There’s No Place Like Home…

In all of the virtual worlds I’ve played in, one thing seems to remain constant. We, as players, want a piece of that virtual world for our own. If you think about it, it makes sense. After all, our characters live within this world. They have to come from somewhere or have somewhere to go when they aren’t out adventuring. However, World of Warcraft seems to be the only MMO I play that doesn’t have some sort of “player housing”. One could argue that The Old Republic doesn’t have one, either, but that’s only if they don’t count the starship every class receives at around level 16 or so. Yes, every player of the same class gets the same ship. There’s no upkeep costs, really, save for fuel costs to get to various planets, but the ship still feels like ours. World of Warcraft, however, has nothing like this. Players (particularly the roleplaying crowd) will tend to take over various unoccupied homes or buildings and unofficially claim them for their own while others might say their character lives out of a room they rent in one of the various inns. There’s no true player housing, per se, despite the various cries for it from the roleplaying player base.

Personally, I don’t know that we’d ever see it in World of Warcraft, despite the leaps Blizzard’s made in their phasing technology. While they could use something similar to the system that Lord of the Rings Online has (and I know there are some who argue that they should), if you take a closer look at LotRO’s system, implementing something that mimics LotRO’s really isn’t practical in WoW. Now, I’ll be one of the first to admit that I love how LotRO’s housing system is set up. However, the scale of it is a bit huge and I’m not certain that Blizzard could implement the same exact model that Turbine used for LotRO, unless they were to make the style of the homes faction-specific and not racial-specific.

Confused? Well, I’ll explain.

LotRO is, of course, under a slightly different model than WoW. We don’t have factions, per se, save for “good” and “evil”. So, on that wonderful day when Turbine chose to give LotRO players player housing, they only had one “faction” to work with (if you can even call it that, really) and only four races to play with. As a result, there are four distinct homesteads you can move into, each based on one of the four playable races of Middle Earth (Men, Dwarves, Elves, and Hobbits). Within each homestead are instanced neighborhoods with a set number of homes in each, including a number of homes for your kinship (or guild) to occupy, providing you meet the requirements and have the gold for it. The best part, though, is that there’s never a shortage of homes. As each neighborhood fills up, new ones are automatically generated by the system. If a home you really want to move into is occupied, hang around by the housing broker. A new neighborhood might appear the next time you log in, and, if you’re quick, you can claim the house you really want.

Honestly, the hardest part is trying to determine where you want to live. You do have choices, and those are wonderful, but it’s the choices themselves that make the whole process much more complicated than it really has to be. Are you a human who loves elven architecture enough to live there or do you just want a tiny little farmhouse out in Bree-land? Will your hobbit stay in the Shire or branch out to live in the land of the dwarves? Or maybe you and your friends all want to live in the same homestead and are just trying to see which you all like best. Even if you aren’t committed to any one homestead, I do recommend visiting each and seeing what appeals to you. The best part is that other players will usually allow random visitors into their home (I do), and you can go in to see what they’ve done with it. Not only will you get decorating ideas for when it comes time to buy your own, but it gives you an idea of what you can do with the space. Homes in the elven homesteads, for example, tend to have notoriously high ceilings and it may be difficult to figure out how best to arrange things on the wall. Taking a look at how other players decorated their elven-style homes gave me ideas for mine should I ever decide to pack up and move into one.

As for me, well, I’m a hobbit at heart. Whether I had a character of another race or not, I’d probably still get a little hobbit house. I can’t afford a deluxe house, sadly. I’m still saving up. I long for the day when I have three rooms and I can turn one of them into a proper library (Anthyllis, my hobbit minstrel, loves her stories and maps, you see). For now, though, I suspect I’ll have to content myself with a standard home. If you’re on the Landroval server, feel free to come and visit the Greyburrow home in the Shire Homesteads. She resides in the Marebourn neighborhood at 2 Wending Way. If she’s at home, she’ll make you some tea. If she’s not, feel free to look through her books. The main room’s a bit covered by them. Just please put them back where you found them.

The main room in Anthyllis' home. Go ahead and curl up by the fire with a good book!

So was this post an excuse to go on about something I love in LotRO? Probably. To be fair, I would like to see actual player housing in World of Warcraft. Unfortunately, however, I can’t see Blizzard implementing it on the above scale. The main problem, of course, being that WoW is split into factions and they have multiple races in each. To implement something like this would probably be incredibly time-consuming, not to mention the headache of trying to figure out where to put the homesteads and how much that would cost for upkeep and whatnot. I can see some players complaining about gold sinks if they do that, too.

To make things simpler on the dev team, I could see Blizzard making player homes faction-specific as opposed to racially specific.┬áThe problem with that, though, is that the two iconic races for each faction (in this case, it really seems to be humans and orcs) have very distinct looks, which not everybody would be that into. Someone who plays a blood elf, for example, might not be all right with their character moving into an incredibly primitive-looking house. And then there’s the whole matter of interior decorating. Would they come pre-furnished or would Blizzard implement something like LotRO and let the homeowner decorate it? If it’s the latter, how crazy should Blizzard go trying to come up with unique furniture ideas?

Eventually, I’m sure it could be done, but I’m not sure Blizzard could do it at this very moment. Look at how long it took them to give us something remotely close to the cosmetic system some of us have been wanting….

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