Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Player Housing

I’m going to try some different things with the blog as summer wears on. There isn’t a great deal going on in World of Warcraft so I’m going to talk about whatever strikes my fancy.

I have ton of respect for MMO Blogger, Tobold, even if I disagree with him on some occasions. Tobold did a great job explaining some of the problems associated with the often requested feature of Player Housing.

The first problem is that of space. You have to room to put all these houses. Houses in adventuring areas seem out of place. Imagine the Barrens or Desolace filled with houses. It doesn’t feel right. The only way developers seem to make really big worlds is to use algorithms. That results in worlds that are not overly detailed. If the world is too big, players will complain about it taking a long time to get from Point A to Point B, especially in the leveling game.

The second problem is one of persistence. There are typically far more people who call a server home, than the number you see at prime time. Tobold estimates that your average WoW server has about 20,000 players on it. If everyone built a house, and then you had only 3,000 on, even at prime time, it makes your player towns feel deserted. Plus, even all 3,000 aren’t likely to be hanging out in their virtual home. They will be out in Battlegrounds, Raids, or even just doing dailies.

I wonder if the developers thought about the problem of player housing while they were redesigning the world for Cataclysm. This is an often asked for feature in WoW and Cataclysm would seem to be the ideal time to setup the world for housing at some future point.

I’m also intrigued by the announcement that Star Wars : The Old Republic made over E3 regarding Player Housing. They way they plan on addressing it is to give players individual ships. These will be large ships similar to the Ebon Hawk if you played Knights of the Old Republic. This address the problem of space in that you only need docking space for the amount of ships that will be on a world during primetime. Once someone logs off, the game can assume they are back in orbit around whatever planet they are on, eliminating the need to have player housing while the player is offline. I think it’s an intriguing idea and I’m curious to see how well it’s executed.


Bri said...

I suspect the Docking Bay will be instanced. A giant ship alone in a circular docking bay is very iconic in Star Wars, and it solves the problem of where to put a large but variable number of ships, or forgetting you're in Docking Bay 94.

Nyss said...

I liked the City of Heroes method of handling super group bases. The only external feature was a common beacon used to teleport you into the base. You could even get your own personal teleporter so you can get to your base from anywhere. I don't know how they handled it on thier side, if the base was on the same server or a special housing server.

Capital cities could have a door way marked as "guild hall." One of the doors in an inn could be used as well, if they wanted to go for individual player housing. No idea how many resources that would take up, and it may create the ultimate gank-spot on a PvP server.

What's my main Again? said...

The only way I could really see it working at all in WoW... is if they apply the same logic that big cities use... if you can't expand out... go up! Basically just have a giant appartment building in each of the cities. The rooms themselves would be instanced and you could access them by some sort of elevator thing at the base. Like clicking on the button would open a dialogue box where you could enter in the name of your friend and it would bring you to their room.

Of course this just gives players a place to live... but not the big expansive castles that I think most players really want.

Could vary from city to city in the style. For Alliance IF could have caverns for rooms... Teldrassil could have actual portions of the tree carved out for homes... that sort of thing.

Talalash said...

Player housing would be instanced, and you could give friends a code to enter which would bring them in a hallway in front of your entrance. They can then knock and you can open the door for them. This way, you can let in only people you want.

Guild housing would be alike. It would be bigger though.

Having real castles is probably not so easy doable. But, why not have different sizes of apartments? On different locations. Premium locations cost premium money. And you can put down certain items: specific weapons you've found. And maybe racks where you could put up your T1 or so. It would have cupboards where you can put stuff. Like you bank, but then more space. You could put in some furniture that you either buy (money sink) or find/build.

However, bliz says, they don't want the cities to become ghost towns. they are affraid that all people sit in their apartment. Well, as long as trade chat is not available, it might not happen so quick. Auction houses are another reason to get out. I think it'll be mostly a social thing really. All traders, AH, chat is in town. Not at home/guild house.

Oh well, I guess they have their reason...