Player housing is an interesting feature in MMOs given how differently developers approach its design. Some add it into their game as a half-baked afterthought. Others (like Rift’s dimensions) make it a primary robust feature and try to position it to attract new players. And then there are games like World of Warcraft who don’t have a player housing feature at all.
Player housing can been used as a private meeting place for friends and guildmates. They can also be great for showing off your in-game achievements and creativity. I can also see role-players being fond of player housing for obvious reasons. Developers sometimes hesitate to add instanced player housing because it takes people out of the open world and might make the server’s population seem lower than it actually is.
I’ve never been overly interested in player housing, but that is probably the case solely based on the games I’ve played. In Ultima Online, I never got far enough to own my own home and I remember the endless rows of player housing outside the city gates. Players would wait to ambush anyone leaving the city and so my first expsoure to player housing was not the best expeirence.
Then I played a string of MMOs that didn’t feature player housing: Everquest, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and now Guild Wars 2. I even played Lord of the Rings Online and Rift a bit, but left those games before their player housing systems were introduced. While player housing isn’t a feature I consider paramount to my enjoyment of an MMO, perhaps I’ve just not been exposed to a game that does it right.
I’ve watched Tuesday’s Top Dimensions and I’ve been impressed with what Rift’s player housing can do. Trion gave players an insane toolset that gives them the freedom to let their imaginations run wild. Wildstar’s player housing feature also looks like something I could spend a lot of time on. Players can purchase their own floating space island from the Protostar Corporation to customize and manage.
I think I could become interested in player housing if it was a well-polished feature in a game I’m already interested in. I don’t, however, see myself seeking out an MMO simply because it has that feature.
What do you think of player housing? Is it an essential feature you look for before trying an MMO? Is it a feature you find necessary to keep your interest or is it a nice diversion to dabble in once in a while? Do you use player housing for role-playing or simply a meeting place for your friends?
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