Friday, November 12, 2010

In places where one sleeps but once

Where's your home in Azeroth? This was asked in a shared topic at Blog Azeroth a little while ago.

I didn't participate in it, mostly since I don't have any particular home. Sure, there are some places that I like more than others. As a matter of fact there are quite a few, such as the twilight zones of Zangar and Duskwood, the happy greenery in Elwynn or the hill just behind the inn in Westfall, which happens to be a wonderful hideout for nightly meditations under the starry sky. But I couldn't point out one certain spot, claiming it to be my home, and as a matter of fact it doesn't bother me. My home is in Azeroth and that's enough to me.

I'm not playing WoW to furniture a house. If I did, I could as well play Sims or build myself a real life doll house. I play WoW to kill dragons, explore strange new worlds and hang around with other geeks. Besides, if I ever feel that I need a steady point in the WoW universe, I beleave that I already have it. It's called The Pink Pigtail Inn.

Player housing
Wolfshead takes a different position in a recent post, where he once again argues strongly for player housing. He talks at length about the importance of player ownership, putting up Farmville and similar social network based games as an example to follow for the MMO industry if they want to remain successful.

He points at the benefits of allowing player ownership, claiming that it helps the players to bond with the virtual world, which will give a deeper more meaningful game experience for the players and more loyal subscribers for the game company. He also claims that it will contribute to create a better community, since players who don't own anything are mere guests and tourists and behave as such.

This isn't exactly news: Wolfshead has talked about player on many occasions before, like in the spring 2009. My conclusion after pondering upon this issue for a while and asking other players with experience from games with player housing, was that it certainly sounded like something that could be "nice to have" but not necessary, which I wrote in a reply post.

Now that Wolfshead brings up the topic once again, I looked back at my post to see if I had changed my mind, and I found that I really hadn't. So with the risk for repeating myself, I'll follow Wolfshead's example and talk about it one more time.

What to do
My major objection with the house idea is that I don't see what you would do in there. I'm afraid it would grow old fairly quickly, unless you put features into it, such as storage services, vendors, mail and AH. But on the other hand: if you did this, you would risk draining the cities from the players who make them come alive.

Is it really all that fun to be a house owner that you want to do it when you're gaming as well? You know what? I don't even own the real life house I'm living in - I rent it. Yes, I know it might sounds shocking - at my age you're expected to have paid your mortgages for years. But our family has decided to live a fairly modest life style, free from such things as a second car, fancy furniture or a summer house. We haven't invested in property. At all. We eat simple; we live simple, but we invest in experiences. My daughters may not have big and beautiful rooms like their friends have, but on the other hand, they've been on safari in Tanzania, they've done an unforgettble road trip in California and soon they're about to make a journey to India. And actually they don't complain. Not a bit.

I probably should blame Thoreau for this. I read Walden as I was young and even if I can't sign on all of his ideas today, he has had an infuence on my perspective on life.

Among other things, he made me realize that you won't automatically become happy just because you own a big property. All the work that comes with it, all the obligations and the need to maintain it, can become such a burden that it enslaves you.

It's not about you owning the house anymore. It's the house that owns you. I've seen it happening in real life a number of times, to friends at the same age as I who have prioritized the creation of their home to other activities in life. Even if they're not even remotely interested in crafting and building, they end up spending all their leisure time on different sorts of house renovation projects. There isn't any end to it.

Let the players decide
My thoughts are wandering too far away from the topic, as they tend to do on Friday nights. Let's go back to the issue on player houses. I don't look for them for my own part, because I think I'll have more fun exploring the world. However, I'm not the only player in WoW, and if Blizzard decided to go through with this idea I wouldn't rage against it.

If Wolfshead speaks the truth and there's a big enough interest for this among the players, I can't see any reason not to go ahead with it. It's definitely more interesting to me than projects such as remote AH access or Battle Net communications over game boundaries.

All I ask for is that they find a way to deal with the logistical issues, making sure that neither the houses, nor the public space areas in the cities, will end up as deserted ghost towns.

