I want to talk about the history of owning your very own property in MMOs. My first MMO was Dark Age of Camelot. I wasn't fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the feeling of owning your very own house in my game like Ultima Online or Asheron's Call players did until the Housing Expansion Pack was released. Let me tell you, that was one of the coolest new features for DAoC back then. I was so excited to buy my very own home and be able to furnish it how I'd like, and be able to upgrade to larger houses and even Guild Houses.
Then there was Star Wars Galaxies, and you could place your house anywhere (outside of any city) and on any planet. You couldn't do that with Dark Age of Camelot. Also when it came to variety of furnishings for your home, Star Wars Galaxies took the cake. Hell, Star Wars Galaxies not only had houses, they had player made malls. Player made malls. I don't believe any MMO since Star Wars Galaxies has had player made malls in their game. Galaxies defined player housing and everything it should be back then.
Now currently, I started playing EverQuest 2 again and I must say, I didn't realize how important housing was to me in an MMO until now. Which is obviously why I am writing this blog right now. EverQuest 2 managed to carry on most of the great features of housing if not all but noticeably one. Which was the ability to place your house anywhere in the world. Incase you haven't played EverQuest 2 I will inform you. You know Galaxies lets you place your house anywhere on their planets except in cities. Well EverQuest 2 is exactly the opposite, with one exception. You can't place your house anywhere in the cities. There are designated buildings that you can purchase and then obtain your very own instance of a house. Or Inn room, or mansion, or guild hall. But once you have made these purchases, anything INSIDE your new property is yours to customize (to an extent). Such as walls, floors or the ceiling. But that's not what makes EverQuest 2 housing great. It's what you can decorate your house with. There is a plethora of items such as furniture, plants, NPCs, books, trophies and other rewards you obtain from quests that you can use to decorate your house or guild hall and show off all of your accomplishments to your friends with. Forget achievements (which EverQuest 2 also has thanks to Warhammer) physical virtual proof in the form of house items is the way to go!
I know I haven't listed all the games that provide player housing. Even the ones I did mention, I didn't even get to all their features. But I hope there are fellow MMOers out there that have the same opinion when it comes to the importance of player housing in MMOs. It really is the little things that count for the player.