The Daily Grind: What is the purpose of MMO player housing?


We’ve certainly kicked around the topic of player housing in this space before, but a lot of the division and disagreement I’ve seen on the subject seems to step from differing views on what player housing is meant to do and to be.

Is MMO player housing just a trophy case for successful achievements? Is mostly a virtual dollhouse that gives adults permission to play Barbie? Is it a creative space that allows players to make their mark on the game in some semi-permanent way? Is it a backdrop for social events? Or is it supposed to be functional and useful in order to augment a player’s adventures and progress?

What’s your take on player housing? What is its purpose — and how do you use it as such, if at all?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Some housing truly has purpose but usually that’s because the functionality was built in from the ground up, like Wildstar. Other housing tried by dropping special decorations for fighting a boss. Aion had stuff for the yard that encouraged other players to help it grow and everyone got rewards out of it. Some just give you XP bonus for logging out at home. All of those are purposeful and I’ve found that some players will have an empty house just to serve their purpose.

For me, purpose is bonus. I just like having a space of my own to decorate creatively. Extra storage is good too. I’m not really into showing off trophies, but it’s fun to compare decorating with friends– much like critiquing armor skins among friends. I prefer to have the option of housing in game whether it serves a purpose or not, it’s still fun for me.


It serves absolutely no purpose, because it’s just Sims in an MMO. The only MMO that sort of made housing useful was SWG, because you could hide in your house from bounty hunters or whatever.


Purpose? Well, I guess it depends on who you are and what you are looking for.

It sounds like a cop-out, but really what it comes down too is the game mechanic and what it means to you, the player.

For example, in ArchAge, housing is very important because it is essential for crafting and gathering. You buy a plot of land, you build your house and use the remaining property to grow crops, trees, and raise farm animals. So in that game, it is essential for commerce and progress.

In SWTOR, housing is purely cosmetic. You can customize your stronghold to a great extent by decorating it with trophies, quest rewards and unlocking new rooms. It is a good place to duck away and take a few moments for yourself, but ultimately it has no impact on the game itself.

Which is better? Well, it all depends on the player and the game being played.

I won’t knock SWTOR for not being ArchAge. But my expectations for each game are vastly different.

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Sometimes it’s nice to just take a break from questing and do crafting or decorating the house It’s really just a way of having some down time but still being in game. I typically have a few projects that I work on in terms of house decoration I’ll combine traveling around to different vendors to get certain decorative items and then come back to the house and figure out where they fit.

Rolan Storm

Actually I have no real answer when it comes to most games.

To show off? Meh. Bleh. To hoard? Bank you very much. The only thing is vendor functionality and base functionality if there are those in game mechanic. I see no purpose in trophy on display, but if it gives my character(s) 2% damage – that’s another story.

P.S. Single-player games are different for me. Even if there is no bonus to having my own place (which hardly the case most of the time, Baldur’s Gate 2 housing was about “what they’ll give me?” beside questline – so much fun) owning housing feels like home. Nexus. End and starting point.


It’s a place to show off swag!

Jokes aside, I spend hours in single player games designing my house in games that allow it. I spent a few days tweaking Minecraft mods, to get them to play nice together, so I could build a house no one else ever saw. Same for last time I played Fallout 4, Terraria, Starbound, Crashlands, etc. Building things, or at least decorating a space, is relaxing. I’ve also never had the money, or my own space, to decorate however I wanted in real life. So, it allows me to vicariously do that, when I do it in game. It’s MY house, only limited by what the game has available, or what mods I install.

In MMOS, I’m the same way, as much as I can be. I’ve never had any other people over to my in-game houses. They’re private projects. … Usually, in MMO games that have player storage, they’re basically a warehouse. MMOs tend to lock decorations and the best housing behind a paywall. There’s no way I’d ever spend $100 on a in-game house, or whatever. So, I don’t do much with player housing.


Housing is a few things, but most importantly… It makes me log in to the game I enjoy killing things in, even when I don’t feel like killing things. It can be a fun social project between friends or a whole guild, it can be a goal to work on besides leveling or gearing, and it adds attachment to a game when you can call a piece of land “yours”.


What is MMO housing worth?

As Saladin from Kingdom of Heaven might say, “Nothing” ….


Bryan Correll

I like to decorate.

Not that I’m very good at it.

Grim? Darhk

Runescape probably had my favorite housing that I’ve actually used. House parties were quite fun back in the day. Because you could have a ton of different party games to play in said house. I didn’t dabble in it as much as I wanted to, but Wildstar’s housing was also fricken awesome.