A recent post about SWTOR housing over at Going Commando, and subsequent comments, started me thinking about what I look for from player housing in MMORPGs. Most of the blog posts I’ve seen about housing relate to decoration – the default style of the housing itself, ways to decorate it, sought after items or decoration projects underway.
Reading the above linked post, I was reminded that player housing doesn’t have to only be about decoration though. I do really appreciate housing in the MMORPGs that have it, but to me it tends to be a more functional relationship than decorative. To many MMO housing enthusiasts the collection of housing items, and the decoration of one or more housing plots with those items is a major source of gameplay – a very different style of endgame indeed.
I, sadly, lack the artistic mindset and the patience to enjoy that aspect of housing. For me in most games housing has certain practical benefits that I want to use, although I rarely spend much time and effort on how things look and where things are placed.
Storage is a major plus where available. I’m thinking Everquest 2 here, a game that takes inventory and storage to such giddy excess. Characters have voluminous potential bag capacity, plus a very generous banking system and house inventory – the latter being something I often forget to make full use of.
Access to services is another plus of housing. Housing often can be upgraded to give you certain crafting facilities, so you can craft away in peace and quiet. Access to the auction house / broker system is also a potential service accessible from a character’s home.
In some games, more active extras can be added. Wildstar is possibly the most varied here, with set pieces that offer repeatable challenges, or private gathering nodes. Wildstar and Everquest 2 both offer some fast travel options, portals or similar, that can be installed in housing to facilitate travel to frequented zones in the open world.
Although I have no real patience for housing decoration, I can greatly appreciate the artistry of others. Having access to really useful services and utility functions wins out – I want substance more than style.