Most of us need a place to call our own. Whether it’s decorated with works of art or discarded pizza boxes, a personal space is something many people are willing to spend time and money on. Player housing is no exception.
SWTOR has been missing such an amenity ever since its launch. For those of you who are yelling ‘your ship is player housing!’, let me just tell you why you are completely wrong, not to mention how you have completely misunderstood the concept.For a start, the game devs have admitted that any time a change on the player ships is required it makes them ‘cry’. Like a number of things in BW’s heavily modified (and in some respects broken) version of the Hero engine, making changes is tricky. The player ships are a particular issue because they have so many hooks for conversations and other aspects of progression. Changes cannot be made without risking the whole rat’s nest falling down around your ears. In fact you can only sit in chairs on your ship because it’s a frequently reset instance. If it wasn’t, you’d break the game and this is why sitting in the persistant world still can’t happen except as an emote.
‘But you can customise your ship,’ I hear the stupid cry out. No. No you can’t. You cannot truly customise your ship in any way – placing a training dummy does not count, so don’t waste your breath. In fact if that is what you understand ‘player housing’ to mean, you need to look at Rift, Wildstar and any number of games to educate yourself. Just as an example, in DCUO the player housing includes an ‘Armory’ that allows you to save and quickly switch between gear builds. Sound enticing?
With the introduction of SWTOR player housing, the team has wisely started fresh. No pre-existing knots to work through, no muss, no fuss. Finally the RP community gets a little love, finally (I hope) players get somewhere to meet up on Raid Thursday, or whatever your schedule is.
Also, everyone needs to remember that we DO NOT KNOW what the expansion will be, only that it will INCLUDE player housing. It’s highly unlikely that half a dozen apartment options is going to be the totality of it.
Sure, we could always complain that the SSHP (Super Secret Housing Project) uses resources that could otherwise be utilised to create more Ops, Flashpoints etc. But this is an MMO, which means its players have broad and divergent interests. You can’t please everyone and you shouldn’t try. What you should do is pick your battles. I, for one, think this battle is worth fighting.
Simon is a long-time senior contributor to The Oceanic Gamer and also has his own blog