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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Player Housing - Why has this feature gone from a priority to a feature most developers couldnt care about?

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528 posts found
  Arawulf

Guest Writer

Joined: 12/24/11
Posts: 461

6/17/12 7:34:52 AM#41
Originally posted by deathshroud
Originally posted by Arawulf

The anti-housing folks always regurgitate what the developers who won't implement it are repeating over, and over again. "It's bad for the community."  Somehow they feel as if their game needs huge hubs of people standing around in a city doing absolutely nothing when they could be crafting, organizing and decorating their own houses. 

what they mean by "its bad for the community" is that its an unproven mechanic (meaning not present in WOW) and the developer arent willing to take a risk on such a big feature that could potentially have unforseen consequence.

 

 

Well, that's what Blizzard has been saying - they want busy city hubs.  If you're actually doing something in your own house, you can't stand in Stormwind or Orgrimmar showing off the sparkle pony you bought for $25.

  GTwander

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/09
Posts: 6125

LARPer Hunter

6/17/12 7:35:02 AM#42
Originally posted by SuprGamerX

 Heh , since when did housing become important?  Let the Devs start creating a game where a casual player doesn't reach end game inside of a month. Once that's settled out , then work on garbage features to attract some koreans, like housing.

Psh, regardless of how long it takes to get to endgame, at some point people are going to tire of rehashing that last bit of content. Housing was, in games that did it *right*, incentive to keep playing in order to collect and show off basically *anything* as a trophy. As stated earlier, it's kept people subbed way longer than the games rightfully should have.

I don't expect anyone who never played UO or SWG to understand it, because you're on the outside looking in. We been there, done that, and it stuck.

Writer / Musician / Game Designer

Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

6/17/12 7:40:35 AM#43
Originally posted by Lowcaian

It's very simple, design philosophy has been moving away from living breathing world to a series of maps that are for one thing only, killing stuff.

This.

 

Besides most complex housing was done in either sandbox games (UO, SWG) or in sandparks / themeparks with vast open worlds and freedom like Vanguard.

Normal themeparks - well there was only one AAA game that was "big on housing" - EQ2.  Still remember EQ2 sold worse than EQ1 and while this was due to diffrent game market (WoW...) and mistakes SOE made with EQ2 design, concept and many things - guys in corporations don't watch it same way players do.

They see big budget game EQ2 that released in more or less same time as WoW. 

EQ2 had housing and WoW didn't , WoW earned multiple times more money. Result = housing is not important.

 

Of course that kind of thinking is bollocks and did not bring great results either (as most big productions struggled to keep playerbase few months after release).

 

===========

 

Anyway don't expect meaningful or complex or even big housing in themeparks in future.

There will be no housing, or it will be sorry excuses for housing like Swtor ship or Lotro instanced neighbourhoods.

Maybe few of them will have bit more complex housing like Aion does currently. Remember this is game that is hugely succesful in Korea and Asia and It had in it's best times 4 mln subs.  So that is kinda exception.

 

Your best bet for meaningful housing that is actually IN-GAME and not in some #142 housing instance that almost never is seen by anyone else than owner - are sandbox or sandpark games.

Only AAA sandpark production beign made atm is AA, but don't count on western release earlier than Q4 2013 or 2014 imo.

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

6/17/12 7:41:18 AM#44

In a themepark design, it is unnatural to anchor a player to one place with a home when the rest of your design is focused on moving them on a constant zone-to-zone path.  Similarly, when the general tendency is to on-demand instancing, the concept of player-created landmarks is a little hard to mix in naturally. 

There's the coding/troubleshooting overhead to consider in the cost-benefit of giving players what is essentially a mini level-editor. 

That said, I greatly miss my UO houses - there are good reasons why "The Sims" was such a gigantic success.  Letting those fall was by far the most gut-wrentching part of unsubscribing.  If the finale of my stay hadn't felt like a "stay subscribed or we burn your house down" shakedown, I might have been more willing to return for visits.

 

 

  deathshroud

Novice Member

Joined: 11/06/10
Posts: 1392

6/17/12 7:45:02 AM#45
Originally posted by Arawulf
Originally posted by deathshroud
Originally posted by Arawulf

The anti-housing folks always regurgitate what the developers who won't implement it are repeating over, and over again. "It's bad for the community."  Somehow they feel as if their game needs huge hubs of people standing around in a city doing absolutely nothing when they could be crafting, organizing and decorating their own houses. 

what they mean by "its bad for the community" is that its an unproven mechanic (meaning not present in WOW) and the developer arent willing to take a risk on such a big feature that could potentially have unforseen consequence.

