Category Archives: Housing

The many problems of owning a house in FFXIV

Scrolling through my last few blog posts from two years ago, it occurred to me that I never talked about finally and I mean F-FINALLY getting a house in FFXIV. It happened on April 2nd 2022 in fact. I still know this because the momentous occasion warranted a tweet and big exclamation marks.

Now if you are at all acquainted with FFXIV, you will have heard about its notoriously deplorable housing system. Plots are very limited and before 2022 players would have to cycle through endless tabs of different housing zones in the game’s capitals just to learn if a plot was actually vacant. That was the easy part because then you would have to go and camp that specific plot for hours clicking its placard, together with another 20+ people, hoping the house would be released within an unknown multi-hour window and praying you’d be the timely clicker when it happens. It was truly humiliating.

For this reason many players gave up on housing in FFXIV before a somewhat useful change was rolled out in Endwalker. Instead of camping a placard, you could now enter the ‘lottery’ for your elected plot for a fee and then get notified if you actually won. It’s not a fix of all of FFXIV’s housing problems by a long shot but it solved one of its most egregious aspects. And so it happened that I too won a house after a new housing zone was rolled out in Endwalker. Only took me 8 years to beat the final boss in FFXIV!

And yet, new problems arise once you have your own house. Among them is the requirement to log back in frequent intervals, lest your hard-won abode be demolished by the ingame timer and returned to the lottery pool. 45 days doesn’t sound like much when you’re subscribed and actively playing but it’s short when you’re on hiatus. There’s also no real taking a break from the game and un-subbing for the summer. And I get it, inactive players sitting on land is irksome but that is just another issue the game is creating for the community through artificial housing scarcity.

Nobody in their right mind is going to give up a housing plot they waited 8 years to acquire. You bet am gonna log in every 44 days just to make sure I don’t lose my virtual real estate, even if I loathe the system. That is, until I’m fully fed up and done with the game anyway – a day I feel is slowly but surely approaching!

The 11 Commandments of Great MMO Player Housing

Briefly, for a split second last week, I was considering re-subscribing to LOTRO for the upcoming winter season of Q4. I have loved the world of LOTRO ever since joining late in 2013 despite its many flaws and these days, I like to call it my favorite MMO that I’m not playing. There’s always that pull, the call of Middle-Earth to return to its glamorous wide vistas, its merry horse rides and romantic visits to the Prancing Pony. How I miss playing my lute, sitting on a lonely rock under a tree.

The 11 Commandments of Great MMO Player Housing

But I know myself too well and the fickle beast that is MMO nostalgia. Jumping back into LOTRO would mean jumping back to the Gates of Moria grind of the mid-40ies, dealing with an overwhelming number of features and systems that are poorly introduced to newbies and the same old static MMO combat. It would also mean dealing with the loss of my housing plot which was lackluster to begin with, yet I gave it my all to make the little hut by the waterfall somewhat comfy and welcoming. For years, I’ve hoped Turbine would up their housing game as so many have – it’s one feature that would get me to re-sub in a heartbeat, if only it were properly revamped and made accessible.

Yet once again, it’s not to be; watching the upcoming LOTRO patch features has left me forever disillusioned with this developer’s idea of a good housing system. LOTRO’s premium housing is as expensive and inaccessible as ever, not that I had my hopes up for “premium” housing in the first place. Still, it’s grinding my gears! Player housing should be an integral part of MMOs these days and yet over and over, players are being let down in this department. When will this long-awaited “future of better player housing” finally arrive?

I guess it’s fair to mention Wildstar and Black Desert Online in this context, two titles which both made laudable attempts at accessible and fun player housing in more recent years. I loved my sky plot in Wildstar, the crazy customization and design options, yet Wildstar housing is so disconnected from the rest of the world that it never quite felt like a home but rather, that side-game you go play at when you need a break from being social. That’s the issue with instanced player housing which is both a blessing and a curse in so many ways. Pearl Abyss tried to solve this very issue most expertly in BDO – yet all seamless phasing and great housing options aside, the fundamental questions of “what to do with all this stuff now?” and “what is it good for?” remain mostly unanswered.

