*this post got deleted somehow – reinstating it*
… to me at least 🙂 It’s not my primary motivation for playing a game and there doesn’t have to be a housing system in order for me to enjoy or play a game. I like playing RPGs (whether they are single person or MMOs) for the challenge, the sense of progression, the story and to explore. However a game that has a good housing system makes me feel as though my character belongs to the world, a house literally makes a home. It’s a place to return to while you take stock (literally with your inventory, metaphorically with your in-game goals and progression), a place to hang out with friends (especially if there are interactive items) or a place to noodle around while you’re waiting for your group to get together. A good housing system will keep me returning to the game years after I’ve stopped playing (I haven’t played EQ2 as an MMO since early 2010, however I still pop back regularly to look around my houses and to do some decorating, occasionally get drawn into adventuring and I’ve kept up to date with the expansion packs… :O. I can’t admit the amount of hours I’ve sunk into Skyrim and how many houses I’ve tried out)
The most important functions of a housing system for me are:
- display of in-game achievements (e.g. weapons, armour sets, trophies)
- being able to customise and decorate your surroundings
- a library with in-game books
EQ2 has the best housing system in an MMO that I’ve seen. As well as being highly customisable (with a lot of housing item support) it is also functionable. There are six housing vaults (you can place storage boxes in and last time I looked you could have 6 x 40 slot boxes). There is a housing item which holds a generous amount of crafting materials, when combined with an in house crafting table you can craft very easily within your own home. EQ2 has mannequins where you can display weapon and armour sets. Heritage and Signature quest rewards (these are challenging, lengthy quest chains) can usually be turned into a housing item, there are various paintings and items which will port you to specific places within Norrath (e.g. carpet to Poet’s Palace, painting to Thurgadin Harbour), named mob trophies (heroic and raid) and that’s really the tip of the iceberg. Oh yes, and books… in-game readable books… books can found by clicking in game or as a quest reward, some are very rare…. they are written by devs and there are books written by players… they can be displayed and read… *drool* I’ve said this before, but seeing as I can’t have my dream personal library in real life… I have to make do with virtual ones 🙂
Skyrim also has a very good housing system, both game provided and modded by the community. You can upgrade your surroundings to include crafting areas, bookshelves, upgraded decor, etc etc. Customising your house beyond that is generally by downloading mods written by other players. The DLC Hearthfire allows you to build your own house(s), add various wings (e.g. kitchen, library), hire NPCs (a bard, a transport carriage, a housecarl) and have your husband (or wife) live there with you and cook you meals. I dislike that the physics system applies in the houses as it is very easy to knock stuff off shelves and then be forever kicking it around on the floor… (although that was my storage solution in Oblivion) However, the placement of books on a bookshelf is very well done (you open a panel, choose the books to place and the game places them on the shelf for you). There is plenty of storage available, you are able to display weapons and armour sets and some in-game achievements. There are also plenty of books to collect 🙂
Lotro’s housing system is OK. The idea of instanced neighbourhoods was nice but hasn’t really worked (if there was a system by which your house could always be in a populated neighbourhood or attached to your kin’s neighbourhood it would have a better chance but as it stands, I think communities in MMOs are too fluid even at the best of times for this to really work). The houses and neighbourhoods are very nice to look at and are customisable to a certain extent. You have some limited options to change the texture and appearance of walls and flooring with plenty of colour options for those. There is also a decent amount of housing items within the game however, the amount of items and the placement of items is severely limited (the item hook system has a lot to answer for) – in fact it’s so severely limited that it makes decorating and all those lovely housing items largely irrelevant. There is a decent amount of storage available and you can display raid trophies. However there are no in-game books (1 or 2 ‘display books’ but they are not readable).
