New content is done with "nearly immediately after it's released," with websites giving spoilers and loot drop rates. TESO 'follows content model' and will end up like SWTOR.
Smedley praises Star Wars: The Old Republic and BioWare for what they accomplished, but all its content was burned through much quicker than they had hoped.
"This is a problem we all face. We all as game makers have to deal with the fact that we’re not just competing the content of WoW at launch. We’re dealing with 9 years of it. That’s a very daunting task and it makes the genre unapproachable if people try and fight that fight," John Smedley.
"Don’t get me wrong.. someone with deep pockets can still pull it off. TESO looks like it’s going to follow the content model and it’s going to have a lot of players. I’m willing to bet that it hits the same problem that SWTOR did. Just not enough to do." The SOE president believes player-created content could be the answer.
"In my opinion the solution is focusing a lot more on letting players make and be content for each other. Battlegrounds are an excellent example of an Evergreen style of content where it’s the players themselves that actually create the content. Auction houses are another example," he said.
"Building systems into the games that let the players interact with each other in new and unique ways gives us the ability to watch as the players do stuff we never anticipated. We’ll see a lot more creativity in action if the players are at the center of it. Imagine an MMORPG of a massive city.. and the Rogue’s guild is entirely run by players. Where the city has an entire political system that is populated by players who were elected by the playerbase."
Smedley praises what CCP Games has pulled off with EVE Online where massive player-run organisations create their own adventures through alliances, investments and political backstabbing.
"It’s a brilliantly executed system where the players are pretty much in charge of the entire game. Sure there is a lot of content for players to do, but anything that’s important in the game is done by the players. This is a shining example of how this kind of system can thrive," he enthused.
SOE are therefore pursing things in this sandbox-style direction for MMOs. "We want to innovate and let players be a part of everything we do including make the game in the first place. We’re going to take the idea of sandbox gaming and we’re putting it at the core of everything we’re doing. We’ll obviously still be making awesome stuff for players to do, but we’re going to aim very high in terms of letting players be a part of the game systems."
"The more emergent sandbox style content we can make the less predictable the experience will be," he concluded.
Currently SOE is running an alpha for EverQuest Next Landmark, which is all about player-created stuff.
Smedley: Content-driven MMOs "unsustainable," players consume it all too fast
12 February 2014 | By Simon Priest