The 11 Commandments of Great MMO Player Housing

The 11 Commandments of Great MMO Player Housing

Musing on all my gripes with player housing old and new has inspired me to come up with a definite list of commandments or guidelines to ensure housing features are a fun addition to games rather than frustration. Your mileage may vary but here go my personal commandments for great MMO housing design –

  1. Thou shalt not make your MMO housing an exclusive or expensive feature.
  2. Thou shalt not create a limited number of housing options that are up for FCFS land grabs.
  3. Thou shalt not exact weekly or monthly housing tolls / upkeep costs.
  4. Thou shalt not pre-define indoor/outdoor decoration options and location of hooks/plugs.
  5. Thou shalt not unreasonably restrict the total item number of decor items.
  6. Thou shalt allow for social sharing of housing rights and visitation.
  7. Thou shalt not disconnect housing from the rest of the outdoors / world.
  8. Thou shalt offer great variety of cosmetic customization for housing, such as layouts, colors, styles, materials and music.
  9. Thou shalt give housing a meaning beyond cosmetics, such as storage, crafting, stabling, shops and neighborhoods.
  10. Thou shalt offer housing items from various sources, such as questing, raiding, crafting and trade.
  11. Thou shalt enable players to expand their housing space over time.

And yes, this is all easier said than done. I realize, I don’t know of any MMO that meets all commandments although Ultima Online came reasonably close and I also keep hearing the praises of EQ2. Then again, I’m not looking to play 2D top-down and generally much older MMORPGs these days, sooooo……I guess I want too many things! It’s a nice thought, though.

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

There’s something very rewarding about crafting in Black Desert Online and I’m saying that as somebody who never crafts in MMORPGs, like ever. Crafting never made a lot of sense to me in the past; it was either too tiresome to gather materials due to skill gating, too frustrating and punishing in terms of output-RNG (hello FFXI *fizzles*) or simply not effective or required because everything could be bought in the auction house without hassle.

Crafting doesn’t feel irrelevant in Black Desert Online, maybe due to the game’s many trading constraints or just its more complex, crafting-centric gameplay. In hindsight I can say that there is an enjoyable learning curve to the whole contribution-investment and workshop process that let’s you craft pretty much anything in the game for yourself once you understand building progression. There’s none of the usual recipe or schematic hunt involved which I find incredibly liberating. You can gather everything too just by “doing it”, assuming you got the right tools for the job. Then it’s time to explore and learn where the best nodes and resources are located on the map; I know where all the cotton is hiding and I’m not telling!

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

I made this horse armor for myself and dyed it Azeroth Alliance style!

There is an enjoyable balance struck between the time it takes to gather and process basic mats and achieving the more longterm goal of crafting a serious upgrade or nice piece of furniture. It is not hardcore by any stretch – it is just about right for someone like myself with an average tolerance for downtime shenanigans. And yes there is the auction house too, yet for most basic mats you have to put in the time yourself and manage your alts accordingly. There’s great satisfaction in crafting something bigger and actually useful for yourself!

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

Moar gear for Syl!

Black Desert Online’s Approach to Housing

Maybe an even greater accomplishment is how Black Desert handles its housing. I will go as far as saying that the game features by far the best and most skillfully realized housing mechanic in MMOs since always, without going down the always sub-par instanced road. Two particular reasons:

  • A perfect compromise between instanced and outdoor housing
  • Easily accessible and affordable housing for everybody!

MMO housing isn’t just a highly enjoyable opportunity to individualize one’s own virtual world experience, it’s an important feature when it comes to player retention. Carving out your own little space, collecting and hanging trophies, these are activities that add glue to our relationship with games and make us want to return. It is pleasant to come home to something we call our own, no matter the illusion.

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

Loving my flat in Velia.

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

I have a big door!

