There’s no place like home (instances)

After gushing about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s starships, it’s only fair to take a closer look at Guild Wars 2’s concept of player housing.  It’s amusing and heartening to me to see that both of these high-profile games are not only coming standard with housing, but are taking basic player housing concepts and moving them forward.

Massively’s Jef found a neat video that compiled all of the key points that ArenaNet developers have stated about GW2’s “home instances,” as they’re being called.  The concept here is that instead of getting just a building to decorate, you’ll get a whole neighborhood to call your very own.  As you progress through your story in the game and make choices, the instance will start to change — characters you save can move in next door, merchants can be added, buildings can be demolished, and presumably all sorts of other types of customization will occur.

I love this for two reasons.  One, it’s not just ArenaNet throwing a bone to the player housing community, but instead the studio’s putting what looks like a whole lot of time and effort into making this something special and somewhat different.  The second reason is that it’s going to keep me coming back to this instance to see what’s happening now versus other games where I know my house is static and unchanging.

There’s still a heapload we don’t know about this, but hot diggity dog does it get my imagination racing to contemplate the possibilities.  As with any MMO housing, my fondest hope is that there will be things to actually do there above just sightseeing and decorating.  I’d love to have a good reason to end my gaming sessions “heading home” instead of just logging out in limbo.

Beyond just Guild Wars 2, if this type of housing is widely successful and embraced by the players, it could infect other parts of the industry and help convince developers that player housing can and should be a valuable part of the game instead of something that’s relegated to the backseat.

(So fighting the urge to make a dig at Blizzard here… be good, Syp, be good!)

11 thoughts on “There’s no place like home (instances)

  1. Warsyde August 12, 2011 / 12:58 pm

    Ok, that’s just plain awesome. Plus, consider that with no monthly sub you won’t have to pay money just to avoid losing your home.

    Well, not that it sounds like you cold ever lose it regardless, but still . . .

  2. Tyrion August 12, 2011 / 12:58 pm

    I love this concept. It reminds me of the home castle in AC2, which, I admit, became a big motivator for me in that game.

    I also love the part where if I’m unsuccessful in saving my best friend, I get a permanent reminder of my failure with a gravestone for the rest of the game. Brilliant.

  3. Boris August 12, 2011 / 5:20 pm

    Brilliant.

    This immediately made me think of the Lego video games where your adventures would populate the hub with the characters encountered.

    Home instances sound like a much more fleshed out version of that.

  4. Telwyn August 13, 2011 / 11:02 am

    Wow, somehow I’d missed this. Sounds more impressive than ‘decorate your starship’. Having even a small set of NPCs around to interact with will be interesting indeed. Speaks volumes for the story and RP potential of this game.

  5. correllis August 13, 2011 / 12:02 pm

    what could be more awesome is if players can visit each other’s home instance!

  6. m0nk3yb0y August 13, 2011 / 4:24 pm

    Hmmm I’m thinking The Sims for Guild Wars? The important question I want answered is, Can you trash your neighbors home instance ;-p

  7. Gina Cirelli August 13, 2011 / 5:59 pm

    While I agree this is better than nothing, all I’m really seeing is a larger version of the Hall of Monuments.

  8. coppertopper August 14, 2011 / 11:36 am

    Its personal housing, with living NPCs to attest to your accomplishments in game. How can you not see how this is different then the HoM?

  9. Gina Cirelli August 14, 2011 / 8:45 pm

    Personal housing, huh? Can we decorate it? Can we go into the other buildings in the instance? Is it a living, breathing part of town or just a pretty block that you zone into but can do nothing with?

    Right now it’s just like the HoM – except with NPCs to mark your storylines instead of pets and statues and plaques. To me that does not equal “housing”.

  10. Wolfshead Online August 15, 2011 / 4:33 am

    I’ll make the dig at Blizzard for you…

    For years WoW players have been clamoring for player housing that was actually promised by Blizzard in interviews previous to the launch in 2004. Yet nothing was done about it.

    Blizzard has squandered millions of dollars in development resources placating the PVP crowd (and Tom Chilton) with experiments like various incarnations of PVP, e-sports and other misadventures while failing to implement mechanics like player housing that would actually appear to other types of players.

    Very soon Blizzard will not be the only game in town and WoW is going to look like the dated, unambitious, steaming pile of kiddie MMO crap that it is.

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