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The Daily Grind: Do sandboxes overwhelm you?


You've probably heard of the paradox of choice, the idea that the human brain can't really process more than a dozen or so choices at a time under certain circumstances. We get overwhelmed by too many choices, and sometimes we withdraw from choosing altogether. It's not always true -- Ben and Jerry's offers over a hundred flavors and seems to do just fine -- but I wonder whether it's the reason that some MMO gamers just do not get sandboxes.

An MMO sandbox dumps you in and is indifferent to what you do next. It won't hold your hand; it won't tell you where to go, what to be, or how to progress. In short, it presents hundreds of choices to you with no guidance and sometimes no context. I love this style of game, but given the sandbox struggles of the past few years, I admit it's potentially a problem. Glitch, for example, shut down in part because players, according to the devs, just didn't know what to do. And how many times have I read that someone quit Skyrim because he'd finished the main questline and thought it was over?

But then I'll bump into a blog about how someone spent 300 hours collecting all the cheese in Skyrim to build cheese mountain. Clearly, this problem is not universal.

So are you also building cheese mountain? Or do sandboxes overwhelm you with too many choices?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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