Now I agree UO-style outdoor housing was great but let’s face it, comparing today’s titles with Ultima Online is far-fetched to say the least. We’re not dealing with isometric pseudo-3D worlds any longer that house a few thousand players at most. I have experienced server lag and continuous disconnects in Landmark and it wasn’t pretty. I have also been through annoying “land grabs” or faced the usual “inaccessible because ludicrously prized”-MMO housing plenty of times in other games, enough times to know they are neither enjoyable nor fun. And I frankly have no time setting a phone alarm every few days to go and refresh some plot because it disappears if I am playing a game too casually or go on holidays. Come on!

No thanks to all of that! Housing is just too awesome a feature to turn it into a maintenance nightmare or exclude the majority of your playerbase. Now to be fair, Black Desert Online’s housing is far from perfect where interior design is concerned: the furniture placement tool is pretty awful right now and the game needs a lot more options in wallpapers/flooring, general items and lighting especially. Possibilities feel too restricted, similar to my room in FFXIV. Still, BDO beats all competition by a landslide when it comes to its execution of  seamless “phased outdoor housing”. That split-second of loading time aside when entering my door, I cannot tell I am not actually located in the outside world. Heck, I can even open my windows and see the streets outside.

Black Desert Online let’s you have up to 5 residences anywhere on the world map where nodes allow for housing options. The layouts of every house vary a great deal, so exploring options is its own reward. And thanks to the effortless way contribution currency can be invested and withdrawn at any time without repercussions, it is simple enough to pack one’s bags and move to another city or town or farm. I call that awesome housing mechanics in an MMO!

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

7.5 is a very roomy house in Heidel

BDO Progress Report: I made stuff and Housing is awesome!

So much space to decorate!

In case you’re interested where some of the “best houses” are located in the game, in my humble opinion:

  • Velia 2.3 (2 floors, 3 rooms, 2 doors, 2 fireplaces, very high ceilings!)
  • Heidel 7.5 (2 floors, 4 rooms, big stair, high ceilings)

I am stationed in Velia 2.3 myself at the moment but will probably require a more central flat to stay at very soon. Let me know if you find anything nearly as roomy anywhere close to Calpheon so I can book that U-Haul!

New Wildstar Housing Tour! My Cassian Crib incl. Gameroom [#Blaugust 23]

Now that I am resubbed to Wildstar and have access to my housing plot again, I realized I should really get another housing tour done before free-to-play hits. I did a couple of videos last year when I was still playing, but I never actually got around to frapsing my own crib. This has now been amended.

The following is a tour of my fully furnished 3-floor Cassian home in Wildstar, including a custom made veranda with botanical lab, my plushie collection and of course the gamer room with multiplayer! Carbine have added a lot of interesting construction tiles since I made all this, including round shapes and glass panels but am not gonna mess around with these before F2P since I expect to redo everything completely once we have access to the bigger plots and new housing items. There will be so much to do….anyway, enjoy this quick tour of mi casa, status pre-f2p!

Irresistible, futile player housing (#Blaugust 3)

Last night I finally rid myself of a 300k gil in FFXIV to acquire a private chamber in our guild house on Cactuar, mostly out of curiosity to see how SE handled the housing feature. Five hours flew by in which I found myself in a familiar building and decoration frenzy until I was pretty much “done”, browsing web databases and the auction house included. Significantly lighter in the pocket change department, I had to ask myself: what’s it all for? It is the age old question of the MMO player and the future still hasn’t arrived.

Welcome to the cosy SPA!

Welcome to the cosy SPA!

Maybe we’re asking for too much when we demand meaningful housing from MMORPGs. Building and housing simulations are an entire genre of their own and one need only look at Landmark, Minecraft or the Sims to understand the required freedom and complexity to make this activity, even as an end in itself, appeal to players longterm. The issue with building and decorating your house in an MMO is simply that “it ends” without further use or consequence but MMOs aren’t designed toward the finite. Once that item limit is reached on your plot, and FFXIV sports an underwhelming 50 items maximum, there’s only so much re-decoration you’ll be willing to do (or afford). At most, you’ll be adding the odd achievement trophy further down the line, yet the question about more meaningful and consequential player housing remains. May be that the two genres really aren’t a great fit, may be that nobody’s interested enough to allocate more resources towards figuring it out.

