[Wildstar] Dipping a Toe into Housing

After spending some time visiting different player houses and plots in Wildstar these past few days and fiddling with my own island in the sky, here’s a couple of things I am starting to like about Wildstar’s housing:

  • Rather than being a full sandbox with the gathering and construction bits of Landmark, Wildstar takes the fun part of combining existing decor items, letting players go completely wild with the possibilities. If you’re not much of a crafter from scratch, you will love this approach to housing and customization. I do.
  • The amount of decor items is already nuts. Also: plushies! I need them all.
  • The home port every player gets is the perfect answer to unwelcome wait and down times; is your group taking a 10mins biobreak you don’t care for? Off you go visit your house for some mini-games, selling trash or gear repairs (once you have the vending machine). Porting back allows you to return to original location.
  • Exploring public plots with ease or making new neighbours while chatting in the housing zone channel is casual fun and takes some of that instanced sting away.

Housing is its own mini-game within Wildstar and a nice contrast to an otherwise linear progression. Carbine put a lot of thought into this, creating overall themes that reach as far as including matching light or weather effects. Different decor themes should make collectors very happy (and poor). As for the more progression and raid-oriented players, it’s a way to display trophies and battle tokens. Carbine have also already confirmed guild housing further down the line.

Naturally, there’s a few things I do not like about Wildstar’s housing so much – the fact that it’s too “apart” from the rest of the world (yes, I prefer non-instanced housing and always will), the oversized scale of everything, the LOTRO style socketing mechanic for your six main plots and the rather heavyweight and at times glitchy advanced interface. That’s generally something Carbine aren’t very good at apparently, creating functional and simple interfaces: the AH, commodities broker, dye system and skill/AMP windows all need a lot of work still. That said, after reading through the developer commentary in thisĀ interesting overview of Wildstar’s different customization options, everyone should be very grateful they decided not to go full LOTRO socketing mode as was originally intended. That would’ve put a quick stop to the unleashed creativity that’s currently on display on the forums.

Sylvara.140616.175050
Syl’s Home on Lightspire EU
Sylvara.140616.175110
Now with a cosy second floor!

As Mac said elsewhere, browsing other people’s places is motivating (that’s my word for it) and so I invested just a little yesterday to get my Cassian shack into shape and create a second floor. That hadn’t even occurred to me until I visited some of my neighbors, so yay for community inspiration! It’s still a humble abode but hey, it’s all mine!

6 comments

  1. Njessi

    I love my second floor of my space piggie. The one thing that frustrated the crap out of me was that I couldn’t get my stairs to reach all the way up until I made them hugely big and therefore wide. I then realized that I could use two staircases put end to end to create the same length stairway that was thinner. I didn’t figure this out until I looked at some of the designs on nexus cribs – some of those designs are so complex!

    • Syl

      Yeah I had a similar issue hehe but then I figured I would make the stairs bigger and just make half of them disappear in the side wall (which works!). The stairs you see on my screenshots is only 1 item. It’s nice that you can do this without it sticking out from the other side of the house.

  2. bhagpuss

    I’d have to get in and play with it to know for sure but from the outside it very much looks like MMO housing for people who don’t like MMO housing. That, of course, is a *much* bigger potential market than people who DO like MMO housing…

    • Syl

      How so?
      I’d say it’s a good mix – you can do loads with small parts (build your own floors and walls etc. and generally do anything outside the house), you can also ‘save’ creations by locking them together etc. it’s as complex or simple as players make it. If player housing includes actually crafting mats for you or digging holes like in Landmark, then it’s probably not enough for you (unless you roll architect). It does offer a ton more than LOTRO however. I’ve not looked into Rift enough but that seems a bit more similar from what I know.

      • bhagpuss

        It’s just the impression I get from reading people’s descriptions of what they’ve been doing and looking at screenshots. The individual pieces seem very large and I’ve seen mention of people running up against item limits already, with the game only two weeks old. I also got the impression that although there aren’t LotRO -style “hooks”, there were still restrictions on where things could be placed.

        What I really meant more than anything, though, is the repeated emphasis I’ve seen both from Carbine and from enthusiastic players on how “useful” housing is. All the gameplay-relevant functions it can perform other than just being a place to decorate and admire, in other words. That’s definitely housing for MMO players who don’t really have much for housing qua housing.

        I’m not saying that’s a bad idea – it’s a pretty good idea if you’re making an MMO with broad appeal. I’d just be surprised if it stroked the fur of those people who see MMOs as a housing simulator with an annoying “game” attached, which sums up a few of the more housing-obsessed players I’ve run into over the years.

      • Syl

        Oh yeah, not sure about that demography honestly or the roleplayers for that matter. What the housing does already provide however is more than decor; you can craft at your house, gather and plant, do minigames, setup mailbox and vending machines, put up instance portals to various places. That’s on top of being able to decorate any space minus the games.

        There’s no limitation to where/how you put things; they’ve created an advanced UI very similar to Landmark’s all-directional tool. You can also scale anything to the size you want which is very nice. The limitation per plot is 300 iirc which seems enough to me but if you check out those self-made pool tables that require 50items or so, I can see why some players feel it’s limiting. But then Wildstar’s engine is probably not up for a ton more given that housing is, as you said, an addition to the game only.

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