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The Curse of the Sandbox - Overwhelming Openness

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Coldren, May 30, 2008.

  1. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    I'm not quite sure what I hope to accomplish with this post.

    I've followed UO since it's launch. I've taken more than my fair share of breaks, including a fairly long one that lasted several years after the launch of the Third Dawn expansion. I returned about a year or so ago, and I've been playing rather intermittently. I play other MMO's, including WoW (My wife enjoys it a lot.. So that's pretty much why I stick with it), and a 4 year stint with DAoC (I liked RvR combat).

    UO is the first game I really grew to love and commit copious amounts of time to.. Mind you, this was back before the first expansion pack - It was big, open, and complex enough for me to spend days on end completely enthralled in it's grip. It also helped greatly that I joined my guild - The finest group of players then (and even now) to which I've measured up all others I've ever been a part of.

    My account went inactive a week or two ago, and I really can't decide weather or not to renew. Part of the reasoning is, quite frankly, I have no idea what to DO in the game anymore. I have several decently developed characters (Skill wise, not itemization), but I can't really seem to find a drive, or a focus.

    Part of the appeal is the curse of the game. In a world of this size, with so many options and so much complexity, where do you start? How do you prioritize what to focus on? What's the point of anything you focused on to begin with?

    We're all aware of the issues of repeated debate - Player density, complexity of itemization post AoS, events, etc.. I'm sure there's no need rehash such issues.

    But really, folks, in an open world of this size and complexity - What is the point?

    Yes, fun. I know this. However, for some of us, part of the fun is in setting goals and achieving them - My problem is, I don't know what goals to set, because ultimately, it seems any goal is completely inconsequential.

    Examples:

    1) I like to craft, smith specifically.. RP one as much as possible, given my limited interaction with others (By choice or not isn't the issue here). One great goal would be to achieve a Valorite Runic Hammer without purchasing BoDs or BoD running (I despise the very notion of BoD running myself, but that's just me). So after months or possibly a year, given my play time, I have my hammer! .. Now what?

    2) PvE - I'm not very good at PvE, I don't think. Some things people can solo would wipe the floor with me. Killing event mobs isn't even an option.. I'm not a tamer. However, a guildmate of mine was kind enough to lend me a good sword and Shield of Invulnerability. It was with this that I realized just how much more important itemization is - Without adjusting or learning a single skill, I was able to sit in the middle of the Painted Caves and PvE my way to Lord.. a goal I had set almost a decade ago. So I got Lord, but I have horrible armor. So a reasonable next goal would be to get the scrolls to max out my main skills, and try to obtain the best equipment possible in the game to make PvE easier.. So let's say after years I did all this (Ignoring the fact that something new is always introduce, expansion packs and whatnot)... Now what?

    3) PvP - Here is a goal that COULD have enormous potential. But there's no point to this either. Insurance (No, i won't go to Siege.. I tried. GGS killed me.) took away almost any sense of reward, aside from "I killed this dude!", and there's no real objective - Nothing to take or really be proud of for what you do.

    These are just a few examples, but hopefully it explains my problem.

    How do you guys deal with the overwhelming openness? What do others suggest? And although it's a crutch to say, "The Devs should do xxx..", what reasonable things could the devs actually do to give some FOCUS, some obtainable goals, or tools for players to create such goals, and leave the method up to us?

    Thanks for listening to my rambling. I look forward to the disucssion.

    UO.. I love it, and I hate it..

    :shots:
     
  2. the 4th man

    the 4th man Lore Master
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    I been playing, going on six years now. Never once taking a break. Some days I can be on for a couple hours, others, just to snag a BOD........

    I have set goals.....acheived them and set others. I grew plants for the longest time....there was a daily need. Tried this skill and that....

    I never went off to play another game.....tried WoW via a friend, found it to be mundane. I have deleted characters, created new ones, as I am now.....If you're bored then move on in life, that's what your post comes across as.....

    I see UO, as outdated as the graphics are, as bugged as it is, as scripted as it is......probably one of the most vast and complex games in existence.
    Can I compare?? No. I do not play, nor realistically, have the time to play any others. I did alot of research into others though......when I saw, or should I say didn't see....what I came to know with UO......I wasn't intrested.

    Housing being the number one thing I look for,( well, maybe building levels, yuck).....

    PvP, I may try it one day......I'm content with PvM right now....still alot I haven't done due to time......Making Lord....that's a joke. I'd like to see each vet year have a unique title. Lord I die alot.....please.

    If I didn't have a job, a career launching, a family, a house, outside intrests, I'd be burnt out too.

    I'd rather be hauling in a fighting mad tiger muskie, than playing UO, that's for certain........or restoring a 68 Dodge.:love:
     
  3. Veganite

    Veganite Guest

    I don't play to win. I play a few hours a week with small goals rather than large ones. I've played this game 10 years without a break and there is still a lot I haven't done and may never do, but I'm okay with that.
     
