The good news is that SimCity will soon be allowing user-generated content. The bad news is that EA is looking to place so many restrictions on what you can actually mod that it seems almost pointless.
In reaching out to the game's community with its initial plans, EA has already put its foot down on mods that change the way the game plays. Here are the two key points from its "first draft":
- UGC that effects the simulation for multiplay games and features are not allowed.
- Examples of acceptable UGC include swapping art assets, like buildings and vehicles.
So you can... reskin objects. Because of the game's insistence on linking everyone's cities together, you basically can't do anything else. No tweaks to rules, to gameplay, to map sizes, anything.
SimCity launched with so many compromises and problems that it would have been a modder's delight. Opening the door to user-generated content, then slamming it shut on all but the most mundane edits even at this early stage, is one of the biggest missed opportunities of the year.
You can always hope that, at such an early stage, EA heeds user feedback, but given the company's track record with the game thus far I wouldn't hold your breath.