Thursday, 30 July 2009

Sandbox schmandbox

Massively covered Eve Online's latest publicity video, a self-congratulatory orgy of celebration of the word "sandbox".

I hate the word sandbox and how it has come to be such a meaningless hype word.

There's no reason for equating single server with sandbox. If WoW had only 10 000 players they could all be on the same server but it wouldn't make WoW a sandbox game.

There is no reason for equating territory control with sandbox. Warhammer is a theme park game where you can change control of territory.

The key point about sandbox is that you leave stuff out. Stuff like hand holding quest chains and quest hubs. In itself this is a bad thing. This ultimately leads to other players being your content however which can be a good thing.

But it should be possible to make other people your content in more contructive ways than simply not giving them anything else to do.

To be fair Eve is actually trying to do this with theme park style Epic Missions arcs and an expanded new player experience which will mainly be adding a hand-holding quest arc introducing Exploration.

I also think using the Butterfly Effect to describe the sequence of events described in this promotional video is ridiculous over-hype. In physics the butterfly actually causes the tornado. In this story the defence of the miner only causes the player to become a tiny cog in an ongoing alliance war. It doesn't start the war.

I actually like Eve and play it but the hype here is an insult to our intelligence.


  1. I just watched the movie. It is like telling roid suckers that their roid sucking sometimes might make a difference and change the world. ;)

    CCP has a tradition of over-hyping certain aspects of the game. Think of all the many scams that got declared "heists" and all that, when bored corp leaders robbed the bank, as usual, and all that.

    Funny is actually how a company that really has a sandbox game manages to totally fuck up the meaning of the word, hehe! :)

  2. I thought butterfly effect was meteorology? Funny how no one actually knows what the effect describes they just believe that butterflys cause disasters. Anyways, the video (wrongly named) was a good show case of what /can/ happen not what often does. Any self respecting pirate would have shot the miner anyways.

  3. Well it's a force that affects other forces so I think one can make a case for it being physics. Is not meteorology essentially subsumed within physics?

    But yeah certainly not a typical Eve outcome!