Forums » General Pantheon Discussion

Community Debate - Open World Housing vs Instanced Housing

    • 32 posts
    February 28, 2020 3:11 PM PST

    I really don't like housing at all. Whether or not it is an instant thing or open-world I don't think the "Housing-minigame" inside MMORPG's add anything substantial to the overall experience of the game.

    I also don't think that guildhalls are a good idea.

    In EQ2 we had guildhalls and they had crafting equipment and that stuff in them, so you had no need anymore to run around in the cities. This very quickly depopulated those areas making cities seam dead.

    • 1707 posts
    March 1, 2020 1:52 AM PST

    This is an old thread and I probably commented pages back years ago hehe, but I'm going to comment again.

    I agree with Nusser and others in this thread.

    It might sound cool, but I think housing is not only a waste of time, it largely detracts from the community aspect of the game.

    I would much prefer that effort was spent making the common areas of Pantheon useful, meaningful and, thus, popular.

    I want to see people getting together in Inns, Banks, Crafting and Trading areas, etc.

    As much as possible, everything should be open and public, not closed and personal or even private.

    EDIT: And no, open world player housing is not the answer. Littering the landscape with a 99.999% badly designed mess and people sitting in them mostly alone is not good.

    This post was edited by disposalist at March 3, 2020 1:11 AM PST
  • March 1, 2020 2:04 PM PST

    I would have to say instanced housing, with the ability to invite others into your house. I don't like the idea that someone could come into my house and just use my stuff and leave; it just seems really weird to me. I mean, think about it, would you have random people in your actual house that you don't know, uninvited and using your stove and beds? I know I wouldn't. To me instanced housing just seems more logical to me. You could have a small section in a town where there is maybe a block of houses where you could have 5 or 6 people going through the same door, but going to completely different instanced houses. I don'[t mind that. Not only would it save space in a town and on the map, but it would also give it a sense of community.

    • 55 posts
    March 1, 2020 6:58 PM PST

    I've always loved the idea of a world big enough for open world housing, with limitations on placing them in absurd areas. I don't think this is that game, but that's what I prefer.


    Especially with world interaction. I would love to open the front door to leave my little cabin in the woods only to find a few goblins rummaging around the yard, the rest having clearly triggered a few of the traps I'd placed. The 'Hows' of this could be a massive multipage post, so I'll leave it at that as that's the gist of it.


    One thing I've come to believe after seeing so many varied attempts at housing over the past few decades is - don't even do it unless you can do it justice. Devote programming and art resources to something else entirely if you're unsure. When too many limitations have to be placed on something that could have been a lot of fun, it shows and plays like it, it's noticed.

    • 790 posts
    March 1, 2020 8:08 PM PST

    Instanced housing makes it better then having "Our world" cluttered with useless houses spammed in hills, areas. Unless you can make them unique. I am not into playing ARK in a MMO

    • 57 posts
    March 2, 2020 12:33 AM PST

    I do not mind, as long as it is implemented well.

    I loved SWG housing. So much freedom, but some area's were to cluttered with random houses.

    EQ2 i loved. Instances in existing cities

    Vanguard i loved, as the build houses looked like small towns

    I do love current BDO also in existing cities.

    I did not like ESO's.

    • 1127 posts
    March 2, 2020 4:45 AM PST

    Housing and the offshoot of player generated/controlled content has a significant appeal to many MMO players, the exact portion of the player population that is is something that VR most likely should investigate.  If only 2% of their player base will use it then by all means skip it. 20-40% and it might be worth it. 60-80% definitely worth the time to develop.

    Pantheon just will not be a big enough world for 5000+ players to have open world housing for themselves.  The only possibility is if there is an internal zone in cities that automatically expands every time someone buys a house.

    Small neighborhood zones with stacking instances such that each instances can have 20-50 houses and when all are bought a new instance accessible from the same zone line becomes available is a possible implementation.  Putting crafting stations and commerce tools just outside of a centralized meeting place between multiple neighborhoods in a city could be a middle ground between convenience and not hiding in your own little world.

