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Player Housing - Why has this feature gone from a priority to a feature most developers couldnt care

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  • KonfessKonfess Dallas, TXPosts: 949Member Uncommon

    TLDR

    Multiplayer access to housing item storage is costly to police.
    If housing was built upon the bank system, it wouldn't be the proverbial theme park anchor.

    Players more often don’t use housing as social hubs.
    Players more often use housing as additional bank space.


    /TLDR;

    I guess I cancelled my original post to this thread, because the truth hurts. As I intended to say originally. Developers share lessons learned amongst the industry. SOE has tried both open world housing and instanced housing. And I seem to remember being called on this. Player use of housing as a social hub is approximately naught. My original post was probably mod deleted because I gave a number or percentage rather than say approximately.

    Truth is the majority of housing is used as additional bank storage. WoW will not have housing anytime soon, because it already has a system in place for additional bank storage. Games that have expanded item storage as a cash shop item, will also not have housing, unless it only accommodates non-bankable items.

    Mike-Bee suggested that Theme Park linear progression does not mesh well with fixed point housing. Maybe, but I seem to recall an old theme park housing system (EQ2?) utilizing a pack and store system for moving your house to a new city. The problem that games have is programmers do what they are told, and can’t think for themselves or have had the ability bread out of them. TP Housing can and should be instanced like a hotel or apartment complex. Then the first level of the framework should be the bank system. A system that allows access to the “home” instance anywhere in the game. The UI would the floor plan of the instanced home. This is how I am implementing housing.

    But here is the real dark side of housing, multi-player access. Often other players are granted access to items in player housing, similar to guild bank tabs. When another player abuses this trust, the offended player seeks justice from the developer. This is the cost and hassle that developer seek to distance themselves from regarding housing. Incident reports, investigation, recovery of lost items, and player repercussions.

    Dev's like to call themselves service providers, their goal is a service with a minimum of customer service.  Especially in game conflict resolution.  You know that saying about a bell ringing and an angels wings?  Well every time a GM is hired, a VP losses his bonus.  The perfect service would have no human GMs or customer service at all.  Conflict resolution would be handled by AI code that sounded human and resulted in no exploits and no customer dissatisfaction.

    I used to think that the effect on database size of the additional storage was the problem. I was told all you have to do when the database grows is add more drives to the raid, and keep the backups safe. The real cost is the human policing of the housing nightmare.

    A dev may provide space and tools for social hub development. But the active players will choose what and where will become a social hub. A deve could have taverns and housing implemented to become social hubs, and still the players make the local mailbox their hub.


    I swear someone claimed in this very thread before that I was not a fan of housing. I am, in SWG, I had 11 ‘toons, that is 110 lots. And every ‘toon owned at least one house, I had a theater and a hospital for two months or so.

    What should be really asked is what would everyone that wants a house use it for? And what could be done to encourage the use of housing as social hubs? Don’t hate “The Matrix Online” but they had elaborate nightclub levels designed to be used as social hubs, but players used the third mailbox instead. SWG is famous for it housing (unvisited fish tank museums). But only the buff bots saw any social numbers, none rivaled the volume of Theed Cantina. “City of Heroes” has possibly the best social hub, but I can never remember the name, “Node One?”

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  • SilverminkSilvermink Cape Coral, FLPosts: 289Member

    Artificial player hubs won't work unless they have access to 5 areas of the game

    -Transportation to/from Battle grounds, Dungeons, Raids

    -Bank

    -Trading (auctionhouse or what ever system they use -commonlands tunnel)

    -Mailbox if trading requires it

    -Crafting

    Players will congregate where those 5 items are most well represented.

  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Houston, TXPosts: 5,348Member

    edit delete

    Correlation does not imply causation

  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Houston, TXPosts: 5,348Member
    Originally posted by Silvermink

    Few people come out and say they don't want housing directly. But they make it clear they encourage dev's to spend the time on a set of armor or dungeon instead of housing.

