The Daily Grind: How important is player-generated content to you in MMOs?

    
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The Daily Grind: How important is player-generated content to you in MMOs?

When I look at the current crop of top MMORPGs, I’m dismayed to realize that not a single one of them has anything significant in the way of player-generated content inside the game. Sure, people roleplay, and a few of them have relatively limited prefab housing, but if you’re looking for something structured like a Foundry, Chronicles, Dimensions, or Architect Entertainment system? You have to look into older MMORPGs for these types of systems, sometimes significantly older, and sometimes off the books. Even some of those have been sunsetted – I know many of you are still mourning the Foundry specifically.

But games just outside the “traditional MMORPG” genre, from Roblox to Conan Exiles, are positively thriving not just offering but focusing on what the players can do, which in my mind all but nullifies the typical arguments that PGC is bad since most players are bad at creating it. It seems like such a waste: MMOs are happy to use players as the content in PvP, even when most of that PvP is terrible. There’s no reason not to give PvE players the functional equivalent.

How important is player-generated content to you in MMOs?

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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FormlessOne

“Player-generated content” is a wide term.

  • I typically play MMOs that have some form of player housing or other cosmetic, player-customizable experience, because that’s been integral to my MMO gameplay since Star Wars Galaxies.
  • I don’t play MMOs that feature “player-generated levels”, or other non-cosmetic PGC. Frankly, I’m paying to have content professionals create consistent, polished, and tested content in MMOs.
  • I play MMOs that allow for modding & add-ons, because most of those are cosmetic in nature – they either expand my cosmetic PGC options, or improve my gameplay by providing custom, player-generated UI. They don’t alter the gameplay or playable content itself, and don’t change the game’s story or experience.

PGC can be problematic, especially for standalone games, and I’m not fond of having to fix someone’s buggy add-on, only to then maintain it if I want to keep it as part of my MMO’s raft of add-ons.

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Alt+F4

the modding community (of every game) as reference, players know better: without mods there wouldnt be a (complete) gothic 3, Fall From Heaven 2, A Song Of Ice And Fire (Sucritact) etc.
many MMOs build on PGC: Rust, DayZ, Minecraft, Ark etc. even those MMOs with very limited PGC (aka housing) offered a much more varied gameplay spectrum (than those without).

PGC is great, as players know better (about fun gameplay) than devs!

another fun example is every games reddit: so many great improvements, so much invested engagement, so much more sophistication.
no wonder the armchair-dev meme didnt last long.

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Does not check email

Player created content – all the promise none of the delivery of good content. Except my stuff cause it rulez.

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Crowe

Depends on the game. If we’re talking about something like City of Heroes, I don’t actually care. There’s plenty of other content that is available in the game and it’s usually far better written/scripted. In Star Trek Online, the player generated content was actually better in many cases than what the studio came up with. So when the Foundry was removed (because they didn’t have the resources to teach/train the remaining devs), I uninstalled and haven’t looked back.

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Nebuchidnezzar

I hate player-created content, and the fact that you used a picture of AE is 1 of the primary reasons why. 99.9999% of it is utter tripe, the rating/ranking systems are gamed, and it’s impossible to find anything worthwhile. It inevitably is used to “game” the game, cheat, farm, etc.

In a small-scale game, like what Sword Coast Online was supposed to be, where 1 GM and 5-6 players go through the content, that can absolutely work, but in an MMO where the unwashed masses try and get their Beiber on, it’s a hot dumpster fire.

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Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

What I find more disappointing is that no developer has picked up on the possibilities where GMs (Game Masters as they were then, not Guild Masters as the term is used nowadays) taking over NPCs is concerned.

Back in early EQ, I was sitting one night medding at the guard tower in North Karana by the bridge to South Karana (my favorite zone bar none, I spent literally years there with multiple characters), and I thought “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if one of the guards turned round and started talking to me and asking me to help him out”? In those days there were GMs allocated to each server, and all it would take was a bit of code for them to “take over” a NPC. The possibilities were endless, and I used to talk about it on the forums, but sadly it never happened.

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PanagiotisLial1

Yes and no

Most player generated content is sub par but there are always a few gems to be found from talented people. I just prefer such a system implemented in a way I am not forced to see it on the open world as the lower quality ones can heavily break immersion

kjempff
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kjempff

Obviously depends on the game and if it is designed to allow player made content.
But in general, players can (sometimes?often?) make content that is better than developers. It is kind of a shame that it is only pvp games that offer this, as pvp is a limited form of player made content. I would love to see developers design for player made content much more.

Foundry worked nicely with the quality sorting mechanism of player upvoting, assuring that the better ones rise to the top. Maybe the developers should even promote the best to “official” content.
But yeah anyways, if the basic game is no good, then the good content creators will no come either, so …
Also the game needs to allow for enough freedom to spark imagination.

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Anstalt

At this point, not at all important.

That said, my attitude is simply due to lack of experience. I’ve not played much that allows players to generate content, and what i have wasn’t very good. But, when i look at the modding community for single player games, im reminded that player content can be excellent.

Main thing that would worry me, in an mmo, is whether the content is instanced or not. I want my mmos without instances, just one big open world, but i wouldn’t want player content to be in the open world.

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EmberStar

For me personally, player generated content is mostly not important at all. I buy Tennogen items in Warframe sometimes (user created character and weapon skins and sometimes new helmet models.)

In terms of player created missions? Less than “not at all.” I experienced these with City of Heroes, and again with Star Trek Online and Neverwinter. Between the limitations of the tools and the skill of the authors, nearly every mission I tried left me thinking “I could do better than this.” (I do NOT have a good opinion of my own skills as a writer.) And that’s not counting the ones that were clearly made to farm XP, or to farm upvotes in Neverwinter for the exclusive rewards that required a ton of people to upvote your stuff.