 

 

Well, that's what Blizzard has been saying - they want busy city hubs.  If you're actually doing something in your own house, you can't stand in Stormwind or Orgrimmar showing off the sparkle pony you bought for $25.

ah the way you worded it i tohguht you meant mmos in general but you meant specifically wow. Which to alot of people i guess, its the only mmo they are aware of. Main problem with WOW is there no insentive for blizzard to attempt anything new becuase they have a monopoly on the genre. Why should they waste valuable development time when they can keep knocking out the same expansions every couple of years and make billions.

 

I think archeage may turn out to be a huge success becuase it ties sandbox and themepark together. Player housing with levels and quests = $$

there are 2 types of mmo, imitators and innovaters.

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

6/17/12 7:48:07 AM#46
Originally posted by GTwander
Originally posted by SuprGamerX

 Heh , since when did housing become important?  Let the Devs start creating a game where a casual player doesn't reach end game inside of a month. Once that's settled out , then work on garbage features to attract some koreans, like housing.

Psh, regardless of how long it takes to get to endgame, at some point people are going to tire of rehashing that last bit of content. Housing was, in games that did it *right*, incentive to keep playing in order to collect and show off basically *anything* as a trophy. As stated earlier, it's kept people subbed way longer than the games rightfully should have.

I don't expect anyone who never played UO or SWG to understand it, because you're on the outside looking in. We been there, done that, and it stuck.

+1

Feeling from owning my first small house in UO cannot really compare to anything else I got in mmorpg's.

Not that it was better feeling, but it was really good and diffrent feeling.

Besides it was in open world - there was no hopping between servers or instances - house was always there in same place, people that were going hunt or tame an animal were crossing near it, people who were going to fight some other guild or explore that orc camp were also going near etc

 

Hell I could even place MY OWN NPC (that had to be paid) near my house that sold items I crafted or found in my adventures.  I could even set it to buy some things I needed. 

There were no centralized trading AH like in some kind of modern stock market.

 

Ehh good times and much more possiblities - than farming instances or valor points in arenas.

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

6/17/12 7:53:23 AM#47
Originally posted by maplestone

That said, I greatly miss my UO houses - there are good reasons why "The Sims" was such a gigantic success.  Letting those fall was by far the most gut-wrentching part of unsubscribing.  If the finale of my stay hadn't felt like a "stay subscribed or we burn your house down" shakedown, I might have been more willing to return for visits.

 

 

Well if you don't do it like that then houses will swarm whole world and it will be bad.  It actually happened in UO since they cave in eventually to similar like your demands.

If you limit places where you can put house - then if houses will not disappear some time after you unsubsribe then after few weeks there will be no more spaces / slots left for new players.

 

There is one solution = not best and does not solve all problems but still better imo.

When you unsubscribe then after lets say 2 months your house automatically disappear from world BUT is sent to your bank as an item.

When you lets say get back - you have to find new place for it (which might not be easy, especially if those place would be limited) but when you do you can place this your old house with all things inside and outside it and don't have to build it from scratch.

 

I am amazed that this was not implemented in let's say UO.  Well at least not in times I was playing it.

  GTwander

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/09
Posts: 6125

LARPer Hunter

6/17/12 7:57:05 AM#48
Originally posted by fenistil

There is one solution = not best and does not solve all problems but still better imo.

When you unsubscribe then after lets say 2 months your house automatically disappear from world BUT is sent to your bank as an item.

When you lets say get back - you have to find new place for it but when you do you can place this your old house with all things inside and outside it and don't have to build it from scratch.

SWG did that, and it was a pretty cool event that all players could take part in. I believe there was a point system as well, but either way, it enthused people to go to every corner of the globe and call in a fleet to bomb decrepit houses off the face of the planets. They'd come down, make a big boom, and then the houses - along with all the items inside - would be sent to the unsubbed player's inventory, to where it could be put down again someplace with all the deco intact.

Very cool/smart thing, that.

~and before anyone asks, it was post-NGE, so there was a crazy amount of ghost town going on at the time.

Writer / Musician / Game Designer

Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  Lowcaian

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/01/11
Posts: 267

6/17/12 8:05:14 AM#49
Originally posted by GTwander
Originally posted by fenistil

There is one solution = not best and does not solve all problems but still better imo.