     

    I know this forum is full of flamers and hatred, I also let my opinions loose here more than I would some other boards. I'm not trying to stop flaming, that'd be a tall task, I just wonder why people try so hard to stop others from enjoying a game in a different way then they play. Not that it surprises me anymore.

    many here have question the very premise that people havent been asking for housing. I know at least in the Darkfall community the ask was very loud, clear and often before they put in housing. After housing I think the community agrees that its the single best feature Darkfall ever did after orginal release of the game.

     

    That said, if most player entire experience of a house is a place to put crap on the mantel you cant blame them for not caring much. The vast majority of people do not have good skills in imagination so if they havent experienced it they dont have a reference.

    Correlation does not imply causation

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,904Member Uncommon

    Which brings up the question would housing have made most of the games to release without it better games? I really think the addition would have been inconsequential for games like TOR or others. I personally don't think SWG would have been a worse game without it, in all honesty I think it may have A: peformed better and B: had a more interesting world layout.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • BullseyeArc1BullseyeArc1 anchorage, AKPosts: 410Member
    Originally posted by Cuathon

    I loved the Sims. My sister who plays like no video games did also. I loved the sims because I could build a house, which is also why my sister liked it.

    But I also loved to optimize. I would figure out the best career for the least amount of training for instance. I also always had 8 couples as my sims so that I could maximize income and get optimal value from the more expensive but more efficient higher level items like tubs and stoves and beds.

    I effectively played Sims like an RPG instead of a virtual dollhouse. Granted it was an economic sim RPG instead of a fantasy one but still.

     

    I also agree that a free to play Sims with some farmville style stuff and also a competition in housing could have made it as a game as opposed to the actual model used.

    I think you can boil it down, people that are invested in the toon and the game like housing and want a connection to thier charectors.    The people that dont care about housing are looking for the next game to play and are not invested in any one game beyond the newness.   

      I wonder if thats the real reason why their not building more well rounded games.   Why spend money in the area that the nitch market likes, "the player thats going to stick around".   Instead spend it on bells and whistles for the larger crowd of players that are only here for a month or two before moving on to the next game. 

  • apb2011apb2011 Quebec city, QCPosts: 153Member Uncommon

    One of the main reasons why it isn't looked at is because it requires huge server power. Think of millions of people being able to build things in the game world. I am talking about real time housing. Alot of games have housing but most of it is instanced.

     

    Ultima Online had real time housing. I think Vanguard and SWG had or has it. I think with cloud technology they will be able to pull it off.

  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Houston, TXPosts: 5,348Member
    Originally posted by apb2011

    One of the main reasons why it isn't looked at is because it requires huge server power. Think of millions of people being able to build things in the game world. I am talking about real time housing. Alot of games have housing but most of it is instanced.

     

    Ultima Online had real time housing. I think Vanguard and SWG had or has it. I think with cloud technology they will be able to pull it off.

    I will reply to you but its also to a few others all at the same time.

    1. I really doubt housing requires a huge server power compared to every other feature in the game! Darkfall added housing to their system without altering the servers (at least as far as I know. They did a server upgrade but not related to housing).

    2. For the vast majority of people, if they havent experienced it they cant imagine it. What about SWG style housing in AOC would AOC housing then be unimportant? hmmm.

    3. people who have experienced SWG housing typically are the ones who ask for it in other games. People who have had experience only with 'a place to display my crap' housing typically dont care. anyone see a trend here?

     

    Correlation does not imply causation

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by BullseyeArc1

     

     

    I think you can boil it down, people that are invested in the toon and the game like housing and want a connection to thier charectors.    The people that dont care about housing are looking for the next game to play and are not invested in any one game beyond the newness.   

      I wonder if thats the real reason why their not building more well rounded games.   Why spend money in the area that the nitch market likes, "the player thats going to stick around".   Instead spend it on bells and whistles for the larger crowd of players that are only here for a month or two before moving on to the next game. 

    There is a lot of truth in that. There are so many games out there that there is really little reason to stick around just one for a long time.

