Notes from the Fringe: Sandbox Gaming

There’s a smaller subset of MMORPG players who refuse to play the more popular online games most people know about (Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic) and choose to play what are called “Sandbox Games.”  Some examples include Eve Online, Mortal Online, and Darkfall—more obscure titles, but all with dedicated followings.   Folks have different definitions for sandbox gaming, but based on some of the discussions on the MMO Smacktalk podcast there appear to be some common threads, though not all the mentioned games are true to these “pure” ideas:

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Warcraft’s Leveling Grind and Breathing Life into Old Zones

With the final patch for World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm expansion out the door, Blizzard recently posted an interesting interview with Greg Street, one of the lead designers looking back on what worked and didn’t work in this latest update. One of the first things mentioned was the enthusiasm for redesigning the 1-60 level “zones”, or geographic areas of Azeroth where characters begin their questing.

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Retro Reviews: Sun County (The Avalon Hill Game Company)

Occasionally, I will be posting old reviews I did for The Gamer (print only) magazine back in the 1990s, and consolidating them here.  You can also find these reviews on rpg.net.

When Chaosium sold the publishing rights for RuneQuest to Avalon Hill back in 1984, a lot of people complained that the new RuneQuest had lost its lustre, that by separating the Gloranthan setting from the rules, the game had lost the uniqueness that made playing it worthwhile. Over the years, Avalon Hill has managed to reprint some older material, while adding bits and pieces to the Gloranthan setting. Even so, nothing completely new has been added to this extraordinary world for a good eight years. Sun County manages to overcome that mistake, and then some.

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