Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Player Housing

   Player housing is something I keep seeing more and more mention of lately. I've never thought of it once before Sunsong Ranch was ownable, and to be honest, I can see little reason for needing it, other than perhaps a money sink to get rid of some of that pesky extra gold that keeps falling out of your pockets. If only I had that problem.
   But in the interest of creativity and daydreaming, I have started to think about it.
   The way I see it, it would make the most sense for player housing to be in the capital cities. I would say they should be in all capital cities, but I'm certain it wouldn't work in some places, such as the Undercity or Exodar, but it would best work in the factional capitals. Orgrimmar and Stormwind. The reason I say this is because there are already numerous unoccupied small buildings in both cities. Stormwind has lots of lush houses with closed doors, and Orgrimmar has lots of small houses where guards are sleeping, or buildings just designed to take up space, and buildings that haven't finished being built yet. It's more or less the only place guards in all of WoW can sleep, so to be honest, I'm not sure it's 100% necessary. If the rest of them can manage 24 hour shifts, these few lazy bones won't mind. Perhaps rest is overrated - perhaps that rest was a contributing factor to the Kor'kron threat! Who knows?
   I did go around the capital cities to check what sort of buildings were available, and this is what I found:

Capital Cities With Empty Housing

Clearly, from the poorly drawn above table, the Alliance would have more freedom if all capital cities used its empty housing for players. The Horde is at a disadvantage because two of its races don't have a city - and while Gnomes don't either, they do have Ironforge. All the Trolls and Goblins have are small districts and are more or less forced to keep to them.

Sunsong Ranch

   My biggest issue with player housing is that there might only be one or two buildings available, which would mean that most players would be running in and loitering outside, ruining the idea of that being your own little space. It would quite obviously be phased like Sunsong Ranch, so no one would be actually running into your house, but you'd still have people loitering outside, as I've already mentioned.
   Another reason phasing would be good is if they have plans to make player housing customisable - yet another way to get rid of excess gold. I'm kind of thinking of Fable 2 when I imagine this - vendors that can supply you with individual pieces of furniture, three different tables that all look different to one another, but only replace existing items.

Potential Orgrimmar Housing

   Ideally, there would be about four or five different houses available in Org, and another 5 in Stormwind, all in different areas of the cities. This would give players more of a choice - do they want to be near the Magic District of Stormwind, or near to the Valley of Spirits in Org? You'd also be able to customise your housing with different looking furniture, and it would also provide a much desired extra storage area, like another bank. For the life of me, I cannot fathom why Blizz are so against putting more storage into the game. Why would we be penalised for wanting to keep funny vanity items we've farmed for, or unique items from funny quests, or perhaps items we were given by friends in-game that have sentimental value? My banks are full of junk, but it's junk I don't want to get rid of, and I have no room for more junk. A little more in the way of a bank would be excellent, and player housing could supply us with a nice big storage chest.

   Of course, then there's the idea of player housing elsewhere. This might be where a problem can come in, because if player housing is available outside of cities, then where does it end? If you can get a nice spot above Feralas, then great - I'd snap that up in a second! But would that not upset people who want a house in Winterspring? Or Silithus? There would have to be one house available in nearly every zone. Though, having said that, I'm not sure anyone would want to live in Northrend or Outland - there aren't really any locations that I would deem 'livable' in places like those. Perhaps the Howling Fjord, or the Grizzly Hills, but that's about it. Icecrown and Stormpeaks are relatively inhospitable. Pandaria would be a must, however, and there are prime locations almost everywhere out there, and what with Pandaren being a playable race on both sides, it would only make sense to allow for a little housing out there.
   Like I said: where would it end?

Potential Stormwind Housing

   Koruth has also suggested that when people mention 'player housing' they are referring to Star Wars Galaxies where you were able to build little cities with other players. That will not be the case, simply because no zone is big enough or empty enough to support that, and clearing existing zones would upset some people, and creating whole new zones just for housing would seem a little silly - not to mention the fact that there probably still wouldn't be enough space for everyone unless they created a single, neutral, safe, totally unharmed continent for it.

   At the end of the day, I certainly won't cry about a lack of player housing, but Blizzard have said that it is something they're thinking about, and Sunsong Ranch was the first step in testing it. But just because they're thinking about it doesn't mean it will happen. They might decide against it, they might decide to leave it until a later time when they have better resources, or they might try to go ahead with it and mess it up because they weren't prepared. There's also a very high chance that a lot of people will be disappointed. I've never seen, let alone played, Star Wars Galaxies, so my vision of player housing is likely quite different to what people who have played that game envision it as.
   But, at the end of the day, if it was implemented, and I could afford it (it's only right that it won't be cheap. Normal houses can't exactly be bought with pocket change), you'd better believe I'd be in there like a shot. Y'know, unless only one house was available. Then I might question its worth if it wasn't in a particularly nice location. I'm picky about such things, but I imagine that most of you are, too.

If you could have a player house anywhere in WoW, where would it be? Atop Feralas? In the groves of Hyjal? In the deserts of Tanaris? In a tree in Stranglethorn Vale? Would you prefer to be near other players's housing for a community feel, or would you rather be secluded?
Me, I'd prefer to be secluded in Feralas, or near other Trolls - NPCs or players - in STV.

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