Player Housing in MMORPGs - Is it here yet?

player housing

Several emotions come to mind when it comes to owning a personal space in a MMORPG, including excitement, pride, and belonging. What better way for your character to become invested in the community than to put down roots with the purchase of a private home! Regardless of the game, most players enjoy the option to own property -- whether they take the opportunity or not. According to the website Massively, player housing has “had a long and interesting history ever since Ultima Online pioneered the idea.”

 

Paid members of the MMORPG Runescape are able to build houses from the ground up -- quite literally, along with furniture and other accessories by milling the lumber, et cetera. In a blog titled “kfsone’s pittance” the author states:

 

The Star Wars Galaxies housing system was incredible, but don’t give it too much credit: it was actually the SWG engine that made it possible to have such an impressive housing system. Users basically had a limited subset of the content creation tools, what made the SWG system so user-impressive was the content available, which was fundamentally stock game content.

 

All five games produced by Iron Realms offer characters some way to buy their own house, although the security on such places vary from one game to the next. Because all five MMORPGs are text-based, each player sets their own creative limits based on their own imagination and what they want for their character. Even if the house is just a single room, it could be anything from a causal cabana to a formal meeting space befitting a palace. Aside from a plot of land or a room to decorate, owning a home comes with other benefits as well.

 

Why is MMORPG Player Housing Important?

Sense of Belonging

Anyone can claim citizenship within a city, but homeowners are more likely to care about the laws of the city -- especially ones about real estate! It really gives players a sense of belonging when their character can invite friends and family into their personal home and show off their interior design talents. And players with large real estate investments are more likely to respect the laws of the city! In the popular Iron Realms game Achaea, the city of Cyrene places a wall on plots owned by city enemies, thus rendering the space unusable until the enemy has paid their fine and served out their sentence..

 

Organizational Purposes

It’s not unusual for a member of guild, house, clan, or other organization to lend their personal property to the organizational membership. Unlike official buildings, it provides a more relaxed atmosphere. Members can meet there for either recreational purposes, or something more functionary like when interviewing potential members or hosting events with non-member allies or other groups. Imperian, another of the games produced by Iron Realms, is certainly no stranger to this. Clans are a good example of organizations within the MMORPG that use personal homes as organizational meeting spaces.

 

Overall Stability

Player housing not only keeps the players coming back, but it also adds longevity to the MMORPG. I have a character in the Iron Realms game Lusternia that didn’t really work out. However, every so often I find myself logging in, just to check out my cool house! Unlike my real house it never needs dusting or vacuuming, the windows never need washed, and nobody’s complaining for me to pick my things up off the floor. I own property in other Iron Realms games also, and the best part is knowing that in most cases, nobody is able to enter without my expressed permission, and anything I leave in my virtual home will be there when I return -- unless it decays in my absense, of course!

 

Player housing is the lifeblood of social media games such as Second Life and IMVU, and keeps members logging back in as new and better upgrades for housing become available. However, World of Warcraft manages to survive without the benefit of lockable houses, for either players or guilds. Whether it creates frustration for management and developers, risks changing the format or lore of the game, or whatever other reason, it’s just not an option there. As for me, I’ll continue playing my favorite text games from Iron Realms, where I can enjoy all the benefits of player housing at my leisure.

 

Author: Sid Jennings

Editor: Tony Celentano

Poll: 
Is player housing important to you?

Comments

I love the player housing in Iron Realms but I hate subdivisions. I wish housing in Achaea worked more like ship harbours.

Agreed, but I like the idea of a star-like setup better.

I get so damn lost in subdivisions it's not even funny.

 

you just have to LOOK!

Achaea....

Agreed, but getting a place outside the subdivision is so expensive

Subs are okay, but my primitive mapper gets owned by the rooms :( I need to edit it at some point..

A better way to map subdivisions needs to be made. Better than the ones already provided I mean.

It's not bad. It's rather expensive, but in many ways it is worth it.

I concur.

Yep

Yes

Yeah, the expense is what got to me. I guess if you get a random house NOT in a city then you don't have to worry about that though.

Having a house/plot not in the subs in a city is even more expensive. (Plus maintenance etc.) :(

:)

:)

Achaea!!!

double that :)

Aethermanses win by a long shot (-:

That they do.

