Recently Blizzard mentioned that player created content was in the back of their mind, but revealed not much more. In a post a while ago I made mention that it may be time for user created content. Now is really the time, with a new expansion on the horizon, Blizzard needs to engage the current gaming populace and work to bring in additional subscribers. The current content and mechanics have not really offered much in the way of a new and engaging experience. Not saying that the current content is not fun, it is, but if they want to bring back old players who have quit, or bring in new players, they need to make some changes to what their game offers vs what else is out there. Have no fear, I have some suggestions for Blizzard on the topic of player created content…
Player Created Arenas for PVP
Similar to how players today can create maps on Starcraft 2 and even Warcraft 3, why not let players create PVP arenas? Create some general geometry rules, as each side of the arena needs to have essentially a mirror image of the other side, have some main focal point in the center.
This type of arena creation engine should be fairly simple to do. Expose a world creation tool to add texture, terrain, “doodads”, then let the user select from a host of center area obstructions and interactive “playsets” like bridges.
This would let PVP player be more involved with the design and release of new content, a host of new arenas could be created and competed in. Most importantly it would increase the content PVPers get as compared to PVE focused players.
Create “Boss Gauntlets” using a similar PVE arena instance like Trial of the Crusader, place bosses into the gauntlet, though limit downtime between bosses, loot will be awarded by each boss killed at the end. This scenario would be more like a survival mode, how many bosses or mobs can your raid team defeat before ultimately being killed or wiping.
This type of game mode is not unfounded, similar modes can be found in fighting games, action games and even first person shooters. Blizzard has even created this exact scenario at Blizzcon for elite guilds to show off in front of the crowd. Taking an arena area and randomly placing bosses within it for the raid team to tackle. Putting this type of scenario into the hands of players to create essentially a Trial of the Crusader event to add in bosses, maybe add in previous expansion bosses you need to place in more than 1 at a time. Another option is that previous expansion bosses don’t provide as many “points” as current expansion bosses might in this survival mode. Also the creator can only add bosses they have personally killed. Let so many points earned equate to what type and how much loot drops.
These options would extend the life of old bosses, provide players a means of creating challenges for themselves and friends, but following a similar model Blizzard already used in Trial of the Crusader raid event in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. All it would take is giving players some ability to add which bosses would spawn.
Guild Created Quests, Objectives, Challenges
One of the biggest misses I feel with Guild Challenges was the lack of an opportunity for guild leaders to create quests, objectives or challenges to engage the members of their guild. This is a perfect opportunity for Blizzard to allow guilds to create up to a certain amount of say daily quests to collect items needed for cauldrons and even feasts. Potentially gather up materials to craft gear for others, or enchanting mats and uncut jewels. The quests could reward gold and/or guild reputation.
Perhaps even an opportunity to create an objective to gather up guildies to go after old world content, like defeating C’Thun. Maybe even going so far as to create an instanced or phased area in the world where the guild needs to work together to stop an elemental invasion or scourge attack. It would make the world feel more fluid but also give guild leaders more ways to create guild events and to bring the guild together to do things other than just raiding.
Player Created Battlegrounds
Similar to the idea of player created arenas, what about giving players pre-made maps, that users could add different terrain, and objectives to. Have a system to promote a balanced map if you are looking for a more capture the flag style to where if you add something to one side, its mirrored on the other. If you are looking for a capture the resources type of map, allow the player to pretty much modify the map however they want, set specific win/loss scenarios. Even allow a mix and match type game setup.
Allowing users to create these types of maps, would increase the rate of PVP content being deployed to live servers, but also get more players, especially those who have a strong knack for churning out maps like in Starcraft 2 for World of Warcraft. Have only Blizzard developers review and do final tweaks to maps to make them work live and deploy them. Heck there is even an opportunity to sell access to these user created maps, and give a cut back to the players who created it, similar to the idea for the Starcraft 2 map store which was mentioned at Blizzcon 2010.
Player Created Armor & Weapon Models
Allow players to design their own armor and weapon models to be used with transmogrification, allow them to designate type (plate, cloth, leather, mail, weapon), allow them to choose the color palette. Then allow adding of “doodads” like spikes, glowing effects, etc. to parts of the armor or weapon. Depending on a players reputation with given factions they may have more access to certain customizations.
Allowing users to create their own item models, greatly extends the life of the game, as the artistic direction is put into the hands of the players, letting them look how they want. Of course most of the static graphics for item pieces and accessories to put on the armor or weapons will be dictated by the art team at Blizzard, we could see some great new sets of armor produced. Perhaps even providing an online store to let players sell their art skins to others. Forza on XBOX did something along these lines, letting people customize cars’ look and selling it. Here you can do the same thing, let players earn a small fee every time their armor sells, of course there is the option to let people sell it for in-game gold perhaps as well, similar to the new Diablo 3 auction house. But it makes players much more invested, talking with a few people who quit the game, they indicated to me if Blizzard implemented something like this in WoW, they would come back almost immediately.
Custom Cooking Recipes
OK so how about letting guilds create their own recipes, maybe do a horadric cube type of deal, let a player place 2-3 different types of items (food type items) together and let them create a new recipe, select a buff stat, that is on par with the items it uses and sell this recipe on the AH, or simply let it be available to only their own guild members. Let it have the name of the person who made it like “Ceraphus’s Beer and Bacon Pie”! That sounds awesome and delicious. Put a buff stat next to it and there you go. Instant user created cooking recipe.
What other types of customization would you like to see in game?