When you unsubscribe then after lets say 2 months your house automatically disappear from world BUT is sent to your bank as an item.

When you lets say get back - you have to find new place for it but when you do you can place this your old house with all things inside and outside it and don't have to build it from scratch.

SWG did that, and it was a pretty cool event that all players could take part in. I believe there was a point system as well, but either way, it enthused people to go to every corner of the globe and call in a fleet to bomb decrepit houses off the face of the planets. They'd come down, make a big boom, and then the houses - along with all the items inside - would be sent to the unsubbed player's inventory, to where it could be put down again someplace with all the deco intact.

Very cool/smart thing, that.

~and before anyone asks, it was post-NGE, so there was a crazy amount of ghost town going on at the time.

The house packup yes, it was done as an event so you could get badges for it. It should have been done more often, every six months or so but that is only a matter of tweaking the numbers and soes not detract from the concept itself.

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

6/17/12 8:09:57 AM#50
Originally posted by GTwander
Originally posted by fenistil

There is one solution = not best and does not solve all problems but still better imo.

When you unsubscribe then after lets say 2 months your house automatically disappear from world BUT is sent to your bank as an item.

When you lets say get back - you have to find new place for it but when you do you can place this your old house with all things inside and outside it and don't have to build it from scratch.

SWG did that, and it was a pretty cool event that all players could take part in. I believe there was a point system as well, but either way, it enthused people to go to every corner of the globe and call in a fleet to bomb decrepit houses off the face of the planets. They'd come down, make a big boom, and then the houses - along with all the items inside - would be sent to the unsubbed player's inventory, to where it could be put down again someplace with all the deco intact.

Very cool/smart thing, that.

~and before anyone asks, it was post-NGE, so there was a crazy amount of ghost town going on at the time.

Well I guess there was something good that NGE bring in aside of many terrible changes.

Good to hear and thanks for info.

I hope that if anyone make a game with open housing in future - there will be similar mechanic / solution - to unsub / house overcrowd since day 1.

Not only that - many bad things were repaired / made better with time in those old titles, hope future games will use those solutions instead of recreating old mistakes (like MO, DFO and similar titles did- well aside of fact they never really got chance in mainstream due to low-production values and overall terribelness ).

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

6/17/12 8:13:42 AM#51
Originally posted by MMOExposed

 

What turn of events causes this?

Enough games released housing (Big New Feature Keen!) to huge fanfare, only to watch their playerbases view it as "meh" six months later?

Too many games with Empty Wasteland Boomtown Slums Syndrome, I think.  The future became viewed by developers as "unimportant and unnecessary" after Blizzard ignored it.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  parrotpholk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/20/05
Posts: 3317

6/17/12 8:18:41 AM#52

Sadly to develop housing the devs need to first build a world that players would want to live in for any significant amount of time.  The last several years have brought us MMO that provide about the 30 free days worth of enjoyment then its back to something else.  

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

6/17/12 8:21:49 AM#53
Originally posted by fenistil

There is one solution = not best and does not solve all problems but still better imo.

When you unsubscribe then after lets say 2 months your house automatically disappear from world BUT is sent to your bank as an item.

*nods*  I proposed exactly this a couple of times.  The housing server held the houses as seperate entities so in principal using the item deed system to let you deed a house and transplant into some new plot.  But there was (is?) apparently so much black magic and bubble gum holding the housing system together that the devs went into a thousand-yard stare whenever tinkering with it came up.

  Vesavius

Old School

Joined: 3/08/04
Posts: 7493

Players come for the game, but they stay for the people- Most Devs have forgotten this.

6/17/12 8:25:49 AM#54

Why not player housing?

Mainly because PvP is a much cheaper alternative filler content for lazy minded Devs.

 

Sadly it's this over reliance on PvP that has gone a long way to creating the cesspit pit communities we see in modern MMORPGs.

It would have been an entirely different culture I think if we had seen player housing focused on over the years.

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

6/17/12 8:29:18 AM#55
Originally posted by Quirhid

OP already answered his own question: Its not a game defining feature - just something extra.

Even in sandboxes it can be a "build it, then ignore it" feature. 

But in that case, one of many such features = an entire catalog of stuff to do.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Dvalon

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/10/07
Posts: 320

6/17/12 8:32:30 AM#56

The simple truth is that AAA developers as a philosophy want to chip away all of the game features they feel are not essential, the concept of art or a sculpter taking a raw block and chipping away whats not needed to reveal a work of art.

