs. The cost to control an area and determine 'security level' there should not change based on the desired security level. (They maybe should change with location, level of opposition, or some other factors not considered).
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