    • 171 posts
    March 2, 2020 6:00 AM PST

    I love the idea of open-world housing with the chance to break in and steal stuff  >:D

    hope the guards dont catch me!

    • 255 posts
    March 2, 2020 6:48 AM PST

    I've always loved the concept of open world housing. You get to make your impact on the world. However in practice it has always led to an overcrowded "wilderness" of hodge podge design of player housing. With a lack of design consistency and some outright immersion breaking design/decoration. I would hate to see a sandstone brick house in the middle of a jungle / wooded area. Add in the ability to use building blocks to build your own house and it can lead to some pretty aweful design by players. 

    If we add housing please set limits on the style of houses that can be built in certain biomes to keep it consistent with local building materials and to force peoples houses to have a similar look and feel with the materials they are made of. Do not let people have the ability to build their own houses using building blocks. Most people are bad at this... Have some cookie cutter housing designs that people can place with limited selection on texture style. It should be consistent with the local materials available to build a house and also be consistent with the closest city (somewhat).

    • 77 posts
    March 3, 2020 2:50 PM PST

    Ideally I would like to see all of the above.

    Appartments:  EQ2 Style with buildings in various players with multiple owners

    Multi plexes: Buildings in cities that can not be "owned" and alterred but can be rented and have furnishings and whatnot.  Could have front yards, etc.

    Housing Tracts: Instanced Zones where players purchase plots and can build homes, taverns, inns or whatnot

    Open World Housing:  Various plots throughout the world that can be obtained through so long tedious rigorous process.

    Guild Housing:  Same as all the above but much bigger.

    And you still have even more possibilities like rifts housing Zones,  Islands that can be purchased or whatever.

    • 51 posts
    March 21, 2020 10:45 AM PDT

    Jabir said:

    Non-instanced all the way.

    I distinctly remember when I proudly went to take possesion of my first Quenos flat in EQ2. When I got to the door 5+ other people were entering before me, but when I got in nobody was there. It was such a disappointment and I never got attached to the place. It was a trophy room, but I didn't spend much time there. By contrast, when I got my very own non-instanced house i Vanguard, it felt much more natural and was a place that I loved to invite people to.

    Having said that, guild halls interest me much more than having my own house, and those have to be non-instanced to make any sense, IMHO.

    id rather not have houseing then  there will be thousands of houses and unless the zone the houses are in is infinitely expanding.. it would get rediculous,  i think a pocket universe style houseing zone that infinately expands could work

    • 28 posts
    March 21, 2020 4:56 PM PDT

    I like the idea of all open world guild housing.  Instanced housing just destracts from the community and leads to people holing up.

    • 2713 posts
    March 21, 2020 6:12 PM PDT

    ((Instanced housing just destracts from the community and leads to people holing up.))


    I am open to reconsideration but this strikes me as very much a fallacy. If housing is instanced no one is allowed in your house unless you let them in. If housing is *not* instanced no one is allowed in your house unless you let them in.

     Let us turn our attention to people going to visit homes or leaving homes. It strikes me that instanced housing will have a larger and more populated feel because we will all be funnelled into much smaller areas leading to a few entrances not hundreds or thousands of entrances.

    Part of the fallacy is the assumption that there is no difference between instanced housing and instanced neighborhoods. A manifestly erroneous assumption. 

    There can be 50 neighborhoods scattered around Terminus. Or 500. Or thousands. Non-instanced. In the real world. Where people will see eachother coming and going. Where outdoor facilities will encourage people to see and be seen to make the neighborhood feel more vibrant. Stores giving local discounts. Crafting facilities where you can craft 5% faster than anywhere else. Yet in no way is this inconsistant with housing being instanced. There can be 20 houses in each neighborhood rather than a sprawling array of thousands where most are out of sight of the others. Yet each house can have scores of players or more able to buy it as with EQ2. So the areas right outside the houses with the facilities I mention and others will be bustling.

    I do not necessarily support any instancing. But I wish to make the point that instancing the dwelling itself does not necessarily imply instancing the neighborhood.