 

Ashtan!

Housing is nice, I'm going to open a hotel.

That'd be cool.

One of the major ones is being able to sleep without fear of a dreamweaver being able to float to you, and kill you in yoursleep. Provides a real sense of security ;)

Currently in Achaea you aren't safe in a House unless you own a bed. You're usually better off sleeping in a public room with a guard stack. At least no one will be able to prism to you there.

it takes a lot of patience to search out such rooms, which is why it is my practice to do my best not to make enemies

Just persistant thieves.

Last I remember, there was a feature added in Achaea about two months ago that made it so that you can make rooms in housing non-prism.  Expensive as crap, though.

Anything helpful or convenient like that is

Player-owned houses are great - I wish they were featured in more games.

Mudsex dens ftw

It's not as much fun if people can't stumble upon you in the act.

not

I had some idiots yelling at me when I was fishing in upstream from the spot they chose.

 

Get a room, sickos!

Imperian doesn't have subdivisions, the houses are all just right on the map. We also don't have wilderness, though.

Aetolia just kinda has them strewn all over the place.  Weird system that makes for annoying mapping.

this guy is sexy

...You just replyed to your own post just to praise youself?

 

Back on topic:

Yes, I think player housing is amazing. However, I personally do not like the current subdivison system. I'm not sure what it is about it, but I jjust don't like it, heh.

I hope I will manage to open a dojo in Shallam one day!

It will burn.

OT: Housing is cool, I suppose. Only reason I don't like subs, is because my mapper gets owned by the rooms.

 

Yeah, never really safe in a house in Imperian, as they're all connected to an existing area.

I swear we had an article about player housing just a few weeks ago...

Hai Antidas!! (gettin' my daily cred)

I think Lusternia's got the best player house system. It can be a house, it can be a shop, it can be a mini-city, it can be a spaceship... And you have total control over who can enter it, or even who can open specific doors.

Okay, that sounds awesome, I'm tempted to try Lusternia now...

I think it would be a pretty cool idea if there was a secret 'house' that I could enter through the grove that I imprinted.  That would be neat.

That what makes them special. Know every tom. dick and harry will not have one makes them special. My family rents an apartment in the city and we meet there regularly to have family time and bond. I love it.

I can't wait to build mine one day.

I just feel the need to thank everyone involved in this article for not using the word 'addicting' even once, thanks!

The idea of player housing has always intrigued me although I have never reached the place to have one for myself, the idea at least gives me a goal.

I love housing, if it is done right. I mainly like housing just to create something interesting, and to build a place to store things or hangout. I wouldn't like housing if it was a preset build like some games I've played.

 

Not enough games offer interesting housing. Ultima Online offered it back in the 90s, and it was open world housing too! Although, open world housing can be problematic if not limited, otherwise you'll have fields of houses.

But sold them all eventually. I don't have much use for them in a text game.

I like to think they have the best and cheapest method for housing. No credit purchase necessary. :D

Its the same in MKO. If you bash for gold, you can have enough to buy your house in a week or less if you really want to. Otherwise it is easily done in a fortnight. 35 gold to get started then 15g per subsequent room. Though I think one midkemian gold is worth around 10000 imperian gold. Or maybe 1000. Too tired to do the math.

10000 imperian gold.

And to get 35 gold in a week, you need to spend several hours during the day, like three or four no ?

Yup. It takes up a hella lot of time, 2 weeks is more realistic.

...Later, though. Despite the insane amount of time I already spend on this game, I'm usually not all there to bash in safety. Plus, I want my rifts. D: Travel time = 0!

:)

:)

%

%

?

?

hello

its nice and all that. I don't feel safe in a house really and hardly go to the ones I can access. Not going to waste credits to make it kill prisms.

I think the reason why I love the housing is...like others have mentioned you feel safe sleeping without the fear of a theif attacking, but even in your house you can be disturbed. 

 

Say hi to Dorth :-)

But for now I have so many other things I'd rather spend my credits on!

Who needs a house when you have a haven! 

I echo some of the comments above; Lusternia's aetherhousing is definitely awesome. The owner/maker gets (almost) full control on everything. Practically anything you can imagine can be done with aethermanses.

