Is MMO Housing Important?

A lot of MMORPGs these days have begun to implement a lot of new ideas and gameplay aspects that promises to draw in millions of players and keep them happy for years and years. Sometimes these things are pvp related, sometimes they are pve related. One thing, however, that always seems to get left out is player housing.

In today’s MMORPGs player housing is a very important aspect. There is no doubt that players enjoy having their own personal space and area to “live in” with their character. So why haven’t popular MMORPGs, like World of Warcraft, implemented them yet? Certainly the inhabitants of WoW would enjoy their own space to call their own.

Recently, with their latest update, Turbine decided to add player and “guild” housing into their popular Lord of the Rings Online game with much fanfair. Each race has its own neighborhoods that contain 30 or so houses ranging from guild houses, delux houses, and standard houses. Depending on the view, size, and landscape around the house determines the size and upkeep. Each week, in order to keep your house, you will have to lay down a certian amount of cash.

Bottomline, player housing is fast becoming an important aspect of the MMORPG community. It is a way for you to customize your existence within that community. There is a reason why sites such as MySpace and Facebook are so popular, and one of those reasons is the ability to make your profile your own. A place you can call your virtual home. These things are not fads, and as more and more MMORPGs get developed the players are gonna start taking note which ones have and do not have (I’m looking at you Tabula Rasa) player housing.


  1. A lot of thought has to go into a decision like this IMO. If you have small server populations like DAOC (~1000 in its heyday) and you introduce player housing, you’re going to decrease the number of people who hang out in capital cities.

    Cities are supposed to be a hub of activity where people can meet each other and, at the very least, feel immersed in the massively multiplayer culture of an MMORPG. In my humble opinion, there’s little worse than walking through a ghost town that is supposed to be your capital city. Each time you create new key gathering areas, you segment your population.

    These games are supposed to have areas of congregation and when you introduce a housing feature, that’s where people will start to spend a good part of their time. This definitely happened in DAOC. Visit any of the original capital cities and you’ll find that they are completely dead (even if arguably, the game is nearly dead too :P).

    What caused this, aside from a drop in general subscriptions? Expansion cities and player housing. No-one is smelting raw metals or crafting fine weaponry in these places any more because they can do it in peace in their own home.

    To me, that just kills the immersion factor.

  2. That’s true. . .

    Although I’d go as far as to say limit the amount of houses available (so not everybody can have one and they become almost a rare commodity) and also make sure there is no required utilities within the homes because, you are right, it will detract from the main cities and nobody will ever leave their homes.

  3. There are definitely ways housing can be implemented that would be cool and not detract too much from the game, such as creating smaller encampments or neighbourhoods outside a main city.

    The problem is when you make someone portal jump into a new zone dedicated to housing, like they did in DAOC. And yeah, keeping the required utilities within a main city is ideal imo. In DAOC you could even buy your own merchant who would hang around inside your house and sell you crafting goods. Why would you ever leave?! :P

  4. If a MMO doesn’t have player housing I’m not going to play it , cause the player housing shows that game companys and developers took the extra time and went the extra mile instead of doing a World of Warcraft and spending 80 million to make a game that makes 80million a month ;)

  5. well thats the games fault to have so much in a house =[ of course you wont wander around with so much conviniently in a house unless your stupid! the teleporting to your house i think is a good idea, then anyone can have a house… and save it on there OWN computer so the server doesnt crash =b then it will only be accesable when your on and only who you invite can see it

    a house should have options so its more like yours than your just in a strange house (that would be pointless) and not have anything you need so its only for fun

  6. What has been described already can easily be curcumvented by simply only allowing homes to be puraches in and around major cities for expensive prices, and allow only Guilds with lots of in game money purchase land in game. This could be a monthy tax on the land to ensure active players retain housing do not litter the land with empty houses that should be condemned.

    With WoW this is especially important considering there is not much in the way of land that can be used for player owned cities. That, alongside with a limitation like 1 house per character per server should detract from cities becomming ghost towns, while keeping the houses from being a common appearence like they are in Star Wars Galaxies.

  7. Many of the things said are good, but heres what i think. Houses should only be access by the owner or when invited by the owner. Houses should be built in estates next to cities. They should only have kitchens, bedrooms dining rooms (other rooms depending on the makers decision). You shoble to use utilities in them sich as, anvils and furneses.

    Thats just what i think =p

  8. You can also put apartments in the cities, have it to where you have INNs in the town and you rent rooms. 2 big INNs with many storys below and above ground would fix your problem with everyone not coming into the towns. As a matter of fact you would have to limit how many rooms you have in the city because of all the people in the city. Everyone can’t have a house but the INN rooms would be nicer for the fact it’s inside the city! Took me 5 mins to come up with away to solve this simple problem. Now you have control of how many people you want in the city or other parts of the map/server.
    Housing is a very good idea, some people like to hack and slash in the morning and then jump on late at night and just work on tasking stuff in the personal home/INN. This should of been done sooner. Does anyone know of a game like this?

  9. Star Wars Galaxies before they NGE was PERFECT with player Housing. The communities thrived inside Player Built Cities. It Cost to keep the houses up so teh Town took taxes out. If your house didn’t pay it’s Taxes or your Player could not offord it’s taxes your house was condemed. The Main Cities in SWG like Theed, Mos Eisley, and Planets Like Dantooine stayed Foourished with Player Activity as well. So no Major Movement ever happed from Capital Cities to player Cities, You had your own Community and also a server community. Now, after the NGE hit and The Player Housing isn’t as important(more of storage now) and players went to capital cities the game is a ghost town….. PLAYER HOUSING IS A MUST!!!!

  10. If you want to know what houseing can do for a game you have to look back at UO the Game that busted open the Mass online game when all said it cant be done. Many players stayed there for over 10 years even with 2D grafics. Ever wounder why? Player houseing and comunity. There is no game that holds a candle to the UO houseing system. The total customization of your house piece by piece. Each wall and floor section was idividualy picked and could even be changed as your needs changed. Star Wars was the next best mostly do to the town system but limited house design and many odd lay outs.
    Some are saying it kills game play in the main cities. This never happened in UO untill player base droped drasticly. Player houses where places where you sat and chated with your friends and did non combat actions with friends. Many home where near trown and set up as shops where crafters worked and customer came by and bought goods.
    In the end once you tire of grinding and doing the quests and the same old players stayed in the game beacause their friends where there. I often logged in not because I wanted to hunt kill or craft but to simply say hi to my friends see what was up and spend so time with them. Player houseing helps to keep a player base long after the game has become dull and they all do in time. Not all players are satified with simply power hunting to get the newest title or glowy.


  11. Anyone who says player housing can’t be done or that it takes away from an MMO has never played Ultima Online. That safest part is after 14years no game has expanded on this awesome aspect of gaming….

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