    This post was edited by dorotea at March 21, 2020 6:13 PM PDT
    • 1605 posts
    March 23, 2020 9:41 AM PDT

    Since we're all reasserting our opinions on this old debate, here's mine :)

    Housing is an important aspect of delivering a "world" experience in an MMORPG (Remember:  Worlds, not Games).  I would go so far as to say that it is critical if we want the world experience to continue as the game ages and more and more content becomes well-known by players.  Done properly, housing provides players with a sense of permanence and ownership.  Done properly, it also enables social and non-combat gameplay.  Finally, done properly, housing ties into many other game systems (including adventuring), giving those activities more meaning and purpose and providing more options for interesting and unique gameplay rewards that do not directly increase character power.

    I used the phrase "Done properly" several times in that paragraph, and that was on purpose.  History is littered with examples of MMO housing systems that caused problems for the games they were added to as a result of assumptions made in design or simply poor implementation.  While it is unrealistic to expect that the inclusion of housing in Pantheon might not bring some unexpected consequences (good or bad), it *is* realistic to expect that Pantheon will learn from the games that came before it - especially since we know that housing simply can not happen in Pantheon until a game expansion, due to the scope.

    As for how housing should be implemented, I have a strong preference for open-world housing in designated areas (similar to Vanguard) combined with player city mechanics and communal buildings (similar to SWG).  The interior of the house can be instanced if needed for performance reasons, but the exterior should exist in the shared world.  Instanced housing neighborhoods tends to isolate players and communities from each other unintentionally.  While some players are more naturally outgoing and will overcome this on their own, many players will only interact with the people whose houses they see near to their own.  Even if the game provides teleportation options to allow players to easily visit friends, having dozens of identical instanced neighborhoods actually makes it less likely that people will know or care who their neighbors are.  By contrast, in games with open-world housing, you typically at least know who is living nearby you, and if there are mechanics or incentives in place, in-game communities will form around individual housing areas just like they do around activities like crafting or raiding.

    Please note that open-world housing doesn't equate to urban sprawl.  However, it does mean that the game world must be large enough to support thousands of player houses spread out in different parts of the world.  Ideally, the world is large enough that each zone in Pantheon could be expanded to include a location for a player town or city, with the potential to hold a fair number of houses in each. (Remember, housing would not happen until an expansion, so overland zone boundaries could be enlarged when it is implemented).  Assuming the housing artwork is decent, and housing areas are set up well and aren't just rows of housing plots on a grid, this allows for housing to exist without resulting in urban sprawl or places on the map that you want to avoid because of all the ugly buildings.

    A big reason that I care so much about this is that it allows for services to be tied to housing areas (just like they are tied to NPC towns and cities) while still ensuring that travel and location are meaningful concepts.  As an example, as a crafter, I might want to hire an NPC merchant to sell items for me.  I could do that in Thronefast, but there are likely only a limited number of merchants that can be active there and the cost to operate one is high (simply because it's a capital city).  However, if I could set up that merchant in my local housing area in Avendyr's Pass, not only does that make my housing area matter a bit more to me and everyone else, but it also encourages people to travel and visit.  This is just one example of a connected gameplay system that housing can enhance.  There are plenty of others - NPC vendors, skill trainers, crafting areas, locations to form caravans, and so on.  Done properly, housing areas can become important gathering and resupply points for adventurers, especially in overland zones that might not have an NPC city or town in them.

    There are two reasons that I advocate for community buildings and player city mechanics.  The first is that they allow housing areas to act as content generators for players.  Whether it's helping to build the new tavern for your neighborhood or participating in the festival organized by some of your town's residents, allowing players to identify and build an actual community in the game world only expands the number of activities that players can participate in.  The second reason comes back to a sense of ownership.  Just as players take pride in defeating raid bosses or completing epic quests with their guilds, players will also take pride in building and maintaining towns and cities.

    The big concern with any implementation of housing will be scaling to the number of players.  In an open-world implementation, it will be important to ensure that there are enough housing plots to go around.  Some people might argue that instancing makes that easier technically, and that's true.  However, I would argue that the loss of immersion created by having 100 identical or near-identical housing instances stacked on each other and chosen via some teleport menu is a far greater price to pay long-term than having unique housing areas spread throughout the world, each with its own local environment and different appearances.  Yes, some areas will be more popular than others, and players who come later may end up having to settle in a different place than they originally wanted.  However, that also helps those players meet new people, and potentially make new friends.