  • Garvon3Garvon3 Worcester, MAPosts: 2,898Member

    Because most devs don't care about making good MMOs anymore.

    They want to make super singleplayer hand holding WoW clones, and WoW doesn't have housing.

  • RydesonRydeson Canton, OHPosts: 3,858Member Uncommon

    My guess is because devs are no longer concerned with developing a MMO world for a dynamic community.. But instead spend their time on the arcade Esport teir grinding..  It's quicker and cheaper..  MMORPG's are more like FPS games with PvE elements, than anything..

  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Houston, TXPosts: 5,348Member
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by BullseyeArc1

     

     

    I think you can boil it down, people that are invested in the toon and the game like housing and want a connection to thier charectors.    The people that dont care about housing are looking for the next game to play and are not invested in any one game beyond the newness.   

      I wonder if thats the real reason why their not building more well rounded games.   Why spend money in the area that the nitch market likes, "the player thats going to stick around".   Instead spend it on bells and whistles for the larger crowd of players that are only here for a month or two before moving on to the next game. 

    There is a lot of truth in that. There are so many games out there that there is really little reason to stick around just one for a long time.

    most people who havent experienced it cant imagine it. So for many the word 'housing' just means something simlar to what EQ2 which is a joke. I dont think you would ever hear someone who played SWG making the same points about housing has he has made here. So a point of reference is important.

    Correlation does not imply causation

  • SilverminkSilvermink Cape Coral, FLPosts: 289Member
    Originally posted by apb2011

    One of the main reasons why it isn't looked at is because it requires huge server power. Think of millions of people being able to build things in the game world. I am talking about real time housing. Alot of games have housing but most of it is instanced.

     

    Ultima Online had real time housing. I think Vanguard and SWG had or has it. I think with cloud technology they will be able to pull it off.

    "Cloud" technology has been around in the server fields for decades. Do you really think any MMO runs one machine per server? One rack box usually has anywhere from 10-20 server computers in it. With decent programming, I doubt server hardware limitations have had much effect on MMOs in years. Bandwith, Routers and Storage are where companies need to spend more than they have been.

  • JemcrystalJemcrystal Champaign, ILPosts: 1,550Member Uncommon

    Every mmorpg that has ever had housing has screwed it up and back again.  When player housing makes me feel like I am playing Sims 2 instead of an online game I'll support that game with all my heart. 


  • apb2011apb2011 Quebec city, QCPosts: 153Member Uncommon

    When WOW was in its prime time, imagine all those thousands of players being able to build whatever they want wherever they want on a server. SWG and WOW back then, and also UO, were not resource intensive as games are in this time. The company can spend tons of money on hardware, but if you have the players being able to put game assets in the world, I don't care what anyone says, it will lead to the game being taken down for maintenance alot.

     

    EDIT*

    And UO was not a 3D game, so it is obviously not as resource intensive. And we cannot speak of SWG, mainly because it shut down. If the game were still alive i'm sure housing would be fun like it was in UO.

    I remember in the late 90s when i played UO, it was so fun to gank someone and get into their house. Take all there stuff. I think because the game allowed players to build houses wherever they want made it so fun. One thing that sucked is the way the game looked after. The landscape looked ruined. Now imagine that in an MMO nowadays. It would look kinda like fallen earth. Messy.

  • JemcrystalJemcrystal Champaign, ILPosts: 1,550Member Uncommon

    I was so excited to see housing again in Aion.  I chose the craft furniture making.  I discovered you can buy cheap elegant furniture from an npc.  If you craft furniture for days spending a LOT of money you get these crappy looking crate colored furnishings.  I left Aion disappointed.


  • RavenRaven LondonPosts: 1,974Member Common
    Originally posted by GTwander
    Originally posted by lifesbrink

    Wizard101 and Glitch.  The housing in those games is unrivaled, unless we consider the housing in Sims.

    Nope.

    Everything in that vid is either player-crafted, some kind of reward, or gotten from a mob. Then placed, by hand, using an amazing system to put anything, anywhere.