For my own part I'm not sure if I'll ever bother to settle in one of those virtual houses. I'll end this post, quoting a couple of lines from poem "In motion" by the Swedish poet Karin Boye.

The best goal is a night-long rest,
fire lit, and bread broken in haste.
In places where one sleeps but once,
sleep is secure, dreams full of songs.

Friday night toast
My Friday night toast this week goes to all of you wanderers stopping by at this inn on your journey through life. Please make yourself comfortable by the fire. There's room for everyone. May your sleep be secure and your dreams full of songs!

Cheers!

32 comments:

Sonnenfleck said...

I just noticed I really prefer these ramblings of yours where you're meandering off topic over technical discussions of game mechanics. Made me post here for the first time, so there's something right with that.

And I love that poem. Makes me wish for exactly that experience. Which I can have, because I don't have a house I need to tend to - but I do have some nice tents. ;)

Klepsacovic said...

I just want a summer home in Nagrand. I was there the other day searching for earth rifts (with no success) and realized that I really missed the place. It's so peaceful and beautiful. Ah, to be 70 again, flying around in search of adamantite and motes of air.

Dan said...

If player housing were ever introduced in WoW, I'd likely have two homes - one in Nagrand on a floating island and one in Ironforge.
Provided there is no microtransaction involved in obtaining player housing, I'll spend whatever sum of gold is necessary to have both, complete with bank, guild bank, auction, mailbox and a hearthstone bind; with the home in Nagrand a portal to Thunder Bluff and Ironforge for all of my toons.

shopshopshop said...

As someone who played Ultima Online (UO), a game in which player housing played an important role (I'll expand on that in a second), I think there are two important pros for player housing and one big caveat that you mentioned in your post.

Before I get to those, let me explain how player housing in UO worked. Your bank could hold a maximum of 140 items. In UO, this was not a lot of items. There were things like reagents, crafting materials, gold, rare items, house decorations (plays a large role in UO), etc. Far more than WoW has and with no easy things like how mounts are "learned" rather than carried around.

So a house (depending on the size of the house) allowed players to hold secure containers, which could in turn each hold a number of items. Larger houses could hold more items. This was necessary for any player intending to do more than just run around the graveyard killing skeletons (the UO equivalent of, say, killing boars in Goldshire).

Player housing also was not instanced or separated from the main game world, which it likely would be in WoW. Instead, houses dotted the countryside (weren't allowed in cities) and your house was in a specific place that you often got to know well, as though it really was your home. This presents a problem for potential WoW housing: it wouldn't feel integral to the game world because it likely would be somewhere you teleport to by use of a magic key type item.

In addition, UO housing was very, very customizable. Not only could you buy a fair number of types of houses (from small one-room to a keep, with 4 wings and a courtyard), your house came empty. This meant that players (and NPCs sold basic stuff) sold and crafted items for decoration. Rare drops from mobs were often decorative items, unlike the traditional weapon/armour rare drop model. Vanity items played a larger part in the UO economy than they do in WoW, and crafting was also more than a means to creating/enhancing equipment.

Now that the preamble is out of the way, here are the two pros and one con of player housing in WoW:

Pro 1: Allows players to decorate a piece of the game world, making it their home. Much like phasing quests allowed players to make an impact on the game, decorating player housing lets players directly affect a part of the world. Decoration also has a big effect on the economy and has the potential to make crafting more interesting if Blizzard followed a UO-style model of decoration (easy to do since we have things like Tinkering and Blacksmithing already).

Pro 2: A place to call home. I'm not an RPer by any means, but when I played UO, I always made a point to log off in my house. Even though I could just as easily log off at the inn in a city. In addition to RP benefits, homes give players a more logical way to store additional items. Instead of the traditional method of "bank alts" and "alt guild banks" which are a hassle and don't really fit into the world very well, having a chest in your house where you store crap is pretty sweet. Things you could also do in your house: craft, auction, bank, get your hair cut, etc. Gold sinks galore.

