The Daily Grind: How do you plot your gameplay in an open-world sandbox?

    
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Quantic Foundry’s series of blog posts in support of its Gamer Motivation Model continue with its most recent piece on open world games, which finds that when presented with an open-world, open-ended game, players tend to balance their urge to complete a campaign with their desire to randomly explore. Author Kaleb Embaugh argues that while men and women approach such gameplay equally, younger gamers on the whole tend to favor a more single-minded campaign over rudderless exploration. Unsurprisingly, players who leaned more heavily on exploration tend to score high on discovery and fantasy when taking the GMM quiz.

Embaugh bases his conclusions on data revolving around Fallout 4, however, which isn’t an MMORPG. But I wonder whether they couldn’t apply to our genre as well. We have certainly seen massively multiplayer online games that pull in elements from both ends of game design, such as post-NGE’s Star Wars Galaxies, which combined open-world sandbox mechanics with a starkly themeparkish legacy questline.

So how do you plot your gameplay in an open-world sandbox? Do you focus on exploring your own way, or do you buckle down and follow whatever leveling or achievement system the developers have implemented? And does your pattern change when you’re playing a themepark?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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milosanx
Guest
milosanx

I do what I like. Even in skill based sandboxes I don’t compare or even care about other skills, I just play how I want. I find projects to do and do them. If I get bored I start another project, always moving from one thing to another when I’m not feeling it.
Find my own area that I think will be special to me and perhaps even a challenge is key. Then make it my own……NOW..it depends on the depth of the game/sandbox, but not all games let you…Make it your own, they just give you some assets than pretty much everyone else has and you can arrange them. Changing terrain, every part of a building(no prefabs)..I could go on.

The term sandbox is abused so much..it makes me sick :)

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

I tend to to explore, figure out skills and how they work including crafting and just stumble into whatever as I go.

MesaSage
Guest
MesaSage

melissaheather MesaSage ManastuUtakata You know I love SL.  But I’ve been around it too long to not be cynical.

FacelessSavior
Guest
FacelessSavior

What the heck is “anti-progression”?

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

Quincha ManastuUtakata 
“…to play in I like…”
Is the qualification I am using. That means even if it’s not a gankbox, it’s got to be something I am wanting to play. Therefore, the Wander does not really appeal to me for example. They don’t even have a small plum tree in blossom I can roll with. A SWG version of WildStar would be much more suitable for me. :)

melissaheather
Guest
melissaheather

MesaSage ManastuUtakata Blasphemy!  Second Life is the most amazing virtual world ever.  Its building tools and capabilities far exceed Landmark.  Ye know not the laws, Malachi!

Want to explore a REAL building system?  If you dare…
https://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Build-Tools/ta-p/700039

melissaheather
Guest
melissaheather

I tell myself I won’t just grind and kill mobs, but then exploring requires you to do exactly that.   I generally take the bait and let them reel me in the way they intended.

Rozyn
Guest
Rozyn

Sandboxy games are very dangerous for me because if there’s a way to mess up progression, a story, or get lost, I’ll be the one to find it. Then I’m online trying to figure out wtf I did wrong and how I managed to do it. I mean, even IRL I read book 3 of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series before book 2 on accident. The entire book (e-books are dangerous). I thought it was odd that there was so much foreshadowing and the narrative took a really weird turn. Now imagine that kind of brain in a sandbox environment. Too much freedom and I will ruin everything, so I like a little bit of an anchor. I also now always look up book names in a series before starting one.

Enikuo
Guest
Enikuo

If I can build a base, I build a base. And, then I go exploring for resources to make my base cooler. I usually kill a bunch of stuff while I’m exploring. If I figure out that a monster drops something that I can use for my base, I go on a killing spree. Then, I redecorate my base. I eventually spend time on other systems, like crafting or fishing, to justify the crafting room or docks that I built. Then I usually get wanderlust and go on an epic adventure to find a new spot to build an outpost or something. Repeat cool base-building activities. And, then launch an engineering project to make travel between the base and outpost as efficient and cool as possible. I don’t plot this out, it just always happens that way.

TimothyTierless
Guest
TimothyTierless

Oh, and sometimes when I’m told my the game to star by doing X or Y or start with X quest, I read it carefully then head as far in the opposite direction as I can-avoiding anything to do with it.