Massively Overthinking: What’s your favorite MMO house of all time?

    
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You folks know I love MMO housing systems, and in fact, we’ve been crowning the MMOs with the best housing systems for years. But what we don’t talk about much is the MMO houses we actually live in – after all, most of us have probably had several, both in the top-end genre housing systems and the bottom too.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our writers to overthink the MMO houses they’ve “lived” in and pick out their very favorite. Which specific MMO house that you owned is most memorable, how did it fit into the rest of the MMO and your playstyle, and maybe most importantly, was it sticky enough that you’re still playing the game? Pics or it didn’t happen!

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): The first home’s always the most memorable, right? I’m struggling to find many pics of it, but people who watched MJ’s Asheron’s Call farewell stream actually got to see my original AC1 house. I did some redecorating, so some of my brother’s neat toys made a cameo, but the living room at about 1:11 in is the same as I had it when I left the game. I loved all the little useless stuff and quest items, which were rarely best in slot or even very useful but were super cool and made the world feel more alive. It was also out of the way for most people but near a useful portal people couldn’t easily access, so it was super convenient for me.

I’ve obviously had a lot of houses in the other AC series (Animal Crossing) that often makes it into our screenshots, and those often keep me in the game for longer than I’d normally stick around. They even get me to reach out more to the playerbase, as just having a dollhouse isn’t enough for me. My towns usually have some sort of theme and secret to discover, though I’ve often done games and mazes for guests. The problem, of course, is that they’re often instanced, much like modern MMO housing. I’ve had quite a few MMO houses, but the ones that often stick out are the ones built in the actual game world, not an instance.

Andy McAdams: I think EverQuest II was my favorite house. I had a couple of those weird acorn houses in Kelethin that always seemed oversaturated to me. However, my fae Troubadour has quite a charming little house in New Halas that is probably my favorite. I love being able to look out the bay windows into an actual bay with rolling water. It was so cool. I really love the housing in EQII because I just got normal stuff to put in there. Doing the Lore and Legend things gave me books to pile wherever I want (or weapons to hang on the wall), and I could craft other things to put in there too. Putting crafting tables and getting an apprentice — the whole system felt very homey to me. It wasn’t just stock up with “Trophies of my Murder Hobo Exploits” like some some sadistic psychopath who hangs the rotting heads of his enemies on his walls; I had books and weapons and random pieces of armor everywhere. It always felt “lived in” to me.

I could never get into FFXIV housing because it felt like that room in my grandma’s house that was always perfect and just there to look at. Clearly staged, definitely produced, and just there (combined with the fact that it’s prohibitively expensive).

I want to love ESO’s housing, but everything always feels so dark and dirty to me in that game. I love the game, don’t get me wrong, and I’m enjoying Blackwood, but its housing just isn’t up to par with EQII. Also, RIP WildStar. *quiet sobbing*

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I think everyone will be expecting me to pick a Star Wars Galaxies house because I’ve spent a lot of ink covering mine, but for me, it’s one of my many Ultima Online houses. For years, I had an epic spot right outside of the city of Zento, right on the road just a tick away from town. That island was so pretty, it had great music, and I loved all the different homes I built on that plot, but this one was definitely my favorite. The graphics date it to maybe 2009? I’m not sure. But it’s in the now-defunct Kingdom Reborn client, which I really loved. This pic is an inside slide of the second floor. I’d decorated it room by room with little porches and storage areas.

I’ve built lots of houses, but that one, in that graphical style, with my treasure hunting rune library on display, just really takes me back. Maybe the first keep my friends and I built in UO should be dearer in my heart, or the city we built in early SWG should be more impactful, but if I have to just pick one house, this is the one. When you get to customize every single tile of a three-story building from the ground up and then decorate it and then live out of it, it feels much more a part of you.

I don’t have it anymore, unfortunately; many of UO’s smaller servers have become ghost towns over the years, which means doom for a trader, so I eventually had to let it go and become a refugee on Atlantic. None of my houses on Atlantic have been half as good, but it’s where all the players are. Sigh.

OK, gratuitous SWG house video too.

Carlo Lacsina (@UltraMudkipEX, YouTube, Twitch): MY HOME IS THE BATTLEFIELD. IT’S WARMED BY THE FIRES OF COMBAT. THE LOOT IS MY FURNITURE. THE GOLD, MY WATER. THE TIP OF MY BLADE IS MY WELCOME MAT. MY BLOOD SOAKED BOOTS ARE MY FLUFFY SLIPPERS. AND DESTRUCTION IS WHAT’S FOR DINNER.

I’m not really a housing guy. I’m more of a grind-money-to-not-spend kind of guy.