The caveat: People leave cities to go into houses, leaving cities more empty. The image of cities being empty sucks. It's always great that cities are filled with people in the streets, yelling crap about Chuck Norris. However, people are always going to need to be in big cities to pug raids, use trade chat, see what guilds might be recruiting, train professions, buy items, reforge gear, etc. Striking a balance between what you can do in a house and what you can do in a city would be very important to making sure people still had incentive to go to Dalaran, Stormwind, etc.

This comment is really long. I'm going to turn it into a blog post later, with more pictures, I suspect.

Tesh said...

I don't really buy the whole "player housing will make the cities ghost towns" angle. Player housing is a place to store your stuff, mementos of the game, mostly. Maybe show it off to other players. It's not going to be a place to go to the bank or AH or whatever; that's not the purpose. It would scratch a different itch... one that not everyone cares about, sure, but then again, not everyone cares about raiding, either. *shrug*

nowiamtree said...

Shopshopshop's basically described the pros and cons of housing that I found in LotRO (with the exception that in LotRO the housing was instanced). Personally I loved having a little elvish house in Celondim, with the best view of mountains and waterfalls from my back garden. I loved having a place that I could style as my character would style, with chests for items, my own mailbox, and a little market just down the road. It allowed me to host guild get togethers - as did the kinhouse. And I loved having a garden which had a mememto of one of our finest ingame moments in it.

Yes, the cities did become quieter, but not that much. And I loved having a place I could log out in, sat by the fire comfortably. A place in Middle Earth that was "mine". I miss that element in WoW.

Nikodhemus said...

I like Shops ideas of having vanity items as craftables. The only profession that offers that now is Tailoring, and a little of Engineering.

This would be a good idea if Blizzard put a little logic into the idea (Ha! What an idea!). It doesn't exactly make sense to have vendors and auctioneers at your house, but it would be great to store a hugh amount of goods, hang screenshots, have a hall of achievements, that sort of thing. Even better, I like the idea of having a Guild Keep. A manor/tower/keep you go to with your guildies, get your guildbank, decorate, have your own room, even plan assaults on enemy keeps! So much of the game is designed for End Game people; what to do at 80? Being award trophies for guild achievements then having a trophy room, and invite others to check it out? I'd be on board with that...

Bronte said...

I know this will start to sound like its unrelated, but bear with me.

This is where, for me, Lore comes in. World of Warcraft is about a great many number of things, but perhaps the most significant of these things, no matter what you call "home" in Azeroth, or which race's starting location you hail from, is players responding to world-threatening events and dungeons.

In PvE, this applies in the form of world events such as the ones currently engulfing Azeroth prior to Deathwing's arrival, 5-man dungeons in every corner of terrestrial and extra-terrestrial ground, and large-scale instances. As one of the heroes of Azeroth, you respond to these threats at all times, in every location, in every form, with (hopefully) or even without friends. And the same applies to Battlegrounds in PvP.

My point is that I have no single home in Azeroth. Perhaps a large rectangular pattern in Ironforge, one I have skirted, I am not afraid to admit, more than a few times in my time, comes close to a "home". But at the end of the home is where the conflict is, and being the selfless hero, I am perfectly cool with that! :D

Linato said...

I like the pros and cons I've read here as they were well thought out. I've had player housing in other games (EQ2, LOTRO) and it was nice but not critical to me. I'm a house renter in the real world and that keeps me busy enough that I do not do a lot of decorating in game (although I do some). I mostly prefer to quest and explore in game as those are the things I enjoy more.

I would also like to second what Sonnenfleck said. That poem was great. Well done.

hound said...

I've blogged about this once or twice. My solution is to add a button to characters that allows players to be transported to other players instanced homes. Maybe in the "inspection" screen would be a good place for this button.

The home itself, as others have said, would just be a place to store stuff. But that's why a lot of people play MMO's, to collect stuff. Beyond the social nature of these games, collecting virtual stuff is one of the biggest draws.

