I’ve come to realise that completely open sandbox type games just aren’t for me. I used to think that’s what I wanted in a game but it has slowly come out from experience and a little soul searching that games without guidance fit with my ideals but with my interests. It’s a funny mix of indecision involved in it but honestly not as much as you would think.
I’ve tried minecraft like most and to be honest, I thought it was only ok. It offered a wonderful range of systems and overarching freedom that I thought I would like but after a while I just found myself trying to create the same old things. I never really suffered from indecision and while it might take some time and thought I can usually put myself on a certain path and work towards that.
This is the same thing happens whoever I play a more open sandbox type games or MMO’s like Wurm or Xyson, I end up trying a few things and ending up bored. I’m wondering at the moment if this same feeling will happen when I try out the Repopulation. It’s a sad thing as I wish I could like them more than I do as they really deserve it.
Comparing Minecraft to say a game like Terraria which I loved offers an interesting comparison. Terraria is more of a game and while it does offer good dose of freedom it is more about guiding the player within the world and that is the key difference. Guidance can be a great thing when done right as many people (myself included) don’t have the boundless creativity to fully utilise a lack of restraints and lack the fortitude to make our own game out of the myriad of systems the provide.
I crave new experiences at times but I’m not a game designer, far from it so I rely on others to create experiences for me that I haven’t had before. The rote experiences I find in a more open sandbox devolve into me doing the same things. If I picked up minecraft again tomorrow I would likely start digging and creating structures much the same as I did last time.
The guidance that many offer though on top of a sandbox experience is really what I’m after. I like looking forward to my play in Terraria as I’m constantly focused on that end point of defeating the hell boss. I have a lot of fun along the way, and that experience is variable but I need that one, or multiple focal points to focus my attention. I need there to be rules, I want to have goals, and I want an already wondrous world that I can put my mark on.
I still like that feeling of freedom though and it’s a hard thing to get right. Have enough mechanics to guide play but not to many that it becomes a linear path of ticking the next check box. Being able to discover and explore along a path rather than just be stuck following it.