Head In The Clouds: Wildstar’s Player-Owned Houses

By Jim Rossignol on August 2nd, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

Me, right now.
Carbine’s science fiction Wild West MMO Wildstar certainly has a lot of promise. The colourful, bold art style is lovely for a start, but then when you read up on some of the more esoteric aspects that have been announced for it, there’s some potential for it to be interesting. It’s not stepping out of the quest-based mould, granted, but it seems to have enough character to stand up as something singular in the MMO landscape. The new trailer detailing player-housing – plots of lands that can be turned into floating islands of player-erected buildings and furniture – does nothing to dispel that feeling. Go take a look, below.


Thanks, VG247!

Not looking bad, eh? No idea quite how flexible that system will be, of course, and I can remember a time when “player owned housing” was a key feature for any new MMO, but it never really seemed to go anywhere interesting. Can anyone think of what the best current example for the state of MMO player-housing? And don’t say “EVE’s Captain’s Quarters” thing, either.

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33 Comments »

  1. RF says:

    This game is looking really surprisingly good.

  2. Chaz says:

    I think, from what I’ve read and seen of it, then Wurm Online probably has the most freedom as regards player housing in the traditional MMO’s. You can plonk them down more or less where you like, and make farm plots and gardens. I’m led to believe it’s akin to being the Minecraft of the MMO world in that respect.

    But I haven’t actually played it, so I can’t in all honesty say so for certain myself. Yet another one of those games I keep meaning to try, because it does actually sound rather nice.

    This does look really cool though. Depends on how customisable it all is though. Do you get to place things where you want or is it a case of buy one of several different things for this slot here etc?

    • Torgen says:

      Building your house and needed items IS a good portion of the game in Wurm. If you try to make a go of it alone, you’ll have to mine rock and ore, cut down trees and saw planks, smelt iron, smithy nails and tools, flatten land, lay out your home, grow your crops, build ovens/forges/looms/beds/carts/fences, etc etc etc.

      It’s truly a medieval survival simulator, but the animations and models are 20 years old.

      • Torgen says:

        Forgot to add the Youtube of someone making a small house: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UffeI4MepAk

        You build furniture and stuff like barrels and chests, then move it around to where you want it in the houses. You’ll want locks on the doors and on the chests, and preferably also spend real money for the purchase and upkeep of a deed (which prevents casual thievery.)

    • Somerled says:

      “I’m led to believe it’s akin to being the Minecraft of the MMO world in that respect.”

      Very much so, since Notch is one of Wurm’s founders, before he hit gold with Minecraft.

      I played Wurm a while and it had a pretty spectacular amount of freedom right from the start, but it was draped over a basic MMO: PvP and grind were the main aspects. Nothing damning at all, just not my cup of tea. Minecraft really is Wurm-lite, and I think it’s better for it.

    • Skhalt says:

      It is actually pretty useless to try and play this now, the map is almost covered with houses. I spent an entire evening running around the map to try and find a clear patch of land somewhere, and failed at that.

  3. RoAE says:

    Back when I first saw this game at PAX Prime 2011, I knew this was one to watch.

  4. Berzee says:

    I love how he kind of stops smiling at the end and then remembers to start again.

    I don’t remember seeing this before, I must have overlooked it because it’s got aliens instead of wizards. Still, I will pay attention in THE FUTURE!!!

  5. Captain Joyless says:

    I’m not going to be happy until I can get a player-owned mortgage on my player-owned house and then when I default on my mortgage, the bank-player can send a player-owned foreclosure firm after me to seize my player-owned assets.

    • Sardonic says:

      This has probably happened in EVE online.

      • Skhalt says:

        Except the seizing is done by a fleet of battleships shooting stuff with big cannons.

      • wcanyon says:

        In Eve, the bank sends a person pretending to be someone else who you eventually come to trust enough that you give them the keys to your player owned housing. A week later: whaaa? where’s my house?!

  6. Ultramegazord says:

    The best use of housing to date still is Ultima Online, players could build their own player towns with houses, player owned shops, npc owned shops and so on, there was a whole universe related to houses where towns could be raided, people used to pay good money to have a house in key places next to crafting spots like mines, taming spots where rare steeds spawned or even next to PvP spots where the houses were vital to the player survival.

