John Smedley’s new blog has a lot to say about the future of MMO’s, and how he feels that a lot of games are leaving out some very crucial player dependent elements. One of those elements goes hand in hand with the decision by himself and SOE to make sandbox MMO’s their new mission in the genre.
“My belief is simple –“ Smedley explained.,“the content driven model is not where we should be aiming as an industry. Why? It’s unsustainable.”
The idea is that sandbox worlds keep the player more interested in the game during their down-time, and ultimately make for a more user involved experience. In a time where the player community knows so much about the game before it even comes out, let alone the fact that walkthroughs and spoilers hit the net upon release dates, Smedley might be on to something with the notion that players need to be have more to do than just the content created by the developers.
“Our belief at SOE is that it’s smarter to head in this direction now rather than waiting. We want to innovate and let players be a part of everything we do including make the game in the first place. We’re going to take the idea of sandbox gaming and we’re putting it at the core of everything we’re doing.”
This ambitious direction is inspired in contrast to the normal content driven modules you see quite predominately in the genre. Smedley wants to see those whom he has been making the games for play a bigger role in the developments direction, ultimately giving players more freedom of expression. This decision has the potential to put SOE in it’s own league of MMO design in the near future.