Housing in MMORPGs can be anything from Fashion to Function. Some games utilize housing to give players a side distraction to make an instanced space their own, while other games give the player tangible benefits for the housing they maintain. The housing system in Ashes of Creation is going to be a robust system because housing as a system is tied to the Node system; and many sub systems (including Citizenship) are tied to the housing system.
As I have said before, to understand Ashes of Creation you must understand the Node System. The entire housing system is dependent on the Node System, as in-node housing and Freeholds do not become available in Nodes in until Stage 3 (Village) and Instanced Apartments do not become available until Stage 4 (Town) and apartments passed the initial 50 that come with a Node are only available if a mayor dedicates a constructable site to instanced Apartments.
Property ownership is the path to citizenship in a particular Node. Citizenship is important because it is your highest social relationship, citizenship is in fact more important than your guild membership. In order to reap the benefits of a prosperous Node, you must be a citizen of that node, and to be a citizen you must first have property.
NOTE: There has been a discussion on "Citizen Tickets" that would allow someone to be a citizen of a Node without having the prerequisite housing. While these are an item, we do not have any more details on them. Intrepid has stated they will discuss Citizenship Tickets at a later date if they find they need to keep this mechanic in the game.
A reminder on Citizenship: all of your alts are citizens of the same Node. While your alts can be members of different guilds, they all share citizenship to the same Node. Additionally, the hard rule for housing ownership is that every player can have a maximum of one apartment and one in-Node house on any server they play on. You can only own one Freehold per account. This is something you will have to keep in mind if you plan on playing multiple characters on multiple servers.
In order to make this information more easily accessible, each specific type of housing has its own page. The remainder of this page is on the big picture topics
Why is Housing Important?
As already stated, housing is a prerequisite for citizenship. No housing means no citizenship which means no access to some of the major benefits provided by the Nodes. The benefits of being a member of a particular Node are going to be discussed in the Node chapters/sections as that information becomes available.
Staring Housing in a Stage 3 Node
The starting quantity for housing in a State 3 node is:
In-node Houses: 8
Apartments: 50 (These apartments exist as a baseline for the Node and are not tied to the constructables plot.)
Ample space for Freeholds in the Node’s ZOI
In order to get a House, Freehold or Apartment you are going to have to first find a Node that is at the appropriate development stage.
Now, will some people wait around and let others do the hard work of leveling those nodes? Absolutely. However, there will be people who are the driving forces behind Node development because they want the best house in the town square, they want that freehold spot that overlooks the river and is gorgeous at sunrise. The early bird gets the worm will be true in this sense. The person who helps drive a Node from Stage 2 to Stage 3 is much more likely to have a nice house in town since they know when the housing will become available versus someone who just travels Node to Node looking for vacancies. Although with the lotto/auction system there will be some level of fairness involved.
Economic Impacts of Housing
Housing has a two fold impact on the economy.
First is the gold sink revolves around the taxes that players will have to pay to maintain their housing. With the exception of the Regional Monarch who can remove a small percentage of tax revenue from the tax system, all of the gold from taxes stays in the system. Removing gold from the player-to-player pool is going to help curb inflation because players won’t be sitting on huge stockpiles of gold. Just like the real world, you might want to buy that shiny new thing down at the market, but you gotta pay the rent first. So too will it be the value of crafted items. If everyone has housing bills to pay, crafters will have to keep the prices reasonable if they want to make any sales.
Housing will also open markets specifically for crafters. In most MMORPGs there is a segment of the population that is hard core, spending 100% of their income on the acquisition of more gear, consumables, buffs, whatever it is that will make them more powerful. Their home, if they have one, will usually be nothing more than storage chests and trophies of big name kills or items that give buffs.
On the other extreme are role-players who care more about the social aspect than they do about adventuring. When you visit these players homes you will find they decked out with bookshelves and tables. The rooms will be laid out as a standard home would be with lots of items that have no statistical value, but that make a collection of pixels an inviting home. These items, when not provided by NPCs at markets, create an entire product line for gatherers to stay busy with making nails and planks to turn into furniture, which needs gloss, paints and dyes to create just the right look. These are ways to allow Artisans to have clients without adding more and more gear to the game which unbalances the delicate and fragile balance of power.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will housing be a feature that all players can experience?
The answer to this is yes and no.
Yes, everyone should be able to secure some form of housing somewhere in the world.
This doesn't mean that everyone will be able to get housing in the node they want. This doesn't mean that everyone will be able to get a Mansion in a Metropolis as they are limited to 40 per server.
It doesn't mean that everyone will have an awesome little spot in the world that they like with a beautiful view over an ocean or a mountain; however with a 480 sq km world and 100 sq km of Underream, with the plots all being half an acre, there will be more than enough freeholds to go around.
Can Housing Be Destroyed?
Yes! Both permanently and temporarily depending on the situation.
With the exception of Node Atrophy and your Node ceasing to exist, all housing destruction is tied to Node Sieges. This means that your Housing cannot be attacked on a random idle Tuesday at 0300 in the morning.
During a Node Siege your In-Node Housing and your Instanced Apartment Buildings can be independently targeted and destroyed or damaged. At this point the destruction is temporary. Should your node win the siege and is successful in defending, you will be able to rebuild your house/apartment building. In this situation none of the items in storage you have at your house/apartment are lost.
If, on the other hand, your node fails to defend and is destroyed, then your node houses/apartment is lost permanently. The items that you had in storage become loot for people laying siege to your node. This only applies to gatherables and craftables, all of your furniture and decor items get returned to you when you purchase your next house/instanced apartment.
Freeholds have a slightly different mechanic to their destructibility. Freeholds are vulnerable to attack for 1-2 hours after a successful siege. If the Freehold is properly defended it will enter a grace period of seven days while the ZOI’s in the nearby area work themselves out given the removal of one of the Nodes in the landscape. If during the course of the grace period the Freehold finds itself inside the ZOI of a Stage 3 or higher Node, the freehold will remain in place. If not, then the freehold gets rolled up as a blueprint and returned to the player. They will need to secure a new deed and place their freehold back in the world.
Will all property be pre-furnished
In-Node Houses and Instanced Apartments will have some level of pre furnishing available. Right now, the amount of furnishings you get is still in testing. One idea that Steven shared during his July 8 2020 Livestream interview is that there will be different options available for purchase when you make your initial housing purchase. This would allow players to purchase a tier of pre-furnishing that they are comfortable with. More to come on this at a later date when we do follow-up.