Why can’t I get into SWTOR’s housing?


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.

5 thoughts on “Why can’t I get into SWTOR’s housing?

  1. Targeter (@ItsatrapLOL) August 28, 2015 / 9:13 am

    (4) I still think of my ship as “home.”

    Nailed it. The ship, at least to me, has always represented my real home in SWTOR. It’s earned early on, given a fairly large fanfare, and is the pinnacle of the first 15-20 levels of your adventure. It houses all my companions, has a GTN module, a mailbox, and enough class flavor to pull you into the fantasy. Contrast that with the housing system that, while competent, isn’t easily accessed, found, or understood. The hook system is pretty nice, but I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been to my stronghold on Nar Shaddaa. I just don’t think about it, because my home moves with me wherever I go.

  2. goldenhornet August 28, 2015 / 10:06 am

    1. With multiple strongholds it’s more convenient to have a single menu to choose which one you want to visit than have multiple buttons spread over your UI.

    2. Absolutely. The hook system really limits what you can do with your house and gets really annoying when you want to move something just a little farther to the left than it will allow. This was my major gripe with the implementation of strongholds.

    3. Pretty much the only thing that drops while questing are the holocrons. There is a decent amount of stuff that can be crafted but as usual nothing’s been added to this list since strongholds launched.

    4. For each stronghold I own I put all the utility items in the entrance room. Mailbox, GTN, vendor to sell trash to, cargo bay, guild bank, legacy bank, appearance kiosk.

    This means I can pop to my house, do anything I need and pop straight back to where I was with least resistance. It’s more convenient than either the fleet or my ship. I rarely visit the fleet these days and my ship is for when I need to travel somewhere I don’t have a faster route to.

    The downside to that of course is I rarely visit more than the entrance room in each stronghold. TBH they could have made them much smaller than they did and have them feel more homely.

  3. Rowan August 28, 2015 / 10:14 am

    I completely agree that the ship should have been the customizable home from the BEGINNING. I know for a fact that they could have figured out the cutscenes (most of which have the companions costumes screwed up anyway). While I have decorated my Nar Shaddaa sky palace, I have only opened up one extra room and see little reason to open more at this point. Most of the time, I visit the entrance area where I have put the legacy storage (the biggest deal) as well as a mailbox cargo storage and decorations vendor—basically just to sell junk and repair. The biggest advantage of the Stronghold over heading to the Fleet is the ability to return immediately to your planetside location with no transport cost or time (beyond the loading screen).

    One last “gripe”: I wish that my many alts’ companions were present, instead of being holograms. Seriously, what is the big deal? I get a kick out of the idea of, say, Jorgan and Pierce talking shop.

  4. ScytheNoire August 28, 2015 / 10:43 am

    1) That is due to having multiple homes. I can’t fill one past the entrance, let alone many. Waste of development resources.

    2) I hate the hook system. This is a big one, it’s just tedious to use.

    3) I’ve gotten holocrons, and somehow I got some other items, forget how, but I agree, it’s rare to see.

    4) THIS ONE! They should have made the ships your base of operations, as it already is. Your companions are already hanging out all around the ship. It’s your main means of transportation. They should have spent those resources on improving the ship, allowing new ships, etc. The cut scene argument is weak to me. I want the ship to be my base. I want a teleport to ship button. This is the biggest mistake in their housing development.

  5. Shintar August 28, 2015 / 2:56 pm

    Aside from various vendors and the cartel market, a lot of decorations drop in flashpoints and operations. Since they don’t bind, people also sell them on the GTN though.

    And I have to say, I don’t get people’s love for the ship at all. Maybe it’s because I’ve never owned a car in real life either, so the idea of being so attached to a mere means of transportation is alien to me. 😛

    I’m not much of a decorator myself, but I do love how strongholds have made travel so much more convenient than it used to be.

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