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Posted: May 25th 2011 2:14PM (Unverified) said

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Housing might be one thing to rekindle my interest in an otherwise been-there, done-that title. In fact a good chunk of my current interest in Aion is that it'll be one of the few modern-day titles with housing as of the 3.0 patch.

Posted: May 25th 2011 2:16PM Jef Reahard said

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Great read. I'll be the first to stand up and say RIFT kicks ass (or maybe more ass, I dunno) if Trion takes your advice.

To me the most fascinating part of this debate is people who argue passionately against housing, and against more features in general (usually in favor of "polish"). The same silly phenomenon surrounds EVE's Incarna updates. "Oh no, my number-crunching arcade game might turn into a virtual world (one in which I can still limit myself to combat if I choose), the horror!"

It's like some folks want MMOs to be nothing more than Diablo and at that point, why aren't we just playing Diablo?

Posted: May 25th 2011 2:25PM (Unverified) said

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@Jef Reahard

I almost feel as though WoW stole six years of worthwhile development from the industry. When I got into the genre (with EQ, no less. I wasn't even aware of what UO had to offer!) I always thought the nature of an MMO - the persistent world, the large amount of people online at one time, should result in development towards "virtual worlds" instead of "murder simulators". I thought it was heading that way after SWG, but nooo...

I'm glad some people in the industry are finally taking notice. I would love to see Trion join their ranks. As a company, I think they're great, I'm just not a fan of their current game and I think they talk themselves up a lot without ever really trying to work outside the box. Housing would be a major step in the right direction.
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Posted: May 25th 2011 7:48PM mysecretid said

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@Jef Reahard

"To me the most fascinating part of this debate is people who argue passionately against housing, and against more features in general (usually in favor of "polish"). The same silly phenomenon surrounds EVE's Incarna updates. "Oh no, my number-crunching arcade game might turn into a virtual world (one in which I can still limit myself to combat if I choose), the horror!"

It's like some folks want MMOs to be nothing more than Diablo and at that point, why aren't we just playing Diablo?"

Quoted for the shiny bright light of truth. Thanks, Jef!

And thanks to you too, Justin!
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Posted: May 25th 2011 2:23PM Triskelion said

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IMO, any MMO looking to implement player housing should just copy what Asherons Call has done, I spent countless hours in my house and to this day it was one of my fondest memories in any MMO (getting that first house).

I've been banging on Rift quite a bit because to be honest I was really unimpressed with what they've done. But if they pull this off it would certainly change my impression of the game.

Posted: May 25th 2011 5:25PM SnarlingWolf said

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@Triskelion

Asheron's Call's housing is fun, but so is the entire game. Most of the early MMOs had housing and let you do some fun things with it (The Realm, UO, AC). I think it was the fact that although UO, EQ, and AC were all close to one another with player numbers at their prime, every studio that came after copied EQ because it was the most marketted. EQ didn't have houses so these new games decided not to as well.


As for why Rift is having free server transfers? Because it added more servers to handle the initial player load and the game is hemorraging players and they're going to have to either a) try and balance the pops across servers or B) move players from the dying servers to the others and shut those servers down.
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Posted: May 25th 2011 2:24PM Scopique said

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Great throwdown. Time for Trion to step up and be bold(er)

Posted: May 25th 2011 2:28PM Carolina said

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Housing is also a way for players to actually create public places, as I've seen in both Lotro and EQ2: set it where anyone can visit the house, and you can create taverns, inns, shops, and whatever other scenarios you might wish. It's a jewel for roleplaying or for just plain fun.

Posted: May 25th 2011 2:29PM hereafter said

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You didn't mention how it would be implemented. I'm not really familiar with player housing in MMOs because I never played EQ2 nor SWG. Rift seems to be rather... economical with is space, so where would these houses go? Would they be instanced in different outposts or towns? Instancing would be weird because you'd essentially have people sharing the same space.

I accept housing if players want it and devs want to provide it, but it really feels like something that should be built in from the beginning if they want to do it properly. When a game is designed to be all about questing and killing in the open world and no space is given for housing and none of the game systems are built around it, it just feels wrong. Suddenly they have to add a bunch of extra loot and crafting stuff to make the system work and even then it feels separate from the rest of the experience. Basically I want things like housing to be done right, not just tacked onto a game to awkwardly satisfy a desire that some player have.