All of the current professions will have an alternative focus. And a host of new professions could emerge:

Farming
Pottery
Carpentry

Some professions could be specialized or be related to others. For instance, farming could be broken up into skills for wineries, orchards, husbandry, and fish farming.

Old dungeon loot tables can be tweaked to include collectible drops, now every dungeon has a purpose beyond gear acquisition and leveling.

Further more, it doesn't even have to be housing per say, but something that would allow for a very robust collectible feature within the game beyond pets, mounts, and gear could be very beneficial.

Nils said...

- I am quite undecided about player housing. I certainly wouldn't be interested in it if it was massively instanced.

- What I think is new in Wolfsheads post is the idea that one deciding strength of social games like Farmville & Co is the feeling of ownership.

- In my opinion, this idea is worthy some discussion, while the question of whether Wolfshead has talked about housing before is not: He has.

Gronthe said...

Property law has historically been one of the slowest evolving types of law in history. Given the relative time frame that WoW is set in, I'd say we have another 93 real life years before we get player housing, if trends hold and the game survives that long.

On that note, if I did have to maintain a home in Azeroth, who would protect my property rights? Would I have to grant easements? And if so, will I be compensated? So many legal matters cloud my opinion, I just don't know what to do. I guess for now I'm content that I don't have to deal with it, and given the choice I'll lay out a sleeping bag and rest under the stars...or planets. :D

Grainger said...

Going to “try” to make this short. First off, all of my 70+ toons sleep in Dalaran due to convenience. If convenience was not a factor, I would probably choose Elwynn as my Alliance home and, with no other options I feel strongly about, I would kind of like the simple beauty of Mulgore for a horde home (though I have no Taurens I play regularly).

That being said, I have always been hoping for either a) a purchasable, very modest home for toons or b) a Guild House (kinda like Avengers Mansion or something).

I have no idea what the difficulties would be, but I assume you would have several houses in the world that would have a “portal” on the threshold to enter “your house”. Anyways, I would think some additional storage would be there, but not enough to eliminate the need for banks, and perhaps some custom features dependant on your professions? (i.e. a forge for miners, anvil for blacksmiths….though I now realize not many professions have this need.)

Someone mentioned decorations which actually made me think that perhaps carpentry could be a new profession? I think that could potentially be a gold sink for players and you can have a “lumberjack” profession that would work like herbalism to find good wood to use?

I think there are lots of possibilities, I just don’t know how big the cry for this “personal space” really is.

Maybe have a free hearth like the DK’s Death Gate to go “home”…but I definitely would agree that a home should not be designed to remove the need for the cities.

Tempestmir said...

Unless I'm specifically camping something, my characters always log out on the same pallet inside the Animal, in Dalaran.

This table is also where I hold court when my guild has official meetings. It's as close to a home as I can make in WoW and it has served me well enough, but I would not be opposed to the idea of a place of my own within the world.

I ponder whether the use of instancing or phasing can be of use in implementing such a thing as player housing within an area of each major city or a more countrified spot outside of them (or, ideally, both).

I don't think it would render those cities and towns vacant in the least. I think, rather, it would enhance them.

I could see things like mail being accessible at your home and trunks for your mementos (or, preferably, a way to display some things within the house), but otherwise you would have to venture into the cities and towns for trainers and vendors.

To expand, it could offer a home base for crafters, as well.

If they could implement something in the vein of an instanced neighbourhood, you could find yourself checking to see if the tailor next door has spellweave you could borrow or see if the enchanter a block over can hook you up with Icewalker on the boots you picked up, last week.

Or you could go in another direction and decide to set the warlock down the street's flower bed ablaze on a weekly basis... however you roll...

Gevlon said...

"It's not about you owning the house anymore. It's the house that owns you."