For what its worth, I had immense fun with my room in FFXIV while it lasted and SE’s housing isn’t even that great. Dealing with their fussy and limited tools, I missed my huge Wildstar plot with a sudden, overwhelming acuteness. And yet, as self-serving and ultimately futile as this whole activity was towards my further journey in FFXIV (if we are even allowed to question the futility of any actions in MMOs), it was engaging and made me learn a few more things about the world I hadn’t realized earlier. It was 5 hours well spent because I enjoyed it – I just wish there was a bit more to it than immediate and short-lived solo gratification.

Monday Wildstar Links

The holidays are almost over (woe is me) so I have spent the past week catching up on my gaming in Wildstar, making it all the way to level 47 from 40. I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed the new zones as much as the fabulous Farside, Wilderrun being a dreaded jungle zone and Malgrave a navigation nightmare despite some pretty Firefly vistas. Nonetheless progress has been fun and it’s been a most productive time all around this new MMO which I’m still enjoying. Who would’ve thought?


Wildstar Wildstar Wildstaaaaar!

So, Wildstar updates. I’ve finally joined a guild on Lightspire EU, the jolly bunch of Venus Rising, and am very happy with my time there thus far. There’s the dedicated leadership every guild so desperately needs and from what I can see, a healthy mix between progress orientation and wanting to have a good time together without undue pressures. Despite Wildstar still being a freshman, the guild has already developed real community spirit while a respectable amount of people are already halfway into the atunement. I try not to worry too much about that and enjoy my last levels until 50. Endgame is forever but these early days of Wildstar will never come back.

Since RP servers feature some of the greatest housing plots and Lightspire is no different, I’ve taken many tours around my new guildmates’ sky maps these past few days. The creativity and effort put into some of the player creations is mindblowing, so I decided a video tour or two were definitely in order. Two of my favorite builds so far are the GM’s guild house and surroundings, as well as an astonishing clan home of five players who have worked on a fully decorated six-floor Draken home together, plus several more custom buildings. If you’re into player housing at all or looking for inspiration, these plots are not to be missed (the first video also features my own plot):

Having a thing for Wildstar’s unique charm and aesthetics, it was also high time to finally update the MMO screenshots gallery with my 48 favorite vistas taken during my travels so far. The last six pictures in the gallery are in high-res panorama format and due to popular demand, I have now added a Farside panorama shot as well for the dual-screeners out there:


click for full-res

Other than that, I have a few more useful links to share before beaming back up into the Nexus – oh and as always, happy Monday to all ye space pilots out there!

[Wildstar] Dipping a Toe into Housing

After spending some time visiting different player houses and plots in Wildstar these past few days and fiddling with my own island in the sky, here’s a couple of things I am starting to like about Wildstar’s housing:

  • Rather than being a full sandbox with the gathering and construction bits of Landmark, Wildstar takes the fun part of combining existing decor items, letting players go completely wild with the possibilities. If you’re not much of a crafter from scratch, you will love this approach to housing and customization. I do.
  • The amount of decor items is already nuts. Also: plushies! I need them all.
  • The home port every player gets is the perfect answer to unwelcome wait and down times; is your group taking a 10mins biobreak you don’t care for? Off you go visit your house for some mini-games, selling trash or gear repairs (once you have the vending machine). Porting back allows you to return to original location.
  • Exploring public plots with ease or making new neighbours while chatting in the housing zone channel is casual fun and takes some of that instanced sting away.

