The Daily Grind: Do you actually engage with player-generated content in MMOs?

It ensues.

Two videos inspired today’s Daily Grind. One is a recent episode of Extra Credits about player-generated content in games – what we’ve always called PGC. The other was a video from another of my hobbies in which the creator said that there’s a huge disconnect between what her most vocal watchers say they want and what people actually click on, which is leading her to change her whole approach to her channel.

These things go together. I like the idea of PGC. I think it’s important. I want it to exist. I want the tools for it to exist. I’m big into mods too! But in reality, I don’t play nearly as much of it in MMOs as I probably should. I suspect a lot of people don’t. When games like City of Heroes added the Architect Entertainment system, for example, I did play quite a bit of it, largely because one of my guildies was a master designer and I wanted to support him, but it’s not something I reach for now in the rogue servers. And then there wasn’t nearly as much outcry as I expected to see when PWE shut down Star Trek Online’s Foundry. I can’t help but wonder whether it’s something people say they want – but don’t actually click on, so to speak.

Do you actually engage with player-generated content in MMOs?

(Bonus: Here’s the Extra Credits episode that inspired this TDG! The video’s more about non-MMOs with level editors and the like, but now you can see part of my brain process.)

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Depends. The game I played for 4+ years, the towns were all player-made…so in that case…yes. I somewhat interacted with them/looked around/enjoyed some of them.

(Often, it wasn’t enjoyable because I was running for my character’s life during the beginning stages in a survival game and most of the doors/gates were locked so I was running in fear AND being denied access to a safe zone with guards…because of shoddy game mechanics. Which after playing for years, I realized why people built them that way, lack of trust in others. Also, the world was highly dead, and most of the towns were literal ghost towns…since the NPC guards you could hire were made to look see through/ghostly white, unless you put up a tower yourself, and that was quite a bit of work.)

But stuff like Star Trek Online…and the foundry/etc? Nope, never touched it. But that might be because I didn’t really ever finish the actual dev story either…because I kept trying to make new characters/alts/get the feeling right, and I just never could.

Even with a lifer sub that game just wasn’t what I hoped it’d be…bad controls and overall kinda badly designed. I could see what they hoped for, and the space combat had it’s moments at times (Though I really would’ve LOVED if they’d allowed for Defiant class to go back into stealth..because I’m a pop out of stealth demolish my target in one pass and flee at high speed type)…but ground stuff really didn’t make me too thrilled, and most of the ship stuff left me wanting. The lockboxing/player specific Doffs basically just finished the job on my disgust over it.

Then again, stuff like player ‘events’ in other games, I would sometimes attend, and other times not. It really just depends on a mood/how it’s implemented in a game.

Most other games I’ve played tended to put that kind of content shunted off into some kind of ‘phase’ or ‘layer’ or ‘instance’ of it’s own…so the only way people would ever go there was if they were randomly exploring a list and happened to click it or if they were invited by said player.

Most games I play, the devs are in control of the actual world and don’t like allowing you any control over it, because people are people and do bad things with it when they have that ability.


Yes, but when i tried it in MMOs it was extremely bad, it was mostly fast level high reward stuff, you might as well press a button to get to max level with a lot of gold.

Castagere Shaikura

In COH it’s really the only way to get through its bad combat and to level up faster. The AE group content is the best stuff in the game.

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I have done, but often time it is very much a mixed bag. Once you find out who the good creators are it can be very rewarding though.

Toy Clown

Probably the last PGC I engaged in was in SWG with the Storyteller system. The RP community utilized the heck out of that, creating planets not in the game, stages for concerts, using NPCs in plot lines, etc.

Since then, I haven’t played an MMO that has PGC, per se. However, I’ve participated in a lot of PGC in my day, which usually falls under the guise of roleplay, where players create a house to look like a ship, or a jail, a restaurant, a tavern, etc.

I prefer engaging in PGC and will prioritize it if it comes up over other game play. I’m often blown away by the imagination many players have and these things give them a creative outlet in which they can share with other players. Personally, I discovered hidden talents within myself when I started engaging in PGC.

Robert Mann

Yes… but there’s a need for some work on how to get good content recognized, and how to stuff bad content into the compost heap it belongs to.

Simply put, 80% of what people will create, at a minimum, is garbage. It will be about topics that shouldn’t be present, engage in 4/8 chan toxicity, or run off into trying to push massive rewards for no effort. The other efforts are great, but there needs to be something other than just a rating system that allows for so much abuse.

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Tobasco da Gama

I did play around with Neverwinter’s Foundry a whole lot. Like Wilhelm says, there was definitely a discovery problem, but I still enjoyed those player quests as much or even more than the official stuff.

Wilhelm Arcturus

I tried quite a bit in Neverwinter and EverQuest II, but it was problematic in both cases. Finding the worthwhile content remained the key problem, even with user ratings. As it turns out, a lot of players value rewards over entertainment value, so there was correlation between being highly rated and being easy relative to the rewards.

This was so much the case in EQII that when SOE took away experience from user created content, the feature pretty much died.

IronSalamander8 .

I did play some of the architect stuff in CoX back when it was live. It was a mixed bag, some was quite good, some was meh, and some were designed to be obvious XP farms. I actually prefer boring ones over the xp farms. The rare good ones, were really fun. A friend and I teamed up for a series that had a Ronald McDonald analog as the supervillain and all his minions were keyed to fast food, like the soft serve minions used cold weapons for example.


Not in MMOs, unless you count Add Ons; in Skyrim over half of the content I have installed is player made through Mods (but that isn’t an MMO).