    Anyway as I stated at the front, this is my opinion.  I do want to make sure that I stress how important this is to me, however.  I've said before that if Pantheon were to ship without a crafting and gathering gameplay sphere, I would probably not play.  Having nothing to do in the game but hack down monster after monster and hunt for loot simply does not appeal to me.  In a similar vein, if Pantheon does not get a housing system within a year or two after launch, it will probably spell the end of my subscription.  The reason for this is simply that I need for living in the world to continue to matter, and as Pantheon ages, in the absence of a system that does that, more and more of everyone's focus will turn to beating the game, rather than living in the world.  Thus, I think that housing is something that has to happen for Pantheon if we want it to really sustain itself long-term.

    This post was edited by Nephele at March 23, 2020 9:49 AM PDT
    • 1605 posts
    March 23, 2020 9:47 PM PDT

    not a big fan of new/same housing.


    Extra storage? ok

    in RL I like abandoned houses or areas- THis old house type shows or fixer uppers- hey

    How about in Pantheon, any ruin, and only ruins could be made into player housing? open world.  The amount of the exposed ruins determines the amount of potential housing you can craft around it.


    Errant stone block, half sticking out on the edge of the top of the side of a cliff face? you can craft a precarious 3 by 6 ramshackle hut with bent chimney pipe, precariously hanging off that edge. only one domicile per person. If you find a bigger place, you have to give up the old place- where some one else may find it.



    More cohesive ruins, say, 3/4 corner wall and another free standing partial wall 5 feet away. you can build but only if 3 people claim to build and you build three seperate but connectec (sharing a wall) structures that include those pieces. 

    You may abandon your house to build another whereever you are adventuring and spending time, while your old place decays or reverts after a certain amount of time, to be discovered by a new person...

    • 3236 posts
    March 24, 2020 12:51 PM PDT

    Double post.

    This post was edited by CanadinaXegony at March 24, 2020 12:52 PM PDT
    • 3236 posts
    March 24, 2020 12:51 PM PDT

    Star Wars Galaxies had open world was a hot mess.   And people buying up all the plots...leave the game..deserted, abandoned plots and houses everywhere..blocking out the scenery and just making an ugly mess of it.    In the end the devs had to end up removing vacant, derelict housing so newcomers could come in and take them over.  Your possessions from the abandoned homes were dumped in your bank and inventory.  Let's not do that.    INSTANCED all the way..and that way certain guilds can't buy up and hog housing leaving nothing for newcomers to access.    We know the large guilds like to monopolize things including raid lets not leave the door open for greed and hogging.



    • 147 posts
    March 24, 2020 1:23 PM PDT
    Have both. Instanced housing can be a rare, very expensive money sink (requiring rent). This helps deal with MMO hyperinflation. Everyone else can have Instanced housing.
    • 81 posts
    March 24, 2020 1:57 PM PDT

    I've got to be honest and say that, I absolutely hate instanced anything because of how it destroys community interaction. However, housing is pretty much the only area I really don't mind being instanced.

    • 762 posts
    March 24, 2020 4:40 PM PDT

    Would a zone within a city's zone that is able to grow with demand be an option, not instanced, but able to be expanded and changed without effecting the outside world?

    • 34 posts
    March 25, 2020 8:08 AM PDT

    No housing!  I prefer inns/taverns as we are travling adventures.

    • 12 posts
    March 27, 2020 8:54 PM PDT

    I like the idea of open world housing more than the idea of instances because I feel like it will add to the level of realism.

    Guild housing of some sort makes sense to me for things like meeting and preparing for raids or getting buffs, player housing would have to have some kind of utility or perk that made it worth even using, like crafting apparatus or storage I suppose. 

    Other than that Im not really logging into the game to hang around a virtual house, its all about adventuring with my friends and getting caught up in some group shenanigans.

    • 350 posts
    March 29, 2020 12:28 AM PDT

    Hokanu said:

    Would a zone within a city's zone that is able to grow with demand be an option, not instanced, but able to be expanded and changed without effecting the outside world?