Yes, Lusternia definitely wins this category in IRE, if only because they are something everyone can have, and they're detached from any organizational allegiance. I hated in Imperian that you could spend hundreds of thousands on gold on a home, and then if you shifted to a new org you lost your home and everything in it.

Not knowing anything about MKO's housing, I think Aetolia and Lusternia are the two IRE games that have done it properly, with end-game havens and aetherplexes. They're just the right balance between isolated enough to be "safe", and connected to the game so you can still see what's going on and chat with people (otherwise you may as well log off).

I own a subdivision plot in Achaea that I can never use because if my attention lapses for 12 seconds, I risk someone breaking in via prism tattoo, potentially starting a raid, and being a huge headache for my city that will be blamed on me. If I want to look at something in another window, idling on a guard stack will cause me way less anxiety.

In MKO lore (bookwise) There is a place called Honest Johns, which is in a place known as the hall of worlds. (The hall of Worlds in MKO serves as a portal hub for level 100 players) Honest Johns does not feature in MKO but in the lore it is a place that exists outside the normal laws of the universe and time stands still there, Honest Johns is a constantly expanding Inn, where John rents out sections to clients from all over the universe. It would be neat if they could implement Honest Johns with the option of buying a plot (estate) from him which would not be tied to your city or a nutral location.

Honest Johns does exist in MKO. :P Just not in the way you're describing. It's in Tyr-Sog, which you can find using DIR GLOBAL.

NICE!! I will look into that. Awesome.

!

I never been interested in owning an house, even though I must admit that housetokens (a house you can place almost anywhere) has some interesting uses. 

Like what?

I want an Aethership in Achaea :o

Aetherships in Achaea would be incredibly cool.

Aetherships anywhere would be incredibly cool.

Aethermanses!

Cool for RP purposes, but sort of pointless now that we have havens. 

I disagree on the Haven point, Soramizu. Not all of us are so dedicated to bashing! I like the apartment idea, though.

Wish I had a house so I could relate!

Player housing is one of the things I'm excited for. Someday I'll have my own plot...

.. it was to get myself a house on a plot of land. I don't regret it. I think it's fun to have somewhere you can chill in private.

Doesn't seem like that much of a big deal to me.  Ships seem like a better investment.

I do not own either. Can you use a ship like a house?

 

A ship is a private player-owned place like a house, but it can get you to islands not accessible otherwise and you can trade and do deep-sea fishing or diving.

both houses and land are expensive, but probably worth it if it fits your characters RP

Its great being able to describe a home any way you like but I wish homes were safer places. It would be nice to have one place to go on the mainland where you did not have to worry about being invaded.

It's quite a big deal in the sense of the term "role playing" to have something as universal as a home for your character. If you think about it in a realistic sense, it's kinda awkward to think of a world full of vagabonds, especially if you're trying to play a role. Not everyone's a hobo.

I just usually log out from an inn, but it's hard to find somewhere to sleep.

It's funny looking at this picture... that is my dream house I have been thinking of building in Achaea... I have always had this idea to build a chaos tower... but currently all it is is one big web of chaos with no additional rooms, too many priorities like buying the vadi system and such! But anyways one day...

My ship is my house, and I own a second house on mainland. One day I hope to build a garden there. The subs are indeed a bit of a nuisance, mainly because of the blocked passages.

A haven seems like a great reward. Still a long way to go.

I like them. Yep yep. Also useful for clan headquarters and the like.

I love the housing in Lusternia, it is just worded weirdly as manses/aether stuff hehe.

I think it is a good thing to have available, after all it can be a safe place to get away and visit with friends or hide away and read scrolls.

I just wish Achaea got rid of the subdivisions and let people live directly in the cities. It would move the houses a lot closer to the rest of the world and at the same time increase the perceived size of the cities. Both would add to the game's atmosphere.

