This is my first Blog in English, Its not my native language, so it might sound a little awkward, but then its all about the contents, i hope this adds to the MMORPG.com community feeling.
Since there will not be any housing in ESO at release, there is still enough time for the player base to give input on what kind of housing they want. In most games houses are just an extra banking spot, and a private place to show off your rewards from quests, nothing special, because everyone else got those same rewards and trophies. Its not meaningful, its just a place to show your E-peen to nobody else but yourself...
I think developers need to set the next step. If you want to do housing right, you need to make it the core of the social system in your game, and give other people a reason to visit your little estate. So how can this be done? actually it isn’t that hard to think of reasons why anyone would want to visit your home. I can name dozens of them.
- Allow players to organize events like tournaments, contests, puzzle games, riddles contests, dances, live music and more stuff like that in their houses and castles. LOTRO has a little of that, and its one of the things setting that game apart from the rest. But games like 2nd live and the Utherverse are build around that philosophy, and its quite easy to steal some great ideas from there.
-Allow the player to put up NPC merchants and NPCs with other services at their homes, even creating shops or inns.
- Create a quick travel system that allows people to quickly travel to friends houses and guild member houses, or any other house they have ever been before (like fireplace traveling)
-add a set of animations, that can be set to be used with objects in the house or just with other people in the house...
-Add any other social interaction idea here.
When executed to perfection this will truly create a home for the gamers, something where they can sit down from their adventures and relax with their friends.
The next step will be to find the best way to implement housing on the mega server. Because a good housing system requires houses to be in the open world. But 3 million houses out there in the open world would totally kill off the immersion so that’s in my opinion not a wise option. But you still want people to be able to build houses all around the world, in towns in woods, on that small island just before the cost, in Daggerfall.
to achieve this, there should be housing plots added to the world, and players could buy these housing plots and build their own homes on them, small plots, big plots, even underground cave plots, something for everyone’s taste. And on that plot players could build their very own house, cottage or castle. Keep in mind that obviously you will be sharing that same plot with thousands of players, and when other people walk by in the open world, there can be only one single house visible to a trespasser.
Now this is where phasing technology comes around, the game will show every player the most appropriate house, first priority is the players own house, 2nd priority is friends houses, 3rd priority is guild members houses and so on. So you might be walking next to a random character and both see a different house, without even noticing.
To make this work every house has a base plan (size and walls), but allows players to add their own look to it, interiors and cellars and such are free to create as you see fit... (If they added a versatile a good construction set, you could even build your own dungeon under your house where people could adventure)
-Allow people to create their own houses from building blocks and totally recreate the exterior look and have full freedom with the interior. Personally i am a firm believer this process should require resources, but that’s a very personal opinion.
-add rare drops and more stuff that people can show off in their houses
-Add housing stuff to the gathering and crafting
I think you get the general idea by now......
They could also use the same creation tool for people to truly create player created content, there is a lesson to be learned from the mistakes of Neverwinter´s toolset and if you improve on that concept there is a bright future for player created content. If they invest in a toolset and make it multifunctional, it will be a win/win in the end.
But if you ask me, just adding housing without functionality is just a waste of resources. Its done before and does not add that much. And with a little more effort they can make it the perfect socializing tool. This is supposed to be a multiplayer social experience, and that’s what they should give to the players.