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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Player owned housing, what to do when there's no more room?

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  ZombieKen

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Joined: 3/30/10
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OP  1/22/13 8:34:38 PM#1

I have a question about player built / owned housing that exists in the main world of a game (not instanced neighborhoods).  The mechanics of it make sense, but what is to prevent running out of room to build new houses?

 

How did games like SWG handle this?

 

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  dinams

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Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 1403

1/22/13 8:39:42 PM#2

I cant remember of anu such cases, but a Logical approach would be:

a) To release more housing areas

b)To have some kind of selling property mechanic

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  AlBQuirky

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Joined: 1/24/05
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1/22/13 8:48:30 PM#3

Maybe getting rid of (demolishing) housing from players who have not logged in for a few months without contacting the game makers about any prolonged absence?

- Al

Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
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  Phelcher

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Posts: 1133

1/22/13 8:51:14 PM#4
Those who cannot afford a house, end up renting cheaper dwellings, or shaking up with another who already has a house.

A house is not a right, just something to strive for.

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  Quizzical

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1/22/13 9:14:18 PM#5

Have a really, really big game world so that you don't run out of room.

What A Tale in the Desert did was to make it so that if someone cancels his account, anyone else can tear down everything he built and recover some of the materials for it.

  Novusod

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/30/09
Posts: 866

1/22/13 9:40:43 PM#6
Originally posted by XAPGames

I have a question about player built / owned housing that exists in the main world of a game (not instanced neighborhoods).  The mechanics of it make sense, but what is to prevent running out of room to build new houses?

 

How did games like SWG handle this?

 

SWG galaxies had dynamically created open worlds. Hills, rocks, and other features were generated by a random script instead of a developer. This allowed the game to have a trully massive world. Tatooine alone was bigger than the whole of WoW. If you wanted to build a house in the middle of nowhere you could. Running out of space to build was not something they ever had to worry about. It would have taken decades or even centuries to fill the world.

 

This is just another reason why I think SWG was the best MMORPG ever made and in ways light years a head of the joke MMOs that are being made today.

  Barrikor

Novice Member

Joined: 12/06/07
Posts: 317

1/22/13 10:59:14 PM#7

Add apartments to the game.

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  ZombieKen

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Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

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OP  1/23/13 12:33:30 AM#8
Originally posted by Phelcher
Those who cannot afford a house, end up renting cheaper dwellings, or shaking up with another who already has a house.

A house is not a right, just something to strive for.

 

I'm leaning this direction.  Some private residences (limited supply) and something to handle overflow.

 

Great answers all.  Thanks for the insight.

 

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  AutemOx

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/04
Posts: 1719

1/23/13 3:31:01 AM#9

SWG had a limit to the amount of buildings you could own, which in my opinion is a very good idea for any game allowing players to build.  It also required upkeep for buildings, but it was not a lot of credits (in game currency), so someone who does not play a lot could easily put a year worth of credits into their buildings then cancel their account and come back a year later.

I think removing houses when players cancel their accounts its a good idea, as long as the contents of that house is saved in case the user returns.

I think having ample room to build is a good idea, that way players can choose where to build their cities from a wide variety regardless of if its day 1 or 10 years in to the games life.  SWG had ample room.  Just in general SWG was a great model of how to do houses and player cities correctly.  Of course, there were some very obvious things that could be improved on with newer games like adding windows, more outdoor objects, walls, more rotation options, and allowing buildings to touch.  Those are all additional features on top of what SWG did as opposed to SWG doing something 'wrong'.

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  dave6660

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1/23/13 1:51:28 PM#10
Originally posted by Phelcher
Those who cannot afford a house, end up renting cheaper dwellings, or shaking up with another who already has a house.

A house is not a right, just something to strive for.

Not that I disagree with you but that would never fly in today's mmorpg market.  Players have made it abundently clear they do not want to compete over resources in a PvE game.  That's why everything is instanced now.

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  Sovrath

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Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17212

1/23/13 1:53:46 PM#11
Originally posted by Quizzical

Have a really, really big game world so that you don't run out of room.

