WildStar: Housing gameplay video and breakdown
Housing in an MMORPG really hasn't been done right since Star Wars Galaxies and Ultima Online. It should be much more than a feature added in just because. It should be the type of feature where you can login to the game for 30 minutes to an hour and do nothing except change stuff to your house. It's an escape in the MMO world. Luckily, after spending some time with the housing system in WildStar, I can happily say that they approach housing the right way.
In WildStar, housing is an integral part of the game and is introduced to the player early on at level 14. Your housing plot is essentially your little chunk of floating land in the sky. There's numerous sockets to your plot of land, and you choose from a number of plugs to add in buildings like bigger houses, portals, challenges, explorations, and gathering nodes. It's really up to you what you want your housing to be used for. Each plug has a maintenance cost -- I'm assuming the rarer ones will cost more -- but design director Mike Donatelli said that they don't want to punish the player for having a house. It will cost money, but not a ton.
There's a few ways to get plugs for your housing plot. While buying them with money from the housing store is the easiest method, you won't find the rarer ones there; those come via drops in raids, dungeons, and bosses. So let's say you complete a dungeon and get a drop for a portal that takes you directly to the entrance of that dungeon, now you and your friends (neighbors) can just meet at your house when you want to go run that dungeon (instead of traveling all the way there). For crafters, you can use a plug that pops up gathering nodes every few hours for both you and your friends to use. Don't worry, if your friend uses the node you'll still be able to; mining is tied to the character. Even better, you can customize the plug so that if a friend uses that plug to mine, you can set the percentage you get and the percentage your friend gets. The coolest plug, in my opinion, is for an exploration. An exploration is a one-to-five person dungeon that scales in difficulty depending on the amount of players in it. It's another way to support leveling up.
For the house itself, there's so many options for you to really create something unique. Not only can you customize everything from the entryway, door, roof and walls, but you can change the look of the sky and environment on the outside, as well. Inside you can change the walls, floors and ceiling, but the coolest part is changing the lighting. You can make everything noir (black and white), neon, a haunted dark room, underwater (complete with bubbles) and so much more.
As for items you can place in your house, there are over 4,000 (and they have so much more in store for us) that you can find, purchase or craft -- more than any other MMORPG with housing to-date. With advanced settings for each item, you can rotate, place and scale everything. So if you buy a dart board, you can can rotate it, make it huge and use it as a table top, or as a floor even. Even better, every item can be linked to a parent item. For example, you can buy a bed, scale down plushies and place them on the bed, link each one to the bed as a parent item, and then when you move the bed, all of the items will move with it. You're essentially combining multiple items into one. Some items and vanity decorations will increase the amount of rest experience you receive in your house, with up to five granting the fullest amount.
Housing is one of those things in WildStar that if you only have 20 to 30 minutes to play, you feel like you're still getting something done. You can just mess around for hours with it if you wanted to. People in the beta have even made their houses in to jumping/platforming puzzles. I can't wait to see some of the other things that players come up with.