  4. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    I'm not trying to play to "win" anything.. What can you "win"? Can you control a city, set taxes, add vendors, change structures, stuff like that? Do something that leaves a mark on the game world, at least temporarily, if not forever? Can you find something to rate yourself against other players as a motivational factor?

    There's nothing to be won. Maybe that's part of the problem, and why DAoC was so compelling to me for so long. Even though Relics weren't that big of a bonus, it was something for the entire realm to strive for. It could be taken away in a heartbeat, and it was always best when it did - A bit circular, but it was a focal point for the whole realm.

    There isn't even so much as a rating system of some kind to say, "Hey, I'm 200th on this list, what can I do to get myself into the top 100 X's on the shard?". True, it may seem to be a hallow objective for many, but for some of us, it helps provide some sense of accomplishment.

    And that is fine.. It's great that it works for you. I do set small goals for myself, but I like to have small goals that work to larger ones - My problem is, defining a larger goal. I can set small ones all the live long day, but I never really feel like I'm working towards soemthing bigger - something with some kind of "meaning" to me.


    This may all seem to be more of a personal existential dilemma, and in some ways it is - I have problems finding big goals worth working towards, because ultimately many of them seem to be without merit. But we ARE playing a game. I'd love to have a reason to do all those impossible things in the game other than to say, "Yeah, I did that." Maybe that's enough for some.

    Again, all subjective, I suppose.


    Just thought of something, perhaps to refocus the discussion:

    What are reasonable goals (long or short term) a player can set if they largely play solo, in limited spans of time? Just throw out some ideas! Mining goals, crafting, PvE, PvP... Maybe that would help me find a focus.
     
  5. Veganite

    Veganite Guest

    Let me rephrase my last statement. My enjoyment in UO comes from the journey not the destination. It matters little where I go or what I accomplish. I do get satifaction from obtaining my goal but the real enjoyment I get is getting there. UO for me is like making sand castles on the beach. When it's done I admire it then when high tide comes in it's gone. The castle ment little but building it was fun.
     
  6. Coldren:

    I realise that other people posting their some of their reasons might spark some enthusiasm but really unless you can find your own reasons to play your just going to end up back here again.

    If your aware of what other players are capable of you can surely set your own realistic goals within that.

    Also PvP isn't entirely about the fight and kill and often when it's discussed in other topics one person claiming their a PvPer it usually means that they've reached the point at which they understand everything in the game, thats generally how I see it because to PvP you need to understand everything including stuff you don't even play.

    So with all that, you know whats doable in the game, what out of that stuff you want to try and be able to do yourself is really up to you. I would suggest that you build a char type that you've never played before and play it from the ground up (i.e not capping everything first) that way you learn more about things in the game. I've been playing like 8 years with no breaks and still find new things out now and then.
     
  7. Joyous2K

    Joyous2K Guest

    You mentioned shard-wide rankings of some sort, that would be cool.

    If you stink at fighting monsters... make it a goal to get better at it. Make it a goal to get items to be better at it.

    Make a chef and just say chef things?

    Make a tamer!!

    Just kill mongbats?

    Maybe the sandbox is not as wide open as you think?
     
  8. 5% Luck

    5% Luck Guest

    For me(and my 9 yrs of play), I am a merchant at heart. I strive to sell and compete in the item market. To do this well, takes a bit of grit on most shards. I have to do most of the quests fight the hardest mobs, keep in touch with the best pvpers. hold my own in wealthy circles, craft with high end runics and fight in every dungeon to complete this goal.

    Not only that but I must contend with aspiring merchants and suck the marrow from their bones to squash their every attempt at swindling my costumer base out of their gold. Making a profit while all this is going on and keeping my guildys in the "best" equipment is central to my game plan.

    That keeps me busy!

    Since every valuable item has a proper means of obtaining it and, setting my self up to get them means finding every crevice of play, hence I find myself going just about every where within the game.

    I have about 3 hours a night to play!

    Sand box is great
    Linear is bad

    Soul stones and class structure keep me here!

    -----------------------------Dont vamp the vamp!----------------------
     
  9. Emil IsTemp

    Emil IsTemp Guest

    Hi. limE pepsI here.. Been playing for 10 years myself. I often find the game ends up in slow points for me.. usually gaps in between new content. Usually, ill play a different game during that time.. i recommend Oblivion. It has that addictive touch of pixel crack we love and miss.. and crave.. :lick:

    Hmm leaving a mark on the world.. most definately you can. Just look around at all the remaining player establishments that have been *blessed* by the seers of old. (on Pac, Paws, Gathered Spirits, Johs Creb Shak, Green Gryphon.. few others maybe) I guarantee the creators of these establishments almost 10 years ago didnt think they would still be in game to this day. And none of them even play anymore.

    Nothing to be won.. true you cannot claim any one "prize" save for that shard-wide PVP tourney hosted by EA years back.. but it really depends on what you consider your prize.

