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The Sandbox and You: The New Player Experience

"It's amazing to see what kind of stuff people come up [with] if you give them an empty book titled 'New Eden' and tell them to write something into it." - NightlinerSGS

EVE has a pretty low player retention. It seems very few players make it past the first few months, but for many, once that hurdle is made, EVE becomes an experience that never ends. Obviously veterans tend to see this, and we often attribute it to the Sandbox.

Image courtesy of ElliotJ777

But what is the Sandbox to a new player?

MMO Search 2014: Looking for a New Dangerously Fun MMO

On Danger Blog

First, all logos, titles, game names, ect. are the copyright of their respective companies. Now with that out of the way…

Welcome to my new series where I am trying to find a new Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) to play with my friends. I’m not a huge MMO player, but I’ve enjoyed a few during my video game career (Guild Wars 1 and 2 mostly). Why am I looking at MMO’s in particular? I think MMO’s are a suitable game category to select from because my friends tend to like them, we can easily play together, and, ideally, they have a lot of replay value and content. Also, I thought it would be enjoyable to examine some games in one of the most popular PC game categories ever made. I am not entirely sure what my criteria for comparing the games is yet, but in general I would like to play something that is at least moderately visually appealing, has a fun and fairly fast paced battle system, provides something beyond generic ‘fetch quests’ (i.e. get 10 of these, run this here, kill 10 of these, ect.), and has fun and somewhat meaningful (a loaded word, I know) content after reaching the highest level (often called ‘end game content’). A game being free to play (F2P) might be a plus, but it is not a requirement.

My first entry in to current MMO’s is CCP Game’s EVE Online, first released in May 2003. The last update was called EVE Rubicon, released in November 2013. The game came strongly recommended by one of my friends because it offers a unique and almost totally player controlled environment that one cannot find in any other MMO. He also agreed to guide me through the game during my one month free trial. I sense that many people would say EVE is a terrible place to start investigating MMO’s, with many forum posts I have seen (and some friends of mine) calling it overly complicated, unforgiving, unfocused, and/or just plain boring. I often saw the phrase ‘the spreadsheet MMO’ being used to describe this game. But, I dug the space vibe of the game, and my friend was excited about the prospect of us playing together, so I figured I would give it a shot.

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