User generated content; more DoTA less TD please.

PotShot today wrote a nice long piece about user generated content in MMOs. He ponders why it’s not an idea used more often in today’s MMOs, as well as suggesting a game should be build with the tools to support user generated content from the ground up. An excellent post overall, but I see one major issue with the idea.

The new content might really suck. Say you find some new content created by a player, and you are informed it’s a 10 man quest. You gather 10 people and head off on your new adventure, only to find out the content is terrible, be it balance, loot, etc. How many times does a player have to waste their time attempting bad content before they abandon the idea, or the game overall?


As frustrating as it may be to gather a group for an instance, or even a raid, you at least know that once inside, the content will be of decent quality. The encounter will be balanced for the recommended level, as will the loot. We all know it only takes a few bad experiences to sour someone’s view towards a game, and by giving users the option to create content, a developer takes a large risk.


Going way back here, but one of the major complaints about early UO was that player killers could run rampant, ruining the game experience for players. To me, bad player content would be the modern day equivalent of an old school pk, something that frustrates players to the point of calling it quits.


That said, I do think player generated content COULD work. Look at something like DoTA for Warcraft 3. That user made content has nearly eclipsed the original game in terms of traffic, and has spawned a huge community. It alone is the reason WC3 still resides on my computer. But for every DoTA, you have 100 unbalanced and ultimately time wasting Tower Defense maps. It works in WC3 due to how easy it is to go in and out of a game, which might not be so easy to do in a MMO.


Again, if done right, it certainly could work, but user generated content comes with many pitfalls. It’s perhaps because of these pitfalls that we have not seen it take center stage yet, but all it would take is one major game to kick start a new trend.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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