[Editor’s note: Carlo kindly went and took some photos of a randomly chosen typical Black Desert house for us anyway. :D]

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): Can I just say the slowly forming house and business front I’m working on in Star Wars Galaxies Legends? Because that’s kind of my big deal project right now. No? Right, ones I’ve actually lived in. In that case, that goes to my WildStar main’s house, which was part clinic, part hospital, part laboratory.

I had places for quick visits, an operation theater that I tried to style after the game’s overall over-engineered plasmapunk style, a big ol’ greenhouse, a place where my character crafted his gun-fired salves (my explanation for Healslinging without using the magic of the Weave and its sigils), and a lab/observation area where he studied the Strain to try and help extract any benefits from it. It took me a whole lot of time, in-game money, and futzing around with pieces to make it all fit and flow as best as I could, and while the space never did see a lot of RP use as I had hoped, it’s easily my pride and joy

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): While I don’t have pictures left of this, my WildStar homes were among my all-time favorites. I had a few of them that used all sorts of techniques, including one that was a treehouse-theme and one that created a split-level man cave all over the interior of a spaceship. These were nowhere near as good as some of the stuff I saw the community do, but I always loved coming back to them.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): A favorite? One favorite? Yeah right, Bree… as if that can happen. I’ve had many houses in many games, and I have loved a number of them. If we are going to try and pick favs, I will have to name three. Yes, that’s as low as I can pare it down to. In the top three, you have my dressing room in SWG (though honestly we made a city on Dantooine our personal estate and all the buildings were cool, including the library!), my first tavern in Vanguard, and my Teir’Dal’s guild hall in EverQuest II.

The dressing room was fun because it was an opulent glorified closet that had so much more than beautiful outfits. It included a tiled shower made from overturned paintings and an upside down fountain as well as my special Googly Melt bench (private story =P). The fact you could name the items you craft to be whatever you want just made it all feel so real. While not a whole house, I give a runner up to the first aquarium I made in SWG when you couldn’t use the z-axis and had to place fish on the steps and carefully move them to the tank. I made a bit of money building those for folks!

In second place is my first tavern in Vanguard. This is the one I literally cried at losing during the server wipe. It was small and cozy, with food placed just so, from breads and ales to hanging roasted boars. We played specially made dice games there and had all the fun a tavern full of adventurers should have! Even though we intended to make it bigger someday, when it “burned” down and I didn’t get the plot back, my character roamed the world a while heartbroken. It took me a long time to rebuild. The second tavern and inn was also very nicely done and we had rooms to rent upstairs and a stage for performances… but it never quite filled the hole the first little one left. (Honorable mention to my large [house] boat I decorated in Vanguard and sailed the world in my until I picked a new spot for the tavern.)

My top house would be the EQII guild hall! It took me so long to build it as I not only placed everything just so but had to go out and even raid to get some of the pieces! This hall has a library, a massive aquarium, a dining hall with a bar and a stage, a full-service crafting hall, a chapel, a guard training room, private matron’s quarters with indoor garden, fun secret rooms, and my absolute favorite, an incredible dungeon! I love that hall and I still use it to this day – even if I am just wandering around it myself.

I wish I could send pics, but they are all on the pc in the lightning struck house and I can’t get to them (or even know if the PC works yet!). Ahh I still have so many decorating ideas… I can’t wait to use them!

Tyler Edwards (blog): I’ve said elsewhere that I often struggle to connect with player-housing as a feature. Too often, housing feels so disconnected from the rest of the game. My mansion in ESO is real pretty, but once I finished decorating it, I pretty much never went back. Why would I? There’s nothing to do there but stare at the walls.

The one exception to this that I’ve played is Star Wars: The Old Republic, whose strongholds have many uses, from fast travel to storage and more. As a result, that’s the only housing I’ve ever spent much time with, and therefore it’s what I feel most attached to. In particular, I really love my Imperial stronghold on Dromund Kaas. It may not be one of those fancy cash shop houses, but it’s mine, and I find the constant patter of rain soothing.

It’s mainly built as a home for my Imperial agent (my main), with offices, a command center where she orchestrates her galactic schemes, and a bar (you can’t be a secret agent without a bar), but I also have smaller rooms upstairs that serve as homes for my other Imperial characters. There’s a decadent lounge for my chaotic good warrior, a cluttered room full of relics for my scholarly inquisitor, and a spartan barracks for my bounty hunter.

I don’t know if it’s housing per se if the whole game is building, but I’d also like to mention Landmark. I had two builds: a peaceful cabin in the woods built over haunted caves, and a magical academy built into the cliffs of a mountain valley. I couldn’t find a valley that fit my needs, so I just carved out and terraformed the valley myself.

Every week, join the Massively OP staff for Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable in which we discuss the MMO industry topics du jour – and then invite you to join the fray in the comments. Overthinking it is literally the whole point. Your turn!
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