    This would be my preferred option. I don't want the world littered with houses.

    • 1707 posts
    March 29, 2020 4:39 AM PDT

    I know people lose their minds when someone mentions instancing, but housing is the exception.

    That stuff needs to be instanced and hidden away. Especially if it's player designed monstrosities messes uniqueness.

    • 169 posts
    March 29, 2020 5:17 PM PDT

    Trasak said:

    One of the issues with Open World Housing is that you need Star Wars Galaxies level large zones to not over crowd your content with Ol’ Joes Crab Shack Emporium.  Which leads to the second issue with Open World Housing – zoning and city planning.  SWG housing was cool until you had to travel 10+ minutes in a random direction from the closest space port to find a mostly abandoned city with only one active merchant left.  Keeping player “Digital Estate” dense and active is key to making Open World Housing a benefit rather than a cluttered sprawling mess.

    Off the top of my head I can think of 5 different “Digital Estate” models that would work fairly well with the limited zone sizes of Pantheon and in fact all 5 can coexist.

    1)      Roaming outpost/encampments.  These are just up-jumped campfires that have some city life tools.  Players or guilds set them up as base camps and NPC will actively agro and try to destroy them.  Regardless encampments are very temporary and can be set up in the wild.

    2)      City housing.  A certain number of city housing lots exist for players, guilds, family clans, and trade companies.  These “Digital Estates” options are competitive bid with high upkeep based on the next bids for the properties of that type.  If you fail to pay your rent then the property is repoed and all the items stored in it go into storage, the rent will fluctuate over time based on supply and demand and the over all in game total cash values.  You can decorate the interiors but not really change much other than that as they are hard art assets.

    3)      Semi Instanced Apartments.  Certain buildings will have small scale housing options where you go to instanced floors or wings that you can rent out for much lower costs than the hard art asset houses.  These apartments could be in public buildings or they could be a sub function of the guild halls, family clan and trade companies the rent you pay helps contribute to the upkeep on the hard asset big building.  Each building will still have a limit of possible occupants.

    4)      Plotted Player Only Cities.  Different points on the continent can be setup as growing player cities.  They start out as just a town hall, bank, auction house and workshop at a cross roads.  Players can go to the town hall to buy plots of land.  The size and cost are split into zones.  Once a player or player organization own a plot of land they can build player created buildings on that plot, large plots can be subdivided by the player organization.  The city art grows based on how far the city has expanded and is possibly influenced by the style of building built along it.  Once again failing to pay upkeep will have your house demolished and the plot reclaimed by the city or sold at a great price with the house on it.  Players will be able to trade ownership of properties and put them up for auction.

    5)      Market Stalls.  This one is more a dream of mine that would be both cool and more trouble than its worth.  Each of the cities will have a city market.  Somewhere between the Plotted player housing and hard art cities.  A player can rent a market stall and hire an NPC to man it.  The size of the stall dictates how many items can be put on display and the maximum cost of those items.  All the items for sale will be visible with price tags so you can actually window shop, there could be a way for back stock to fill in empty spots when something sells.  The booths with high price ceilings will be nicer looking than the low cost booths.  The market will start with a few alleys that extend as more booths of a certain size or value cap open, again hoping to keep things condensed.  You will still need some form of item finder tool to help you find the vendor you want.

    I see Guilds as being the Adventuring Guilds we are used to that are mostly about raiding content with a lot of strick rules on ownership.  Family Clans will be more for your friends and family groups that want to join up together for shared resources and just having a place to hang out.  Trade Companies I see being guilds for crafting and merchanting with special facilities that are for those purposes that Adventure guilds and Family clans will not have.  I see a character being able to be part of a Family clan, Adventuring Guild and Trade Company at the same time, possibly even an adventuring party as well.  I can also see greater guilds having an arm of all three types at the same time and possibly sharing the same resources.

    TLDR:  Clever uses of both is a good way to go in my opinion for player housing, guild halls and player stores.

    also if they do this make sure the property cannot be flipped that is a thing goldsellers/farmers like to do as well