Top 6 Sandbox MMOs to Watch in 2014

We take a look at 6 of the hottest sandbox-style MMOs scheduled to release next year.

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a number of years now, the term sandbox MMO has been
synonymous with old, dated, and empty. As players begin to get tired of
incessant handholding in most modern day MMOs, a resurgence in the
interest of
sandbox MMOs is developing quickly. While there are plenty of games
coming out
next year that focus on creating a theme park experience for players,
sandbox MMOs are scheduled to release than we’ve seen in a
very long time. Before
we go too much further, it’s important to realize what
sandbox and theme park MMOs
are. Here’s an excerpt from href="">last
night’s article
explaining what theme park and sandbox-styled games are: 

style="">Theme park MMOs
are designed to set players on a set of rails, guiding them through the
of a game. Some people consider this a bad thing, but there are a lot
advantages it gives to developers. One of the biggest advantages to
this method
of game creation is that it allows the development team to create a
elaborate story or setting to deeply enhance the experience a player
Whether this is through scripted events, quests, or mini-cut scenes,
all of
these things and more can be created knowing they won’t go to
waste when a player
travels along a designated adventure path. The biggest disadvantage of
style is that it limits player choice while adventuring. 

style="">Sandbox MMOs are
nearly the complete opposite of this. Rather than choosing a
predestined path
for players to follow, this development style allows for the creation
of an
open world in which players are free to discover their own adventure at
own pace. The style of gameplay has its own advantages, the largest of
which is
player freedom. Players are free to go where they please, get into
trouble they find, and create their own adventures. The biggest
disadvantage of
this style is that players can easily become overwhelmed with too much
making them feel lost. 

style="">Early games such as
Ultima Online and EverQuest followed the sandbox school of development.
World of Warcraft came along and dominated the market with its theme
park style
of gaming, this method quickly became the law of the land for most
games. For the longest time, “sandbox” was a
four-letter word to most
development teams.” 

for those of us that enjoy sandbox games,
they seem to be making a return as more and more players clamor for
this type
of system. Will it become the new standard again? Time will tell, but
while we’re
waiting, here are six upcoming sandbox-style MMOs that bear watching in

6. ArcheAge

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it manages to live up to all the expectations the
team has created for the game, this is definitely one to keep an eye
and may
very well allow more freedom than any other game in the list. Whether
you want
to be a pirate on the open seas or a farmer harvesting fields on your
everything is possible. Check out href="">the
impression our hands on time left with us
when we got some time with the
game at E3 this year.

5. Shroud of the Avatar:
Forsaken Virtues

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Garriott may be better known by his character
name of Lord British, but no matter what you call him, he’s
no stranger to the
world of game design. The creator of the Ultima series of games that
in one of the first MMORPGs, Ultima Online, is going back to his roots.
of the Avatar appears to be a modernized version of Ultima Online, just
the name and that’s no bad thing. To get a better idea of
what the game has in
store for players, check out our href="">exclusive
first look at crafting.

4. Star Citizen

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there’s one name known among the space combat junkies
of old, it’s Chris Roberts. The man behind Wing Commander,
Freelancer, and even
more titles, is bringing all his previous experiences to bear in an
effort to bring
us his most audacious project to date – Star Citizen.
Currently backed by a
rabid fan base to the tune of $22 million, Chris is creating a whole
universe for players to explore and live in. Whether you want to be a
trader, a
military combat pilot, a scavenger, or anything in between, Star
Citizen aims
to let you do just that. It may not be an MMO in the traditional sense,
but it
is expected to have persistent universe servers although there will
also be
single player offline options as well.

3. Pathfinder Online

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that’s been reading my articles over the years
already knows all about my obsession with Dungeons & Dragons.
What may not
be as widely known though is my lack of kind things to say about the
of the 4th
edition. To the dismay of many, the game took a drastic
turn for the worse at that point. Enter the Pathfinder pen and paper
was everything D&D’s 4th
edition should have been but wasn’t. As
a result, Pathfinder’s popularity has continued to grow
exponentially since its
release. It’s become so popular that a Kickstarter project to
create an MMO
based on the franchise has been funded and green lit. We’re
still not sure it
will release in 2014 but it absolutely bears watching regardless.

2. Elder Scrolls Online

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there was one complaint I heard from all of my friends
that were obsessed with the latest single-player RPG in the Elder
series, Skyrim, it was that they couldn’t play with any
friends. If you’ve ever
wondered what it would be like to play Skyrim with thousands of other
that’s exactly what Elder Scrolls Online is looking to
accomplish. It’s been
delayed in order to port it to the next generation of consoles, but the
on time I’ve had with the game ( href="">1st
time, href="">2nd
time) has left me excited.

1. EverQuest Next

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gave it our href="">Best
of Show E3 2013
award to EverQuest Next so you
knew it was going to sit atop this list as
is its rightful place. From the moment Sardu and I had our private
viewing at
E3 this year, I knew this would be the game for all others to compete
with in
regards to my interest. Heralded as the “largest sandbox MMO
ever designed”
fans will be keeping a keen eye on this title. I’d love to
explain all the
reasons this game is sitting at number one on our list, but instead,
I’ll point
you to your source for all things EverQuest (and our sister site), href="">EQ Hammer,
because they can do it far more
justice than I.


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