MMORPGs with Player Generated Content
First let’s get to the juicy parts. Which MMORPGs allow user generated content (UGC)?
Star Trek Online – a free-to-play MMORPG that has The Foundry where players “can create and build brand new missions and stories” which can then be shared with the entire community. Playing through a spotlighted foundry mission gives rewards.
Everquest II: The Complete Collection – has a Dungeon Maker that they can use to make their own instanced dungeons for other players to explore. Users can choose the floor layout, decorate it with furniture, and populate it with dangerous creatures, including some bosses.
Second Life – Amazon [Game Connect] – this is not an MMO. In fact, it’s not even a game. There are no quests, levels or experience. It’s a vast, virtual world where you can be whatever you want to be. Second Life is massive, multiplayer and online so many people think of it as an MMO so we include it here for the sake of completeness. The entire virtual space is populated by the user’s creations. The Second Life community creates clothes, interactive environments, music and everything else you can think of.
ROBLOX – a sweet open-ended social browser-based MMO with purely user-generated content where players explore a Lego-like virtual world. Players can build a hangout or make their own games (platformers, battle arenas, RPGs) which they can then share with the ROBLOX community. It’s free-to-play.
Woozworld – a free browser MMO for tweens (9 and up) that is very colorful and fun. Players generated content is at the core of this game which encourages users to create and customize Unitz. Over 14 million spaces of many different types such as businesses, adoption centers, wedding chapel, houses, restaurants, etc. have been made so far.
User Generated Content in MMORPGs: Massively Ignored?
Game development is a complicated process but these days even players can create worlds and stories through user generated content (UGC), also called player-generated content. In games such as Little Big Planet, Minecraft, Spore and Second Life, the end user is encouraged to create and then share their creation with other players.
My thoughts: I kinda like it but…
It’s Just Too Hard to Make Really Great Content
My first foray into UGC was making customs maps for Age of Mythology, a very good real-time strategy PC game that is a spin-off of the popular Age of Empires series. As a big Greek mythology geek, that was my game of choice back in 2003. I basically just fiddled around with the map builder.
It can be fun to design your own challenging or super-easy map and then play through it with the AI players. All I had to do was choose an item and then drag or drop it wherever I wanted to place it. Then I could control whether resources like wood, gold and food were plentiful or scarce and how far they were from the town center.
Creating a map was easy but I would never share mine on the internet. I’m not a very good designer, after all. Why would anyone play on my newbie map when there are so many others that are much better?
By the way, Age of Mythology can be downloaded for free on Yahoo Downloads.
People Just Want to be Entertained
I think most players are just like me. They will mess around with UGC toolset a bit then continue playing the main game. In my opinion, only a few people want to get involved in creating stories or maps. Sure, it’s not hard to just play around a bit and make a noob-level map but to actually create something worth sharing takes skill and dedication.
But that’s no reason not to give players the tools to make their own worlds. Players enjoy it and there is a small amount of players who do love to spend their time crafting enjoyable experiences for other players.
It’s also a way to increase player loyalty. Even a very small community of users who make engaging content can make a big difference. I have never made my own Sim 2 items but I have downloaded other people’s stuff. I’m sure that feeling of belonging and sharing new content with other people made me play the game longer. Similarly, The Sims 3 allows custom content.
User Generated Content in MMOs
In MMOs one of the problems I see with UGC is that many players are very focused on leveling up and doing their daily tasks. UGC would need to add rewards, otherwise people won’t play it.
Would you rather finish three quests today and gain another level or would you like to faff about doing a your guildmate’s crazy invisible monkey god quest?
Would you rather do five tasks today to gain a crafting level or would you like to play through your friend’s crazy invisible monkey god quest and also gain another level?
I would love it if you left a comment, thanks for reading!