When it comes to player housing in IRE games, I really think that Lusternia has one of the best systems. I don't care much for the subdivision layouts that some of the games use. I find Lusternia's system easy to navigate and to find places you are looking for. They are multi-functioning, serving as either aetherships, houses or even shops. There is almost no limit to the things you can add to your house, or manse as they are called on Lusternia. The Admins are continually adding new things that can improve manses. And with the cartel and player designed furniture the sky really is the limit on how you can decorate, and whats even better is that if you don't like any of the exsiting furnishing you can always design your own. Let your creative spark go and the space you create will truely be your own, the only thing holding you back is you.

 

Housing is always nice.

is where the heart is

Even better if it is privacy

Yea... Houses rock!

Maybe one day

Houses don't give back nearly enough to justify the huge cost. Now if you could build towers or fortresses with moats and drawbridges or whatever you wanted to defend your house with and you could also hire guards to man the bulwarks, much like our shiping system has swashbucklers and then you could upgrade to having balistia, flaming oil to be poured down upon your invaders... Oh yes did I mention that you could hire a denizen invading team to raid anothers fort in order to see if it could be pillaged for a few thousand gold or some such reward?

Of course limitations would have to be placed on the piliging but if there were some kind of way to make owning a house more like owning a ship I could see how they would be much more fun. I can certainly think of a few people I would like to throw in my dungeon, MuWAHAHAHAHA.

I'll rather spend my gold\credits on skills\arties first

Same for me, but I need so many credits for artifacts :(

stupid not to!

And should be treated as such

I think there's a lot more potential for room upgrades - like the ones being discussed on achaea's forums at the moment - but they often come out too expensive for me to consider them seriously.

Housing doesn't work in a lot of MMOs because many don't have the sandbox nature of MUDs. In WoW, for example, what would you do with a house? The only thing a house would be used for would be to have a /dance party or to maybe display physical versions of achievements. In MUDs, it seems that interaction with other people and politics are part of the experience, so the houses see use as part of gameplay.

Housing was the promise that drew me from EQ to WoW...and then they never went through with it :(

I Never even knew WoW had planned for housing. With their player base it would be almost impossible.

I agree that housing is way to expensive. I also am saving for an artifact instead as I believe it will be much more rewarding to have the artifact than the house, however if owning a house were more like owning a ship in respects to cost, things that can be done with it, upkeep, denizens that can be hired to go along with it, ect. I believe it would be rewarding enough to change the situation. Lots of people have ships that never will buy a house.

 

Some kind of new house would have to be created though, you can't just cut the cost of housing in half all of the sudden because it would not be fair to all those who have paid so much for the houses they now have.

As for a safe place to rest which was mentioned in an above post, Instead of a house with a bed it would be much cheaper and safer to rest in a ship which is docked at a harbour. Raise the gangplank and forget your troubles.

The problem with creating such options for housing, the real problem with that, is the moment you implement it as a cool feature, you force everyone to go along with it. Because even if I don't care about combat and house raiding, I'll still need to defend myself from those who do, forcing me to invest more and more in ever bigger and better combat capabilities for my house.

It's exactly one of the things I hate about seafaring at the moment. I don't like combat but I'm forced to learn marine warfare because even though I'll never attack anyone, I can be sure that, at some point, someone will try to attack me.

When i sail, I just want to take it easy, fish and explore, when I go home I want to relax. I don't want to have to be worried about being attacked in either situation. 

QFT good points

it was

A house is a good idea at the very least as a place to return to when you want to quit the game and to start from on your return.

Good topic. I'm surprised the article didn't mention some of the differences with housing (manses) in Lusternia.

Manses are off-prime (think beds in Achaea, you can't scry/qw people, except you can still communicate with the outside world). This makes them very secure (nice for idling and logging in/out safely) and good for privacy. In Achaea there seemed to be an obsession with scrying and using thirdeye/who to stalk and harass other players. Only the rich could escape this (450 credits for a bed, was it?) and even then, people make assumptions if you enter a bed - it is, after all, a bed. With manses, you get all the privacy and safety without the drama.

Manses also have lots of upgrades - for example you can buy farms that produce commodities for you! Unlike the other games, their furniture has more practical use (sleeping on a bed actually energizes you faster, storing armour and weapons in a rack preserves them from decaying, sitting on your throne boosts your charisma, etc). Actually this last bit is the primary incentive for me personally to have my own home.