    Man that video makes me sad I never really played much SWG for one reason or another :(

    image

  • ictownictown iowa city, IAPosts: 123Member

    Because I'm a themepark guy of the XYZ generation. Playing themepark first and then sandbox games...I didn't find the total freedom that great. Player housing, so what, its a boring feature. Fishing...thats dumb feature to me. Cutting trees and mining ores, thats an uneeded feature. It be great if GW2 got rid of player based economy, lol.

  • RavenRaven LondonPosts: 1,974Member Common
    Originally posted by Icewhite
    Originally posted by Four0Six
    It isnt that they had a new way to contact and pitch to a new playerbase, they actually "farmed" up a totaly new playerbase.

    Something that every other company in the industy wishes they could manage one tenth as well.  Yas indeed.

    But most of the worst social fallout effect lies in what it's done to player's expectations. 

    "Before WoW, all MMOs were "niche"."--and before WoW, 250k was plenty of subs.  Now its considered a failure, not worth anyone's time to even try. 

    We don't expect a feature list similar to WoW's opening day, we expect a feature list of a WoW-right-now mature game.  Several times larger game, bug free, orders of magnitude more polished, and for the same cost.  Anything less, failure.

    And of course, we expect our new games to contain every feature we've ever dreamed of, or some other game fifteen years ago had once.

    The problem is not that it is a failure per se, it is all about investor perspective, games in general are a very very bad investment, if I had money to invest, I would never invest in games, and I am a games programmer for a living and would love to own a company to make things  "my own way" and"just for fun" but would never expect it to be my main investment, it is just a bad investment, WoW proved these investors wrong, being an anomaly in the gaming world or not, it showed investors that there were big bucks to be made out of online worlds with high constant revenue stream.

    This has attracted the big investors and equity firms to actually take a gamble, these people pumping millions of pounds into a project are not interested, in a return where they have 250k subscriber base, because they can probably get their money and put it elsewhere and have a much better return, they are only interested in putting money into the system if they can get the same sort of return that WoW had.

    The MMO genre for the most part has been pretty badly funded pre-wow, it was always a sort of indie scene with companies picking up revenue stream from other products ( UO with the ultima series for instance ) or funded by people who were already in the industry but could provide financial backing, the funding you see today that has allowed so many developers to attempt to replicate WoWs success comes from investment funds that have been given certain return expectations, expectations that cannot be met most of the time ( as we have seen time and time again ).

    The consequences of this, are products being left dead in the water for the most part, I have yet to see an MMORPG that has been released after WoW that has the same content development cycles that WoW has, you can just tell that companies have lost big funding and that they are no longer actively trying to improve the game as much, even if they want to. After that it's a slippery slope.

    image

  • bunnyhopperbunnyhopper LondonPosts: 2,751Member

    "Player housing" is a bit of a catch all term that could include modular building, creating player cities and castles, creating unique defensive structures and the like. For some reason the majority of developers and a large swathe of players simply think it only means dumping a house and decorating it. When in fact it can be an important gameplay driving mechanism over and above "decorating".

     

    I guess it's because mmorpgs are not about longevity anymore, it is about setting up ladder tournaments until the next mmorpg with a shinier ladder tournament comes out in the summer. "Player housing" requires the players to actually want to stick around in a game for more than five days and have some ability to take a longer view. That simply is not what the genre, or the players, are about for the main part these days.

     

    Fantastic.

    "Come and have a look at what you could have won."

  • AxehiltAxehilt San Francisco, CAPosts: 8,711Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by apb2011

    When WOW was in its prime time, imagine all those thousands of players being able to build whatever they want wherever they want on a server. SWG and WOW back then, and also UO, were not resource intensive as games are in this time. The company can spend tons of money on hardware, but if you have the players being able to put game assets in the world, I don't care what anyone says, it will lead to the game being taken down for maintenance alot.

     EDIT*

    And UO was not a 3D game, so it is obviously not as resource intensive. And we cannot speak of SWG, mainly because it shut down. If the game were still alive i'm sure housing would be fun like it was in UO.

