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proposal: sandbox style meta


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To explain, I would first like to explain what I mean by a sandbox. Sandbox games are games that give the players freedom to decide what will happen and what they can do. In my view it is a bit like a Meta, but less linear. So let's look at existing meta's. We often are offered a threat. We need to work together to reach a specific goal and there are two possible outcomes.Fail or victory. Either way, after wards a cool down period starts in which the situation resets and everything van start over again.

In a sandbox style meta, the linear progression and goal is taken out. As an example, I will use a rework of the nightmare tower meta in Kessex hills. There are two sides you can choose. The humans and centaurs working together against the Krait and the Nightmare court.

Fase 1The first fase is to make the factions work. You either need to help Krait and Nightmare court to work together and form an alliance, or you need to work together to help the centaurs and humans to create peace. between them to figth the krait and nightmare court together. These two parts are seperated. Once an alliance is formed, thet start working together in building a tower. The Krait and Nightmare court build the nightmare tower. The humans and Centaurs create the Tower of Elements.

Fase 2This part of the meta consist of helping the alliance build the tower. Gather resources and depending on the strength of the other faction, defend the buildsite and the resources. Wether or not the npc's are friendly and need to be defended, or unfriendly and need to be attacked, depends on the faction you choose. If you where there since fase 1 and participated, this is allready set. Otherwise, both sides are unfriendly untill you are on the offensive in an event. So if you are offensive in a Nightmare/krait event, you join the humans/centaurs and vice versa.

Fase 3We now have either one or two towers and the other faction can start attacking the tower. This is simular to the event in the nightmare tower (if it is the nightmare/krait alliances tower) and simular, but with a different theme in the humans/centaur tower. There can be only one outcome now and that is that the tower is going down and the faction this tower belonged to is broken and needs to start over. the difficulty of the attack depends on the strengt of the attacking faction..

fase4If a tower exist, the enemy faction is targetted from the tower and pushed back to their main fort unless protected by the player. If two towers exist, depending on how strong one or the other is, over time, the other will be destroyed. This is to ensure a reset to a single tower when nobody plays and make it inviting to take down that single tower. As the other faction is out, all events in the area will make you target the existing tower. This functions as a reset when nobody is playing.

Switching sidesTo ensure sides are picked properly, a 3 hour effect is placed on a player. A priestess of Lyssa, can be pursuaded to reset this effect, and allow you to switch sides. To do so, you need to do a special event where you are placed in a temple of Lyssa and are forced to figth your doppleganger. If succesfull, your effect is removed and you can pick a different side. I picked Lyssa for this due to the dual face nature.

rewardsIt shouldnt make a difference what side you are on, so most rewards are unid gear, but you also get tokens for the defeated faction. If you defeat nightmare/kraits or help them in defending, you get nightmare seeds as loot. for humans/centaurs, these are horseshoes of peace.During fase 3, when you are friendly to your faction, in the top of the tower a merchant stands that allows you to trade the tokens to themed weapons and or armor. He accepts both token types

essentialThe events should be designed that griefing is minimalised. It doesn't matter who wins or loose. You can always switch sides and you can always get the reward you desire. Although to competitive players, it might sound interesting to fight eachother, and I do see this format implemented in WvW (and in a way it allready is), but this is not part of this proposal

Benefits this system, should hopefully make the game more interesting and allow us to explore different options. Not the developper tells the story linear, but we decide the outcome of the story.

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My initial concern is the competitive nature of the idea, which is very much against the ethos of GW2's open world and ensuring balance in terms of it not being one sided at any time. Switching sides feels more like it could exasperate that and even encourage griefing.

It's an interesting idea, but it doesn't feel like it sits right with this game.

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First thing I thought of when reading your proposal was: isn't this just wvw with some more pve elements added?

Second thing I though was: players being able to switch sides at will ... am I the only one seeing players mass-switching depending where the next loot/reward is to be had?

If this game has taught us one thing then it's that there is always a sizeable number of people more interested in gaming the system than playing the game. People will find a way to break the battle for maximum reward aquisition, just like they came up with the idea that a RIBA zerg gathers considerably more loot per time than individual groups each defending/upgrading one fort in the Silverwastes, just like they came up with the idea of a single zerg going around Tarir tagging all of the octovine events (something ANet put a stop to fairly quickly back when it caught on btw), just like the commanders propagating one zerg chain-killing all post-meta champs in Dragonfall rather than smaller groups doing three champ chains in parallel, just like ... you get the picture.

Sandbox is a lot of fun for many people (and one of the main reasons why I love playing minecraft with friends on our private server), but in an MMO like this I'm afraid there are too many players willing to game the system to make it work.

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I am not sure you can ever have a meta event in a sandbox environment. A meta event is something that is controlled and planned for and requires steps. A sandbox environment is one where player actions drive every thing. The closest we have to a sandbox in game is WvW but even that has defined game play events. Someone takes a tower the damage to the tower is repaired. In a sandbox the tower would remain damaged and players would have to repair those damages and would have the option to expand that tower into a keep. Your phases above are similar to a meta as in there are fixed steps that occur but again when you have fixed steps I don't see how they can apply since in a sandbox environment a third side could come in take over everything. GW2 living world has some mechanics of this but there are fixed paths that lead up to things. Whenever there is an NPC there is less room for player created content which is what defines a sandbox. GW2 creates our world thru NPC interaction and story, in a sandbox there is less of that and more people interaction and no story.

To me games that support a sandbox environment would Minecraft and Eve. I would say Guild Wars has more of a feel of sandbox in its events impact on the local map and is in a similar style that Warhammer Online had in its PvE and is more fluid than WoW or ESO are. Still not a true sandbox but Ashes of Creation is trying to go with similar structures in their population drives local area changes style, but still it will be fixed meta based on player activity. Camelot Unchained trying for player created structures and evolving war fields is still closer to a sandbox but than less meta since players can't control NPC actions.

For Guild Wars to evolve into more of sandbox environment ANet would need to allow for monster play. That being allow players to play as the NPCs and World Bosses. A monster play mechanic has been mentioned on the forums in the past. They haven't gone there yet. Other games have had this and some upcoming games are attempting more monster play. Image that Teq is controlled by a player, that would change each event every time. That would be closer to a sandbox but in a true sandbox that player would be able to attack Lions Arch as Teq. Long story short, not sure if the environment here fits with what you are picturing.

I have to agree with some of the above, WvW & PvP is where we compete with others, in PvE we play against NPCs and work together. Destiny 2 has a PvPvE mode in their Gambit where two sides work against each other and an NPC side and the game mode is fun, but it wouldn't be so if everyone switches sides and mobs rule. Which the biggest risk that Ashes of Creation will face since it will allow side switching. GW2 and WvW controls this today via population limits, PvP via fixed teams, but if rewards are equally weight regardless of numbers than you will end up with zerg wins and that would lead to unbalanced game play.

Keep the suggestions going since even if something isn't applied to a game it might trigger a spark in someone that says, "oh my, what about this" that can lead to some serious good gaming. Good hunting!

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So if the rewards are the same no matter who wins or loses surely the logical approach for 'efficiency'/reward focused players (which honestly is the majority in this game) is to work out which side can complete their events the fastest and make sure everyone on the map joins that side, so the entire meta can complete as fast as possible because there's minimal opposition. End result: standard farming meta like many we already have.

How do you prevent that from happening, without penalising the bigger/winning/losing side?

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To be fair, Anet have set up the framework for something similar called "dynamic events". As far as I'm aware, Anet has never applied this on a map wide scale (the consiquences of success or failure rarely affect more than one portion of the map, and often have rather linear progression).

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