The sad thing is that guild housing is one of those chips, the original block would be something like EQ, and ever since developers have been taking stuff out, its only after a games release that they start to put stuff back in, and call it a content patch.

 

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

6/17/12 8:35:52 AM#57
Originally posted by Dvalon

The simple truth is that AAA developers as a philosophy want to chip away all of the game features they feel are not essential, the concept of art or a sculpter taking a raw block and chipping away whats not needed to reveal a work of art.

That's an interestingly...wrong...perception of normal development decision making.  Yes, there are situation where you must weigh man-hours against benefits.  (Psss...any creative team does...)  But any head of development making decisions in the way you describe would be job-hunting in days.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  mklinic

Elite Member

Joined: 7/29/05
Posts: 1452

6/17/12 8:52:23 AM#58
Originally posted by GTwander
Originally posted by lifesbrink

Wizard101 and Glitch.  The housing in those games is unrivaled, unless we consider the housing in Sims.

Nope.

Everything in that vid is either player-crafted, some kind of reward, or gotten from a mob. Then placed, by hand, using an amazing system to put anything, anywhere.

Not to wade too far into the housing conversation and just reiterate what has already been said in this, and numerous past threads, I just wanted to say thanks for posting the video. In my opinion, SWG had some of the best housing I have seen in an MMO. I even switched my character to a Master Architect for a while just so I could build different houses and furniture for myself and friends. We set up a little 'neighborhood' near a remote lake on Naboo and, despite not being the most convenient location, it became a regular part of my gameplay to hang out there and socialize with friends I had made throughout my travels.

I had numerous other houses in various locations throughout my time in that game, but for some reason, the Naboo lake house was the one that came to mind. It could just be nostalgia talking, but I felt it really added to the gameplay and defnitely made it tougher to leave, as there was a sense of attachment to 'my own virtual space', when the game went south. 

-mklinic

"There's a point I think we're missing.
It's in the air we raise our fists in."
-from Behind Closed Doors by Rise Against

  ZombieKen

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

6/17/12 8:53:09 AM#59

I've been kicking around a concept that avoids the housing sprawl.  Rather than new construction, players take up living space in pre-existing apartment buildings, condos, and single family dwellings.  The parallel is from reality where the most effecient high density housing is an urban environment.

pre-alpha screenshot

Each floor of a residential building exists as an interior cell inside game space.  Access to individual non-instanced living space is provided via portal door that requires a key in inventory.  The owner's key is permanent.  The owner can create a guest key that can be given to others, but evaporates on log-off (still working out plans for long term guest keys).  Interiors are customized via the purchase of decoration package that includes furniture, interior layout, and functional storage.

 

In addition to residential space, I'm looking at the potential for player owned storefronts.  Items can be placed for sale in the store via interface similar to AH UIs.  An NPC is present in the store that shows walk-in visitors a UI allowing selection and purchase of items.  Once purchased, the item is mailed to the consumer and the revenue mailed to the owner via in-game mail.

 

Both housing and storefronts are rented on a monthly (?) basis.  Should a player cease gameplay, the lease expires and the space returns to a pool of available apartments.  This resolves the issue of abandoned housing.  Storage contents are saved and can be retrieved by renting another apartment.  Unsold store contents are mailed to the owner with unclaimed mail evaporating in 30 days.  The mechanism for moving is to let an apartment expire and then leasing a different apartment.

 

There are two off sides to such a system.  First is that an urban environment is contradictory to normal medieval fantasy design, and favors a present day, post apocolyptic or science fiction theme.  Second is the limited customizability of interior space, for example it won't be possible to pick out tapioca wall paper, place a coat of arms next to the living room window and place a bed in the kitchen.  It's sort of like a normal apartment except the furniture is nailed to the floor (think Morrowind) and items cannot be placed on furnishings only inside storage containers where they are not seen (think WoW's bank).

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  ZombieKen

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

6/17/12 8:57:54 AM#60
Originally posted by mklinic
but I felt it really added to the gameplay and defnitely made it tougher to leave, as there was a sense of attachment to 'my own virtual space', when the game went south. 

 

Attachment to achievements are something I consider key to MMORPG longevity in general.  I consider it a major factor of the inability of new games to pull players from heavily populated titles.  The greater the attachment, the less likely a person is to leave.

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

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