Perfect Ten: MMOs that desperately need proper player housing

    
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Here’s something pretty encouraging to me: When I sat down to work on an article listing MMOs that really could use but lacked proper player housing, I honestly had a hard time coming up with a full 10 titles. The more I looked at the popular titles in our gamespace, the more I realized that most of them — not all, but most — have adopted some sort of personal housing system.

For someone who loves and champions player housing as a vital feature for MMORPGs, I think this is really neat. What is less neat is the fact that I keep playing the few games that don’t have housing. This leaves me grumpy.

So here’s hoping that our list today — 8 current MMOs, one pseudo-MMO, and one deceased MMO — will get its act together and offer individual players their own personal abode. Someday.

1. Guild Wars 2

“But Guild Wars 2 already has housing!” I can hear some of you saying. But it doesn’t, not really. It has this weird home instance thing that the developers seemed to have largely given up on following the initial release, and it has guild housing. But as we’ll see on this list today, half-hearted housing and group housing does not offer the personal agency, creativity, and satisfaction of full-fledged individual character houses.

This is a shame, in this case, because it’s a system that I think ArenaNet could do so, so well if it decided to. And as GW2 was designed to be appealing to the eastern market — where player houses come standard in most MMOs — this feels like a missed opportunity to expand its appeal.

2. World of Warcraft

I do not get why Blizzard has been so stubborn for so long on housing. This is even more frustrating when we recently learned that the studio was strongly considering real player housing for WoW before launch.

Now I’m afraid that the now-disliked garrisons — which were not real, proper player housing — will forever offer the studio an easy out when it is asked about instituting housing. “We already did and you hated it!” my strawman Blizzard says arrogantly.

3. Neverwinter

In a game that’s as heavily monetized as Neverwinter, player housing could offer Cryptic all sorts of possibilities to enlarge its coffers. And people would eat it up, too. I could easily envision the same sort of warm reception for housing in this game that ESO enjoyed when that fantasy MMO took the plunge.

4. Project Gorgon

Now, we do know that housing is on the long list of future additions for this indie PvE game, but it will be a while coming yet. And I do understand that this is a very small team with a very ambitious feature list, but I would expect housing to be higher on the list considering Gorgon’s propensity for individual customization and options.

5. Dungeons and Dragons Online

The guild airships are, admittedly, cool and different in tone than a lot of what you’d find in other MMO group housing. But where’s my little personal hut or Stormreach apartment? Turbine-now-SSG always seemed very sympathetic to housing, but for whatever reason, it never reached the realm of DDO.

6. EVE Online

WALKING.

IN.

STATIONS.

That’s fun to bring out every now and then. This MMO gets an unusual entry on this list for the fact that it sort of used to have personal housing with captain’s quarters. But CCP couldn’t make this feature work, and quarters limped along as an unsupported feature before the studio gave up altogether and killed them. Can you think of any other MMO that had housing and then removed it? I can’t.

7. City of Heroes

Years after City of Heroes’ death, Paragon Chat corrected a major oversight and added personal housing to the emulator. It always chafed hard that CoH, what with its amazing customization, didn’t give each player his or her own lair. Would that have really been that difficult?

8. Secret World Legends

Toss this into the pile of MMOs where the devs looked at personal housing and then made their own system which was somehow worse and unwanted. The museum of the occult is a far cry from the apartments and houses that players have been asking for since 2010. It’s a double shame that Secret World has a contemporary setting and doesn’t give us awesome contemporary housing.

9. TERA

I guess everyone in this game is too busy running around and slashing massive monsters to stop and settle in a home. Still, doesn’t it seem weird that this is maybe the one fantasy MMO from the east that doesn’t include housing as a standard, day one feature? What’s up with that, Bluehole?

10. Sea of Thieves

As I said in my introduction, I had a terribly hard time getting to a full 10 for today’s topic. So even though Sea of Thieves is not really an MMO, it’s enough for my purposes and remiss in the fact that it lacks player huts, houses, or ships that we can customize. It’s a game where you chase cosmetics, so why didn’t Rare think to add housing — and its associated cosmetic loot — into the mix?

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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Hope

Give me a ready room I can decorate, STO.

Give me quarters I can decorate, STO.

Come on, STO.

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Tim Johnson

I have never understood why people care so much about housing in games. It makes sense if it serves a game play reason like storage or a place to set up shop NPCs to sell your stuff, or even a place to give buffs for non-combat things (i.e. Crafting buffs for crafting stations). Other wise, it doesn’t really add anything to the game but a Gold sink.

Bereman
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Bereman

Personal ownership of a space is a strong psychological motivator for some.

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Dean Greenhoe

It they want to call it an MMO, housing is required. :P

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Isarii

WoW and GW2 not having housing has baffled me for years, given that both so heavily lean on the pursuit of cosmetics to keep players around and playing. GW2 in particular, having done most of the leg work with the introduction of guild housing, feels like a shocking omission.

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nobleeinherjar

If it doesn’t have player housing, is it even an MMO?

Joking aside, the addition of player housing to GW2, Neverwinter, Tera, or even WoW, would skyrocket my interest in returning. I love player housing especially, but I’m for any in-game mechanic that helps an MMO feel like a real world instead of a series of combat arenas.

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hardy83

If there was proper player housing in GW2 it’d probably cost 100k gold and the best looking items would either be locked behind their gambling boxes or the mats needed to make them would cost even more gold/farming.

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Akagi

It’s not something necessary to me. Whether a game has it or doesn’t it won’t affect my decision on whether I will play it or not. I play ESO, which has it, and I have absolutely no interest in owning a house an furnishing it. They give you a permanent room in a Vivec inn and I took the time to put some furniture in it, only because it’s a single room, if it was a whole house with many rooms and floors, I would never bother.

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Carebear

Warcraft DEV answer: Would you prefer Housing or another raid tier?

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Neverwinter_UN

RE: Neverwinter.

Not sure I would agree on “desperately need”. Would it be nice? Sure, and looking from the outside it might seem like a good idea (maybe even only because it’s something other titles have and players expect). But it’s not a feature the game’s community wants at this point and thank god the devs also realized they have to fix other core areas first before they even look into these useless (for now anyway) gimmicks. I do agree however that it fits our monetization. You could have premium (legendary!) items in the store and our beloved lockboxes. Oh boy…

You also can’t talk about housing in Neverwinter without realizing that a properly maintained Foundry probably would have had the potential to become just that: An environment where players can freely build and shape anything the way they want to. If the devs weren’t able to support the Foundry, there’s no reason to believe they could keep up a housing system unless it’s trimmed down up to a point where it loses most of its allure.

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Robert Mann

A hard time, if you call most of what is player housing ‘proper’. I’d argue that almost every game needs PROPER player housing (if we must have everything in every game, which I fully disagree with) with a few getting a good rating for the creative side at the least (although usually lacking in any reason to care beyond the creative).

Seriously, what is it with MMOs that we all have to be effectively homeless wanderers to do anything?