Happiness Depends on Being Free
Sometimes referred to as the sandbox of the gaming world, open world gaming has advanced the industry and set out new standards. From Skyrim and the Witcher, to predecessors like Fallout and many others, open world games have changed the way we play, slowly taking gaming from a linear progression and encouraging open-ended exploration.
Some games even lacked a linear mode or main objective, notably the so-called 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) space simulations also popular in the 1990s, introducing players to a concept where people could just play according to their favorite styles. Trading for riches, exploration for discoveries, mining, or plain old plundering. Quests and objectives were merely distractions where there was never any visible end to achieve. Perhaps, a precursor of the metaverse concept.
Since 2003, there has been a growing push toward open world gaming. Rather than being constrained down a restrictive game-play corridor with clearly-defined objectives, players have been given a broad amount of freedom to choose what to do, where to go, and to approach numerous events as they emerge. While there is usually a main story with branching critical missions, players enjoy a significant degree of autonomy in choosing the path for their character.
The sandbox metaphor is here to remind us what it was like playing as a child in a real sandbox, producing worlds made of sands with the freedom to explore.
There are numerous reasons why open-world games are so compelling to gamers. A 2020 research from Oxford University has produced surprising results regarding the correlation between games and the player’s psychological wellbeing. Key findings included that the player’s subjective experiences during the play were a bigger component of well-being than the amount of time spent playing and that players who experienced genuine enjoyment from a game experienced more positive well-being in the real world. The study had its limitations but it explored how feelings of autonomy, competence, relatedness, and enjoyment related to the well-being of individuals. Or perhaps another way to put it, the happiness of people.
Industry Bread and Butter
If you type the phrase ‘open world games’ into Google, you will be surprised by the amount of positive feedback and overall degrees of popularity.
Gaming giants such as Bethesda and Ubisoft have made the open-world gameplay their bread and butter. Back to Google’s findings, a non-gamer might even find the public feedback verging on the ridiculous (how on earth could spending your entire day in a virtual world possibly be better than real life?) but they are certainly somehow in line with the findings of scientific and psychological research.
People do love to have a fair share of freedom, autonomy and enjoyment. Apart from side quests being mostly memorable and fun, the discovery process that is almost unlimited is highly appealing. Games let you get around in style by car, on a horse, or even a gryphon. Modding lets you ride a giant Putin, if that’s what you want. What’s not to love? You design your character, and you determine his or her destiny, with little meddling from the main story.
On the other hand, nothing is perfect. Even open-world games have their downsides and games are infamously strewn with glitches and errors. Perfection is not attainable, neither in the real world nor in the virtual environment. What matters most is enjoyment and that imperfection always leaves room to attain excellence.
Yet there are already noticeable drawbacks. A recognised phenomenon is open-world fatigue, which is considered to be connected to overwhelming sizes of world maps and repetitive side quests that strip the players of enjoyability and the subsequent time commitment.
The thing is that games are constantly becoming more advanced and ambitious, and open-world design follows suit. Whether improvements stem from new technologies or developers building on past innovations, developers have to keep up constantly with market requirements and the requirement of keeping gamers entertained and happy.
So developers spend a massive amount of players’ time creating new experiences, allowing players to find novel and interesting ways to keep the journey across broad virtual landscapes alive and exciting. From appealing NPCs to intriguing diversions and discoveries, players want to feel that they are living and breathing entities.
Not every game has succeeded in doing this. At the end of the day, simply churning out new characters, new items, badder bosses and new maps only increase open-world fatigue, as they are merely rearrangements of existing experiences. Because there is little that is truly original or innovative, players even get frustrated at being served “different smell, same shit”.
The Cradles Sandbox
Here at Cradles, we value these concepts that have encouraged players and motivated them to play open-world games. Freedom, autonomy, relatedness, and above all, fun and enjoyment.
Building on the imperfections of standard open-world gameplays, Cradles is mindful of the need to bring something new and exciting to the table. We even feel that it is our duty to contribute, not to just pile “more of the same” and lead players to open-world fatigue.
There will be many subtle features and changes we want to introduce. Some are more obvious, like component NFTs using the EIP3664 protocol. That itself is a new innovation we hope will change the way people view static NFTs. Others are less obvious, like our ‘Staking Into NFTs’ (SIN) system, which enables holders to stake into other players’ NFTs, essentially backing skilled players to do well, for a share of rewards.
We also want to strengthen the core philosophies of open concepts and player empowerment. While most existing games are unable to gather a huge amount of intellectual property and influencers because they provide no incentives, at Cradles, you’ll have the freedom and opportunity to offer game content to the game and reap the rewards from your successful ideas. Our divergence thrives on togetherness.
Other innovations are foundational, such as the introduction of entropy-increasing worlds — items, characters, and elements in the metaverse that constantly change and alter their attributes using block time, to simulate real-world laws of physics. We know of no other virtual world in any game that has managed to produce this effect of entropy increase. We don’t see characters growing old as time passes, nor the impacts of time passing on in-game items, buildings, furniture, and other objects. We hope to be able to realize these effects in Cradles: Origin of Species.
It won’t be about cosmetics alone either! In this type of metaverse, players have to ensure the normal operation of the world ecosystem if they do not want to risk disorder and chaos. As in the real world, every action causes a reaction.
Cradles brings a unique opportunity for truly experiential gameplay to the blockchain Dapp table. This isn’t simply about open-world gaming, but about the exploration of untapped possibilities and undiscovered experiences. For those who dare to seek out these experiences, bigger and better rewards await.
We celebrate an imperfect world in divergent stages that ensure freedom and autonomy. One that rewards the neverending quest of building on imperfection.
Join the conversation and get the latest updates!
Cradles Official Forum: https://forum.cradles.io/
Telegram Group: https://t.me/cradles_official_group
Telegram Channel: https://t.me/cradles_official