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Housing

The Repopulation devs on the mission system and non-violent gameplay

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, News Items, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, The Repopulation

Blogger Werit has an exclusive Q&A with Above and Beyond, the team behind upcoming sci-fi sandbox The Repopulation. In it, the developers discuss dynamic missions, which are intended to provide "purpose" to players who crave it rather than to serve as the core means of advancement through the sandbox. In fact, you don't have to do the missions at all to advance your skills, and they'll tailor themselves to your character's choices along the way. Tendencies toward greed, shadiness, and crafting, for example, will all be reflected in mission offerings. "There are taming missions, underworld (thievery/assassination/smuggling) missions, crafting and harvesting missions, etc.," say the devs.

As for non-violent gameplay, there's plenty of it:
Our game and its economy are heavily trade skill oriented. Our crafting system is very complex and has a high degree of customization. Moreover crafted equipment is the top of the line. If you never wanted to pick up a gun, it's completely possible for you to just go out and harvest, or buy resources from other players and then do your crafting. I think most players will also do a little fighting, if for no other reason than mobs will jump you while your out harvesting.

But crafting advancement is not coupled in any way with combat advancement. There are other non-combat skills, as well. Things like the entertainment line which provides long-term buffs for players. Taming mobs to be trained as mounts and sold to other players. Diplomatic skills. Different players enjoy doing different types of things. And we've tried to cater to many playing styles, rather than forcing players down a combat oriented path.
Check out the full interview at Werit's Blog.

Lost Continent: Lucking into a breezy ArcheAge bungalow

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Housing, Lost Continent

My ArcheAge avatar is pretty fortunate. Last Friday night he became the proud owner of a breezy bungalow, which is that big bamboo marine house that you've probably seen in screenshots, videos, and the like.

The bungalow's blueprint costs a whopping 300 gilda stars -- i.e., no small amount for a guildless guy like me who mostly duos his way through Haranya. I'd managed to save 250 of the character-bound gilda by doing various dailies over the past several weeks, but I had a few days to go before I'd finally be able to afford the plans. How did I come up with the balance ahead of schedule, not to mention the boat load of materials required to actually build the house? That's an interesting story, and it's another example of how ArcheAge's mechanics are a necessary breath of fresh air in a stale genre.

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Revival launches its site, aims to sell houses for cash

Horror, News Items, Miscellaneous, Housing, Crowdfunding

It's like a Kickstarter without the kick or the start.
Revival has just opened the doors to its official site, and it's a sandbox online game with skill-based progression. Or it will be, at least. Contrary to what you would expect from that description in the first sentence, though, there is not a Kickstarter to link to. Instead, the game is planning to help fund itself by selling houses. In-game houses. For real-world cash, right upfront, before the game is out and in the live world.

According to the official site, the rationale is that real estate in the game world is limited, and rather than have generic housing templates, every house has pre-determined architecture and layout to properly fit with the world as a whole. You will also be able to buy ships and take part in sailing, again for real-world money. It's the designer's alternative to ever running any sort of Kickstarter or other crowdfunding campaign; whether or not it seems like a sound investment is up to the potential players.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

Final Fantasy XIV's Yoshida on housing, test servers, and post-Fanfest

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, Endgame, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Housing, Subscription

Two Massively employees in the same game at once?  The world is madness.  (No, you get no hints about who.)
Final Fantasy XIV has had a busy year, and it looks to be having a busy next year to boot. The game's first expansion is in the works and planned for a release in spring of 2015, along with another major patch to cap off the game's current patch cycle. And director/producer Naoki Yoshida continues steering the ship, working what I can only assume is a 200-hour week.

I had a chance to ask a few questions of Yoshida around the time of the first two fanfests of the year (the final one is scheduled for December in Tokyo), ranging from housing questions to the promise of public test servers to how hard it will be to establish an Eternal Bond. Jump on past the break to read the full interview!

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ArcheAge's Auroria launches today

Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Housing, Subscription

Novelty?
ArcheAge is scheduled to launch a big new update today on its North American servers. How big? Well, you can get a pretty solid idea just from the patch notes. The game is adding four new zones to be conquered and claimed by players, complete with space to build castles and houses once the claims have been made. There's also a new dungeon being added to the game, giving players uninterested in the land rush something to do with their time.

