Some weeks ago now I’d read an article over at Massively OP about World of Warcraft being the stark exception among older MMORPGs in its lack of a player housing system. Playing the game since then it has struck me time and again just how jarring this is.
WoW has so much lavish detail in its interiors and so many different architectural styles across all these years; art assets that are already in game and that could be leveraged to fill up the housing system. Of course, housing systems need more than just a lot of furniture. For it to be content for players there needs to be systems created to detail how a house or dwelling is acquired and maintained. There needs to be then ways to find or obtain furniture, possessions and curios to personalise the dwelling. That’s part and parcel of housing gameplay – collecting and decorating.
Sadly WoW has rather neglected (or at least rushed development of) its crafting professions of late, so a full on expansion of crafting to enable the creation of housing items is even less likely than player housing ever being introduced. I look at the other MMOs that I’ve played, especially Everquest 2 or Rift, and feel that a variety of ways to obtain housing items in-game is the best approach: some items should be crafteable, others found as known or random finds. The basics such as standard furniture to fit the core racial aesthetics of both faction should be predictably obtainable and having them as crafting recipes would be the obvious choice. There are even existings systems in game for logging and gathering stone and other materials.
I’ve written before that I most value housing as a place to display momentoes of my characters adventures. So being able to find items as random treasure or out in the world, maybe using the purple chest discovery system from Draenor and onwards, would be an existing system for finding new housing items.
Regardless of how a player would retrieve such items, just playing World of Warcraft it’s plain to see that the assets for a good housing system, the items and furniture, are all there already.