The PvE Sandbox; or how PvP is ruining my MMO’s one by one.

Does it exist?  And if so where can I find it?  That mythical game with no PvP.


I am reading over at The Ancient Gaming Noob about how Rift is now traveling invariably down the same path that crashed Warhammer and Fallen Earth.  That is, turning your MMORPG into an a  competitive 3rd person whack-a-skill-watch-the-dps-meter-and-create-some-macros paradise.  Granted, Rift is not there yet, because they haven’t, say…changed their entire damage and armor mechanic because it wasn’t good for PvP, or scaled their XP progression primarily around how many matches it would take to cap level.  But its the beginnings of those paths.


I’m beginning to wonder if its a foregone conclusion for any MMO that decides to saddle itself with the burden of PvP.  Its like a cancer that eats away at the heart of the game.  I wonder how many developer hours are wasted on balancing and fine tuning classes/skills/macros/3rd party support that could instead be used to generate new content.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-PvP, or World of Tanks would not loom large in my life.  Nor would I have spent as long as I did in EVE.  But the games I play for PvE content always seemed to be subjugated for some bizarre PvP dominance, as it that were the lifeblood of the games players.   And perhaps it is, which leads me, for yet another reason, to ask the question about the PvE sandbox.  Even TOR does not seem immune to its effects, as the earliest indications of patch 1.1.2 indicate.


Just for once, I’d like to see some PvP players crying a developer said “no” to their desired changes on the reasoning that it would disrupt the rest of the game world who are playing (::gasp::) an MMO.

13 thoughts on “The PvE Sandbox; or how PvP is ruining my MMO’s one by one.

  1. Hear Hear!! Like you I don’t mind a little PvP, except when it screws up my PvE. It’s been a while since I was heavily involved in STO, but Cryptic seems to have avoided that. I could be mistaken.

  2. Please, if you find that mythical game, PLEASE tell me. I beg you. I’ve been looking near and far.

    At the moment, I have put my hopes on Pathfinder online, ready to be disappointed yet again.

    1. Thanks for the post Flosch, I look forward to seeing more of your own musings!

      I’ve been pondering that because after I bedded down last night I had the nagging thought that I had run across such a game before. I know one of the blogs…not sure which one…has a series of theoretical articles on the PvE sandbox. I assume that given such a series of posts it doesn’t really exist.

      I did some searching at lunch today though, and I think I was remembering Istaria (, which has limited Arena based PvP. Whether or not that is team based like we see in many MMO’s or just 1v1 dueling I’m not sure. I do note that their forums don’t have a PvP board anywhere in sight, which is encouraging. I may have to take a night this week and create a free account and nose around a bit.

      1. Thanks for the kind words, I’ll get on posting something new again soon. 🙂

        If you start playing Istaria, I’ll look forward to your reports. In the meantime, I focus on LotRO, which doesn’t seem to havea lot of PvE-PvP tie-in problems. At least it looks like that to me as a low-level player.

      2. Istaria is good… very good. Especially for crafting. But ultimately I bailed out of it because of the EQ1-level graphics.

        Xsyon is supposedly a good PvE sandbox, but I haven’t tried it out.

        I had great hopes for Dawntide, but I don’t know that that game is going to survive to release. We’ll see. If it does, it’s worth looking into.

        What really surprised me, though, is that Vanguard: Saga of Heroes just saw a doubling of its developer team. It’s about to see a major announcement, too. That got me interested enough that I’m considering resubbing just to see what (if anything) is new.

      3. The main problem I had with Vanguard is that it just is empty. It would be a great game, even with bugs that still exist yers after release. But it’s designed so much for grouping, and last time I tried, I had immense problems getting groups after the starter isle. If it ever goes F2P though, I’ll be there on that day. Only to check whether that increases the amount of people around.

    2. Hey Ben! Glad to see you are still kicking and found some new digs. Dawntide I have followed with great interest (its one of the categories now on the sidebar) but I believe you are right. Going on two months offline for the redesign of the pieces that needed it the least is…odd.

      Vanguard is also very interesting. I swear Keith Parkinson invested a part of himself in that game before he left us. I am anxiously awaiting its inevitable transition to F2P. But I may have to throw a sub there way just as a thank you for the developer time.

      And I think Istaria may be in my play time this week. We’ll see, it’s filling up fast and I really want to do the two week multi-race trial with some vigor.

      1. Ben Overmyer

        Yeah, still around, though stuck primarily with F2P games these days.

        The coolest thing about Istaria is that dragons are a playable race, and if you play a dragon, you can build your own lair, room-by-room.

  3. Anne

    Wurm might be what you’re looking for . . . . a very definite sandbox mmo with a couple of worlds dedicated to PvE only. For those that want the PvP, it has 2 of those too.

    I would suggest you check it out

    1. Wurm is so insanely dedicated to building things from the ground up, I’m just not sure I can get into it. I don’t want to have to shovel clay every time I want to make a sword…

    2. Namn

      Wurm online is lacking in endgame, fun at first, but only a few dragons left to hunt and probably killed by someone else each week.

  4. Salem will be the next sandbox mmo. Ultima Online pretrammel was the original sandbox MMO, that anyone with any sandboxy appreciation should be familiar with. What many dont want is what was seen with SW:TOR and those themeparks before it; another heavily instanced lobby-system single-player/cooperative online rpg. The consumers trashed the crap out of SW:TOR because of it, and left in droves. No one that has half a brain is paying $15/month for trash like that any more. A 5.6

    1. You didn’t hear it from me, but if you are looking for Salem to be the next good thing in sandbox MMO’s, brace yourself to be wildly disappointed. Also, I came into the genre post-Ultima, so I may have this wrong, but….I don’t think Ultima was *ever* a PvE sandbox. So….yeah.

      Also, I have half a brain apparently. (-;

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