IRE Asks: How do you define player driven?
One of the popular questions thrown around MMO forums lately is "where are the player driven MMOs?", to which the poster will receive few replies. Modern MMOs might have player-driven features like EVE's economy or Mortal Online's territory control, but no MMORPG exists that can define itself as a truly player driven world. Instead we usually see a Diku base thinly layered with sandbox, but rarely can players leave their impact on the universe in any sort of meaningful fashion. Of course, player driven and sandbox can be mutually exclusive as one refers to a concept and the other to mechanics. Is it possible for a theme park MMO to be "player driven", or must it adhere to the strictest definition of the phrase, ala Second Life?
The beauty of user-generated content.
Finding a balance between player driven concepts and sandbox mechanics seems to be the most difficult thing facing MMO developers, as some players will run miles if given just an inch. But there's not much else to do after seeing all the rides at a theme park. So what do you consider the proper balance? How can players feel like they belong to an enormous, immersive world that they have the control to shape, without a bunch of bullies to come dump water in your sandbox?