Housing is its own mini-game within Wildstar and a nice contrast to an otherwise linear progression. Carbine put a lot of thought into this, creating overall themes that reach as far as including matching light or weather effects. Different decor themes should make collectors very happy (and poor). As for the more progression and raid-oriented players, it’s a way to display trophies and battle tokens. Carbine have also already confirmed guild housing further down the line.

Naturally, there’s a few things I do not like about Wildstar’s housing so much – the fact that it’s too “apart” from the rest of the world (yes, I prefer non-instanced housing and always will), the oversized scale of everything, the LOTRO style socketing mechanic for your six main plots and the rather heavyweight and at times glitchy advanced interface. That’s generally something Carbine aren’t very good at apparently, creating functional and simple interfaces: the AH, commodities broker, dye system and skill/AMP windows all need a lot of work still. That said, after reading through the developer commentary in this interesting overview of Wildstar’s different customization options, everyone should be very grateful they decided not to go full LOTRO socketing mode as was originally intended. That would’ve put a quick stop to the unleashed creativity that’s currently on display on the forums.


Syl’s Home on Lightspire EU


Now with a cosy second floor!

As Mac said elsewhere, browsing other people’s places is motivating (that’s my word for it) and so I invested just a little yesterday to get my Cassian shack into shape and create a second floor. That hadn’t even occurred to me until I visited some of my neighbors, so yay for community inspiration! It’s still a humble abode but hey, it’s all mine!

EQN Landmark First Impressions: Landrush Stress and Location, Location, Location!

Yesterday’s EQN Landmark kick-off was a bit of a mixed bag for me and I’m almost hesitant to write about it. As far as the invite, install and intro movie to closed beta were concerned, the staff at Sony under Dave Georgeson couldn’t have done a better job. What a quick and smooth experience, what contagious enthusiasm. If for no other reason, you must believe in Landmark because of the people behind it. What’s currently going on on forums and twitter in terms of community interaction and communication puts everything I’ve experienced in the past to shame. Can’t find the bloody thistle trees in this closed beta? Why, the Director of development is happy to draw you a picture! We should probably not get used to that.

I went for one of the two EU servers called “Satisfaction” mostly because “Understanding” struck me as an odd name and I’m not sure how wise it would be lagwise to go for an US server this stage of beta. That said, you can constantly switch islands or server to gather mats and visit friends around the globe.

Some brilliant building expos and screenshots aside, I haven’t really paid much attention to Landmark’s alpha and so I went into this whole experience the way I always do – like a closed beta player without starting information. It is rather hard to ignore all the guides spam on the internet right now or the sometimes not-so-optional words of advice by passionate alpha players. I understand Landmark has lit a special spark already but the idea of “this is our game, please tread lightly beta players” is a bit much (not to mention territorial) in places. I hate breaking it to any of the early players but Landmark is still going to change. A lot. And the community is bound to change too as more and more of that free-to-play audience are going to join and ask for all kinds of features.


Anyway, landrush. That was pretty much most of my yesterday afternoon experience and I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it. Missing Bel’s cool alpha composure, I eyed the rapidly shrinking landmass with hectic worry as I was scanning for claimable spots that would accommodate both myself and my best friend and Minecraft buddy Val. Navigating both our accounts since he couldn’t be there, I logged on and off the game trying to gather mats on two characters until at some point I realized “wait….same server, NOT the same map?!”. I didn’t manage to friend us by myself so essentially several hours of play went down the drain because it still required him to get online in the evening and join me on my instance….shard…..island.

That could’ve been the end of it until we realized that just because there were no claims around my area, that didn’t mean he could place one next to me because buffer zone. Which makes perfect sense and is likely to get a friend fix soon – still, imagine our frustration when there were no more free claims close to me after all.

Of course that’s the glorious beta experience. I can’t recall how often I’ve had the “what shard are you on, I can’t see you!”-conversation in past games, so by now it’s quite humorous. To be fair, Landmark’s friending and teleport-to-friend feature work perfectly fine already and so we decided on expanding and sharing my claim instead which has the most fabulous location – a criteria I was under pressure to fulfill.