I suppose I ought to mention Rift as I have heard many people talk about how amazing their housing system is. I have checked it out and tried to find out further information about their system but given that I’ve only dipped into Rift I can’t talk about it with any authority. From what I’ve seen and read, Rift’s housing is very beautiful and very customisable however I couldn’t find out if it had any functions (e.g. armour display, books, storage, crafting etc). The impression I got is that it is an artistic space, somewhere to create. If anyone reading can correct me or provide information (or where to look) about Rift’s housing – I’d be really grateful:)
So, for me, EQ2 has the absolute best system and Skyrim comes in a close second. Lotro’s system does trail behind somewhat. What I would like to see in Lotro is free placement of items and an increase in number of items able to be placed. Mannequins to display cosmetic or armour sets and a wardrobe connected to the virtual wardrobe cosmetic would also be great. Readable and placeable books would also be very cool. If Lotro updated the housing system to include those items, that would bump it up to joint second. There is a housing update coming at some point for Lotro, so it will be interesting to see what they do.
I’ve read that The Elder Scrolls Online won’t be launching with player housing which is fairly disappointing, especially given that player housing has always been a feature throughout The Elder Scrolls series (except Morrowind where you couldn’t actually purchase a house, I seem to remember). Hopefully, like the Thieves’ Guild, it’ll be coming in a later update.
9 Comments Add yours
A good housing system is something I enjoy a lot. Not only for the reasons you mentioned but because it is also a way to actually modify and leave my mark in an otherwise immutable world.
I am also guilty of returning to EQ2 to just play with the housing part… In fact, that happened recently and I am building an alchemy shop for my assassin there (hopefully it will be done soon!)
Have you played Fallout 4? And if so, what are your thoughts on the settlement system?
I do miss a good housing system – I think EQ2 has spoiled us for other games!
I do have a copy of Fallout but I haven’t played it – it’s not my normal type of game, though I should really give it a go I think – at least to check out the housing maybe 😉
Hi mate – glad you found your post again 🙂
I used to be in the camp of wanting housing, but after Second Life (owning a tropical island, building an Apalacian log cabin from scratch, living in a Tuscan style village by the sea, opening a 1940’s noir-esque detective agency, and squatting in a steampunk wild west Portland slum) and LOTRO I think I’ve given up on the notion because I’ve never been so alone as when I’ve been in my house.
I think I’d like to see a housing system that is either tied into the open world of a major hub or based around the guild, with my preference being for the former over the latter. I’d really like to see hub cities used for much more than trading and banking and I think a constant cycle of events and mini-festivals (like religious holidays more than 3 week long game festivals) would make the cities come alive and really make me want to have a house in them.
I did hear that the housing in Wildstar was good because you could build there, but I never played.
thanks 🙂 Very glad I got it back – thanks to Mr GGG himself 😉 I’m planning on writing a further post and I really wanted to link back to this one so I didn’t have to repeat myself 🙂 I just have to sort out the formatting of the last para – its being a bugger…
I think with the phasing tech (rather than instanced – I think I’m getting the lingo right anyway :P) we are getting closer to feeling like we are still part of the larger town, but even these phased houses don’t include players… Tbh in BDO that’s a good thing as otherwise you’d have your beautiful view of the sea blocked by 10 horse and carts…. 🙂
I’m definitely up for festivals – actually EQ2 (yeah yeah I know… “EQ2 bla! bla! bla!” said in Hotel Transylvania vampire voice) has more festivals that you can shake a stick at plus the ability to build your own (game is free but the land space to build may involve some money…) it is instanced though….
Reblogged this on Blog de la Burro and commented:
Elda, the shadowed star, has written a really interesting post about housing in MMOs and I think you should all go and read it now. and leave her a comment too 🙂
I love housing in games, they make me feel like I belong there, that I am part of that world and not just an aimless traveller. I love my houses in Skyrim – my bookshelves. I love returning to them and admiring my handywork. I love my stronghold in SWTOR, I feel powerful 🙂 and I so enjoy running around my little patch in Wildstar. In Fallou 4 – I am the boss, I got it covered with all my canons and machine guns 🙂 and I am sure ESO will eventually introduce housing as well, can’t wait! 🙂
Having a home in a virtual world is part of the experience. For a couple of hours everything is shut out and I live in that virtual world, so it stands to reason that I want my own little place in that universe….and I get to show off my achievements 🙂 And if I can invite my friends over for a visit, well that’s even better 🙂
yeah 🙂 totally agree – its nice to have a place that you’ve put your stamp on, somewhere you can either be totally alone and relax or have your mates over for a party 🙂