What A Tale in the Desert did was to make it so that if someone cancels his account, anyone else can tear down everything he built and recover some of the materials for it.

I like that idea.

I ofttentimes thougth developers should have the house "fall into disrepair" and after say, two months, have it dilapidate and have the propertty be up for grabs.

  User Deleted
1/23/13 2:11:25 PM#12

SWG was pretty amazing for it's time.  Even the largest player cities were just small blips on a planet's map.   Times that by 6 or 7 planets and there was definitely tons of room for growth.   

One of the other things about SWG player cities that I rarely see talked about anymore was the Imperial and Rebal bases that were built in conjunction with the cities themselves.   

I can't even tell you how many times we'd raid the Rebal bases in other player cities only to come back and find that our Imperial defenses were taken out by some other guild.    It was so much fun.   Now that's DYNAMIC CONTENT!!

  greenreen

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 1445

1/23/13 2:38:01 PM#13

I didn't play that game but I have an idea.

Each time a house is built, generate land of the same size in another land mass. 

Then you always have just as much as you lost.

Those new areas become land mass in expansions. Throw some NPCs for barter into the scenery and viola, you are creating land expansions at the rate of player increases once you reach your threshold to say, this map is ready to be added.

 

 

  User Deleted
1/23/13 2:43:00 PM#14
Underground dwellings and highrises?
  Torvaldr

Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 5785

1/23/13 2:46:57 PM#15

I like how Lineage handled housing.  There were a bunch of pre-defined houses available in various towns.  They were a limited resource that were expensive and the nice locations highly sought after.  Nice houses were a status symbol.

Players usually had to band together to afford a nice house so it was typically guilds, or sub groups within a guild that would buy the housing.  They also had to maintain rent on the house or lose it to public auction at the original lower default price.  Players could sell the house on auction, setting the minimum price and sometimes making a lot of money in the transition.

I also like EQ2 style of housing where the doorways are off of buildings in towns, but the interior is big and instanced.  People can set their house to be public or private.  The thing that makes EQ2 housing so great, aside from free form scalable placement and many different types of housing, is how well it is integrated into the game.  Having it tie into crafting, questing, and achievements makes it feel valuable.

With limited resource housing people value it a lot more than if anyone can get it.  You know when someone owns a plot they really want it.  With unlimited resource housing I think EQ2 does it right.

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  MindTrigger

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/19/07
Posts: 2628

1/23/13 2:56:29 PM#16
Originally posted by fat_taddler

SWG was pretty amazing for it's time.  Even the largest player cities were just small blips on a planet's map.   Times that by 6 or 7 planets and there was definitely tons of room for growth.   

One of the other things about SWG player cities that I rarely see talked about anymore was the Imperial and Rebal bases that were built in conjunction with the cities themselves.   

I can't even tell you how many times we'd raid the Rebal bases in other player cities only to come back and find that our Imperial defenses were taken out by some other guild.    It was so much fun.   Now that's DYNAMIC CONTENT!!

This is one of the types of content missing in Themeparks these days that could be easily added to new and existing games.  Add to this another element of sandbox games, such as random spawns, caves, and walk-in dungeons like you describe and you could refresh just about any game or at least add emergent gameplay areas.  Once you have wrtten good spawn systems, you can come up with all kinds of themed open areas, and just let players go nuts.  

SWG had a cool creature den system that allowed random spawns of any kind of mob they wanted, so the world was always fresh.  Some planets had elite spawns which took multiple people to attack. There were NPC faction spawns and all kinds of neat stuff.  It added an aspect of exploration and depth lacking in today's games, and there wasn't a quest NPC to be found most of the time.  You would either go solo, or group up if the planet/content was too dificult to solo, and go off on hours long adventures with friends for blood and treasure.

