The Pathfinder MMO continues its exciting development. Of course we might have to wait a little while seeing as they only recently actually moved into an office, but things seem to be coming along nicely. Their latest addition to their blog got an interesting discussion happening on their forum. In the thread someone posted this nugget:

“… My issue with the alignment restrictions is that if me and my friends are all over the alignment scale and want to play together and live in the same settlement and such we can’t. We have to play characters that are close to each other alignment wise to do so and thus are restricted by the game on how we play. Which seems counter productive to the way that the game seems to want to come together.

Quick as a flash, Ryan Dancey who is the CEO of the Pathfinder title responded with this:

“… I think this is a common misunderstanding of sand box games, and catering to this misunderstanding has been the doom of many of them.

You can’t play your character “any way you want”. You have to play a character that is constrained by the internal logic of the game world.

We have chosen to use the Pathfinder world as our game world, and its internal logic is that people have alignments and those alignments are intrinsic aspects of the people who live in that world (rather than abstract philosophies like they are in our world).

Not only will your character have to have an alignment similar to your friends’ characters in order to create a society with them, but if your character’s actions cause your character’s alignment to shift too much, you’ll be kicked out of that community too!

Playing within these constraints is part of how we generate a world that “makes sense” and is fun to play in. It is also a way that we provide challenges to the players – figuring out how to do what they want while remaining within the rules is fun too.”

It seems to me that Ryan is right on the money here. A sandbox should give players the ability to create their world, but without any boundaries to this, a sandbox can quickly collapse into a mire of its own making. That Goblinworks is not only aware of this problem but is keen to avoid it gives me some degree of hope that the fantasy sandbox I have craved for some time could be around the corner.