Also, housing price in the different games can vary widely. In Achaea it was 50 credits per room, if I remember right, while in Lusternia it's just 350k gold for the first room and 150k for each thereafter. Even at the current high market that equals out to only about 13 credits. This makes it more accessible to more players, not yet another luxury item only credit-buyers can afford.

It also makes it not as big a deal if you get enemied to a city and your manse was connected to it; rather than taking away something expensive which was often bought with RL money, they'll simply disconnect it from their city and you can still get to it from neutral ground in the middle of the Basin. It's even possible to have a single manse connected to multiple cities at once.

And lastly they're very versatile. You don't need to buy a separate ship for an outrageous amount of money like in Achaea, you can turn your manse into one. You can even have your own shop within it. So a single manse could serve as shop, ship, home, and more.

Yeah that sounded like an ad for Lusternia, sorry! ;) 

Good topic. I'm surprised the article didn't mention some of the differences with housing (manses) in Lusternia.

Manses are off-prime (think beds in Achaea, you can't scry/qw people, except you can still communicate with the outside world). This makes them very secure (nice for idling and logging in/out safely) and good for privacy. In Achaea there seemed to be an obsession with scrying and using thirdeye/who to stalk and harass other players. Only the rich could escape this (450 credits for a bed, was it?) and even then, people make assumptions if you enter a bed - it is, after all, a bed. With manses, you get all the privacy and safety without the drama.

Manses also have lots of upgrades - for example you can buy farms that produce commodities for you! Unlike the other games, their furniture has more practical use (sleeping on a bed actually energizes you faster, storing armour and weapons in a rack preserves them from decaying, sitting on your throne boosts your charisma, etc). Actually this last bit is the primary incentive for me personally to have my own home.

Also, housing price in the different games can vary widely. In Achaea it was 50 credits per room, if I remember right, while in Lusternia it's just 350k gold for the first room and 150k for each thereafter. Even at the current high market that equals out to only about 13 credits. This makes it more accessible to more players, not yet another luxury item only credit-buyers can afford.

It also makes it not as big a deal if you get enemied to a city and your manse was connected to it; rather than taking away something expensive which was often bought with RL money, they'll simply disconnect it from their city and you can still get to it from neutral ground in the middle of the Basin. It's even possible to have a single manse connected to multiple cities at once.

And lastly they're very versatile. You don't need to buy a separate ship for an outrageous amount of money like in Achaea, you can turn your manse into one. You can even have your own shop within it. So a single manse could serve as shop, ship, home, and more.

Yeah that sounded like an ad for Lusternia, sorry! ;) 

Sounds awesome. Almost makes me want to play Lusternia. I wish they would add a bit of that to Achaea.

Player housing is neat, but the cost is somewhat prohibitive, and the actual uses for such a place are few. Mostly, it feels like a bragging right or MacGuffin aspect.

I wish that we had manses in achaea, but how would you do it without being unfair to all those people who have already paid all that gold for mere houses? Perhaps the extras would have to be added to the existing houses at a high price?

My character has a well defined family house and we make use of it for all sorts of things. I'm very happy with all aspects of Housing, the only improvement is being able to have a natural cave under the house that would grow moss.  I know...wishful thinking.

Hmm

I wonder if moss would grow in my dungeon. If it will I can rent you a cell.

From an RP aspect Houses are awesome in Aet. My friend and IG spouse has one that we share with our now expanding IG family, it works out well for a lot of inner-circle RP. Just wish I could tether my Haven to it somehow (other than just zipping out of the house to my Haven). Maybe next Artifact Auction I'll get the chance >.>

ithink houseing is interesting and fun. 

It is pretty fun, and its not like its manditory! There is no reason not to have it.

Runes of Magic has an AWESOME housing system.  They have individual houses, and guild castles too.

 

I belive Gaia online also has some form of player housing.

Gaia housing is retarded. The biggest feature is buying furniture and wallpaper.

 

Now what about these dragon havens they threatened to make a couple April 1's ago? I totally would have gone for that. Something along the lines of: lesser dragon status has been bumped up to level 140. However you may now also claim a sort of retreat all of your own once you reach that level...sort of like a personal....I would equate it to Apostate Inferno...though I think I recall them saying it could also be expanded. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't remember.

