The other day I was talking with MOP’s Jef, who was saying how he had just spent a few hours doing nothing but customizing his SWTOR house. I don’t find the concept of playing virtual dollhouse odd at all, but it made me think about how little I feel the urge to get into SWTOR’s housing system, even though I’m usually a housing nut.
I mean, housing drives 80% of my activities in WildStar. I run daily challenges for decor, I quest for money to pour into my house, I fight mobs hoping that a FABkit or a housing item will drop. I love flitting back to my private island and customizing my pad.
Then again, what is appealing in one MMO isn’t necessarily going to appeal in another. I don’t universally like all MMO pet classes even though I’m drawn to those types. Some games just feel off or aren’t satisfying. I loved dungeon running in RIFT but will never do it in WildStar because the combat and difficulty is different.
So what is it about The Old Republic’s housing that turns me off? Why am I not more into nesting there? I don’t think there’s any one reason but instead several, ranging from nitpicky to serious:
(1) There’s no convenient “go to house” button on my screen.
Yes, this is the epitome of laziness, but the fact that I have to open up a menu and then click another button to teleport to my house keeps home visitation off my radar. In LOTRO, RIFT, and WildStar, that house warp button is right on the screen at all times. Why can’t we have an ability that does that in SWTOR the same as the other teleports?
(2) I’m not the biggest fan of the hook system.
Listen, it’s great that SWTOR added housing, and you will not get any argument from me that its version of hook-type housing is better than what LOTRO did. There’s more wiggle room to position stuff, to be sure.
On the other hand, it’s still a hook system with far more limitations than an “anything goes” system that I’ve enjoyed in RIFT, WildStar, and EQ2. And having hook squares only allowing certain types of decorations to be placed annoys me greatly. This is my house, and if I want to put a couch on the ceiling, I should be allowed to do so!
(3) I never get housing drops while questing.
Where does everyone in SWTOR get all their housing stuff? That’s what I want to know. It certainly isn’t from questing and killing mobs, because I think I’ve only seen one or two housing-related drops ever since that expansion came out. I would have thought that housing stuff would be great quest rewards, but again, never see them.
Instead, I’m guessing that most everyone either buys stuff off the vendor, the cash shop, or the GTN. That’s practical, I suppose, but it takes the fun away from the game randomly handing me a fun item and then prompting me to go add it to my house. Plus, I’m never even reminded that I *have* a house when there are no drops.
(4) I still think of my ship as “home.”
Yes, I understand why BioWare couldn’t allow us to customize the interiors of our ship for cutscene purposes, but I say that the devs were short-sighted in that regard and should have made it work anyway. For my character and for me, my ship IS my home. I have a convenient teleport ability to get there. I use the ship all the time and enjoy its practical services, such as accessing cargo space. It’s small and neat and the place I always go between missions.
That’s the home I want to decorate with my trophies and gadgets.
My apartment? It’s like a summer cottage that I occasionally visit but don’t really need. Sure, I can throw in some interactive services like mail and whatnot, but there’s nothing it can do for me that fleet can’t. I’m not so ostentatious that I feel that I need a second home in a game.
Anyway, I told you these were piddly reasons, but if I’m being honest, they’re why SWTOR’s housing gets very little interest from me. I’m not writing it off entirely; I should invest some time in sprucing up my pad at some point. It’s just not on my radar.
Update: Ack, I totally forgot a major pet peeve, so consider this #5. The interface to select housing items is really, really wonky to work with. You can only see a few items per page and have to wrassle with filters (hook type, etc.). I just want a BIG HONKING LIST of what I have at my disposal in an easy-to-read format.