    Take FL for example: Pacific lost its fight against "evil" a long time ago. FL to the SL.. Maybe because the guilds/people of Pacific couldnt unite and stand up against them.. and then theres people that joined them.. (out of fear for the most part) And they dominated back in the day. It was unheard of to get skill/stat scrolls reasonably priced as a result of the monopolized champ spawns. thair prize? Dominance. they were the best. they owned Felucca. Now people will say "ohh FL sucks.. they suck now.. ect ect" but guess what? the damage is done. There was a mass-exodus to other servers as a result. To stay in business, FL began to migrate.

    Sense of acomplishment.. its in the eye of the beholder. Set a goal, or goals for yourself or character, and try to achieve it. The reward isnt reaching your goal, its the journey you took to get there.

    I still have a goal.. a 10 year vendetta in the back of my head. Back when i started in '98, my first purchase was a small boat which i cooked bread, and sold to the shopkeeper (6gp ea) for to save up for the boat. (15k) I laugh now thinking back, that i can make 15k in a few minutes now, lol. But anyways, i only had the boat about a week. Was out "exploring" (yea this game used to be huge by old standards) and stopped on an island. Some guy ran up next to me, and stole my boat key, and hijacked my boat.. leaving me stuck on the island with no way out. (not a mage, no sacred journey for 4 more years) and his chronies proceded to attack me. Of course my friend i was with decides to throw a nice Kal Ort Por at them.. lol. and im running for my life now.. throwing bread at them.. and i ended up hiding in a tent (yea a tent!) then my uncle calls, and i hear "let the machine get it!" and then the vm boots me off the 'dial-up AOL 3.5' lol. SO now i get back on 5 minutes later, standing in middle of a fire field (they had found me) SO i started running, had to re-page to get off the island.. and to make a boring story ironic, the thiefs name was EdDennis.. the GM of FLs other character..

    Some goals you could use/tweak:

    Join a guild.. not for companionship, but sabotage. I loved roleplaying my thief into guilds.. ElF was quite fun when they had a lot of members.. and make friends, spread rumors, try to get an uprising going, all the while your robbing them blind. Since you can steal/attack guildies in tram ruleset.. people often dont insure items right away, or do expensive transactions of uninsured items.. ransoms.. extortion.. all the while staying in character. (and if its too nice of an item, say a bottle of Yew wine, sell it back to them for a fraction of the price if your a nice player.. or you just funded your skill gains for quite a long time)

    *edit*

    Anyone who thinks stealing is dead has no imagination..

    Revive factions.. I roleplay a thief, so naturally my services can be.. uhh.. of service to faction guilds.

    Open a tavern.. Roleplay a tavern one or two hours a week. If theres any sense of creativity left behind the Devs, your establishment will get *blessed* I know seers are gone and all, but its not unheard of.. ;)

    just some ideas.. but remember, everyone is different. Just listing what ive spent some time on =).

    And yes, im still in the Gathered Spirits. Maybe ill bartend this weekend... :shots:
     
  10. Loqucious

    Loqucious Guest

    Not sure there is an answer for you.

    Me personally I log in every day to restock my fel vendors because I really enjoy seeing people come to my home. I have been doing this for a little over 4 or the 6 plus years I have been playing.

    I also constantly work chars on different shards. I've been working up a couple chars on ATL lately and I must have run close to 3 or 4 hundred Lady M's trying to get a CC. That sure as heck keeps me busy.

    You could always try raising chars on an Asian shard. Those players are fun, polite, and many don't speak English so it is kind of a neat challenge. Hehe

    It is the openness that I enjoy most because I don't feel I "have" to do anything. I just log in and do whatever I wish. Plus I really enjoy my guild members.

    Good luck
     
  11. Insurance is good for UO. Players should *not* be unduly punished for dying in pvp (which happens all the time, eg. ganks). If players were to lose their difficult-to-obtain armour or weapons (note that due to everyone's unique preferences and individual customization / configuration, what is a precious/valuable weapon/armour to you, may not be so for another player) upon death, then most players would simply give up pvp.

    There are many alternative ways to make pvp enticing and interesting. The Devs are working on these. But doing away with insurance, is the worst (most effective) way to destroy interest in pvp.
     
  12. Cear Dallben Dragon

    Cear Dallben Dragon Babbling Loonie
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    i dont see why everyone doesnt RP in UO and love it....




    149992929
     
  13. Beerman72

    Beerman72 Visitor

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    Two words that go together come to mind on this topic...

    *content* (psst!!! hey devs!!! expansion content = GOOD!)

    &

    *soon*

    BTW, the term *sandbox* never quite agreed with me. As a kid we vigorously played in a sandbox made form a giant tractor tire. That is until the neighbors younger brother left a present both on and in the box. Wasnt the same ever again. :eek::thumbdown: