Massively Overthinking: Is open-world housing really a ‘failed’ MMORPG experiment?

Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti has a provocative article on his personal gaming blog, Bio Break, this week on MMORPG housing.

“I once again wonder why open world housing is this holy grail that some players and developers seem hellbent on chasing,” he writes. “It’s an ideal, a beautiful mirage couched in the notion of players inhabiting the very world they play, allowing them to stroll through neighborhoods of fellow adventurer’s homes and basking in the connectivity of it all. Yet it’s a failed experiment, one that is proven time and again to have far more drawbacks than benefits.” After listing off his complaints with the mechanic, he ultimately concludes that “we simply don’t need fixed open world housing, even in sandboxes.”

But being Justin, he also asked for feedback on why the joys are worth the drawbacks – and how to fix the system so it works instead of running off the rails. That’s just what we’ll do in this week’s Overthinking. Is he right about not needing this type of housing? And if not, how would you fix open world housing?

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): This is another of those love/hate situations I have. Instanced housing is good for individual players, it gives everyone a chance to be a homeowner, and it can be done really well in terms of world integration (see Elder Scrolls Online).

However, having housing out in the open makes MMOs less of a game and more of a world. Persistent housing makes each server feel more unique. For example, in Horizons/Istaria, the original intent was that mobs would take over towns, and in some simple ways, they would. They’d maybe move towards a town and sit there. As there was basically one NPC town per biome (think jungles, forests, mountains, etc), players built up towns for their follow player to use. Star Wars Galaxies was similar in my experience post NGE, though Horizons also had community projects where building in the game world could unlock, say, new player races. I had a lot more server pride in those games than, say, World of Warcraft, despite playing the latter for several expansions.

Persistent housing also allows for players to literally make the world their own. In PvP games, the limited number of plots/guild housing drives not only strife, but the need for a community that will help you protect what’s yours. It can be stressful being a homeowner, and the game’s limited customization (and basically none for guild housing) made it kind of bland in retrospec, but at the time, whole empires were basically built around housing. I thought survival games would be the same way, but sadly, they feel too impermanent not only in terms of housing, but the communities as well.

We do need a compromise. That’s what I liked about housing in Asheron’s Call. The game lacked instancing, so in addition to houses being available on the game’s landscape, it also had apartment “dungeons” for the masses. It’s one thing that attracted me to WildStar’s warplots and Otherland’s clan lands before that, in that housing was designed for PvP.

However, let’s rework things a bit. Non-instanced housing is there for PvP, right? But some people just want a nice space to build their own place, or make a trading town. Borrowing from RIFT and WildStar, we’ll do the instanced housing thing but with the idea that these are other dimensions or something. If your guild has taken non-instanced housing on the surface world, the guild leader can set who has a house during peace time and who has one during war time. That way, players could make their cool/fun/community oriented houses, maybe even with dungeons. At the center would be a nice portal for anyone to enter their personal housing unity. However, at certain intervals, the town goes into a war mode, where the PvP oriented players can coordinate building ideas on the fly just for battle. If you lose your persistent housing, you still have the instanced version of it, just not out in the gameworld. It’ll never be taken from you. It’s a prestige thing, and can still help shape the persistent game world physically and socially.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I wouldn’t call open-world housing a failed experiment. A null result is still a result, after all. Every game that tries it (and breaks it) is contributing to an extremely successful and ongoing experiment in what works and what doesn’t. If he had said no one’s ever pulled it off perfectly, I’d agree. No one’s ever pulled off the perfect anything in an MMORPG. There’s always room for improvement, particularly on this.

So what’s so great about open-world housing in the first place? Why even bother? I look at it this way: Renting an apartment is very different from owning a house IRL, and even more different from planning and building a building from the ground up on a plot of land that is yours and only yours. A similar feeling exists inside of MMOs; open-world housing creates a sense of real ownership in the game, that you own that plot of land, that everyone can see it and yet it’s private unto you, that you and only you can control what happens in that space. You don’t direct people to “a” location; you send them to “the” location. Instant immersion. An instanced house or door into a clone of a building you share with thousands of other people doesn’t have quite the same feel to it. I will still accept instanced housing over no housing at all, always, but having seen for two decades how properly built open-world housing transforms a game into a world where instanced housing struggles, it’s clear to me which type of housing is the premium in the genre. It is the holy grail.

Now, I said “properly built,” and that’s where Justin’s complaints about open-world housing’s fail points are absolutely valid. Properly built open-world housing needs to be:

1) Affordable by everyone. It should not be an endgame treat (or worse, a donor privilege), else it loses most of its stickiness value for the average player (whose stickiness is what you’re chasing, as you’ll always have the stickiness of donors and elites). Final Fantasy XIV is a particularly egregious example of housing that is designed for status, while games like EverQuest II and Anarchy Online give basic homes to newbies gratis. Charging donors thousands of dollars for the best land before a game launch is pretty gross, too, crowdfunded MMOs.

2) Absurdly abundant. There needs to be enough land — an excessive amount — so that there’s enough room for every single person in the game to erect a home. Star Wars Galaxies had far more land than could ever be used by players, and player accounts were limited in how many structures they could place. That part, at least, worked beautifully.

3) Free from server merges. Studios need a plan for this before they launch because merging and causing some or all of your players to lose their homes is one of the dumbest calls I’ve ever seen an MMO studio make. If that means everyone’s on one server, so be it. ArcheAge, for shame.

4) Free from land rushes. None of these arbitrary server-up land rushes that privilege people who got past the login queue first, scripters, and people whose preorders showed up early (come on, ArcheAge). Ultima Online, once famous for its unfair land rushes, now uses an auction/lottery system for distributing new plots of land. Open-world housing does not need to be synonymous with land rushes.

5) Impermanent. You cannot allow people to keep their houses and the land those structures sit on if they are not actively participating in the game, something traditionally monitored with subs and/or in-game maintenance. If you stop paying your sub for 90 days, your house in Ultima Online collapses and the rubble can (and will) be looted by passers-by. SWG, on the other hand, made grave mistakes by keeping lapsed subber homes in the game taking up physical space for years, draining mere pennies from their characters’ banks while paying customers fumed over ghost towns. Ideally, items from vacated homes should enter escrow, as in LOTRO, so that you lose only your land, not your stuff, when you return.

6) Purposeful. Housing needs to be about more than stashing your stuff. Players need to have a reason to go not just to their homes but to other people’s homes. They need to be able to personalize housing to excess, access buffs, host events, and above all else, create public spaces and social incentives (shops, taverns, and so on). Ideally, that purpose should extend to large player-run cities and their ilk and potentially PvP, but that’s for another post for another day. It doesn’t need to be just vendors, by the way. Remember Glitch? It incentivized (with experience) home owners to erect resource nodes in their yards and attract visitors, creating whole travel-rings for itinerant miners and fruit-pickers.

7) Not a gorram eyesore. This is often the first complaint I see about open-world housing: People don’t want to see penis palaces in their game, and worse, they don’t want to see urban sprawl. Urban sprawl is also not a necessary side-effect of open-world housing. For example, Ultima Online’s Stygian Abyss expansion stuck to spaced-out housing bubbles, so there’s no wall-to-wall housing at all and your nearest neighbor is a friendly tree.

There is no MMO that has pulled off every single point. Not one. But some of them have a lot; Ultima Online in particular has repaired many of its worst housing mistakes over the last 20 years. And taken together, they’ve shown exactly what a studio needs to do to make open-world housing work successfully and effectively, insofar as any sandbox MMORPG can be successful and effective in 2017 ABR (the year of our battle royale). Now someone just needs to actually put it all together.

But as we pointed out on the podcast, studios have been and are currently incentivized to break some of the “rules” for proper construction — for example, selling choice plots for real money or making maintenance too low — which makes success more a matter of willpower and less of functional possibility. Studios could design functional FFA PvP with proper incentives, too, but they won’t.

Homeward bound.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): He’s right. Can I go now? No, probably not, that’s not fair, I usually write more.

The stumbling block a lot of people are going to have with the thesis statement is probably “failed experiment,” because there’s a knee-jerk reaction that if you can point to one case in which it worked, it wasn’t really a failed experiment. But that’s not really how it works. The question isn’t if it has ever worked; the question is whether or not it has worked in the majority of situations where it’s been tried. I am sure you can point to one or two purely open-world systems that are less bad or (debatably) good, but those are the exceptions rather than the norm.

More to the point, open-world’s housing few virtues are entirely debatable. Almost everything that you can do in an open-world system can also be done in an instanced system, and WildStar has put the lie to the idea that you can’t have a community lot with an instanced system. (Hell, WildStar’s housing should be held up as a shining example for every game to emulate; it’s not perfect, but the system as a whole did so much so well that it’s mostly a shame it was tied to this particular game.)

Ironically, the real obvious extension of the idea was seen in World of Warcraft in a system so badly bungled that it feels almost anathema to say anything nice about it. The idea of Garrisons was a really good one, having a phased spot where you walk in and there’s your space. That sort of system could be brilliantly executed to get the feel of an open-world system without the problems; there are still various spots throughout the world where you can have a house, but they can’t run out.

WildStar’s communities are also a good idea, and I think it’d be great to have instanced housing divided into “districts” based on your focus. You might not have the immediate neighborhood of an open-world system, no, but you could know that the South Side district is the roleplaying district, or the Red Crown district has all of the crafters selling wares. I’ve also heard good things about how Black Desert handles its homes, although I have to admit that the approach seems to preclude exterior decoration (not a dealbreaker, but a bit of a letdown).

The reality is, though, that limited housing is just not a good system. Open-world housing requires limits to access. Sure, you can expand to have more space, but you’re forever either adding more space to keep up with demand (leading to frustration) or creating so much space that a lot of it is empty and pointless (not good either). And for every momentary story I’ve heard about good feelings from open housing, I’ve heard a half dozen about how bad things were, often concerning the exact same games.

So, yes. This is a failed experiment. Much like instanced dungeons, instanced housing is a reasonable response to an actual problem where it’s the most reasonable solution, and it’s time to recognize that this just plain isn’t working. But then, the first land rush should have made that clear.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): It didn’t fail. It didn’t fail in SWG. And man, how I wish we still had that.

Done right, open-world housing will always be the holy grail of my gaming. Or I should say, my virtual worlding. I went from The Sims Online (hey, I am a building fanatic!) to Star Wars Galaxies and I will never be able to adequately express the thrill of wandering around the open world, discovering player cities and remote outposts — all inhabited by players! — nor of ultimately planning and building a city and a major housing compound. Each city was unique in inhabitants as well as building placement. A true virtual world needs people living all over in it so you can bump into them randomly, and I am not talking about spawn camping for goals. I mean for life stuff. I don’t care for the snap-snap, be quick style of gaming when it comes to wanting to inhabit a world (it’s great for certain types of games sure, just not this), and when I want to feel immersed in a world I want it to be living. Part of that is feeling like you live in the world itself, not just some personal instance. I want to travel to places in the world to shop and for entertainment. I want places for events and activities that people can randomly wader in on and be customized for said events. I want communities to be able to form, and that can’t happen when everyone is off in their own little worlds. I don’t want to go to a single door and choose from 150 different inhabitants. Sequestering folks away in private instances is the opposite of community.

But, and here’s the but, it has to be done right. I haven’t seen it done right since SWG, and I have doubts it can be replicated. That specific aligning of the planets may never happen again. You need plenty of open world to let people place stuff. SWG had multiple worlds! You don’t need artificial restrictions when you have enough space for everyone. And it needs to be a core feature that is built into the framework of the game and has continual attention, not just a tacked on afterthought. Also, for me, how much your real life wallet hold should not determine housing’s accessibility. There are other considerations, but no one can build big enough worlds anymore without the instancing (except for Dual Universe, which I am watching!), and without the space nothing else matters.

So I disagree with Justin that we don’t need it. We just need it done right. And if you can’t do it right, then don’t torture everyone and just do an instanced version, be it in cities like EverQuest II or neighborhoods like LOTRO. That’s far better than nothing! Just have some good, decoratable housing.

Your turn!

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116 Comments on "Massively Overthinking: Is open-world housing really a ‘failed’ MMORPG experiment?"

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Rottenrotny

It should be open world. The problem is 2017 MMO devs never want to make the open world big enough, so they instance the shit out of everything.

I would love a sandbox with a giiiiiaaaant open world where I can just plop down a home at any location.

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Chestnut Bowl

I’m generally fond of the “everybody gets a free house” style of system, like Final Fantasy XI. I like the concept of open-world housing and player-run cities and whatnot, but at the end of the day I just want my own virtual spot, regardless of who can stumble upon it.

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Lateris Ablon

Once you implement a database reference to set a date per account and last login for each house, then you can maintain land rights. If there is no player activity base don the game design then the house should become a deed for the player. I really did love how SWG housing evolved an d how player cities worked. I also l liked how some planets did not allow player housing. Personally I prefer player stations that I can walk around in…waiting L:OL

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Johnny

It was perfect in Ultima Online. Then they had to go and screw it all up. Everyone was happy early on. There was a slight lack of space, but if you tried you always found somewhere to place a home. Maybe not the size you want, but that was part of the economy. You could always buy up.

shazanti
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shazanti

I am so very much in agreement with MJ. SWG’s housing wasn’t perfect; I won’t make any claims that it was without issues. Yet it remains the only game where I felt like I actually lived amongst other people. My memories of that game are as filled with discoveries of other player’s houses and towns as they are filled with my own character’s escapades. Of course, my playing style doesn’t revolve solely around “kill stuff! get xp! hit max level immediately so I can complain that there’s nothing to do!”, so there’s that. (Apologies for players whose greatest enjoyment is killing stuff and improving their characters, the bit in quotes is actually a very pointed complaint against a couple RL friends and our issues trying to make our vastly different playstyles mesh.)

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Jeffery Witman

I see it less as a failed experiment than a sign of changing priorities in the gaming and MMO realms. So many MMOs are little more than Skinner boxes with cash shops these days, and at this point we just have to accept it. The few sub only games out there are good, but that’s because you have to be to keep subs paying the bills. Look at the differences between SWL and TSW. When cash becomes more important than anything else, you get meaningless sub rewards and overpriced cash shops that will sell you nearly anything.

That’s not a situation that open world housing can exist in successfully. It’s too easy to sell to the whales in the cash shop, and even easier if it’s a limited item. SWG was a confluence of many nearly perfect elements that got used by SOE like blunt instruments. Their housing system, as MJ pointed out, was all but perfect. A little decay added to lapsed subs later on in game helped clear up ghost town issues, but it was too late then.

Still, it exists as a well done model to be copied. I just don’t think we’ll ever see such a game again.

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Aaron Biegalski

As I see it, there is remains a perception that having the housing environment be open-world would result in a bunch of people wandering around admiring each others houses and being social.

But in practice, very few players care. They spend 90% of their time off killing mobs and smashing things and whatnot, not wandering around a suburb greeting their neighbors. When a player does go back to the housing areas, they are only interested in working on THEIR home, or just using some kind of functionality it offers.

I’m not saying there is something wrong with this. I just don’t think the hyper-social aspect of having big zones full of player houses is ever going to be a reality. Certainly not in a game focused on killing mobs and smashing things.

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Schmidt.Capela

You forgot another layer: players tend to only use some 10% of their time playing. So, before everything you pointed, you already had a 90% chance of your neighbor not even being in the game in the first place.

So, yeah, non-instanced housing is terrible as a way to meet other players.

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Paul

My favourite housing systems have been open world (Vanguard, ArcheAge once the server had matured and people had sufficient land availability / options to do interesting things), and I’ve yet to meet an instanced system I’ve really got into.

I can see all the good valid technical reasons why instanced is best – yet I always end up meh about it. One of those things you like with your head not your heart.

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Bryan Correll

People don’t want to see penis palaces in their game

Pfft. We all know at least one MOP writer would like that.

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rafael12104

Hmm. Well, it depends on the game I’d say. If it is truly a massive game, and you want keep the beautiful vistas and environments then open world housing will become problematic to the say the least. MMO suburban crawl. Lol.

Ok, so no, the experiment did not fail. It just ran head long into the real world, so to speak. If a game isn’t the MMO dejour? No problem. But when an open world game of any note is offering open world housing the gaming locusts swarm in. I’m one of them. And, suddenly you are faced with either zoning or having your beautiful country side turned into suburbia.

Net, net, if the game is popular, not everyone will be able to get housing. And, it is such a draw that, devs will then limit their customers to those that have housing. Because, there is a finite amount of space and there has to be zoning.

And then, all sorts if issues ensue. Hoarding, merging, cheating, etc. the list is long. And should there be server mergers which invariable there will be. Oh, man… housing turns into a freaking war.

In the end, there have many schemes to deal with these issues. A hybrid approach between open world and instances seems best, IMO. Yet the real problem remains, limited space and resources and how to allocate them. Much like the real world, no?

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Matthew Yetter

I think that the only way open world housing can truly work is if it’s not the only housing system. The ideal solution is hybridized between instanced and open world. Instanced housing is available to everyone. There can be a variety of locations and qualities, ranging from cheap slum housing to expensive town homes in premium areas. This guarantees that everyone can have a home and that the home can be something of a status symbol. In addition, there can be open world locations peppered throughout the world. These would be difficult to get, requiring sufficient reputation with the local government and a chunk of money. The barrier to entry ensures that there can’t be a land rush when it becomes available. The fact that the locations are scattered throughout the world ensures that nobody will have awful neighbors. The combination of systems ensure that the people getting these places in the first place are those who are most invested in the game in terms of actual play. And finally, these locations would revert to being available again if the owner stops playing for too long.

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Bullwraith

#justinisrightthisonetime

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Gee You Why

Simple math explains why it doesn’t work well in spite of the nice idea.

MMO worlds are a scaled down representation of a world and thus not full sized yet housing is not scaled down in size.

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Thomas

By the way, did you really mean to say “MASSIVELY OVERTHINKING: IS OPEN-WORLD HOUSING REALLY A ‘FAILED’ MMORG EXPERIMENT?” in the title?

The editor in me is puzzling over what a “role game” might be…. :)

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Thomas

I’ve always looked at player housing as “mini-game frou-frou.” There, I said it.

If housing is an in-game option, I do not object to it, but I also have no interest in it, other than the fact that MMORPGs tout it as something marvelous when it really isn’t and likely spend too much of their valuable time tweaking and upgrading housing to placate the “we want housing!” players.

I’d rather the developers spent their time developing … “real” content (new zones and whatnot). The only possible value of player housing, imo, is to establish an easily accessible “home base” where one can find all the amenities (crafting, repair, vendors, etc.) in one place. If you can’t do that with the housing, then I ignore it altogether.

I never much bother with it in any game (in Wildstar, for example, it proved a handy place to go sell inventory dren if you were in the middle of something, offering a quick port back to whatever locale you started from). For that and other reasons, I generally prefer that housing remain behind closed (aka instanced) doors, so that it does not adversely affect my RPG experience, with the emphasis on the “RP.”

The best housing system I have yet to come across was the Warlords of Draenor “base camp”, which was not only useful, but felt alive (thanks to NPCs and dynamic events), but did not require a lot of “maintenance” or “decorating.”

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Serrenity

tl;dr – Housing isn’t a failed experiment, it just has lots of opportunity for improvement and recent years haven’t given the space for that improvement. Existing implementations tend to be FFA experiences that devolve into confusing, prohibitive experiences or extensions of a players ePeen. There are better implementations out there, and I think it’s still really important because housing has a great opportunity to be a social activity. Games with instanced housing treat it as a solo gameplay, instead of a shared gameplay.

I disagree that open-world housing is a failed experiment. I think open-world housing is hard. And a lot of the games that came out over the last few years have been very theme-park, which goes pretty contrary to the idea of open-world housing. I think part of the failure is that developers tend to work in crazy absolutes — either ZOMG NO OPEN WORLD HOUSING because they’ve created such a narrow, delicate experience that the slightest deviation from their carefully laid plan causes the whole system to come crashing down (or at least, that’s what they want to believe).

Because they are so super narrow with their experiences, there generally also isn’t space. Developers cram as much into every square inch of virtual space that there literally isn’t the space to create open-world housing. (side note: Developers seem to abhor the idea of open space, vistas, and downtime in games).

The opposite side of the fence is “ALL THE HOUSING EVERYWHERE WITH NO GUARD-RAILS”, wherein you get the housing rat’s nest that is ArcheAge housing. They have random zones where you can place housing but then no order, no guidance on how to do this best — seriously, in what world do you build houses without a road or sidewalk or _something_?

I think there’s a better implementation out there. But developers have to be willing to let players do their own thing (and probably make some really bad decisions in the process), and also give people a good scaffolding for their open-world housing, but let them fill in all the juicy bits. I just think “what if Orgrimmar looked like a real city and when it launched just had districts upon districts of empty streets, just waiting to be filling in with player housing?” how different it would feel going into a city.

The final point that I’ll make is that I think that housing should be a social gameplay experience. Instanced housing makes it a solo-gameplay experience. Sure, you can whitelist people to come into your house or put it up for contests — but that’s it. People can visit and … stare.

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Melissa McDonald

I’m a big fan of real, not instanced housing, but only on one condition – there has to be several floor plans/blueprints available to people. SWG nailed that, ArchAge utterly fails. With Galaxies there was some variety, with AA it seems everyone has the same house, looks too homogeneous.

shibby523
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shibby523

In the beginning, many of Archages houses were very similar. I logged in a few months ago and was surprised at all the different types of houses I saw. Tree houses and houses with different styles. Trion seems to have added a lot since release. Too bad greed overtook common sense.

Aelzen
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Aelzen

MFW Eve Online nails 7/7 of the necessary requirements of open-world housing.

1) Affordable by everyone: For the low price of about 650m ISK, you can anchor a Raitaru citadel. Additions cost more, of course, but no housing system provides you with “everything” for the base fee. 650m can be earned in a week, two at most, by someone fresh into the game.

2) Absurdly abundant: I don’t believe an MMO exists with more ‘land’ than Eve. With solar systems measuring in many AU across, and with about 2500 known-space systems (and a whole mountain of wormhole systems), there will never be a shortage of places to drop a ‘home’.

3) Free from server merges: One server. ‘Nuff said. (and one for China, but will never merge as this would spell the literal death of the game due to the utter destruction of the market and the sov space system; that, and China won’t allow it).

4) Free from land rushes: Even in the most popular systems there’s no shortage of space. You could likely cram every citadel in existence into one system and still have room for untold more.

5) Impermanent: You can blow em up. It happens a lot. With changes to vulnerability coming up, if you leave the game, it’ll be easier to blow them up. But your stuff will still be safe (unless you’re in a wormhole).

6) Purposeful: Citadels are replacing stations in every way. You can run a market (or ‘auction house’ for unfamiliar with Eve), manufacture, park a clone, refine ore, use them for mining (in a soon-arriving update), and more. They’re a function around which Eve will revolve.

7) Not a gorram eyesore: A lot of effort has gone into the models, and it shows. With how the skin system has been progressing lately, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we start seeing citadel skins sometime soon too, to give that customized look and feel.

Eve isn’t a traditional MMO; as such, it stands to reason that its housing system is also non-traditional. Regardless, you can’t fault CCP for making citadels a useful and desirable part of the game.

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Jonny Sage

Well said. And hopefully they add more customized looks and control over POS in the future.

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Melissa McDonald

All very good points!

dixa
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dixa

Being a life long bachelor likely has a bit to do with this, but I don’t get the appeal. Swg and daoc has housing that was both pretty and served a purpose but for me I am a little sick of mob loot tables being 1/3 housing crap. Looking at you, EQ2

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Schmidt.Capela

My favorite system ever is that of Trove:

– Plots aren’t permanent, in that when you claim them your house only stays there while you are logged; as soon as you log out, or claim another plot, your previous plot reverts to being available.

– When your house is removed from a plot it isn’t lost; instead, it’s stored and can be placed, without cost, at any housing plot you come across. You can also just transfer your house fro its current location to any open plot at no cost.

– There are plots not only in the hubs, but in the adventure portions of the world, so you can summon your house while on the field.

– Houses are important for storage, crafting, farming, etc; they aren’t just decorations.

– You can freely build inside your plot, minecraft-style, and even have multiple stored homes so you can switch how your home looks; you could, for example, have a regular one for crafting, a farm-dedicated one, a Christmas-decorated one, and a Halloween-themed one, switching between them as you deem appropriate.

– For fixed location “housing”, guilds get an instanced, expansible island to build in any way they want.

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MesaSage

Late to the dance here, but Glitch housing was instanced and resource routes were the scourge of the game. Once there were resource routes, the “world” became obsolete (why run around and hunt for a few currents when you could walk a couple of streets and get hundreds) and it killed the economy and the fun of adventure and competition. No, please no resource routes in my games.

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Travis Laborde

wait.. so… we deal with all of the garbage (land rushes, losing land in server merges, having to freaking WALK to my house instead of porting to it, having to FIND my house in the middle of 12000 other house surrounding it, seeing the eyesore houses next to mine specifically decorated to show off that the owner is a 12 year old, having to FIND an open spot to place it to start off with) we deal with all of that… just so that you can show off how pretty your house is so that I can see it as I walk to my own house?

guess what? I don’t look at your stupid house. I’m just looking to find where in the FK my own house is in this maze of houses.

and if I wanted to look at your house.. it would be MUCH more convenient to do so using a system from any of the instanced housing games, that lets me look at a catalog, see votes and comments, and teleport right to it.

wow. hard to believe entire games suffer because of the need to allow a few people the vanity of showing off their house. too bad vandalism isn’t a thing in those games. maybe I’d play them.

shibby523
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shibby523

Sounds like SotA.

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Hirku

I enjoy housing and see the appeal of open-world housing, but any system that punishes tardiness–either because you weren’t quick-on-the-draw on landrush day or simply didn’t start playing the game until years after launch–is a failure.

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Melissa McDonald

Well, if they give you enough room to put down a house, I don’t think so, I remember in Galaxies being way happier out in the lake country on Naboo than in town, and happy to put down my Spanish castle in a somewhat remote area. “It was most tranquil” (Bill & Ted voice)

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Zen Dadaist

I would say that calling it a failure is a bit too sweeping a generalisation. It failed in some places because it wasn’t right for the populations of those games. But it didn’t outright fail in others.
It’s a tricky mess. Player pops fluctuate so wildly that for some games it just wouldn’t work. You’d go from hard-fought land-grabs and a lot of disappointed frustrated folks who miss out, to abandoned ghost towns clogging the place up until they crumble. Instanced housing and guild halls etc make sense in that respect.

But… you lose something. You lose coming across someone else’s keep/base/etc as you’re out and about exploring – and sometimes these used to be useful and interesting things. In particular I miss the outdoors non-instanced cities of Anarchy Online hugely. They were practical – providing whompahs back to civilisation when you’ve been wandering out in the arse end of nowehere (invaluable for newer players and lower characters who don’t yet have an array of faster travel options to hand like recall beacons or fast Yalms). But also they were a sign of life in the often large empty expanses of the zones. Trudge through an endless sandstormy desert fighting off vultures and sandworms; and then there in the distance you see silhouettes of sleek, futuristic buildings and you know there will be a way home. Maybe a shop building with some interesting stuff for sale in the Organisation members’ shop terminals. Each city was unique in its location and layout. The various orgs I’ve been in had cities that ran the gamut from tiny and hidden in a forest, to a huge sprawling beachside resort, to a getaway at a desert oasis next to the city owned by our allies with our own neighbouring boss mob to regularly kill for loot. Yeah I like the convenience of the GMI meaning you don’t have to physically fly out to an org city to buy an item from a shop terminal any more, but I miss having a city out there to visit in the first place!

Cool story bro time: One of my formative moments in MMOing and AO in particular was the first time I came across an outdoor player city as a brand new player. I was lost in Greater Omni Forest at night and was being chased by some Breiflabbs when up ahead out of the trees I saw futuristic buildings glowing green coming into the foreground. My first thought was “wow that’s so cool! A hidden city!” I found a door I could enter to lose the mobs that were chasing me and discovered it was a player-owned place with terminals selling all sorts of weird and cool stuff I couldn’t afford.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I agree with Justin here. While I enjoyed lurking into player housing plots in Vanguard: SoH, there are obvious problems with open world housing – most homes are abandoned. People stop playing and all those buildings become dead weight.

I like how its done in EQ2.

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Melissa McDonald

They were just too afraid to come outside or answer the door to a slayer such as you. They would definitely not sell you ‘haga’. ;)

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Scott Rondeau

Does no one remember Glitch? Housing was a core part of the game. I visited my neighbors for harvesting, went to parties, splanked… good times.

The only failure for housing in other games is one of imagination.

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cista2bpo

Bree says: “There is no MMO that has pulled off every single point.”
Well, Wurm Online has fulfilled all 7 points on your list, since 2006 :)

Towns are still “ghostly” also in Wurm, but that is simply the effect of the average player only playing 2 hours per day and in different time zones, and then take a break for a week. This will always be the problem in MMOs, but a game can manipulate the urge for players to build in tighter villages or share housing.

The most important point on your list is perhaps impermanence, and this is why open world housing and themepark MMOs don’t go well together. In themeparks, you buy your house as a package rather than build it from stones and planks yourself, and themepark players will never accept that they lose stuff that they bought.

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cista2bpo

Also, the now launching Life is Feudal is very similar to Wurm’s housing. Check out this castle/village that a bunch of players built.

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Toy Clown

I join MMOs with a view toward eventually owning housing. The way I play, it’s the most important feature as I’m a roleplayer first and gameplayer second. I’ve been playing MMOs since UO came out, and I don’t care how an MMO is packaged, combat ends up being all the same: Kill mobs ad nauseum, do quests, kill people (if PvP), etc. That’s why I became a RPer, because it was entirely different, leaving the tools of story creation in the hands of the players.

So yes, I consider housing an endgame activity and usually create venues that host community events. SWG did it the best, IMO, as outlined above. I loved logging into a city that was active with RPers and there was stuff going on all the time. I haven’t experienced that sort of housing freedom since, but to a degree I did in BDO. We knew our neighbors, greeted, traded and hunted with them. It was just really neat.

Most housing now has limitations on how many people can fit in it (ESO), or don’t give you the tools to kick out griefers (ArcheAge & BDO), don’t have high enough item count to really let the imagination run wild, house placement ends up tricky, or expensive with real money (BDO & SotA), no freedom with placement (SW:TOR), etc.

BDO had a decent housing set-up. Originally, houses were open-world and could only be owned by one person, but after player feedback, they made each house in the open-world instanced. It felt the closest to an open-world design without all the hassles of land rushes and housing shortages. The immersion was there where the RPers congregated in towns: We had shops, inns, taverns and player homes. It worked (that is until the griefers went gung-ho on RPers – hence why I hated that there were no tools where we could kick people, or ban them, out of our houses.)

Maybe a combination of open-world with instanced can work, such as it did in BDO. Possibly adding apartments (like Age of Creation is planning on doing), and all other housing is open-world. Whatever happens, I think a cap should be instated on how many houses can be owned by an account. It’s ridiculous hearing of the two players that bought out an entire ward and more in FFXIV, which outraged the community for their “greediness”.

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BalsBigBrother

Honestly I don’t really care whether housing is open world or instanced mainly because I find housing as a whole a boring waste of my time that has no point to me personally.

I want to be out exploring the world not playing virtual home maker or whatever. Devs please make bigger more intricate world’s instead of property manager online please, thanks 🙂

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shibby523

You can play your games without housing as there more than enough of them.

To make a call out to all devs to stop putting housing in games just because you don’t enjoy it is pretty ignorant. Everyone should be able to enjoy those play styles they prefer. Not that your statement would sway any developer anyways.

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BalsBigBrother

Ignorance is bliss.

I have to laugh that you feel the need to insult my opinion by calling me ignorant then go on to say that my statement would not sway anyone in any case. Oh well have a nice day random person on the interwebs o/

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shibby523

You completely dissed something that many do enjoy just because you think it’s a waste of time. Sounds pretty ignorant to me.

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Melissa McDonald

I think housing is only relevant when you are playing “one game” and not being a game vagabond. You care about housing when that game world is your home. If ya know what I mean.

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BalsBigBrother

I have played a lot of mmos consistently for a long while FFXI 4 years, EQ2, Rift and Fallen Earth & Lotro all about 2 years. When I say consistently I mean daily over the period of time.

EQ2 and Rift are the two I used them the most. Rift because I ended up with a lot of housing items as a result of the transition to f2p, most of which I donated and used in the guild dimension. To be honest I did that mainly to get rid of them out of my storage EQ2 I got a house as part of one the the expansion deluxe editions and used it to have a look at it seen as I paid for it but I would not have got one otherwise.

I just don’t have an interest in them, games like the sims bore me though I have tried both Sims 3 & 4 to give them a fair chance but its just not my thing.

As an explorer my home is the road and I will rest when I get over the horizon :-)

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McGuffn

In terms of availability it would probably help if your game is an unpopular ghost town. Some of my friends were waiting months for a house in FF14 from the current batch. At least some even had the specific one they wanted picked out. And they weren’t able to get one.

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Byórðæįr

Housing, so in MMO you collect a lot of random memories that looking at piece of loot triggers the memories. So people really want the memories to stand out. Desert Online started out with open world homes, they had to instance them to have enough places for people to claim.

But so far out all the weird random apartments and houses that is the best version. Sure when I walk out on my balcony in that game when someone else bought a version of the house and used it as house instead of storage you can no longer see my decorations inside only the empty house. Personally it does make it feel more alive. Being able to stack actually books in piles on every flat surface makes it feel more lived in.

The other silly one was everquest next I built a home that littly was towering sillyness into the clouds. But that was more like a technical demo than a game. We have garrisons and order halls in wow but there is no way to say I want all the orks to wear blue shirts or straw hats today. or the spikes really need to go I want a keep or bastion not orgarmar. So we really need is a zoned plot about the size of the garrison that we can recruit npcs to hang out at. No forced you have to have miles wander around because of an inside joke, like we really need a game were if I want to be silly and only have female npcs wandering around my hanger or keep, why not and if I want to change it I can change it. I made a post about some one else post saying that really want we needed was bar for something or other.

The point is developers need to be able to limit how many instances of different things, because if they have to draw a pathing program through everyone wonderland then it might take too long. I think Ashes of Creation might be interesting as they said you get to buy what is there. But really we do need a mmo where we can place parts of modules in an offline setting and then the outsides snap together when the client up loads the part numbers to create a simplier version that has a fence around it or is an apartment type building so the first players to create towns in the areas are stuck only with the lot sizes of apartment building, small yard, mansion, and hotel or office building. So that you work with the assets the art team has created but you chose the stone or brick or stucco or even metal or plate glass windows even parts and then when people go through the areas you can buy the other floors in the office building and hotels. But the penthouses are reserved for who ever bought the lot and building materials. If the account is ever deleted the building starts to decay. After a year something can happen depending on if the other floors are owned. having them being instanced inside or even just have the windows facing parts in the world it would allow for the walls to occlude or cull the stuff on the inside walls. Having your high end mansion with a speeder up on blocks, would be really funny. But something that looks like it is made from the same stuff in the world yet with the character who has had adventures in the world is really the next step.

Imagine if you have hundreds of miles of terrian and instead of what was tried in the past of just dropping down houses or forces cities. The artists find areas and grid out vistas, meaning they figure out that if house site is in one location it can look down on town and up into the mountains but if they rotate the zoned area forty five degrees the roads make sense with gates. Not too many games on the market are optimized for it and having the pathing and the npcs, but imagine you get back from adventuring in a dungeon and the quest giver decides to hang around making jokes, and selling gear. Not super loot gear but stuff that reminds you of the dungeon. Or you only interact in a more limited function to have the city feel more like the city of doors where players have built apartment building on most of the plots and no one is buying the lower floors, but later on down the road, something ends up getting built there and town starts to liven up because the developers build a dungeon in the area or there is a way point of travel node added to the area. I think some materials would have to be earned from dungeons and other bought as cosmetics in game and or through and add on store to pay for new designs and parts to mesh together. housing needs more player input not less, but it has to be account bound, and if the player wants to get rid of it, they can not profit off getting rid of it, which should help cut down on the attempts to steal people accounts because they have something cool. Also being able to post material numbers to the forums or reddit would let people copy the outside design while the inside which contains most of the memories stays a special snow flake.

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Utakata

I know you may not like or appreciate this MMO Ms. Bree, but Wildstar mostly checks off that list of yours.

And I agree. Makes me wish you where a big name developer at times. :)

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bereman99

Bree is far from the first person to criticize FFXIV for their “status/luxury” approach to housing…

But it’s gotten me braincase buzzing…how many consider the FC Rooms and Apartments to also be housing (especially since FFXI Mog houses worked in a very similar manner to apartments in a functional sense)?

Is there a cut-off for “real” housing versus “not really” housing in these kinds of debates?

Are games not allowed to have “premium” options that act as a luxury, while providing a more standard option for everyone (well, nearly everyone until they get off their butts and increase the apartment cap in the Wards, which is sorely needed on – you guessed it – placed like Balmung)?

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Rheem Octuris

The problem is this luxury is decided arbitrarily and abused heavily. On top of that, said luxuries almost never change hands. The only prestige these people possibly possess over others is a lack of a day job, as most were likely at work when the patch came out.

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bereman99

Abused heavily? In the case of FFXIV, have you seen what the housing with exterior plots actually gets you that is exclusive to it?

It’s not a lot. There’s little in the way of advantages you actually get, so there’s really not much to abuse.

Also, in this case the patch went live at 6 AM. There were a TON of players on every server rushing for the limited space. The number of players already at work at 6AM on the East Coast isn’t going to be nearly as high as you think. I’d be willing to bet that for the vast majority it was more about getting up earlier than usual to snag a plot, not taking time off or not having a job to begin with.

That being said, you seem to have missed the main thrust of my post – namely that there seems to be an arbitrary cutoff between “real” player housing and “not real” player housing when criticizing the implementations found in certain games.

Apartments in particular offer probably 75% of what plots with exteriors do – smaller room size, 100 decoration cap (versus 200 for the smallest exterior plot, but you can do a lot with that cap), limited to individual item gardening, and no exterior decorations…but they are still housing, and on all but a few servers are readily available.

Yet the entire debate about housing and its availability in XIV seems to routinely exclude them from consideration.

Which leads to my main question – how many do actually consider that form of housing (and it is a form of housing – if not, then any instanced form doesn’t count either), and why does that cutoff appear to exist so prevalently when discussing FFXIV?

The last thought about allowing luxury housing alongside more available standard housing is really just a sidebar thought.

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Rheem Octuris

What I meant as abuse was people using alts to claim multiple houses, etc, not the abuse of said houses.

Richard de Leon III
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Richard de Leon III

Personally I dont like a divide between instance and real world housing as far as mechanics are concerned. The deco caps should be the same, same gardening/item farming, etc between the 2 types (although ok within each type). The only difference should be the fact that you get a real plot vs an instance.

Luxury options that exclude a portion of the players dont belong in a game, especially a totally PVE game. We get enough stratification in real life, it has no place in a hobby, especially one that already has divides like time to play, real world economics, familial obligations, etc.

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Bruno Brito

Honestly? Yes. If your game has open-world housing, it’s likely a full-blown sandbox. If it is such, the housing will end up being a landrush to get to the best spots for resources. People will try to find the best places to settle and control several markets, like in real life, and it’ll become a mess, because while real life has tangible, lasting consequences over market manipulation and scummy behavior, games have not. People can murder at will inside games and even if the game bans them, that’s a “slap in the wrist”.

I prefer them just to keep improving instanced housing.

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Ket Viliano

No. Poorly implemented open world housing will have most of the same problems that IRL housing has. Which, of course, is why we have zoning laws.

A proper open world housing system: will prevent building at will everywhere; will have basic city growth patterns (either for player councils to select from, or established by the devs, depending on vision for the game, and possibly both ); will have life cycle planning for what happens when a city or village declines in population; will incorporate both PvP and PvE townships; will have in game rental apartments for temporary housing, paid for with in game money; will not restrict housing to a lucky few; will preserve the resources of players who leave the game in the event they want to come back; will have a system for trading properties; etc.

In short, open world housing systems are non trivial, and are deserving of great care and thought in design and execution.

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starbuck1771

Yup zoning really matters to people just trying to survive.

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zyrusticae

I don’t see what this has to do with anything?

We’re typically talking about cities that would need to be inhabited by literally thousands of players. Tiny villages making do with subsistence lifestyles with dozens of people are physically incapable of holding much more than that. Furthermore, such villages are absolutely tiny locations in a world of literally millions of square kilometers, something we won’t have as an option in our video games for a long time (not just for technological reasons, either). It goes without saying that trying to make FFA housing a thing in our video games is going to be quite a challenge.

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starbuck1771

Who do you think your playing as in MMO’s? You are playing as villagers/settlers generally. Even in the real world major city’s started out as small encampments and eventually over time evolved into the city’s they became. However every Town/City can be a hit or miss. However the major city’s in games are occupied by NPC’s not human players

As for what this has to do with what he said: A proper open world housing system: will prevent building at will everywhere is what he said and is not steeped in reality as the photo’s show. Even here in the United States we have people that will make their homes where ever they like. Case in point Slab Valley , California a former military base. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slab_City,_California

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Ket Viliano

Early city development is usually characterized by somewhat random placement, unless there was a road laid out prior to building. What happens over time is the shanties get torn down, sometimes roads are removed or relocated, and zones are established to govern placement.

There is quite a lot of information and study done on city planning, it is an expansive and well researched topic. You can do your own investigation on how things usually go.

There are gameplay and area design reasons for preventing players from spackling penis towers all over every mountain top.

Archages big fails were a lack of roads in the housing zones, not enough housing for the number of players ( which was intentional and idiotic ), and the issues resulting from server merges.

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Phubarrh

If games are going to pretend to provide open-world housing sufficient for their player base, then they might also create NPC cities of a realistic size and scale. For instance, the population of Cambridge in the Middle Ages was around 3,000 people…

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Robert Mann

Of course, the same game designers who keep throwing up half-hearted open world housing that is terribad are… the same designers who note that huge cities just aren’t really in demand for their combat oriented gameplay. It’s pretty funny.

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Ket Viliano

Rome, at its height, had around a million inhabitants. Given the resources, an ancient world city could have a rather large population, even by modern standards.

I should likely include a citation, but I won’t.

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Schmidt.Capela

Realistically sized cities are typically bad for games, though. I mean, who would want in their game a city large enough it takes you a few hours to cross on foot, where there are so many buildings you need a map and a loot of time and patience to find any specific place?

That is one of the issues of non-instanced housing in MMOs: since the game world is shrunk to improve gameplay, there is far less open space to put a house than there should be.

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Rolan Storm

‘It didn’t fail. It didn’t fail in SWG. And man, how I wish we still had that.’

Exactly.

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Dread Quixadhal

Open world, non-instanced housing is a bad idea. If your game does well, it turns into a horrible mess with hundreds or thousands of random houses sprawled in no sensible fashion across the landscape. It’s even worse if people can customize them, since then half of them will be genital statue shaped. THEN, when your game is no longer a “World of Warcraft” level game, you end up with insane ghettos of abandoned buildings.

Most of the people who favor such systems also view old school in-zone trading as a good thing too. Yeah, I remember the Commonlands tunnel, and the steady flow of chat spam, making it nearly impossible to find what I wanted, let alone spotting the guy selling it to go do the actual trade. I guess the bots would enjoy it.

The best housing, IMHO, is instanced housing in fixed locations that still requires you to GO there (on foot), but each dwelling is instanced so many people can share the same address while still keeping their own private layout and contents.

EQ2 used to have this, before everything was nerfed into meaninglessness. At launch, there was even a real benefit. If you bought something from the market board, you paid a hefty tax for the privilege of doing so. But you could use the market board to FIND things, and then go walk to the seller’s house and buy in from them directly, avoiding the tax.

The reason this worked so well is that you got to choose a house in a location you liked, with an appearance you liked that fit into the surroundings, and then customize the interior to your heart’s content. Because the housing plots were (originally) all in the capital cities, they were in well populated areas so you’d still get the socialization of meeting others who were trading, going to their own homes, doing quests in the city, or whatever.

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mysecretid

I’ve said it on Massively before, but ever since I experienced the hideous urban sprawl in Star Wars Galaxies — every inch of space between Mos Eisley and Anchorhead was covered in player housing (the “frontier desert planet” looked like an urban industrial zone) — I have been firmly opposed to open-world housing.

The housing totally killed any impression of “being on Tatooine”.

The early days of Lord of the Rings Online just put the nail in the coffin of this whole idea, for me.

My housing neighborhood near Bree (the location, not Mama Massively) looked like a stereotypical “trailer trash” settlement had invaded Middle-Earth. Players had trophies, and other random shite scattered on their lawns like they were having a drunken yard sale.

I half-expected to see horses up on blocks in the laneways … :-)

I guess the fact is, most players don’t really give a damn about what their housing looks like, vis a vis the game world. Some players genuinely do, but most would rather just play the game.

So, I’m with Justin — open-world housing in game worlds has failed largely because it fails to acknowledge that a majority of players can’t or won’t care enough about its role in the game-world to make it work as intended.

My opinions only, of course,

Cheers,

Cadaver
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Cadaver

And who can forget the wonderful, Star-Warsy names that imaginative players came up with for their vile, sprawling sand-ghettos? There was New Berlin, New New York…yep, that was galaxy far, far away alright ;-)

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mysecretid

Heh. Yup.

I always find that aspect a bit odd too — If the developers of a Star Wars game created a city on Tatooine called “New New York”, holy crow, the gamers would howl for blood, and the torches and pitchforks would come out!

“How dare the devs put something so ridiculously non-Star Wars in a Star Wars game!!!” …

… and yet players routinely do ridiculous things like this in open-world games which offer them the tools to leave their mark on the game world.

I guess it’s like I wrote elsewhere here — while a number of gamers really do care about how their presence and their creativity meshes with a given open game world, a lot of players just don’t care about any of that. At all.

You can give them all the creative options current tech will allow, but you can’t make them give a damn.

And this is why — in my opinion, anyway — open-world housing always ends up as a kind of fuster-cluck.

Cheers,

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starbuck1771

O.O It’s Star Wars Galaxies in real world China.

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TheDonDude

Interestingly(?), the rumour is that CIG is going to announce player housing/outposts for Star Citizen at CitizenCon next weekend.

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Sally Bowls

Let me out Elliot Elliot. This is not a failed experiment; this is a successful experiment proving open housing doesn’t work.

My reaction to Andrew is that if you are talking server pride, the game already has a much bigger problem than housing. MMO (and other games covered here ) players are far more peripatetic than they were a decade or two ago. It is hard to keep realm#117 playable at launch and still be playable in off hours 10 months later when the population is a tiny fraction of launch. OW Housing greatly exacerbates the pain of mergers.

Bree’s points make sense; I am not sure I see a studio having the resources and the critical mass of players to do that but we can hope.

————

Back before it became Citadels Online, EVE varied the corp rent in a station based upon the demand. So instead of land rushes, you have auctions and the upkeep (property taxes) could be based upon the value. but that just morphs the complaints to those that are poor in game currency rather than time.

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starbuck1771

It wasn’t a failure to anyone except those who didn’t give a damn in the first place. Open world housing adds humanity to the game and makes the game look like it’s actually lived in. It also promotes communities within communities. In no way is that a failure.

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styopa
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styopa

Stupid implementation shouldn’t be confused with an intrinsically bad idea.
The idea that – in fantasy settings, for example – that somehow a world can ‘run out of space’ is ridiculous; then look at *any* fantasy city in *any* fantasy game, and what, 95% of the houses’ doors aren’t functional?

No, it’s never been much of a priority in most developments, certainly. That doesn’t mean it’s an impossible goal.

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Robert Mann

Going way back, Daggerfall had some cities that were on the scale of several hundred buildings… and most of them could be accessed at some point in time (random quests or whatnot in some cases.) The focus on improved graphics in future games killed that for the series (they went to a more hands on approach rather than procedural placements.)

I think perhaps it was the closest we came to having a semi-realistic NPC based town and city structure.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

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Utakata

The home is not spiky enough for an Orc’s liking though. Plus its got to have an open boar pen next to garden shed. o.O

PS: This is still very well done! <3

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Schlag Sweetleaf

The omitted items you are referring to are readily available in the cash shop ,Uta :P All I’ll need is a valid credit card and we can commence with the shopping spree…

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Utakata

Including the whalepool…I mean, whirlpool?

…least it’s not locked behind some RNG box where you have pay for the key to open it. <3

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James Hicks

I think for all it’s faults, Wurm showed that this can be done and it can be a core feature of the game.

I think there’s a big advancement yet to be made… this article was a good read :)

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kgptzac

Chasing open world housing is chasing realism while sacrificing overall fun for players (for most of online games anyway). It’s a self-sabotage, as long as the game is meant to be fun. It’s completely inconceivable to me that someone would feel an instanced house is somewhat less of a “virtual world”.

Virtual world.

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Robert Mann

It is game design that is the problem, not open world housing. The games that have issues with it tend to have the land rush aspect, where people inevitably get screwed over.

With the status quo, it makes zero sense outside full sandboxes. There’s minimal benefits to housing in general, the games focus on combat mostly, with a little other stuff at best, and there’s no benefits to anything else done social outside coordination in raids/dungeons/PvP.

Here’s the thing… you need limits at some point, and also enough room and server power to handle the housing. You need those other gameplay aspects to make it worth something to people. If you don’t have both those things, you should just own up to not having that and instance your housing.

The reason people think of it as a failure, is that in general most MMOs have failed at enough resources (area, server processing power, etc.) and all too often done it without considering the limits and/or with actually artificially adding more limits. *AKA, the AA and FFXIV issues, even with FFXIV having some instancing in effect.*

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Daniel Miller

My issue is not so much housing, open world or instanced. But the fat most are just clones. If you take a look at Archeage, most houses look exactly the same, and most furniture is the same. The two houses I like are FFXI and Dynasty Warriors online. Both are instanced. But, in both you could make weapons, armor racks and such. Then display your gear and weapons.

Building a home to just craft in is lame and doesn’t build a community. Putting in decorations everyone has is lame. Even in ESO, I want to see all things I craft. My armor, weapons, and any item i find on a quest.

This is the real solution. So why could ffxi do this in 2002, but now in 2018 we can’t see our belongings in our houses?

The one other issue i have with open world is you pay for it most cases. Archeage. Then server merges you lose it all. Makes no sense if you pay for a plot for 12 months, cash, as subs then its taken. Your money is worthless.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

As predicted, the cult of SWG popped up to declare their eyesore Tatooine trailer parks the best thing ever. If that is housing “done right,” then “failed experiment” is on the nose.

Reader
starbuck1771

Nice attempt to troll the masses but it failed because SWG had more planets then Tatooine and there were no trailer parks but housing communities. Give us reasons it failed instead of insults. Otherwise we are at an impasse.

Reader
Stropp

I tend to agree with Wilhelm here.

There was a point where you couldn’t go anywhere without running into a bunch of abandoned houses; sometimes just one, sometimes a whole lot. It ruined the feel of Tatooine characterised in the movies as a vast desert with very little habitation.

What should have been done is that once a player had been unsubscribed for a reasonable period, the house should have decayed.

They also could have limited where houses could be built. Not on sand for instance, after all who builds on sand? That would have been relatively easy to implement and could have spread out housing to reduce the sprawl. Other methods could have been used on other worlds.

Reader
starbuck1771

They did decay and get destroyed at first but due to a lot of the community being in the armed forces and being oversea’s during desert storm and shield the destruction was stopped on all structures except harvesters. Eventually they implemented the housing pack up program to rid the servers of abandoned structures after a player hadn’t played in x amount of time. At first it was six months due to military personal and eventually went down to 90 days if I remember correctly. They even made an event out of it where you got rewards for flagging abandoned structures.

aYates
Reader
aYates

Come join me in Rift: Snoid on Faeblight.
Just joined a great guild for RP/Dimensions.
I’ll hook you up w/ an invite if you message me there.
Still love playing just for Dimension/housing(instanced, of course…)
You can be very creative and I haven’t spent any money(yet). You get a lot of housing stuff from Minions/fishing and just drops elsewhere.
I think Rift is an underappreciated housing MMORPG option, so give it a chance if you haven’t already.

wpDiscuz