The Daily Grind: Why won’t World of Warcraft add player housing?

    
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Out of all of the many frustrating decisions that Blizzard has made, its stubborn refusal to add a proper player housing system to World of Warcraft ranks up there as one of the most infuriating. To me, it seems like such a no-brainer: It’s a system that could last beyond a single expansion, it’s quite popular in other MMOs, and it’d make a boatload of additional revenue for the studio.

But Blizzard won’t do it. Even though devs said that they considered it even before the game launched in 2004, here we are in 2021 with no housing system in sight. Why? Is Blizzard just using garrisons as an excuse to not do it right? Is the studio too raid-focused? Have we asked for it one too many times and annoyed the higher-ups into balking?

What do you think? Why won’t WoW add housing?

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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Lucky Jinx

It doesn’t fit into their “borrowed power” design. I guess it’s too much work to create housing only to toss it out in the next expansion and drop all support for it. With their way of doing things, I’m actually glad they never added housing.

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Hurbster

I do love visiting player housing just to see what they have done with the place. ESO sells tons of designs in the shop, very popular.

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Bullwraith

Justin, you handily answered your own question with this :

“It’s a system that could last beyond a single expansion”

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Rndomuser

Because Blizzard has always been a very narrow-minded company, not using many possibilities for encouraging more people to play their games for longer time and spend more money on them and instead always thinking that they know their customers better than customers themselves. The most famous Blizzard quote explains it perfectly, “you think you do but you don’t”.

They could’ve easily done it the way FFXIV does, create instanced areas for housing and provide limited amount of houses to encourage people to think of houses as very valuable item and encourage them to keep logging into game to not lose the house and add more cosmetic items for housing which can be bought from in-game store for real life currency. All of this should be possible with their current engine and all of this would most likely cover the costs of developing and maintaining it, just like in FFXIV, but they just don’t want to do this.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

They won’t add it because it’s expensive and time consuming to develop after-the-fact. And because their existing playerbase is clearly willing to do without it. Why should they spend money they don’t have to? Just because players *say* they want it doesn’t mean anything. Players use words to indicate they hate sparkle ponies and microtransactions and loot boxes. Then they use their wallets to indicate that they are, in fact, perfectly fine with all those things. (Or at least enough of them are to make all those things stupidly profitable.)

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Bruno Brito

They won’t add it because it’s expensive and time consuming to develop after-the-fact.

Which they can cover the costs easily.

And because their existing playerbase is clearly willing to do without it. Why should they spend money they don’t have to? Just because players *say* they want it doesn’t mean anything.

I mean, we can keep repeating that until they lose 29% more players.

Players use words to indicate they hate sparkle ponies and microtransactions and loot boxes. Then they use their wallets to indicate that they are, in fact, perfectly fine with all those things. (Or at least enough of them are to make all those things stupidly profitable.)

Which again: a 29% drop in players, even though revenue is up. This is not a sustainable situation. It would be nice if we could stop feeding this narrative that Blizzard is “fine”, when it’s clear that Activision itself decided it wasn’t because they started getting more handsy with the company.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I didn’t say they’re “fine.” Actually, I think Kotik is a complete sociopath and Blizzard is headed for Singularity Core Implosion level meltdown. I’m pointing out my best guess for why they won’t add housing. And it’ll be their reasons for not adding it even as WoW goes down in flames, because by then it’ll be too late anyway. (And seriously, with ALL the other reasons to never touch a Actiblizzion product, “no housing in WoW” is in about 500th place on my personal list.)

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Bruno Brito

Blizzard is known for not listening to their playerbase when it matters, altho they do listen for more inconsequential stuff ( that ends up being consequential ). Whatever metric they follow telling them “Housing is not profitable” is wrong, as ESO has proven it. Wildstar literally survived on borrowed time because of Housing. Both EQ2 and ESO keep themselves alive by Housing and the exorbitant prices. Hell, SOTA is a whale’s paradise because of overpriced housing.

Honestly, their reasoning is irrelevant. They probably have a reasoning for their complete dogshit design that makes everything revolve around raiding and M+, and no one cares anymore for the reasons. Functionally, it sucks.

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Neurotic

I still have to think that Acti poured oil on the Blizz fire, rather than any sort of healing balm. Blizz had problems before the buyout, sure, but it seems to me that Acti have only reinforced Blizz’s bad behaviors and validated their dodgy decisions since then. tbh the whole relationship seems kind of weird and cruel. It’s like the Britney Spears conservatorship scandal in corporate form. 😄

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Bruno Brito

I’m not denying Kotick is a complete scourge and yes, he made the situation worse.

But the fire was started by Blizzard. We can’t keep pretending Blizzard was this glorious hunk of golden gooses when it wasn’t. It was literally a studio that tried to recapture lighting in a bottle for decades.

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zoward

Blizzard is deathly afraid of adding anything that takes their playerbase out of common areas where they can interact with one another. Add to that their consistent need to add new elements to the game only if they’re easily removable for the next expansion, and housing becomes a non-starter.

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Estranged

Agreed. You can’t take it away once you go there. Blizzard is like a kid with shiny things.

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NeoWolf

For the same reasons they dropped garrisons and then forgot about them because they are apathetic and don’t really care what the audience wants, it’s what they do..

Lighthope
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Lighthope

WoW is hyperfocused on esports, raiding and M+. If it isn’t funneling into that, WoW is uninterested.

Also, bottom line is that the developers simply aren’t good enough to do it.

Plus, housing is seen as something for casuals, and WoW is completely apathetic toward them.

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Loopy

I have a feeling that it’s some sort of a technical limitation. Maybe they would need to open up too much of their engine to the players, and they’re hesitating to do that.

It can’t be that it doesn’t fit the philosophy of their progression-centric game; there are too many vanity features already embedded. I’m suspecting that they’ve had a number of iterations on player housing internally, and it just didn’t pan out the way they wanted it so they just scrapped it.

Turing fail
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Turing fail

I assume it’s out of spite…?