Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making Your Mark On The World

(not a current picture)

I hope everyone is enjoying Patch 3.2.2 as it dropped yesterday. Of course there was patch day instability according to my friends and news reports, but when is patch day not a big ball of excitement?

Well I am happy to report that the closing on my house went smoothly on Friday and I now am the proud owner of some land and a residence for the first time in my life. I'm fighting with the phone company to get my internet fixed because they did not install the lines correctly or something, so I've been without internet for 5 days outside of work. Thought I'd drop a note here during lunch hour to let you know I've got lots of ideas brewing for posts and should be more rapid-fire once my internet situation gets worked out. Plus, I'm jazzed about finally getting back into game with the Onyxia encounter and Brewfest going on.

Buying a house and beginning the awful process of moving/unpacking had me thinking about a topic that comes up pretty often in WOW discussions, that being player housing. WOW currently has no such housing, but other games have implemented it. While I don't think individual player housing is such a good use of Blizzard's time, I do believe the people who want housing are onto something decent. Basically you want a place on your server that you can customize to some extent and call your own. Just like the pride of owning a home, you can have pride in being able to show people what you've done with the housing and impress them with trophies from achievements or gear sets you've put together.

However, this is a big change from the bags and banking system we have currently, and one could surmise that opening up room on the servers for each and every character or account to have such a house would be a huge burden to developers and servers. They are hesitant to give us character slots 11 and 12 on a server, which I would think is a similar undertaking to player housing. Plus, for every person who hangs out in the housing and shows off their beautiful creation, there will be 100 who don't care. This is not a good ratio, and not one Blizzard is likely to latch onto considering their recent trend towards opening endgame content to all.

There is a middle ground though: guild housing. With the efforts being made to completely revamp the guild experience in Catacylsm, there are now even more reasons to find yourself in a guild. Guilds will have achievements and those can be shown off just like player trophies would be in individual housing. Plus, you could also show off some individual achievements if you wanted to. Presumably you could show off the guild housing to other potential recruits, and a well-kept house would be a great recruiting tool. It would be almost like the many guilds who have detailed and lively webpages, but only directly connected in game. I envision something like Animal Crossing where you could really decorate to your heart's content, showing off gear sets or trinkets or holiday items from various members. If the developers are going to all the trouble to make guilds earn experience and talents, is it that far-fetched to let guilds also have a place in game for socializing, recruiting, and making their tiny mark on the world? As long as you put a minimum number of accounts requirement on the guild housing (like 10 active accounts in a guild to have a house), the load on the servers would be considerably less than individual housing.

Until we see these changes, the roleplaying that happens on my realm and on other realms and the guild fellowship will have to be done somewhere out in the world. There are some nifty places out there like the top of the Twin Colossals in Feralas, so not all hope is lost for places to hold events and get togethers. But one would anticipate with the rise of facebook, myspace, etc., more casual WOW players will really want a place to express themselves and make a positive mark on the server. I think guild housing could get that done.

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