Posted: May 25th 2011 2:42PM Oskari said

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@hereafter

They are instanced neighborhoods in LOTRO.
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Posted: May 25th 2011 2:49PM hereafter said

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@Oskari

Yeah, but one of the OP's points was that housing in Rift could be jeopardized by Rift invasions. An instanced neighborhood wouldn't quite fit with that.

But of course that just brings me back to my point that housing should be integrated from the start. I don't mind instances, but the devs should still find a way to make it meaningful to both you and other players.
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Posted: May 25th 2011 2:32PM (Unverified) said

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I could not agree with you more. The lack of Player Housing, and the frankly embarrasing attempt at crafting are two of the main reasons I don't play Rift. I can get away from the hyper-linear questing, but I truly need housing and crafting to stick with a game. Rifts and invasions became tedious and boring for me even before Beta was done, so while they are great innovations, they don't make a game playable long term.

Posted: May 25th 2011 2:40PM Enikuo said

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Housing would probably be the tipping point for me with Rift. I wish it was genuinely a standard feature in MMOs.

Posted: May 25th 2011 2:40PM Oskari said

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It would be interesting, as a Defiant, to lead an open raid on Guardian player housing (or the other way around). It would have an interesting effect in PVP for sure.

Posted: May 25th 2011 2:40PM Daemodand said

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The only proper way to do housing is if people can see your house in the game world, and enter by simply walking in the front door. Instanced housing is all but worthless (out of sight out of mind).

The only problem with the approach is the urban sprawl that can result. Galaxies' reasonably large worlds have had a lot of potentially breathtaking and iconic scenery destroyed by all the player houses.

At the end of the day, what is player housing? It's storage combined with a decorating mini-game. And these games already have storage, so that leaves the mini-game of decorating being the only thing of value that's really being added. Is that worth the development time and the sprawl? There was a time when I would have said "yes", but these days I'm not so sure.

Posted: May 25th 2011 2:46PM hereafter said

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@Daemodand

Exactly. I think people don't quite think it through when they clamor for housing. It needs to be visible and you need to be able to show it off, otherwise the only way for people to see it will be if you invite them. Strangers wouldn't care, so that leaves existing friends, so how exactly would this encourage further socialization? I don't like the idea of playing some 'forever alone' decorating mini-game and I don't understand why housing fans would want some half-assed version either.
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Posted: May 25th 2011 3:00PM Jef Reahard said

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@hereafter

I disagree.

EQII's housing is instanced, and it's also superior to SWG, VG, and other open-world housing minigames in terms of the sheer number of options, immersiveness, etc. Google image search some EQII guild halls to see what I mean.

House owners are given the option to set their homes to public or private, and the vast majority of those that spend a lot of time decorating set them to public (which means anyone can walk in and visit at any time).
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Posted: May 25th 2011 3:07PM Enikuo said

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@Daemodand I disagree. I think instanced housing is fine. I'm happy decorating it for myself and inviting (dragging) my friends in to see it.

I have played multiple games with housing in it. I loved it. I spent a lot of time on it. So, it's not that I haven't "thought it through."

I'm not against the idea of housing in the game world, but I certainly wouldn't characterize it as "the only proper way."
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Posted: May 25th 2011 3:08PM hereafter said

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@Jef Reahard

But you have to admit that a tacked on system with a token number of options is not a good solution (not saying Rift would do it poorly). I'd like to see a game where PvE and PvP activities give meaningful trophies for a home and where other game content relies on/encourages utilizing the housing. It should be optional, but still rewarding in a real gameplay sense, but that's just me.

For the record, I really like the idea of Guild Halls. That's different to me because it's about getting the guilds together and making guild membership meaningful. Those have a practical application beyond personal decorating. So long as essential services remain in the cities and town, guild halls are okay. And again, I'm not against personal housing, I'm just against game systems being done poorly or without regards to how they interact with other systems in the game.
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Posted: May 25th 2011 3:11PM NeverDeath said

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@Daemodand

I completely agree that instanced housing is pointless.
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