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Player Housing

Posted by vajuras Wednesday June 18 2008 at 1:54AM
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Was reading a good blog here on this one:

Personally what I prefer is old school style housing whereas players can drop them down pretty much everywhere. There can be some order to it but for the most part I'm a big fan of the sandbox approach to this.

Here are somethings  really liked about old school approach to housing (UO style MMO) :

1) Houses can be put down almost anywhere. This way players can build a town. Contrary to what some skeptics might think- building a House is not really a hardcore activity. It's actually a very creative outlet akin to designing a costume (City of Heroes) or dying armor (Guild Wars, etc)

2) Player Run Quests Can Thrive Here. Would be interesting if players could somehow create quests around their house. Obviously, you would need a Sandbox MMO to provide a suitable atmosphere to fully exploit this.

3) Nice place to display trophies. Achievements are a big part of Games in general. You will be hard pressed to find any game that doesn't award you with titles, scoreboards, or what have you. Houses can be a nice place to display gear and belongings. In UO there was an overhead view that allowed you to see into other people's houses. This was cool

Reference: Ultima Online House Design


4) Very pleasant distraction. Would keep players busy maintaining their house populating it with furniture, etc

5) Very nice meeting place for Guilds to hold Events. In most games you see Guilds try to establish an area to hold an event. If Guilds could congregate at a house this gives them a meeting place. Also, they can sort of naturally expand to build an entire city and coexist there assuming the game is sandboxy enough to provide localized entertainment in that area.

6) Houses are persistent state. That is the one interesting thing about a House- it stays online even after I log off.

The powerful sandbox component that Player Housing introduces it actually gives players the ability to create their own towns naturally w/o developer assistance. The bad- obviously it can be a big pain dealing with the litter and congestion that housing brings. EVE Online assess taxes of a sort to maintain your House. I believe you have to purchase a Charter to establish a POS (player owned structure) in Empire and pay taxes for the extra security. In City of Heroes, the player run bases also were assessed a tax

City of Heroes did something interesting with the supergroup bases. You could also have base raids whereas two guilds agree to fight at the supergroup base. This was very interesting. First, we sent out our scouts to look around (stealth / stalkers). Once we learned the terrain, we would begin the attack in earnest. The supergroup bases were somewhat relevant to the game via the Teleport devices and group banks you could have. This was great stuff.

Back to EVE Online what they did was a full blown implementation. Alliances can takeover space and 'rent' out this space to their partners and allies. Everyone in this Alliance coexist locally in space and cooperate to protect it. In Regions like Providence, you will find that the Alliance there has a no-shoot-neutral policy. It is interesting how the players have taken over this part of 0.0 and created a player enforced order.

So this brings me to my final point- Player Housing will empower players to create virtual online communities. Like minded players will perhaps be attracted to these communities and settle down there.

A good example of this exists in the title Second Life. At Midgar (player run city), you see a very impressive recreation of Final Fantasy. The owners of the sim have rented out space to tenants to run shops and business that actually market apparel that sell for real world $$. Second Life is another form of a player run housing but its pretty impressive what they have done

Reference: New World Notes

I think LordAltay wrote a great blog on this already but felt I should try to cover some examples from games I've played. Anyway I really think any blog that discusses this topic should for sure portray examples of games that employed them already. There are some really cool MMOs worth checking out if you want to see this in action.

xenogias writes:

I respect people who want player housing but as someone comming from AC I detest player housing. Cant speak to other games but housing in AC RUINED community interaction. Granted part of it was due to trade bots and while bots would have come around eventually player housing created the beast faster than it would have. Gone where the days of certain towns being trade towns ect.

Anywho, I do respect people who want a fun house of there own but me personally could do without it.

Wed Jun 18 2008 6:08AM Report
Arawon writes:

Housing , for one of those features that determines if I stay long term..or not.That simple...that straight forward.It's one of  three things I look for...great game play...great crafting....housing.

Wed Jun 18 2008 6:56AM Report
fansede writes:

Housing can be a wonderful aspect of the MMO community, but if it is given free reign, it will lead to problems. Imagine someone puting up their little cottage in front of an entrnace to a dungeon area..

That being said, I do not think hosuing should be pocketed away where there is nothing but to store your stuff in there.

You can go full bore with this by allowing player run instances such as Ryzom advocates.  So not only you get to build your house and decorate it, but perhaps able able to run a simple scenario for players to enjoy.  (Obviously player run scenarios have to be limited in rewards or experience to prevent abuse).

So a developer can prevent housing in key areas of adventuring, but other than that let the players decide where to set up home. Players choose an outside design for the gaming world to look at. Players could be responsible for maintaining it. The house may be destroyed by npcs.. Or in a PvP setting - other players!

If I were a gaming company with a shrewd business mind, I would offer a variety of house designs on a cd or from a downloadable encrypted website. Someone wants a unique house design? Buy it. You also buy yourself an instance in which you can create to your liking. this purchase also allows you to create a scenario for players to enjoy. It doesn't have to be a NWN dungeon, but make a simple scenario .

Housing has great potential and is yet to be untapped in the MMO world.

Wed Jun 18 2008 8:07AM Report
Kamyn writes:


I recently spoke briefly about the issue of Player Housing myself. I strongly believe we need to add some functionality to the Player Housing. Spending X amount to buy a home and then X amount to buy a chair, only to have it look nice is a waste of time in my opinion. Now what CoH did I totally agree, added a new element that shows what we can do with these things.
Let the players hire guards or create a medical room, storage room; items that can benefit the player or their clan/guild that will have to be defended from others would covet it. A meeting place/HQ or Guild Hall or whatever you’d like to call it, give the players the opportunity to make use out of the space you give them.

The days of ‘look at my pretty house’ are dead, if it doesn’t do anything more than look pretty, I don’t even glance at it.

Wed Jun 18 2008 12:08PM Report
JB47394 writes:

1) Houses can be put down almost anywhere.

If you want sandbox and economy, make them apply to housing as well.  Building in the boonies costs a fortune and takes far longer because there are no workers there.  Plus, the maintenance is much higher for similar reasons.  Add to that the potential for monsters to take a chunk out of your house.

2) Player Run Quests Can Thrive Here.

Now you're talking.  Houses should be places for player interaction, and player run quests, events, services and so forth.  That's what player structures are for.

3) Nice place to display trophies.

Just get a ribbon for your uniform for some accomplishment and leave it at that.  Break out the full dress uniform for fancy occasions.

4) Very pleasant distraction.

This is the vanity side of gaming that I've never understood.  But Americans are a vain people, so I guess it follows.

5) Very nice meeting place for Guilds to hold Events.

This is really a repeat of item 2, and it's the real meat of your article as far as I'm concerned.  Guild events, quests and services would just be on a larger scale than those held at a smaller structure.

The bottom line is that buildings exist to make activities in games happen - just like dungeons, wilderness and so forth.

Wed Jun 18 2008 12:27PM Report writes:
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