Best line in the topic ever. Lot of people with now underwater loans learned it the hard way.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of player or guild housing. When I'm in Stormwind or Ironforge, I always think it's such a waste when I pass doors and buildings that are not used. And I like the idea of an adventurer who actually lives somewhere but is willing to go across the world for some quest or to defeat some enemy. That's more appealing than a homeless, wandering mage who just rolls from kill to kill.

I wouldn't want them to be a part of the world. Put a lock on the door and require that people physically travel to them in order to enter. No hearthing into your house please. No AH or banking in your house; you still have to go to a city for some things. No anvils or forges in homes unless perhaps you buy them and have room for them. No global chat channels in homes.

Give people a reason to go home. Lots of options here: a Sims-like mini-game, an XP bonus for home time, a crafting speed bonus, extra storage, a small stat boost from sleeping at home instead of passing out on the streets, faster reputation gains for groups near your home.

Let people buy and sell houses as well as build new ones. With the right balance of home and city services, you'll have many people who want a home in a city but it should also be possible to live on a farm in Westfall or the Barrens. You'd have a long journey into town to shop or sell, but that's as it should be if you choose to live in a remote place.

Daergel said...

I could never rent again - my mortgage repayments are a fraction of rental costs - probably about a third of the cheaper end of the market, and even cheaper if I wanted to rent a similar property to where I live now!

I guess I am lucky though, as I got into the market at the right time!

Bobii said...

Yes it was true that you could customize your house in UO and people took a lot of pride in it. However anyone that played UO in the early days can remember the nightmare maze that all the player housing created in the world.

Anonymous said...

My home is IF bridge, if they screw it up in Cataclysm there will be hell to pay !!!!

cacknoob (the silent)

Ratshag said...

Now that the war be over, I done took me earnings from killin' buggers what needed killin', and bought me a ranch. Is a nice spread kinda in the middle of the Barrens, a little south of Crossroads. Gonna raise me some kodos, entertains some exotic wimmenz, and mebbe get drunk and go centaur tipping on Saturday nights. Is nice juicy quillboar bacon every Sunday morning, if you buggers wanna stop buy.

Now, if onlies these dang earthquakes'd stop.

Syl said...

I'd love to see player housing but I'm not sure I'd want it to be instanced. that raises a can of worms of course, like how/where to place the damn things but other MMOs have shown its doable. that way you keep people together and in more public spaces, you can create things like 'neighborhoods' etc.
I doubt we'll ever see this option in wow though, but you never know. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm going to argue the opposite end of this.

Player Housing at best doesn't contribute anything to the game and at worst actively makes games worse.

On the front end, there's going to be nothing in your house that doesn't already exist in your backpack or your various mount and pet tabs. All your toys and trophies are already there. What is housing really bringin to the table, especially in a game like WoW which housing is profoundly unsuited for the game paradigm that's set up and only really gets brought up because there's people who demand player housing in every game for some reason.

On the back end, you have a resource that even at the most generous estimate isn't going to add more to the game in sense of ownership and involvement than, say, a new mount, that is none the less going to require a huge amount of developer resources that could be better spent on adding more actual game to your mmog. Adding player housing would actively make the game worse.

This leads the aside the question of whether WoW is a game whose paradigm is even suited to player housing.

Shintar said...

I mostly agree with your stance on this, Larísa. I feel somewhat differently about houses in real life, but in my opinion the fantasy genre has always been very much about being an adventurer and living on the road. Everyone holing up in their houses would certainly create a very different kind of game.

Chadrassa said...

I would welcome guild houses (like they have in Guild Wars) with vendors, storage space and all the little other necessities a raiding guild might have. Let the guild-house prices even have a discount.

That would keep the lol-rp griefers out of the not-instanced parts of the citis. I hope.

Larísa said...

Cack! You're still there, lurking? Planning for a glorious return?

Joar said...

I think if I was picking a site for building a home, I'd probably shoot for something at the edge of the cliff overlooking the water in the Hinterlands. Bit of a long commute in to work, but the view is definitely worth it.

Thelandira said...

First, I'm sorry for the "Wall of Text"...

