Monday, May 13, 2013

Housing My Way.

Lately, World of Warcraft has been adding creature comforts more frequently.  Being able to dress Delgada they way I want to and still give her the stats she needs is awesome.  Having a little shack next to the first thing and second thing I do when I log in is wonderful.  Being able to join the queue for random dungeons, scenarios, raids, even battlegrounds while I pull weeds and spin silk instead of travelling is such a time saver. Portals in the current hub that take me almost anywhere I have to go, and only a few seconds flight from my hovel on the farm is terrific.

But I want more!  I want to be able to stash extra crafting materials in a trunk in my shack.  I want to be able to display tchotchkes on every table and shelf, and add more shelves to load down with more gewgaws.  A closet with spaces for wardrobe sets would be handy. I want to be able to expand my cottage into a family sized home or a mansion, or be able to live in an apartment in the city, or have both.  I want to have a stool to sit on, a bed to lay in, maybe even a tub to bathe in (eek!).  I want to be able to change the wallpaper and flooring. I want to be able to decorate my humble (or fabulous) abode with pictures and trophies and fountains and whatever ridiculous thing I find when adventuring.  These are not horribly difficult requests to fill, are they?

Outside Rowan's castle.

Rowan's living room in her castle.
Wizard 101 has houses and mansions with bank access, that you can decorate, some so fabulous that they have dueling circles in the courtyard and access to a mini games through arcade game style furniture pieces.  Outside, you can garden for spell cards, resources, pets, pet food, money, experience, and for silliness.  Have you ever seen Elvis Parsley?  Evil snow peas are cool (ha!), too.  Some houses have secret areas.  I know the palace I got for Christmas has a dungeon under a waterfall that I use as a crafting shed, and a special island like the ones in the sky of Nagrand that I set up as a graveyard.  Inside and out, you can decorate with items you find in the world, buy with gold on the auction house or from a vendor, or even buy items with crowns.  There is a new item you can craft that allows you to display a complete outfit.  You can even leave unused pets and mounts out, giving the house a more lived in feel. Another thing Wizard 101 does is allow people who are on your friends list to visit you if you are in your house (or mansion, or amphitheater  pyramid, or dorm).  The players of this game regularly hold parties in their houses, hosting hundreds at a time. Yes, I am enamored of Wizard 101's housing.  I have played it casually, dropping for months at a time to pick it up and level furiously for a week or two then drop it again.  Without a guild mechanic and the amount of kids playing, it stays fun for only a while before I have to stop for a while.  I work with kids, and I am a mom of many, so spending my gaming time with pre-adolescent inventively foul mouthed brats wears on me.

Eromee, digging for materials with her house (the teeny one on the left) in the distance. 

Small Naboo House: Style 1 with some of the random items Jenmo has looted recently.
Star Wars Galaxies had a very intricate and fun housing decoration system where you could pretty much position an item wherever in the house you wanted, and put your house wherever you want, except in game created cities.  People used looted, crafted, and rewarded items to create the most fantastic things. This home was featured in a monthly showcase of homes. Some people at max level would devote all their in game time to finding the rarest items to decorate their houses with.  This site has albums of all sorts of different houses.  Curtains made of skirts, aquariums made with paintings and plants and weapons, pool tables made with goodness knows what!  The only limit was the item count limit for the house, which, if I remember right, could be augmented once by an item given to veteran players.  There were so many different house styles and sizes, that you could choose the one that held the most, like a guild hall or a cantina, and decorate for days!  I wish I still had pictures of my old place.  Not that I could compete with the likes of some of the sites I linked, but I had a neat fireplace and some of the rare crafted rugs.  It was never just a house there, it was a home.  

Inside my house.  Not as fabulous as most.

Outside my humble cot.  Piggies!
Glitch had a clever way of housing, where you could buy furnishings from players or from the store, and there was wallpaper and flooring. A player could build on to their house, making it longer or taller.  Players would make theme rooms with all raven items and red and black, rooms decorated like a zone they liked, rooms that were filled with piggies and baby chicks. Houses were built on a home street where players could have gardens and trees and piggies and chickens and butterflies, dirt piles and ore nodes, firefly hives and barnacles and peat bogs, etc. You could even build a tower on your home street where people could buy things or just look at the awesomeness you had put together.  

Maybe I have been spoiled by all the different types of player housing I have encountered.  Housing gives each player a place to make their own in a game where everyone is doing exactly the same thing.  In all three of the games I have used the housing feature in, no two houses I visited were exactly alike.  No two aquariums were identical.  No two starter houses were decorated the same.  Even houses used as storage sheds showed the personality of the person behind the character. 

So, I guess I want housing for more than just functional reasons.  I want housing so that I can put my own unique mark on the game world I love.  Thoughts?  Do you agree, disagree, or have things to add? Let's start a conversation!  Add a comment to this post.  I look forward to hearing from all of you. Until then, I'm off to go murder innocent Meatlump Buffoons in hopes of getting rug thread and sculpture pieces.  After that, some farming in Halfhill followed by grouping with other players Looking For Raid.  See you in Azeroth, or on Naboo, or where ever our vacations happen to coincide.


Jojo said...

Loved reading this. Player housing in WoW is something me and my boyfriend have discussed a number of times. We're both big fans of the idea.
I really like how the farm is phased so my farm is mine and no-one elses. But I would love it if they made the little log home customiseable too. Personally, I'd like to be able to display cool things that I've acquired - such as archaeology pieces, cool axes, swords etc.
The boyfriend is a big fan of guild common rooms / comunal areas. He thinks a room where the whole guild can meet would be awesome... especially if the heads of the raid bosses you've killed were displayed (like hunting trophies).

Jeni Morton said...

I've never played a game that had guild housing, but even that would be preferable to the almost nothing I have now. Just set me up with one of the empty huts in Orgrimmar, or one of the empty rooms in Silvermoon. Let me put a few Steamy Romance Novels on top of an Empty Barrel and kick back on my Mushroom Chair. :)

WOW Strategy Guide said...

It seems that world of warcraft is taking on a sims type aspect with its customizing abilities. I don't quite know where it is going with this but hope it doesn't get to the point where people are playing WOW more like sims and not as a questing MMO.

Jeni Morton said...

Sims is distasteful to me. Even adding these quality of life things would never make it the Sims. How often do your Sims battle against a deadly foe and get loot? How often do you play the Sims with other real people? Locking your character away for a time puts them in stasis in WoW, but in Sims, they can go crazy.

I'd like to think that Blizzard would never make WoW a Sims clone.