It doesn’t seem to long ago that I was an active member of the UT99 mapping community, moderator and mapper for one of the largest RPG Maker communities, and a contributor and modder in the Morrowind community. I dedicated a lot of time to creating games and mods, a lot of people did. Unfortunately the modding scene, while still alive and kicking, died down pretty dramatically for a long time. I guess you could say people who were previously modding lost interest or moved on to other hobbies, without a new generation of modders to follow.
I’m not going to try and go in to deep analytics about how the community died out, or try to convince you that I know why or how. In reality, it doesn’t matter – fact is the modding community isn’t what it used to be, and that sucks. I don’t think I ever spent a week without finding a new amazing mod that I absolutely must try out, people were constantly releasing them and even more were constantly playing them. For a long time now I have been thinking about this topic as a whole, but it seems the worst part is almost over – modding is coming back.
When the industry begins to move in a direction, it seems to do so pretty fast. Those who were always around ramp up their efforts, and others try jump in as quickly as possible. It’s not surprising to see modding take the spotlight again, Starcraft 2 maintained its custom mods, Skyrim continued to support its modding community, and now mods like DayZ are taking the world by storm. It’s no surprise that the industry and gamers are starting to take a closer look at mods, especially when mods like DayZ gains over a million users with no publisher or marketing budget.
With this success we have seen modding projects reborn, new projects arising and new genres being touched on with mods. This is MMOGames, and mods aren’t MMOs, but this revival of the modding community doesn’t play by the old rules or concepts. DayZ is a sandbox mod for a military simulator, but it uses MMO-like qualities to offer a persistent experience across over 1000 servers. The future of mods – in my opinion – will attempt to offer more MMO-style experiences for its players, we have the technology available now. On the same engine as DayZ, there is also a mod called City Life RPG – the same world as DayZ only players build houses, run cities, join gangs, become a cop etc. Just Cause 2 now has a mod which supports large amounts of players in multiplayer.
It’s becoming obvious that it’s now a lot easier for players to mod non-MMO titles in to something that somewhat resembles an MMO. It was inevitable, think of all the GTA multiplayer and Elder Scrolls multiplayer mods – doesn’t this seem like a natural progression? I believe we should all be keeping an eye out for more MMO mods in the future, and maybe it’s time to start discussing moddable MMOs. I don’t think it has been something that has ever been raised, but I think there may be room for an MMO with modding tools. I’m not only talking about more user generated content in MMOs, but the ability to take an MMO and completely re-shape it and host it on your own server.
I doubt we will see something like this exactly, but titles like the new Neverwinter MMO and its content creation tools for user generated content get me very excited. I hope I see the day where the modding community is thriving once more, not only used as a place to extend the gameplay of your currently owned games, but also as a pool of talent for the industry to pick from. A lot of modders from days of old now work at some of the biggest companies, it’s a great training ground for young and aspiring developers and should be treated as such once more.
You might see us talking more about MMO-style mods, and we know that they aren’t true MMOs so-to-speak, but we hope you like reading about them and don’t think it’s too invasive of the other content on this site. What are your thoughts on the modding community? Are you a modder? Take this chance to tell us all about your project or the mods you enjoy.