Location, location, location

Every island in Landmark looks different and within the first few hours, you could already tell a majority of players are going for the same thing: mountain tops. I don’t blame them, I want a wide, nice vista as much as the next person in a game that I expect to spend a lot of time in . If we can’t afford that ocean-view condo in real life, or in my case the castle in the sky with thick fog around it, let us at least create our dreams in virtual reality. For now, Landmark is all about your personal home and neighborhood, so understandably the landrush puts strain on some individuals. I’ll admit I don’t like timers and first-come-first-served features in most games even if it can’t be helped in this case. If all fails, you can always build your own mountain.

My claim announced itself with a huge tree in the distance, somewhat off the busy spiral center and yet close enough to easily get there by foot. It’s a small peak between the snowy tundra and old forest biomes which for me is absolutely perfect. I love standing there and looking down into the valley or watching the moon rise. After all the afternoon gripes, it was saintly to just be there and listen to Jeremy Soule dousing the world in his magic.

That’s when I finally remembered why I was here.


Of course things aren’t gonna stay that way. Now is the time to build and bicker with my buddy because we can’t ever agree on the same style of building. I want a tree house, he wants an entire town in Fable / Harry Potter design. We’ll end up not pleasing either one of us and build another castle the way it happened in Minecraft before. That’s probably why I still feel reluctant about getting back to the game and why I’m not overflowing with ooooohs and aaaaaahs over the awesome building tools; this is my Minecraft experience all over.

Or maybe not. Maybe this time around I’ll manage to be cool and not give a toss about how our claim turns out. After all, Landmark comes with a great copy-paste feature so you can always dump and restart with ease. And else…..well, I can always join the circus like Bel and become a wandering minstrel, visiting other folk in Landmark and marveling at their homes while my own remains the road forever. Maybe I would like that.

(No really, am just gonna have my damn tree house. Sorry Val!)

A Future of better player housing – from LOTRO to Wildstar

It’s probably a fair claim that player housing is one of the most wanted features in MMOs and yet also one of the trickiest to design and often misshapen ones. While the potential of letting users create and shape their own virtual space inside a game is endless, promising not just for more social interaction but longterm player attachment, developers of past titles have often missed to include that one imperative ingredient to all housing: significance. (Interchangeable with meaning, relevance or impact.)


While it’s all good fun and giggles to decorate one’s own space and collect shinies, the attraction of housing is short-lived for the average player. Instanced housing is especially bad for this but even if an MMO offers outdoor housing or neighbourhoods such as LOTRO, there are only so many times one will invite friends over to marvel at interior design or enjoy tea at the expensive, golden party table. To make player housing an effective part of the game and community, there need to be more mechanics in place to create meaning and significance. There need to be reasons enough why people would want to spend time in/around their own house, why they would want to invite each other or explore homes. You want me to care about housing longterm? Tell me why!

Different ways to create meaningful player housing in MMOs

As romantic as the idea of an ingame “home” is, my guess is most MMO players aren’t looking to simply simulate a homebase. For one thing, we already have a home (duh). Secondly, players are already likely to pick individual homes for themselves – as in their favorite city or spot on the world map. One can build attachment to any place in an MMO. What really draws us in though are those places where we meet up, interact and do business. Places that have specific social functions, which is why cities have always been the heartbeat in games. They’re where stuff happens and where we want to hang out. I do not want to go sit quietly and alone at my instanced home’s doorstep in an MMO, even if it took me five days and as many corpseruns to get that doormat.

Ever since Turbine announced their player housing revamp for this year, I’ve been pondering on all the ways to bestow more meaning on LOTRO’s current housing model and better player housing in general. LOTRO is an interesting hybrid in the sense that while the system is instanced, neighbourhoods still hold a ton of social potential. It’s quite awesome how every single home has its own unique address which you can look up at the homestead gate. Alas, Turbine too failed at digging deeper with their housing system. For what its worth, here’s my round-up of suggestions on how to spice things up in the future and make player housing a more lively and exciting part of the game:

1) Cosmetics & Personalization:
Indoor and outdoor (yard) design should be a given. Design slots should be completely flexible within a building grid, similar to Minecraft. Do not force players to only put up “one painting per wall” or having to plant “small items in small slots, big items in big slots”. It’s limiting and makes decor feel generic.

