As I’ve mentioned before, perhaps the most compelling and addictive feature of World of Warcraft are its multiple paths of character progression. From gear (PvE and PvP) to mounts to Reputation grinds to non-combat pet collections, Blizzard seems keen to provide players with ample opportunities to feel like they’re making progress. But unlike many of their competitors, they have yet to add what is perhaps the most significant, non-combat progression path: player housing.
I admit that I am a long-time player of the Sims and Sims 2 games. I find building and decorating homes in that game to be incredibly rewarding. (Mr. Phae at one time lamented the time I spent in the Sims until I pointed out that I could otherwise be spending our real money on such things!) And while the aims of a game like the Sims might seem vastly different from the aims of an MMORPG like World of Warcraft, I see no reason not to incorporate the home-building aspect of what is the best-selling game franchise in history.
There are other games that have included player housing, including EverQuest II, City of Heroes, and Final Fantasy XI. Even in the single-player RPG Oblivion, a popular in-game activity is building up a personal stronghold. I believe that any implementation of player housing by Blizzard would be vastly superior to anything that’s come before it, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t necessarily borrow ideas from previous incarnations. And because it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the years, I would like to share a few of my own ideas for this feature!
- Upgradeable Housing Level
Each city would have an instanced housing district with appropriate architecture. To build or purchase a home would require not only a considerable sum of gold but a certain reputation level. Each city could have several levels of house size and elaborateness at ever-increasing cost. Low-level characters could opt to “rent” an apartment which would lack many of the capabilities of a full-scale home (such as outdoor areas) but would provide a place for storage.
Players would need to pay a certain amount per month in upkeep costs or risk being locked out of their homes. To regain entry, they would need to pay the back rent (though no more than a month’s worth to avoid players taking a break from the game from being discouraged).
- Adjustable Permissions Set
Characters could be granted access to visit and/or make changes and additions to a player home. (I am personally thrilled at the idea of sending Mr. Phae out for a new tablecloth.) Perhaps players could even make impermanent copies of their house keys to give to visitors that would expire after a certain amount of time.
- Craftable Furnishings
The potential for tradeskilling to furnish one’s house are practically endless. To facilitate this, the Woodsmanship (gathering) and Carpentry (production) tradeskills could be added. The carpenter would also rely upon smithed nails and fasteners along with tailored upholstery fabrics and fillers. More elaborate fabrics could be created with the help of dyes and chemical treatments produced by alchemists. Jewelcrafters could create home furnishings such as mirrors, stained glass windows, and doorknobs.
- Droppable Furnishings
A popular inclusion in EverQuest’s player housing was the ability to collect and display important trophies and artifacts within one’s home. Imagine being able to display the Hand of Uldaman’s Ironaya after defeating her. Similar epic encounters could also yield suitable trophies for display.
One way to facilitate this would be to allow each character a single “large item” inventory slot. The player could then carry with them one large piece of pilfered loot, such as a chair or small table from Karazhan. Essentially, any item flagged as “furniture” of reasonable size could be moved to your house, provided you have the room to store it.
- Tradeskill Machines
Although many tradeskills do not require the proximity of a tradeskill machine, many craftsmen would enjoy including either cosmetic or working tradeskill machines within their homes (ex. loom or spinning wheel for Tailors). These items could provide a small (+5) skill bonus to their relevant tradeskill or contribute to reducing the cooldowns on some recipes (ex. Primal Mooncloth).
- Reputation-Based Recipes
Each race has its own style of architecture and furnishings. Therefore, some recipes and patterns could be reputation-based. To learn how to create an elegant, curving bed, you might need to raise your reputation with a tradeskill guild in Darnassus. No doubt, any elaborate stonework would require trafficking with a Masonry guild in Ironforge.
- Mannequins and Display Cases
Imagine if instead of having to dispose of old, class-specific armor sets (Wildheart, Cenarion, Stormrage) for the sake of bank space, you could assemble these pieces onto a mannequin for display within your home. You could then have a gallery of previous armor sets you’ve collected over the years. Completionists might even feel compelled to finish their sets after they’re well beyond the appropriate content, ensuring that this old content isn’t completely obsolete. Similarly, weapons could be displayed on the wall or in a special weapon-case.
- Room Types
Some possible room types include:
- Indoor Tradeskilling Areas: Sewing Room, Alchemy Laboratory, Kitchen, Jeweler’s Station
- Outdoor Tradeskilling Areas: Forge, Tannery
- Garden: Herbalists could plant small, functional gardens that could be seeded with seeds acquired while herbing. These seeds would occasionally result in a harvestable plant of the same type as the plant from which they were gathered. (I think there is something similar in FFXI.)
- Fishable Pond: Similar to the garden, these ponds could be seeded with fresh fish caught from other areas of the world. Occasionally, these ponds would yield a pool that could be fished for that type of fish. Only one type of fish pool could be active at a time.
- Bedroom: For earning rest or cyber XP.
- Stables: Provide a happy home and display place for the mounts you have outgrown. Could also replace or supplement the limited stable slots allowed to Hunters.
- Vault: Personal, upgradeable storage outside the standard bank. Also useful for Scrooge McDuckin’ through enormous piles of gold.
- Library: When a player encounters a book in game (such as those on the floor of Scarlet Monastery), allow her to take a copy to be stored for later reading. Who really has time to read all of those books during a 5-man instance run?
- Bind Point
A player could set his hearthstone by interacting with the mantle of his hearth.
Same as the standard mailbox but with the additional option to request that items from your bank be mailed to you for a small fee.
Just as in EverQuest 2, players could allow 1-2 non-combat pets to roam their house.
Various collections of items could be added to the game. Each item in the set would indicate which set it belongs to and might not necessarily provide any in-game benefit. Examples of these collections could be rare flowers or catchable insects. Once complete, a collection could be displayed. This would encourage exploration, particularly of older content.
- Seasonal Decorations
Purchasable, craftable, and questable seasonal decorations. These could include the items used to decorate major cities during the Holidays.
I know that many players find the idea of player housing to be silly, but it’s an aspect that would greatly increase the enjoyment of a large percentage of the player base. If nothing else, the additional character storage would provide everyone a tangible benefit to having a home. And really, who wouldn’t want an Onyxia-hide throw pillow?
P.S. Check this out!
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.