It's a House Party
Housing is one of those MMO features that’s been overlooked as tangential for far too long. WildStar from Carbine Studios seems to be one of a great many developers hip to the notion that giving players a space to call their own in a game can help lead to greater investment in the world...and likely in the lengthy subscription sign-ups. Housing may not seem like a very big deal at first glance. I mean, so what if your character can hang out and decorate a place that’s instanced away from others? But that’s an old way of looking at housing. In WildStar, it’s going to be so much more than that, and with the potential to grow into something of a game all its own in the future.
Carbine is taking big risks in trying to make sure that WildStar has something for everyone, but Housing is one of those items that often seems in the periphery for just about any MMO gamer. While many of us here at MMORPG.com might throttle an old woman with a pogo stick to get a AAA MMO with a quality housing system, the gamer at large never seemed to care that much about building things in their games.That is, of course, until Minecraft came along and showed gamers that the freedom to build digitally can be just as rewarding as playing with LEGO in our youth.
You see, there’s an awful lot of game in WildStar’s housing. You can tweak everything about your plot of land until your heart’s content. Just look at some of the screens here taken from the latest beta phase contest for housing. You can pretty much your abode look like anything you want, so long as you work with the many tools WildStar gives you. Objects for your housing (and mind you, this includes the land itself you place your house on) can be found throughout the game, and even crafted. But that’s just the cosmetic part. What will really serve to make housing a feature that players get a use out of are the “Plugs”.
Here’s a list from MMORPG-Life.com:
- Anti-Gravity Pad
- Buff Stations
- Craft Stations
- Fishing Ponds
- Garbage Pile
- Helicopter Pad
- Quest Givers
- Raid Portals
- Shop Sign
- Sniper Tower
- Taxi Stations
- Training Dummies
All of these things actually do stuff in the game. It doesn’t take a genius to see that you’ll be able to access raids from housing, place shops, quest givers, explore mines, graveyards, craft items in a forge, and on and on. And what’s even more is that Carbine has eluded on several occasions to having “Housing Dungeons” in the game too. From what we’ve been told so far, these will be mini instances you can run with friends and maybe even customize. If you make your house public, visitors could even show up and run them for themselves. You can even place “Plugs” that can start challenges in the housing area: sort of like events that happen in the world with the Path system.
It’s really still early to tell, but if the screens and information we have on housing so far are anything to go by, WildStar’s housing may wind up being one of its most attractive features. Have you been keeping an eye on Carbine’s idea of player housing? What do you think so far? Let us know in the comments below.
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.