Joys of Sandbox Games

posted by on 11th December 2014, at 9:00am | Discuss Article

There are a lot of people out there that dislike sandbox games. To me however they are amazing. Given the ability to do whatever I want makes the experience so much more immersive. Some of my favorite sandbox games are the Roller Coaster Tycoon franchise, and EVE Online. I really want to take some time to break down what I like about EVE and why.

EVE Online is a space adventure sandbox game where you are  to choose between 3 classes. These classes determine the types of ships available to you and hence, give bonuses to what they are known for.  If you have ever wanted to experience some space travel and have a high performance PC, I would give the demo a shot. This game is truly massive and playing for the first time will leave one in awe.

The art and graphics to the game are fantastic, really painting a science fiction universe where flying in a ship through nebula and landing in stations that are faction controlled. Though it has been argued that playing this games is like playing on a bunch of spreadsheets, I feel that the spreadsheets that do show up in this game add to the reality that making a life in this universe matters. The game does a really good job for a feel of distance and size. The ships themselves can be from the size of a bus to larger than our current biggest cities. The largest ships are classes as Titans and they require many resources as well as time to build.

The space battles that take place in this game are amazing, they can be massive as well with some confrontations between three clans resulting in over $42,000 US dollars being lost in in game value items. The servers are designed to slow down based on the number of players in a system. This makes it possible to run massive battles over planets with laser fire and nukes going off all around. But even with all these players in one game in one area, this game fails and succeeds at the same time.

The reason I say this is because it is really easy to feel alone if you don’t get to know friends on this game or have friends from reality that play as well. It truly feels like a massive frontier to explore, but being by oneself. They way this succeeds is because the feeling of cold space and lonesomeness is real and the game couldn’t have more accurately displayed my thoughts about how I felt about deep space adventure. With this however it fails in that making friends really opens up a new way to play the game. To grow ones own empire and start taking over systems. Using the items harvested in the game by the clan. This leads to the bigger ships and the free membership via in game payed items.

Running supply caravans is really fun when I play with friends, especially when I enter unsafe space. At any moment others could warp in and attack my supply rigs and attempt to take the resources I have. The idea of pirates in this game as well as bounty hunting is really cool. It shows that a game that has a functioning economy and few rules can really simulate a possible future to the human species, it’s so cool to feel the rush of deep space battles.

The biggest drawback to this game is that when on station, there is no walking around and other players are not visible. What I wish they could have done was make stations open worlds as well so players can see each other out of ships and do things on the station that make sense or are fun as a small break from supply running in the cold beauty of space. In Runescape terms, they should have turned the bases into clan citadels.

Even with this not around I am still happy that this game exists. They continue to expand on it. They also publish books on the EVE franchise so it becomes easy to read up on lore to the universe of EVE Online. I can follow the journeys of capsuliers (people that age very slowly) and how they get hunted or attacked which plays nicely into the core mechanics of the game.

This is an absolutely fantastic franchise and if you are interested in space sandbox games at all, give it a try. This game is not for everyone, but if it is a fit, you will know immediately. If not, what is your favorite sandbox game?