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The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: User Generated Content: Yea or Nay?

Posted by MikeB Sunday April 29 2012 at 9:14PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread "User Generated Content in MMOs: Why not?" by //\\//\\oo simply puts the question of user generated content to the MMORPG.com community at large:

User generated content has influenced online gaming to the extreme. LoL, anyone? MOBA games, tower defense games, player creations permeate the gaming scene now more than ever.

Why can't the community generate its own content while having the devs implement their custom made maps/dungeons?

Imagine a game with limitless content due to the fact that it can be cheaply implemented by the devs and created by its own playerbase. There would never be a shortage of things to do, or places to explore.

In case it's not clear what I mean:

Users make maps with tool provided by devs

Devs implement maps, or sort through set and slightly modify for balance

Yay/nay?

So, user generated content: yea or nay? Read on to find out!

Johnie-Marz is all about the UGC, and even has some ideas on how to maintain quality control:

I have given this some thought. I believe if you create a dungeon you should get a certain percentage of the gold that the parties that go throught that dungeon receive. (Rewards handed out in a dungeon, would be based on strength of monsters, you couldn't make a dungeon with one goblin guarding a chest of a gazillion gold for instance)

After a party goes through the dungeon they have an opportunity to rate it. Dungeons that are not rated high enough after a specific piriod of time or if no players finishes the dungeon over a specific period of time, the dungeon is "Retired"

This way, the high rated dungeons that people actually enjoy will be kept, the bad ones will be "Retired" and it will give dungeon creators incentive to create fun well designed dungeons. (since they will be making a profit when players complete their dungeon)

DeaconX has a couple of great ideas:

No developer could ever create content faster than players can burn through it.

This is where player generated content comes and and I personally see it as a key ingredient in the future of MMORPG's.

The best way to do this?

There needs to be a TEST server.  This is generally where new features coming to the MMO are tested by members of the community who joined this specific server type on purpose - to help the developers/preview what's coming down the pipeline.

This same server can be used as a place where players can build their adventure given the appropriate tools, then allow the testing community to try them, rate them, give feedback etc.  When it reaches a certain level of approval, it goes to a final stage of testing by the developers who actually work on the game.  They either give it that final approval or send it back.

If it gets the final approval, the user generated adventure is pushed to the actual game.  If not, the player creating the adventure can work on it until it is.

What this does is it assures a level of quality while also ensuring a steady stream of new 'cream of the crop' adventures being pumped into the game.

It would be FAR easier for some of the paid developers working at the company to play through some player adventures than to create from scratch (of course, there would be more developer created content as well bringing in new features etc.)

Just how I would set it up :)

itgrowls isn't quite sold on UGC:

despite the votes this is a very bad idea. example: STO: it's been a VERY VERY long time and they only recently advanced the content. They relyed too much on the foundry to create new content which was subpar imo despite what people ranked them because they didn't allow for anyone to advance the gear or the currency to what they would consider end game gear for harder foundry missions and at the same time didn't put out a single new STF mission for the borg, and did the terrible job with the loot handling for these dungeons. There were who sets of people who would drop the entire group (obviously through an outside app) and rejoin the group in order to ensure they would be the only ones to get the loot at the end with the bosses. They should have taken Anet's stance on loot. currency to purchase new items should have been distributed for tier 1 for everyone involved in every dungeon.

So it is a terrible idea, they make it sound all fun and things but it just really makes the devs even more lazy because they can claim hey look people are rping in these things we don't have to do anything new for a whole 1 yr 6 mo and then at the end we can just break it so no one except the cheaters can get gear they need. 

I hate gear treadmills because of hacks like this one. It's another reason why i went casual a long time ago, because people cheat to get what they want and they never catch them in time or don't do anything about it to fix it because they don't care as long as the money flows in.

I'm a huge fan of user generated content. Sure, there's tons of crap people will make, but if you implement proper incentives to create solid content while also providing the tools for players to sort and maintain quality control then it shouldn't be hard to allow the cream to rise to the top. As a number of members mentioned, developers can never keep up with the rate that players consume content, so user generated content layered on top of the developers own content publish timeline is a great way to keep people playing and doing things.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Inktomi writes:

Yay all the way.

1) Original, creative and passionate user driven content.

2) Sometimes better than what the devs push out.

3) Free. Can't beat that.

 

Sun Apr 29 2012 10:26PM Report
Zillen writes:

+1 UGC

I agree with the second replier. UGC is the logical conclusion of community-based MMOs. Once this conclusion is reached, devs and the highest of player-creators will work in complete sync, developing content and sharing notes and forming ideas together, without a single block in the process.

Until we reach that point, we might as well experiment :)

Mon Apr 30 2012 1:01AM Report
Konfess writes: And how much of this UGC will be just plain bad? UGC is an art, like singing. American Idol has taught us one thing, not everyone can sing. I have hope for UGC, just not Konfidence. Mon Apr 30 2012 2:50AM Report
aktalat writes:

Players tend to want to 'play' rather than work at the game. The much-lamented Jeff Freeman of SWG fame had a great term for this: "Time to C0ck"

http://rubenfield.com/?p=91

"Time To Cock – The amount of time it takes a player to use player-created-content tools to create a penis. Measured in microseconds.

Attributed to Jeff Freeman. "

It seems to apply to almost anything player-generated though, SWG allowed players to 'name' their characters anything they liked so within no time you had Jedi Master's with names like Heywood Jablowme, etc..

One of the more prolific crafters on one SWG server was a bothan called Ipoop Yorlawn and the vendors were filled with his stuff. You'd do a local, planetary or all-galaxy search and it would come back with 'Ipoop Yorlawn' over and over and over. And over and over.

I played SWG right up until the end last year and would love to see more content-generating tools in games, but with clearly-defined limits by the GMs and Devs.

Mon Apr 30 2012 10:52AM Report
MMartian writes: I like having the option for user generated content. But in general it is very sub-standard. Any MMORPG that relies completely on player generated content is doomed to failure. Mon Apr 30 2012 10:55PM Report
THEchad88 writes:

Absolutely yay! But mixing this WITH the company created content is key.

Example: everyone plays all the way to level cap, face the big bad final elite raid content, beats said raid content. Now what?

Now player created content comes in and allows for more to do beyond the cap elite stuff and can even inspire the devs to more expansion ideas and vice versa.

WIN WIN

Tue May 08 2012 1:55AM Report

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