Tobold's Blog
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Not leaving the house

As I have some other things going on I am currently not playing so much World of Warcraft. Basically just garrison maintenance, which still brings in more gold than I would need to pay for the subscription. But that has to be temporary, either the patch will give me fresh stuff to do, or I'll just quit, because I don't just want to make gold to pay for the subscription I need to make gold.

Anyway, I was playing the auction house speculating with Universal Language modules and parts, and ended up getting a module cheap. And then I decided I had too much gold anyway, might as well spend it on some luxury. So I bought the other parts and handed them in for the "quest" that gives you an auctioneer in your garrison. As going to Warspear for the auctioneer was pretty much the only thing I still did regularly outside the garrison, I'm now able to play without ever leaving my player house. And that probably isn't a good idea to allow that in a multiplayer game.

The garrison is rather big for a player housing system in a MMORPG, and has more functionality than most. I understand the attraction of all that convenience, but in the end the result is isolation, and player harvesting and crafting having been ruined. It is also very hard to take away convenience from the players, they are still complaining about having lost flying in Draenor. So how is the player base going to react if in the next expansion the garrison becomes outdated, and players are basically losing that convenience and housing? Already in patch 6.2 players will discover that they need harvesting skills again, what happens when that comes back as being the standard method of gathering resources? The patch adds more content to the garrison, so people will feel it even more when they don't get anything equivalent in the next expansion.

While I think that the WoW garrison has been worked very nicely into the story and continent of Draenor, I am wondering if a flying house like the starship in SWTOR or the floating island in Wildstar isn't the better way to go. And I think that there can be too much convenience in player housing, because you don't want a massively multiplayer game where most players are sitting alone in their instanced housing most of the time. Player housing in MMORPGs has some big inherent problems, and Blizzard is far from having solved them.

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In my opinion, player housing in MMOs should either a) provide content specifically for people whose main interest lies in creating and decorating and who might otherwise not play your MMO at all or b) provide storage and display space for your existing players - somewhere they come back to, place their trophies, invite friends to admire them and then leave.

The idea that housing should have general gameplay utility is seductive but also dangerous. If your game can support open world housing like SWG or Vanguard then it can work, especially in terms of offering space for player-vendors and roleplay, but even then it's a risk. Instanced housing is much more likely to cause serious issues. As soon as you start putting heavy-duty utility into personal instances you risk sucking the lifeblood out of your open-world social hubs.

Guild halls are almost as bad although if your game takes The Guild to be the basic social unit then that could be made to work. And yet, on balance, I'd personally still rather have even badly-thought-out housing than no housing at all. That seems to me to be the worst of all options.

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I think player housing can only work if it has absolutely no influence on character power. The worst thing garrisons and the farm in MoP have done for me is taking away the freedom to park my characters anywhere else. Garrisons are so powerful, that every twink just sits in front of the mission table.

Back in BC I was a resident of Telaar with the main char and Allerian Stronghold with another. Since WotLK my chars mostly remained in the capital but not in the exact same spot of the farm/garrison.

If Blizzard just looks at participation they see me using the garrison with 5 chars every day. Actually I would not complain if the garrison went away tomorrow, I only use it because it makes so much gold for a couple minutes logging through chars to start missions.

Btw, I am a supporter of no flying in Draenor too.

Also: steam has "Shadowrun Returns" for 2,99€ right now.
If you don't leave the Garrison, then there is no reason to not cancel your subscription. Sure, it's cheap, but you're wasting otherwise productive time servicing the garrison for resources you don't need.

Now, if you find it relaxing or whatever, then by all means keep doing it. But the minute it becomes a chore, stop.

I raid with my guild, so I find the garrison is a good place to wait for the raid to start.

I think Player Housing should simply be a quiet place to easily go to when you want to be in game but not actively playing the game, nothing more. A cottage in an instanced glade would more than suffice.
"you don't want a massively multiplayer game where most players are sitting alone in their instanced housing most of the time."

Actually, this can only happen if you turn the chat interface completely off. You're always looking for chats from your guild, whispers, and whatever custom chat channels you belong to.

Just because the game has "MM" in it's genre doesn't mean you need to be glad handing the locals at every possible chance.

If someone is waiting for a queue to pop, or otherwise just wants to sit in their instanced house chatting, then instanced housing is the best place to do it.
They got rid of flying?
You can still fly through the old content. But there is no flying in any of the level 90-100 zones.
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