A few days ago Alunaria asked me in the comments what my ideal player housing in WoW would look like. I figured it would be more fun to answer with its own blog post, because I’m also curious how you folks would answer this question.
There’s a lot of things I love about WildStar’s housing, and would definitely steal those for my perfect player housing.
- Full control over item placement. Great player housing must allow for player creativity. For me that means lots of cool housing decor, and the ability to move it, rotate it, and scale it in any way I want. “Hook” systems are frustrating. Let me place all my decor freely.
- Multiple ways to acquire decor. WildStar’s decor can be crafted, earned through repeatable activities, dropped from mobs, and gained through quests. Decor should drop in pretty much every type of player content so there are always new items to discover or chase.
- Some pre-built set pieces can be nice. WildStar gives you choices for when you didn’t feel like building your own buildings from scratch. Having some modular pieces like pre-built houses is great for people who want housing but don’t want to micro manage every inch of their space.
- A reason to go back there. Like WoW’s garrisons, WildStar lets you earn some resources through your house. Unlike garrisons, the amount of resources never completely removed the need for gathering in the world. Also WildStar lets you choose other useful things for your plot, like portals to zones you like, or mini-dungeons you can run for fashion or more housing decor. No matter what, there should be some benefit to having a house.
- Social controls and social events. I love that WildStar lets you choose who can enter your house, and what they can do there. For example, you can let your friends harvest your resources, and you can set it so you split then so you both get a benefit when they visit. I would also steal WildStar’s use of housing during seasonal events. Visiting different housing plots to trick-or-treat at Halloween is something every game should do!
- Housing should be accessible. You don’t have to be anywhere near the end game to unlock housing in WildStar, and it doesn’t cost very much to get started. I know WoW loves to add features specifically for new expansions at the level cap, but housing should be something like pet battles, that everyone can hop into right away. Save some fancy decor until higher levels if you have to, but at least let folks get their foot in the door early.
There’s also some housing ideas I like that aren’t stolen directly from WildStar 😛
- The ability to have both guild housing and player housing. This one is basically taken from FFXIV. Have a guild space that also lets players have a small personal section in it. This way folks who don’t want to mess with housing can still have a cool place to hang out for RP and guild events.
- Dynamic neighborhoods. This is my dream feature. I’ve got no idea how to make the tech work, but what I would like is something like FFXIV’s housing districts, but without the crazy prices and housing scarcity that is so annoying in that game. I’d like an instanced zone with 20 – 50 houses set up in a reasonable neighborhood that you can wander around. Unlike FFXIV, all the plots would be the same size, and you’d just pay to upgrade your house or the number of items you can place on your plot. Your neighbors would be semi-permanent, but to keep it feeling lively if someone hasn’t logged in for 60 days someone active or new would get moved into their spot. Maybe you could bypass this for people on your friends list, or in your guild. And if your neighborhood is feeling lonely you could request a new spot near a friend. You would never lose your house from inactivity, and people wouldn’t have to wait for someone to move out to find a plot. You’d just end up with a new neighborhood if you’ve been gone for a while.
- Housing districts in lots of different zones. Don’t just give us one size fits all housing. I want to spent hours agonizing over whether I want a fancy apartment in Suramar, a peaceful treehouse in Moonglade, or an underwater grotto in Vashj’ir. There should be lots of different housing districts to fit lots of different player tastes.
- A choice to link alt housing. I have lots of characters, but not a lot of time and energy to make an awesome house for each of them. Let me choose if I want to let them share a house. Maybe my main wants to have her own big fancy place with all her raid decor, but everybody else could share one cool house instead of each having a mostly empty space.
Most importantly, I would want assurance from Blizzard that if they add proper player housing they aren’t going to abandon it at the start of the next expansion. Garrisons and Order Halls are neat, but it was sad to leave them behind as soon as the next new thing arrived. If they want players to get invested in housing and be creative, the players have to trust that all their hard work isn’t going to get swept away.