New recipes have also been added for high-end weapons requiring Gilda Dust to craft. Vehicle stats have seen a rebalancing in an effort to make sure that no single vehicle is the unquestioned best in every field at all times; the vehicles retain unique abilities, but their performance is identical. Check out the full patch notes on the official site and start downloading as soon as you can since this patch is a big one.

[Thanks to Robert for the tip!]

The Repopulation tweaked housing, vehicles, and shops in October

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, The Repopulation, Player-Generated Content

Repopulation
The Repopulation's end-of-October report has arrived, and in it, Above and Beyond outlines the significant improvements made to the sandbox over the last month. Of note, player shops and vendors were added, along with a slew of enhancements to the player housing and city systems, like remote shopping and Star Wars Galaxies-style house relocation. Vehicles and mounts, genetic engineering, rogue nations, the interface, and cosmetic styling also received hefty upgrades.

Capping off the update are 15,845 words' worth of build notes. Yes, we counted.

The devs note that backers not yet invited to the alpha should all be gaining access in November.

The Daily Grind: Do you actually use your MMO house?

Game Mechanics, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Housing, Player-Generated Content

SWG
Every time I go off on a tear about how Star Wars Galaxies' and Ultima Online's houses were so amazing for merchants and traders because of player vendors, one of you always snaps me back to reality: "That's great, Bree, but most MMOs don't have vendors. Most MMOs don't give houses a point at all."

Some of them have tried -- WildStar's homes can provide buffs, Lord of the Rings Online's provide teleports and cheap materials, and lots of games offer safe resource harvesting of one form or another in your home or plot or instance. But most MMO housing boils down to mini-sandboxes where you can build and decorate, so I can understand why MMO gamers might just go play Minecraft or The Sims or another offline game where they can build and decorate in peace and without the interference of grinds and cash shops.

Still, I always decorate my houses and do my best to make use of them when I get them; I like the sense of ownership I feel over that tiny piece of pixelated land. What about you -- do you actually use your MMO houses?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Xsyon opens guilds, housing to F2P players

Business Models, Game Mechanics, Guilds, News Items, Free-to-Play, Xsyon, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, Housing

Xsyon
Hardcore indie sandbox Xsyon introduced a free-to-play option almost two years ago, but the restrictions were brutal. Free players couldn't build in or terraform the world, and they couldn't lead guilds, which the game calls tribes. (Originally, they couldn't even join guilds at all!)

But as of this week, Notorious Games has lifted some of those restrictions. In a press release issued today, the studio explained,
Starting this week, new players can join the Xsyon community and start their own tribe for free. Creating their own homesteads, new free players can shape the land explore the game's extensive architecture system on their own, without the aid of other game citizens!
If you're a free player chafing at ArcheAge's housing restrictions, well, here's a sandbox willing to accommodate you.

The Stream Team: Get in the Halloween spirit with Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Housing, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

October is the best month: cooler temps, colorful leaves, and Halloween! That last one is the reason Massively's MJ loves this fall month so very much, and she's getting into the spirit by visiting various holiday-themed builds in Landmark. There are haunted houses and pumpkins galore -- even a pumpkin carving contest! Join us live at 8:00 p.m. for this spooktacular display of creativity as MJ hops to as many Halloween builds as she can fit in. She'll also have treats to give away (including the new Halloween-themed suit)!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below, and then prepare for Massively's second timed building contest next week! This time it will be a death-defying experience. Interested in showing off your skills and winning in-game codes for participating? Sign up by emailing mj@massively.com!

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Guild Wars 2 requests input on guild halls

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Housing, Buy-to-Play

ArenaNet Design Director Chris Whiteside has given a glimmer of hope to Guild Wars 2 fans hungry for more and better private spaces in the game. Earlier this week, he posed a broad question to the community about how it'd like to see guild halls implemented -- assuming, of course, they are ever to be implemented. ArenaNet has previously stated that it'd like to include guild halls but wasn't actively working on them. Whiteside isn't making any promises either, but it's likely a big hint all the same.

Personal housing was rumored prior to 2012's launch but has since been ostensibly supplanted by weakly upgradeable home instances. Guild Wars 2's elder sibling, Guild Wars, featured decadent instanced guild halls with both PvP and PvE accoutrements. Massively's Anatoli Ingram wrote about housing mechanics in the two games earlier this year.

The Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV and the housing mess, part 2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Housing, Subscription

Because I really enjoy writing this sort of column again.  Thanks, guy.
Wait, part 2? When was part 1 a thing? January, my friends. And while I had prayed for sun, I planned for rain, and that turned out to be a wise move. What happened in the end was unpleasant but entirely unsurprising, as Final Fantasy XIV's second implementation of housing went little better than the first.

In the interests of full disclosure, yes, I am one of the vanishingly small number of people with an in-game house at the moment. I work at home and happened to have both the money and the time to grab myself a place to live in-game. That doesn't mean the system is anything remotely approaching good or even acceptable, which is why I want to spend this week talking about the mess that has been made and what, if anything, can be done to correct this fact. Housing in Final Fantasy XIV is a sore spot right now, and that's a problem, especially when it doesn't have to be.

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Test Shroud of the Avatar, get a hat

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

SOTA
Release 10 access for Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar sandbox begins Thursday morning, according to an update on the Kickstarter portal. This release is primarily a polish patch, Portalarium says, but housing utility, PvP, and population density were addressed as well:
We also made changes to increase player population densities in the game because we observed players becoming more and more spread out as we added more scenes; especially scenes with player housing. Speaking of player housing, we also noticed many people claiming houses, but not actually using nor decorating them. To address both these issues, we reduced the number of scenes with player housing and we introduced costs to lot claiming and house deed purchases (deeds can be purchased from the bartender in Owl's Head). We also reduced the number of PVP arenas to only two. Hopefully this will concentrate the players in fewer areas, and increase the number of decorated buildings.
In far more important news, SOTA's devs admit that testing participation has been falling off with successive releases; to entice players to test, FREE HAT. No, really; you get a free special hat for completing a quest in each release.

SOTA was greenlit on Steam last weekend after just a few days of campaigning. The full release notes can be found on the official website.

MapleStory 2 shows off its housing system

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, News Items, Housing

Oh, good, we're going to hear another round of complaints about land pricing and availability.  Boy, this will be fun.
MapleStory 2 is not going to make your character live on the streets. Probably not, anyway; the new video on housing makes it appear that space is limited for buying and building a house or a room, but players will have the option of doing either. Yes, there's housing, and the video just past the break shows it off in all its glory, even if the narration will be a bit difficult to follow for the non-Korean-speaking members of our audience.

While open-world plots are rather expensive, rooms can also be purchased for characters to use, offering many of the same benefits. Some decorations are purely cosmetic, while others offer a function; the video shows off using a cabinet for storage and a mannequin for quickly changing to a new gear set. There's also the option to quickly teleport back to your home as necessary once you own one. Check out the full video past the break for a clearer picture of the housing setup.

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Working As Intended: Lessons from the history of MMO housing

World of Warcraft, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Vanguard, RIFT, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Working As Intended, Landmark

Hustis House - Daniel Case
Once upon a time, a subscription MMORPG sandbox had open-world housing, only there wasn't quite enough for everyone. Well, there was, but there wasn't enough of it in safe lands, so a lot of the people who wanted a place to live had to live in dangerous places they didn't like, places where they could be killed on their doorstep by other players. Even most of the plots in the safe lands were so remote or allowed for such small homes that they were undesirable. In fact, there were only a few housing plots on every server that afforded a strategic advantage in PvP or trade or storage, and if you didn't own one of those, you were at a distinct disadvantage. And when new lands opened up, scripters and gold farmers were first in line to grab the best plots and sell them on Ebay for hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of dollars. And legit players were pissed.

I speak, of course, not of ArcheAge but of Ultima Online.

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The Stream Team: Win a Settler's Pack while touring Landmark

Betas, Video, Contests, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, Housing, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

The Stream Team:  Win a Settler's Pack while touring Landmark
Are you interested in having full beta access to Landmark so that you can build, gather resources, and PvP to your heart's content (not to mention get some free goodies)? Then join Massively's MJ on her next tour! On top of wandering the world and experiencing the various creative endeavors of players, she'll have a code for a Settler's Founders Pack to give away. That's not all, either: She has other codes as well, including the new glass platforms! So join us live at 8:00 p.m. for your chance to win.

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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