Pretty neat addition when it came out. Though, now I feel it is only a waste of time/gold/credits.

Housing is one my favourite things about the game, though I do dislike being forced to live in a city subdivision. Not only are you limited to the type of location you can build your home in, but what happens if for some reason you need to leave your ity? You'd have to destroy your house for half of what it's worth, and rebuild somewhere else. At least builda few non-city housing divisions. The current price for a non-sub house is ridiculous, and nearly unattainable for those who can't just purchase massive credit bundles. it would be great if IRE made them a little more easily attainable. I'd love to build a home in the mountains or on a lake, but city housing makes that impossible.

We need cooler and cheaper houses! Those who have already bought expensive and non cool houses will be mad if we get them though.

 

What? Cooler housing isn't an issue unless your only basis for this is location of the main entrance (out-of-sub being the most obvious). Because it's only 100 gold sovereigns to just destroy an exit and another 100 to build it elsewhere. So with a sort of Towers of Hanoi-like reshuffling of exits, you can completely redesign the layout. Then just hunt up a few thousand more to rename/redesc the rooms themselves! And destroying doors gives back the full ten credits (unlike rooms which give back 1 for every 2 credits put in). 

So besides the issue of moving your house from one sub to another, there is NEVER any reason to destroy rooms. Just reshuffle and redesc! Besides..once you're inside, does it matter where in the subdivision you're at?

They had houses for ages already.

I love ir housing atleast in lusternia never tried it in other ir games.

That would work, now all we have to do is come up with a housing plkan that is so cool that it just has to be implimented. I still think castles, keeps, and such are the way to go. dreaming up what defense system you want for your castle would be alot of fun. 

Housing just seems to me to cost way too much. It's a pain to have anything more than a shack. I've got other things I would rather dump my gold into

 

My Haven is my 'house' in Aetolia and my major investment into it was bashing until I got to Endgame. I liked that other than some very low expectation guideliness, I got to have complete freedom in naming and designing it. By bashing even more, I can get HAVEN POINTS to invest in features for each room, which include flagging rooms to aid in regeneration of certain pools, flagging rooms that are hidden from WHO and/or hidden completely, or specialized rooms such as libraries or stables. This is definitely one of the features about the game that i absolutely adore.

My character's ex fiance designed my house, it's awesome. It's too bad she doesn't play anymore. :(

I'm thinking of buying land and building a house in the subdivision...but I'd rather wait and get a rare house outside the subdivision in an auction or something but they are always mad expensive!

If only they were cheaper..

they are very cheap ^^

While people are still paying for expensive houseing the price is not going to come down. Supply and demand effect cost just like with everythnig else.

In Aetolia we have Havens which are like free houses, but off-plane. I much prefer the housing, because it becomes a changing place. I left the game for nearly 2 years and gave keys of my house out to friends and IG family - when I came back, I discovered extra rooms, books in the library, pictures on the wall, etc. It was awesome to see that the property had been used and had evolved through its tenants.

 

Plus, housing in the game world means that you have the challenge of hunting down all the houses and infiltrating them! ^_^ 

yes, I still agree

Don't have a house yet, maybe someday.

Housing is nice, but I still try to get out and interact with people. It's a problem when players hide in their estates and forget that it's a game and you should go RP.

Aethermanses are cool, means you doing get lost in a housing area.

 

Hmm

Easy to do in IRE games...don't really see it happening in graphicals too easily. Though City of Villians lairs was a nice touch for it...

I love being able to buy housing, even though the only thing I've used mine for is storing mounts I don't want killed and putting extra herbs.

one of its main uses in MKO is a safe haven for someone to hide in and shout smack at people without any consequences.

I think that alone makes it worth using! And maybe there aren't immediate consequences, but you have to come out sometime..

I want one for my Charisma throne!

Minecraft has the best housing system!

I seriously don't know what I'd do without my house...

and I can sense the loss. It's the private place you can invite people to without getting judged by your city or commune and do whatever you want.

I love my house. The furniture shop is fun too, though I wish they'd make it a little more customizable.

I like player housing. It's not vital, but if you have extra cash for whatever reason, then it's fun.