    Now every single MMO uses the shitty WoW boring system which suffers from a massive lack of freedom.

    • tyren says:

      You say that like WoW actually had housing. Sure would’ve been nice.

      • Ultramegazord says:

        I was just saying MMOs are more and more shallow, every MMO follows the grind fest system from WoW and that is boring as shit.

    • Irregular Peanut says:

      Housing in Ultima Online was so much fun. I played on a private server for a while, and somehow became wanted with a 10 000 gold bounty for my head (literally), ended holing up in the wilderness far off from any road and spent much of my time there until everyone calmed down.

      I love those kinds of MMOs, you don’t need force questing or instanced battlegrounds or dungeon delving in parties for it to be fun, you only need a decent community that makes things interesting with the flexible game mechanics.

  7. Brise Bonbons says:

    I was completely on board until I saw the floating island bit. That seems to imply instanced player housing to me, which defeats the purpose as far as I’m concerned. To be fair, I can see where instanced housing would be fine for many people, let’s just say it’s not what I look for in an MMO. I could be wrong, too. Cannon duels between neighboring sky-islands would be pretty fun…

    So basically, if you can choose to have your house sit on the ground where random people can wander into your yard and steal your cabbages, then *yay*. If this is just another way to give each player an instance to decorate with items from the cash shop and achievement trophies, then *booo*.

    • Koshinator says:

      Being able to deploy weapons on your front lawn tends to suggest (but not confirm) at least some form of house assault… I really hope it does.

    • f1x says:

      Someone says somewhere that you can put locks on your doors and chests,
      that implies you can get robbed, and that probably those locks can be forced/picklocked, so people can access your house I guess,

      on the other hand about instancing, I sure would prefer non-instanced houses, but I can understand that depending on how sucessful is the game in terms of population, non-instanced housing can be a big problem
      I mean, sure it worked in Ultima, but how many players had ultima? imagine a server with 10.000+ people, and if that means 10.000 houses
      on the other hand of course, I would love a player-built city with 10.000 houses that would be just plain awesome, but then that should be a game that focused totally on that (again, would be kickass)

  8. therealspratt says:

    RUNESCAPE

    • Lolmasaurus says:

      Mention not that name here.

      • Gandaf007 says:

        I loved RuneScape and I always thought the housing system was fantastic. Every house was different and really fun to fuck around in with friends.

  9. Deeon says:

    If it’s instanced than meh…

  10. frosty216 says:

    Early SWG. Screw instanced, screw generic novelty crap. Oh, the good old days.

  11. NightShift says:

    Art style reminds me of Ratchet and Clank for some reason.

  12. Fincher says:

    Gosh, the animation in that trailer was terrific.

  13. tlarn says:

    Anyone else get a Cave Johnson sort of vibe from the alien? Either way, I do like the look of the game! I’ll at least give it a shot.

  14. DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

    It only took how many years now for somebody to take a play out of Ultima Online’s playbook? Can’t wait for MMO’s to completely catch up to the potential they had back in 1997.

  15. Skeeticus says:

    Does anyone else remember Asherons Call? I always thought the player housing in that game was awesome. You could hang pretty much any object from the game on the walls, trophies, weapons, armor, random items that looked cool. There were awesome tiers of housing from cheap for someone just starting out to giant mansions for alliances. I really miss having housing in games, always thought it was a great addition to expanding ways to enjoy the game and the world/community.

  16. Hunchback says:

    That looks quite damn nice, to be honest. However the whole “island in the sky” thingy is a bit of turn-down, since it would probably mean that player houses will be mostly “instanced” as in not really play a part of the actual game.

    I still remember the good old days ™ of Ultima Online, waging wars and besieging player-built castles, towers and all. And also setting up my own shop on a piece of turf i managed to find free next to a moonstone. *sigh*

  17. Lemming says:

    The way I see it, this is an NCSoft without the pressure of expectation that Guild Wars 2 has. I’m quietly interested in this.