Loading... Player-Created Content: Time Vampire or Next Wave?
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Ten Ton Hammer is on the move. Cody Bye just returned from having a good look at Jumpgate Evolution at Codemasters Gamers Day, and today I'm travelling to San Fran for an event NCSoft is dubbing "Architect Academy" designed to show off City of Heroes' new Mission Architect.
I go with a healthy amount of skepticism about player-created content, however, having seen it fail before. Shortly before Saga of Ryzom's (first) collapse a little less than two years ago, a few of us were invited to Paris to see their client-side toolset for creating. What I saw of Ryzom Ring was impressive in its ambition and execution. How did Ryzom Ring let players create meaningful instances without unbalancing the game or creating the potential for exploits? Nevrax's answer was to keep mob difficulty static (you can add mobs, but you can't edit their stats, etc.), not allow direct XP gain from the scenario, and provide consumables (like increased experience gain over time potions) for drops.
Ryzom Ring scenarios could make for a fun guild event (for the right kind of guild), but probably due to the fact that the reward didn't seem worth the time invested in design. In one of those strange ironies, Ryzom Ring probably killed Nevrax (or at least substantially contributed to Nevrax's demise) but saved Saga of Ryzom, since the tools were already largely in place to make it a great open-source solution.
There will always be an element of the MMORPG brain trust, the Raph Kosters and Richard Bartles, that insist that players want to live out a particular gaming fantasy so much that they'll spend days and months designing and scripting their own little playground. Modding an MMO (with the developer's blessing) is, on the face of it, more fun than modding Neverwinter Nights or Oblivion because you can instantly share it with anyone you can convince to join you for your cool Trogdor the Burninator lair raid.
The lure is definitely there. Our roots are in pen and paper gaming, which is all about a quality player-created experience. To date, MMORPGs have typically set the RPG bar low - if you were looking to "belong" to a gripping, nearly cinematic storyline experience to blow a Saturday afternoon on, I doubt you'd pick up WoW unless you and yours had a nice case of guild drama blossoming. But can we get back to where we once belonged? Not if player-created content means leaving behind any real form of lasting achievement. That, plus the overwhelming majority of today's gamers play games to be entertained, not be entertaining.
Can player-created content become as necessary to MMORPGs as the auctionhouse? I'm doubtful, but hoping NCSoft can turn me around. What's your take? Have your say in the Loading... forum or, as always, feel free to email me.
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day
From our Ten Ton Torched Forum
Dear Marxist Who is Writing His Essay on WoW
It's Mad Monday, and that means a thread from our Ten Ton Torched forum. This is the thread in which Xerin rants at a college classmate who is writing, you guessed it, an essay on World of Warcraft. It's one of those irate letters that one must pen, to free oneself from the pain and frustration of dealing with a complete asshat, but never ever send.
"Alright, I understand," Xerin writes. "You're a militant atheist who believes that communism is the answer to everything." And while Xerin seems almost willing to tolerate atheist arguments that interrupt class every time the word God comes up, he draws a line at his classmate's self-humiliation via WoW.
"When asked what your narrative essay is going to be about," he continues, "please don't say your 'Female Night Elf Druid's epic journey through Terrokar defeating the bird like creatures; a mix between fiction and non-fiction told in the vibrant World of Warcraft.' While you did get laughed at, and I applaud your stamina attribute [for your ability] to withstand the redneck who almost fell in the floor laughing, I do wish you wouldn't cause so much more stigma to permeate [our] society."
Poor Xerin. He needs our support and an empathetic ear. Or maybe you need a place to vent your own frustrations about zealous gamers who make the rest of us look bad.
Awesome Quote from the Epic Thread:
"Can't you major in WoW these days?"
Do you have a favorite Epic Thread? Let us know!
9 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 101 in February! 237 in 2009!
New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today [Thanks Phil Comeau for links and Real World News]
- Loading... Live Episode #5 - NY Comic-Con '09 Wrap-Up
- NYCC '09 MMORPG Roundtable Video w/ Top Devs from 6 Games
Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to:
- Premium Content: NY ComicCon Panel Downloads (Video and mp3)
- Age of Conan: Game Director Craig Morrison
- Jumpgate Evolution Hands-On Report: Can it convert old MMO Gamers?
- EVE Online: King of the Sandbox MMOG
- Is Big Really Better in MMOGs?
- NYCC '09 MMORPG Roundtable Video w/ Top Devs from 6 Games
- Warhammer Online: The Choppa and the Slayer - Two Sides of the Same Coin
- Tabula Rasa: The Stages of Grief
- Goob & Begud: "The Ultimatum"
- LEGO Universe: Game Delayed, Star Wars Coming?
Real World News
- Texas may let hunters shoot pigs from choppers
Outdoorsmen from abroad may hog all the permits, sow discontent among locals.
- Doughnut shop worker slashes man's tires
Irate customer vows a cruller fate is in store for the vandal.
- Missouri woman's hair weave stops bullet
She says that she will dread locking up her ex-boyfriend for the attack.
Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!
-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team