I don’t want to sound arrogant or anything, but I know how to make the ultimate, World of Warcraft beating, MMO, and, because I’m nice like this, I thought I’d share, in the hope someone will make the game for us.
The next generation of MMOs is bound to have a huge number of new features, but I think there are four or five that can break new ground and create a completely new level of game. This is the first one: User Generated Content. When Bioware introduced the toolset for Neverwinter Nights, they created a whole second reason for owning the game, and extended its play time for gamers by a magnitude.
Recently City of Heroes showed that the idea hadn’t been lost on MMO developers (read our interview with the developer in MMOZine Issue 11), and the Architect update introduced the ability for users to create content. Within a week they had created more content for the game than the developers had managed to create in the five years of support for the game.
It’s a simple fact that gamers will always outstrip the ability of developers to provide content in MMOs. We will always finish what there is to play before the next update is available – look at World of Warcraft and the army of developers they have, and yet the content is almost always played through by some within days of release.
What’s needed then is a community tool for content creation, coupled with some ability to monitor and control quality. It’s no good just swamping your game with rubbish content. Ideally it needs some form of QA testing before going live. But if it can be done successfully, then developers can spend some more time working on new game features and maybe even bringing in new level caps between expansion packs, rather than having to write more “fetch me this” and “kill me that” quests.
So that’s the first feature on my checklist of what the ultimate MMO needs to have. Have you played any of the CoH user generated content? Do you think this is the future for MMOs? Let us know.