I play Star Wars Galaxies online, as well as WoW, and they have player and guild housing. It's a feature that I absolutely LOVE. But, I'm not really sure how WoW could fit it in. SWG's landscape is designed with housing in mind, meaning that they have a smaller amount of NPC towns, hostile NPCs are fewer and their overall landscape is quite barren (think of a zone the size of The Barrens & STV combined with the landscape design of Desolace...now multiply that by about 9 or 10 (maybe more) and that's the land size of SWG). SWG has very little to interfere with where you place your home or guild town.

Now, think of WoW and how almost every zone is jam packed with hostile NPCs roaming around, NPC towns for quest hubs, faction specific towns for quest hubs as well as the numerous amounts of trees/foliage/rocks. How would our game look (as it is now) with hundreds, if not thousands, of homes all around? Part of what many of us love about this game is the amount of detail the creators put into EVERYTHING. How would we like to see a zone like Ashenvale littered with houses and with very little spiders/wolves/bears roaming around and no trees for them to roam around under (in SWG when you place a building it removes whatever trees/mobs are on that spot)?

As much as I love having my very own house to decorate and store things in and log out in in SWG, I just don't think it would fit in with WoW. And, the whole "have it instanced" thingie just makes no sense to me. For me, if I'm going to have a house I want to be able to pick from a variety of sizes and shapes and be able to color it like I want for all the world to see (which you can do in SWG). Sure, peeps can visit your "instanced" house....but all they get to see is the inside. Sometimes the outside is what creates the overall feel of the house and determines/has an impact on how you decorate it on the inside.

As WoW stands now, there really isn't a place (at least not in my eyes) for player/guild housing. Their best bet would have been to implement such a feature at the games original release and to have the zones designed to accomodate it.

P.S. - That was really hard for me to write because I do love player/guild housing in SWG and have thought often of how much I miss it when I play WoW. But, I really don't see it fitting in with our beautiful Azeroth.

Dyre42 said...

From a storage perspective in game housing would be great. Being able to hang Thunderfury over the mantle would be an improvement to having it sitting in your vault.

Personally my main H(unter) would be happy with with an object that created a tent that allowed you to rest as though you were in an Inn or City.

Frostys said...

If they bring it in game, I am farming on your server larissa to help building this inn.

Sulis said...

I agree, I've played games - A Tale in the Desert - where owning, furnishing and crafting are the major thrust of the game. They can be fun and entertaining but they aren't played the same way you play WOW or other RPGs. I love Azeroth and I love the busy cities with players all over the place. I love being able to leave a city and be on my own when I wish to. When I play an alt on a low population server it is always a bit depressing to go into a city where there might be only one or 2 other players besides yourself. If I could talk to Bliz I would ask them to please make sure we don't get player owned housing.

Larísa said...

@Sonnenfleck: thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yeah I love it. The entire poem is worth reading, it's a little bit (but not much) longer. It sure captures the spirit of travelling.

@Klepsacovic: I'm a bit split on Nagrand. It is a peaceful place, but isn't it a little bit too green? Maybe I'm just picky... but the islands in the sky are nice. Don't mind sitting on them pondering over life in Azeroth.

@Dan: hm...basically you rarely would have to meet any other player, with all your service institutions at hands, instanced?

@Shopshopshop: thanks for sharing your experiences from UO, very interesting stuff. As you say, housing in WoW would probably have to be instanced by nature and that makes it a little problematic.

And the balance is important. Like you I prefer an inhabited city - even if it means you have to put up with some crap in /trade.

@Tesh: Show it off to who if it's instanced as it probably will be in WoW for practical reasons?
Invite some random people from the street, "hey, want to come to my place and see my trophies". Do you think it might work as a pickup-line?

@Nowiamtree: well, I guess I'm not the right person to judge. I've seen houses in LOTRO but only as a low lvl char, unable to buy one for myself. I just imagine how incredibly quiet it would be to just... sit there. But then I'm not in a guild in LOTRO. Maybe it's different if you have someone to chat away with.