Rather than offering x types of homes, let players build individual homes based on resources and property boundaries. Introduce painting, weaving, carpentering and farming professions. Make room and level expansions possible.

Feature nifty items such as a personal mailbox, message board, personal indoor tune, bookshelves (Skyrim), complete collectible themes/styles, quest/raid/guild trophies, pet barns and stables. LOTRO features an amazing score of collectible mounts, yet players cannot have any of them on display?

2) Social tools & opportunities
Instanced or not, every player home should have its unique address that can be looked up by others in a public “address book”. As an ever-curious and nosy explorer, I do not only enjoy traveling into the blue but looking up destinations an seeking out specific places. How about some yellow pages where home owners can add notes on what services or special features they offer?

Making a personal mailbox a requisite in order to receive any ingame mail comes to mind as a next step. Similarly extreme would be the measure of removing the auction house and instead letting players set up shops and vendor NPCs on their property, as was done in UO (and long is the list of players who worship it). Player shops create traffic and interaction, greatly increase the significance of professions and generate income for the owner. While we’re at it – remove banks too and make player houses the only place for safe storage!

Homes should be hubs for trade, gathering and crafting in general. Spending time on building and tending to the environment could each go with specific rewards and buffs. There are some great new ideas in Wildstar’s recent housing dev talk. Furthermore, player houses in the same area should be able to form mini-towns and unlock more features such as townhalls with special quests, market places with unique wares and the option to build custom event stages. Mini-towns could set up donation boxes in order to receive public funding for bigger buildings. Pecuniary administration is of course handled by the town-members elected major.

…Naturally, not all of these ideas are novel and some are obviously already live in LOTRO; however imagining all of them come together and taking it further, one can only muse how deep the rabbit hole of player housing may reach. There’s an untapped goldmine there if a developer is willing to take some bold steps and abandon a  few popular and convenient features that MMO players take for granted nowadays – being able to do and access anything from anywhere among them. It is impossible to restore meaning without limiting certain services in the game in favor of players frequenting their own and each others homes. Too long have city-dwelling NPCs taken over our virtual interactions. Just imagine: riding down your home street in LOTRO to do business at the market square, passing smoking chimneys (representing occupation) and busy neighbours laboring in their front yard. A micro-cosmos of its own. Where do I sign up?

A word on scale

While the recently published Wildstar update is very exciting, there is one thing that irritated me in the video documentary. What I’m talking about is scale which sadly seems to be off in Wildstar’s housing structures and related items, just the way scale is completely off in Guild Wars 2 – something I have lamented since day one. As great as monumental gates and streets made for giants seem at first, and Divinity’s Reach certainly is impressive, an off-balance environment scale in MMOs creates detachment. It feels unnatural and unauthentic in greater quantity. I do not want to sit in chairs that are three times too big for me or open doors that dwarf elephants. It’s hard to immerse myself while going through a Goldilocks experience. It’s not what I personally associate with a cosy home and it doesn’t create the atmosphere I feel when entering my small hut in LOTRO which is exactly the size it should be in relation to who’s supposed to inhabit it. Therefore, dear devs please take note: bigger isn’t always better!


That aside, I look forward to see Wildstar’s flying islands go live. They’ve yet to prove that having homes up in the sky is a good idea, but Carbine are making the biggest buzz about their housing right now and it’s nice to see developers taking this aspect so seriously. I am also super antsy for LOTRO’s update and hope to see a great many changes! To my fellow Middle-Earth travelers: what housing improvements would you like to see most? And what are people’s top must-haves for future player housing? May Wildstar herald much more goodness yet to come!