|DeciusBrutus Goblinworks Executive Founder|
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There are four important parts to an awesome sandbox.
First, there's the sand. There has to be something that produces emergent behavior and a medium in which it can happen.
There also has to be a box: the limits and boundary conditions set on the sand.
There also have to be people, to make the sandbox distinct from driftwood on a beach.
And the hardest bit is the buckets. It's hard to provide buckets without subtly discouraging doing the things that buckets don't make easier. Providing a mechanism for PvP combat at designated times and places has the effect of making attacks outside those boundaries less accepted. Likewise having the ability for a company to remain intact and move to a different settlement discourages any settlement from taking members for granted.
Generally I find that the buckets we have for the sandbox shape PFO towards the product that was described all along, even though in retrospect I notice that I used to think that it would be several different mutually incompatible things at once.