    I remember in the late 90s when i played UO, it was so fun to gank someone and get into their house. Take all there stuff. I think because the game allowed players to build houses wherever they want made it so fun. One thing that sucked is the way the game looked after. The landscape looked ruined. Now imagine that in an MMO nowadays. It would look kinda like fallen earth. Messy.

    Eh, it has almost nothing to do with maintenence and if done right it won't even have a massive client impact.

    It's not an impossible problem to solve, it's just expensive.  And games have to weigh that cost vs. what housing adds to their game (because it often just doesn't fit that well.)  And that's pretty much the end of the decisionmaking process: any capable developer can do it, it's just a matter of whether they should do it.

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  • DanrleiDanrlei TajirPosts: 28Member

    I like player housing. So I think there should have player housing in MMORPGs.

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,473Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by GTwander
    Originally posted by ignore_me
    Originally posted by GTwander
    Originally posted by waynejr2

    I have a friend who has been in the game industry since the 80s, who play UO, EQ and SWG back in the day.  He certainly can't be a new generation out of touch with it player and he thinks housing is a waste.

    Ever ask him why?

    Or is he the type who hides his G.I. Joe in his dresser and talks out of his ass 90% of the time?

    who cares why lol.

    Well, there is a difference between a guy with a solid argument that "it takes a lot of resources to make, and only X amount of people seem to use it, or even care" (which I would like to see proof of, btw, and using SWG or VG as an example, not a half-assed system like LotRO - which *I* don't even give a shit about).

    VS

    "LOL U IS BABBY, PLAY FARMVILLE" (followed by sputtering noises and stroking his no-no bits)

    He saw it as glorified bank space without additional gameplay benefits that couldn't be otherwise added to the game.

  • PyrateLVPyrateLV Las Vegas, NVPosts: 1,096Member Common
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by GTwander
    Originally posted by ignore_me
    Originally posted by GTwander
    Originally posted by waynejr2

    I have a friend who has been in the game industry since the 80s, who play UO, EQ and SWG back in the day.  He certainly can't be a new generation out of touch with it player and he thinks housing is a waste.

    Ever ask him why?

    Or is he the type who hides his G.I. Joe in his dresser and talks out of his ass 90% of the time?

    who cares why lol.

    Well, there is a difference between a guy with a solid argument that "it takes a lot of resources to make, and only X amount of people seem to use it, or even care" (which I would like to see proof of, btw, and using SWG or VG as an example, not a half-assed system like LotRO - which *I* don't even give a shit about).

    VS

    "LOL U IS BABBY, PLAY FARMVILLE" (followed by sputtering noises and stroking his no-no bits)

    He saw it as glorified bank space without additional gameplay benefits that couldn't be otherwise added to the game.


    Then your friend has a very limited and shallow viewpoint of what housing in an MMO can be

     

     

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  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,473Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by PyrateLV
    Originally posted by waynejr2
    Originally posted by GTwander
    Originally posted by ignore_me
    Originally posted by GTwander
    Originally posted by waynejr2

    I have a friend who has been in the game industry since the 80s, who play UO, EQ and SWG back in the day.  He certainly can't be a new generation out of touch with it player and he thinks housing is a waste.

    Ever ask him why?

    Or is he the type who hides his G.I. Joe in his dresser and talks out of his ass 90% of the time?

    who cares why lol.

    Well, there is a difference between a guy with a solid argument that "it takes a lot of resources to make, and only X amount of people seem to use it, or even care" (which I would like to see proof of, btw, and using SWG or VG as an example, not a half-assed system like LotRO - which *I* don't even give a shit about).

    VS

    "LOL U IS BABBY, PLAY FARMVILLE" (followed by sputtering noises and stroking his no-no bits)

    He saw it as glorified bank space without additional gameplay benefits that couldn't be otherwise added to the game.


    Then your friend has a very limited and shallow viewpoint of what housing in an MMO can be

     

     

    reread it.  You might have missed a little subtle bit.  You could reply demonstrating you understand that point.

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