Why housing is important

*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:

  1. storage
  2. display of in-game achievements (e.g. weapons, armour sets, trophies)
  3. being able to customise and decorate your surroundings
  4. 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 🙂

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8 Comments

  1. 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?

    1. 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 😉

  2. 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.

    1. 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….

  3. 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 🙂

    1. 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 🙂

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