Role Play: How to handle player housing
One of the hopes for garrisons when Warlords of Draenor was announced was that they would act, in a way, like the player housing that players have been craving since the game was launched. But for roleplayers, the issue of player housing is something that’s already been dealt with for years, by “claiming” any number of out of the way or empty homes scattered all over Azeroth and beyond. Sure, it might not be your house technically speaking, but roleplay is all about making things up — so why not use what’s already available as a base of operations, or just a place to head to at the end of the day?
That said, roleplayers have also always had some things to consider when claiming these out-of-the-way spots as their homes. Namely that there are a limited number of empty houses — far less than there are roleplayers in game. So how do you handle the issue of player housing, as a roleplayer?
One might wonder why, exactly, anyone would want player housing — after all, there’s plenty to do in World of Warcraft, and you can roleplay anywhere you want. That’s a valid point, of course, but for roleplayers, it’s simply about having a space that your character can call home. Sure, it’s fun to travel the world and vanquish evil, but some days you really just want to kick back, sit around, and have a chat with a few close friends. You could do that in any major city, but there’s something nice about the idea of having a space just for your character.
It seemed like the farm in Halfhill was going to be a good solution in Pandaria, and it might very well have been, had phasing not made it impossible to have your friends visit “your” farm. It felt like a good home, too — you couldn’t really customize the space, but after making friends with everyone in Halfhill, the place was nicely furnished. It felt like home in a way that simply adopting an abandoned building didn’t quite capture.
Garrisons seemed like the next logical solution, and they do work, in their own way — they’re phased, but you can invite plenty of people over to visit your garrison, making them ideal for major roleplaying events. But even though the garrisons are well designed, they aren’t exactly “home” — it’s a military base, and it feels like one. However, it looks like this is the closest Blizzard is ever going to take us to that elusive player housing paradise, so roleplayers will simply have to make do.
There are a lot of empty spaces out there. Some homes might have the odd NPC or two that either sit there full time, or NPCs that wander in and out at their leisure, but NPCs can be easily ignored for the most part. Major cities tend to have more empty spaces than you’d think — especially the original capital cities. And then there are the empty spaces out in zones people don’t tend to visit very often. Pandaria had plenty of empty buildings, particularly in the Jade Forest, but even zones like Ashenvale or Winterspring have buildings off in the middle of nowhere.
What you need to keep in mind when claiming an empty building as your own is that you might just be sharing the space with another player, and not even know about it. If you happen to head “home” and find someone else in your space, don’t get upset about it — there are a limited number of spaces in the world, after all. Instead, try talking to the other player, ask them what times they’re usually in the building, and try to work out a way you can share the space.
The point with player housing isn’t that you have someplace your character can just park indefinitely — most characters are usually on the move after all. And with a lack of “real” player housing, roleplayers have learned to adapt and work around each other when they do want someplace to call home, even if temporarily.
This is where Leatherworking got a real bonus this expansion, because suddenly you can craft some temporary housing whenever you’d like to. If you build a level 2 Tannery in your Garrison and assign a follower with the Leatherworking trait to the building, you can have the follower craft any of a number of pretty cool tents for you — it’ll cost you some Raw Beast Hide, but that’s a small price to pay for a house you can build on the move. While the tents are consumed on use and you can only carry five of one building at a time, it’s still better than nothing.
And your character’s home doesn’t need to be a proper home, either. A secluded cave, hidden cove, even a nice rock overhang can provide enough shelter from the elements and work as a temporary spot to park your character. It obviously won’t have all the furnishings a building might offer, but if you’re just looking for a quiet place to roleplay with your friends, camping under the stars isn’t the worst idea in the world.
At this point in World of Warcraft‘s lifetime, it doesn’t look like we’re ever going to get “real” player housing, in the sense of customization homes you see in games like Wildstar. But it’s possible to make anywhere in the world home for your character, if you take the time to do a little exploring. Look around the world you’re playing in, get creative, and you’ll find a place you can call home in no time — even if you may not ever the kind you can truly hang your hat in.
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