I find the history of player housing in New World a strange one. Prior to launch, I had the impression housing was being treated as one of the main selling features of the game. Since launch, though, it has received very little attention. Given the game’s post-launch struggles, it makes sense to backburner housing for a while, but I think we’re reaching a point when it’s time to give it some love, especially now that rents are much more affordable.
Most of the updates for housing fans post-launch have been in the form of new furniture, and most of that has come from the cash shop. I have absolutely no issue with Amazon Games selling furnishings for cash, but it would be nice to have had a few more infusions of earnable decorations as well.
To be fair, with the Brimstone Sands update, we did get a pretty big wave of new housing content. Not only were many new furniture crafting recipes added, but of course we also got a wealth of new houses in the town of New Corsica (and big, gorgeous houses at that). I imagine any other new zones will bring similar patches of new homes and furniture. But that still seems like it’s really only scratching the surface of what housing could be in New World.
It does feel a bit weird to be agitating for more housing content, as I’m usually someone who views player housing with disinterest, but New World‘s take on it has wormed its way into my heart. Like the game’s music system, it hits a brilliant balance of being useful enough to be desirable, but not so essential as to be mandatory — exactly what an MMO side feature should be.
Decorating is fun and easy, and the free fast travel, trophy buffs, and expanded storage offered by houses are just helpful enough to make me want houses and visit them regularly, without making them feel too essential. I therefore see a lot of potential in the game’s housing. It’s a feature that could become a real gem if given a bit more attention.
For starters, Amazon could simply add more and better houses. We saw a bit of this in Brimstone Sands, and as I said above, I expect future zones will bring new housing as well, but we shouldn’t have to wait until then. There’s plenty of opportunity to add more homes to the existing game world.
Something that really surprises me is that we still haven’t seen the addition of tier five homes. Granted, we don’t know for a fact this is something Amazon ever planned, but there is evidence to indicate T5 homes were at least planned at some point and may still be in the works. Most of the game’s towns feature at least one large building that looks like it could be a player home but is totally inaccessible. Some prominent examples include a tall tower in the middle of Oxboro and a massive treehouse overlooking the town of Reekwater.
I have long had the suspicion that T5 housing, if added, would be a cash shop purchase, and while it’s not my first choice for purely selfish reasons, I wouldn’t consider it an unreasonable ask given how generous the game’s business model has been up to now. I just hope it’s not an Elder Scrolls Online situation where a virtual house can run you over $100.
Another possible use for these large scale homes could be guild halls. Given New World‘s focus on competing companies and existing housing systems, I think guild halls seem like an obvious addition. I doubt that anyone wants guild halls to change hands every time a town does, but perhaps there could be some way to add extra perks or flair to a hall when your company is in control of its surrounding town.
But while bigger houses or guild halls in our existing towns is an enticing idea, what I would like more than anything else is some housing outside the main towns. I want wilderness cottages and cozy farms, mountain hunting lodges and swamp witch lairs.
One of my long-standing pet peeves of New World housing is that it’s almost impossible to find a house with a view. Most have tiny windows and no yards and are surrounded entirely by walls and other homes. There are some exceptions — mainly in Reewater, Ebonscale Reach, and Brimstone — but they’re few and far between. With a house out in the wilderness, I could finally enjoy Aeternum’s natural splendour from the comfort of my (virtual) front porch.
Wilderness homes could also be a great opportunity to introduce some new gameplay to housing. Right now one of the main perks of housing is using it as a free teleport to major towns. A house out in the middle of nowhere wouldn’t provide that, but instead it could feature larger yards used for activities like farming.
I’m not the only one to have this idea, and many in the community have suggested that seeds for farming could be acquired from traditional gathering. This would make farming an augment to gathering in the open world rather than a replacement for it and prevent a situation like World of Warcraft‘s garrisons, where your house provides everything you need and renders the game world irrelevant.
Farming could come with its own tradeskill and maybe some simple minigames for tending your crops. It could provide a major infusion of low stress, horizontal content to the game in much the same way music did, if not more so. That’s the sort of thing player housing can do at its best, and New World is the perfect game for it.
Housing will always be a side feature in a game like this, and I do understand that other things will often have a greater priority, but I do hope to see New World‘s housing get some more love in the future. There’s a lot of untapped potential in the feature.