The Repopulation is going to be bringing some of these familiar systems back.  Check out their neat PvE write up:

https://www.therepopulation.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=281&Itemid=479

SWG's housing system evolved over time as they learned their lessons, but in the end it taught everyone a lot about how to do in-world housing.  The only real mistake they made was not having a system in place to clean up abandoned homes properly. Games like LotRO came up with systems such as "Escrow" so that when they took your house from you for not paying the maintenance fee, you could go to an NPC and collect the things you left inside it.

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  TheScavenger

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Posts: 687

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1/23/13 3:11:07 PM#17

I really really like Vanguard's approach. SWG was amazing too, since you could do entire player cities. Don't recall if it had the same problem as UO though

 

Least favorite housing system: Ultima Online

 

UO housing was a freakin disaster imo. It WAS first MMO to do housing...am I correct in that?...but even then...man...could barely go anywhere without running into tons of spammable buildings. Ran into one area I couldn't even get through, because the housing was literally a maze to go by them. 

 

VG does it good though. It isn't instanced (don't like instanced housing at all), but its still in set areas...and there is plenty of housing available. And its easy to add new areas for housing.

 

VG if I recall when it was really popular at release, they just added new housing areas...since the world is huge, that is easy to do. And you can get boats to go to housing islands. Even at its peak of popularity, there was enough housing to go around.

 

SWG was too long to remember what it was like, but I do recall there was a lot of room too...but again, not sure if housing was as bad as UO or not...there was a lot of areas you could build. I think it was sorta set areas, since it had to be flat ground.

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  Yaevindusk

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1/23/13 3:21:02 PM#18
Originally posted by XAPGames

I have a question about player built / owned housing that exists in the main world of a game (not instanced neighborhoods).  The mechanics of it make sense, but what is to prevent running out of room to build new houses?

 

How did games like SWG handle this?

 

 

Ultima Online ran out of land in both Felucca and Trammel after a while; they eventually made it so you could only have one house per server or some such and added more land with expansions over the years (including tools to build your own house and make it look how you want).

What this essentially did was make a very lucrative real estate market; those who game spots by the road, by towns or traditionally good "vacation" spots could sell a 200k house for 20,000,000 with ease.  I know a house near Moonglow that was being sold for about 200,000,000 and it was one of the most basic versions of houses there was.  It just had a great location for vendors and was like 20 feet away from the actual town.

Accounts that had more than one house on the server they played on sold for a lot as well.  This was before selling your virtual property was a no-no and accounts were being sold left and right that had 5+ houses or castles set up.  One of my friends bought an account for some $20,000 -- and that was typically a cheap sale compared to some out there.  These houses also had to be maintained by simply opening the door (if you're an owner, co-owner or friend of the house) to refresh the duration it decays (will disappear and leave the world and items open).

Many people viewed MMOs as an investment back then; you put in the time and sell the results for massive profits.  Though those days are pretty much over now that the community has exploded and can thrive just on game play alone as opposed to investors and the niche community besides them.

Diablo III tried to bring this back with their auction house, but the genre (online gaming in general, not claiming it's a MMO) has been dominated by "no real money" players for a long time now, and we can see the result of their attempt by most who dislike it.  Ultimately, it is one of the things MMOs grew up on and can be considered old school selling your accounts and items, but it's just a no-go now as companies now have it in their TOS to prevent such and preserve the public opinion of their game in question.

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  aRtFuLThinG

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1/23/13 3:35:08 PM#19

SWG housing solution:

1. Big world

2. Limited number per persona and limited landsize per guild

3. Maintenance cost - un-maintained gets removed

4. Loot and pillage - faction houses/buildings

5. Many types of housing sizes suiting different lots - so that you don't waste space if you don't want to (ie. when you only want to host vendor not for personal use)

  MyownGod

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Joined: 10/09/09
Posts: 207

1/23/13 4:58:19 PM#20
Originally posted by aRtFuLThinG

SWG housing solution:

1. Big world

2. Limited number per persona and limited landsize per guild

3. Maintenance cost - un-maintained gets removed

4. Loot and pillage - houses

5. Many types of housing sizes suiting different lots - so that you don't waste space if you don't want to (ie. when you only want to host vendor not for personal use)

I MISS SWG!! 

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