@Nikodhemus: Guild halls make more sense to me than player halls. But the storage thing...hm... Not sure if I'd prefer to have my stuff in a house to have it at a bank that has offices all over the world.

@Bronte: Well, I guess most of us are heroes but at an RP server there could be players who stayed civilian. And in that kind of gameplay houses make more sense, even though I wonder if you wouldn't prefer to have them non-instanced for those purposes.

@Linato: Same here. I think I'm more of an explorer than a decorator. (a glance at my own house says all). Glad you liked the poem!

@Hound: Hm... yeah I imagine it would pair nicely with archaeology. I'm not sure how important collecting stuff is in general. But I guess Blizzard does enough of investigations to have a clue about how most players feel about this.

@Nils: Yeah, it's interesting to discuss just how important the ownership feature is for the success of those games. And whether this really is relevant for WoW or not.

@Gronthe: Not a bad place to sleep. I can provide a camp fire!

@Grainger: again: I don't think decorating stuff is what I want from a game. But if there are enough of players who like it, I guess there's no harm.

@Tempestmir: if you would be able to visit crafters you couldn't make it instanced, I believe. Again: it might be fun to have a PPI in my server. But is there really anything that stops me from adopting one of the multitude of inns in game for that purpose? The major problem would be to keep it open; I can't be around all the time I'm afraid.

Larísa said...

@Gevlon: I don't know if you've read Thoreau. I suspect that there's some stuff that you won't agree on. But yeah, on the topic of the trap you can get in if you buy houses too carelessly, I think he's got some points that are still relevant.

@Anonymous: Hm... I'm not sure if you want them instanced or not? On one hand you say that they shouldn't be a part of the world, but on the other hand you're talking about them as if they're viewable for everyone. I think you'd come up with more reasons than those you mention to get people to want to spend time in their houses.

@Daergel: Yeah, it's all about timing. We were always out of sync. But it never felt that important to me to own my house either.

@Bobii: deserted?

@Ratshag: oh dear. I don't have the heart to tell you what's going on...

@Syl: It sounds quite hard to solve. And I'm not sure I'd like Azeroth to be urbanized that way. You'd have to expand it a LOT to make room for all those houses if they aren't instanced.

@Anonymous: Thanks for presenting a different opinion on this! I agree that most features that houses offer already are provided by other means in WoW. Then there's the roleplaying aspect. I'm not so deep into roleplaying that I can tell exactly how much housing would mean.

@Shintar: On the other hand we DO spend a lot of time these days just hanging around in the cities. So from that point of view I reckon it wouldn't make that much difference if players who like to be in a house hanged in their house instead of in the open space in Stormwind.

@Cadrassa: Oh you mean that it would be a convenient way to get rid of annoying people in the cities? Make the houses attractive enough and they'll go there instead of harassing rp:ers? That's an interesting way of seeing it actually! You have a point.

@Joar: That place is wonderful. Thanks for reminding me about it. It's been way too long since last time I visited it. It's nice to spend some time on your own there - regardless if you have a house or just a campfire.

@Thelandria: Thank you for your honest, thoughtful wall of text! You're very trustworthy since being a SWG player and a house lover at heart. Still you have the decency to admit it might not work in WoW. Cheers!

@Dyre42: It's true that Thunderfury would look prettier on the wall than just as an icon in your bank vault. And yes, I've thought many times about the tent too. I reckon though that there's some kind of point giving us incentives to go to an inn. Not quite sure what... maybe it's after all a little bit of RP in it?

@Frosty: Sounds lovely! Stormrage server, EU it is. Where in the world do you think The Pink Pigtail Inn should be located?

@Sulis: I'm playing on a fairly populated server, but I can imagine it must be a bit dull on a low pop server with so few people around. Sure, you can flirt with the NPCs and run some imaginary conversations, but in the end it's not the same as interacting with real players - even if they're a bit immature and annoying from time to time. At least they're human.