A while ago, I had some ideas for player housing in an MMO or other online game. Housing should not be limited to just players placing solitary houses, but be able to build villages and even massive cities. Many of these ideas I have seen in other MMOs, but were poorly executed by their developers and thus could not live up to their full potential. Player Housing and Cities To place a house, a player must first purchase a deed from a housing broker NPC in one of the capital cities of their faction. Then they must find a spot of the appropriate size to accommodate the type of house they wish to place in a designated housing area where house placement is allowed. Players will not be able to place houses directly on roads, in front of dungeon entrances, or in any other spot which would otherwise disrupt the game play of other players. Once a player has the appropriate location picked out, and no other house already occupies the spot, the player will be free to place their house. Players will be able to own houses ranging from small one room cottages, to reasonably sized manors, to farm houses, to log cabins, to large towers and small keeps. Houses placed in the wilderness will have to be maintained by the owner or those given special privileges with the house. Once a day the owner or those with the privilege will have to log on and refresh the house. This keeps the house immune to attack by siege engine. To refresh the house, the owner must access the house's control panel on the user interface. The panel option only appears while the owner, or those with the privilege, are in the house. If the house goes 7 days without being refreshed it becomes vulnerable to attack by siege engine and can be destroyed. If the house goes 9 days without being refreshed, the house collapses. Whether destroyed or collapse, all containers and objects in the house are left behind on the ground for anyone to loot. Houses can also be purchased in NPC towns and faction capital cities. These houses will be ideal locations greatly sought after by players. However, to be able to keep these houses, players will have to pay monthly taxes. In the event that players cannot pay the taxes on their house, they will have 7 days to pay what they owe or they will be evicted from the house and all of their belongings stored in the house will be placed in their bank box. Player houses allow players to lock down items in the house to secure them against theft and item deletion. Items left on the floor of a house and are not locked down or in a secure container will be deleted after a certain period of time like items dropped anywhere else. The amount of containers that can be secured and items than can be locked down depends on the size of the house. The larger the house, the more items can be locked down and the more containers can be secured. Houses can also have add-ons. Add-ons can only be added on to a house if there is sufficient room around the house. These add-ons include workshops, small plots of farmland and wells. Player run shops Players who own a house, whether it be in a guild city, village or in a faction NPC city, will be able to turn part or all of their house into a shop which they can run. Players will need to hire at least one vendor NPC for other players to interact with so they can purchase items. Shop owners will also be able to set out display cases and armor display stands with items they are selling so customers will be able to see the kinds of wares the owner is selling. Shop owners will be able to block off parts of their shop and keep them for private use. However, houses which are open to the public as shops can have their private sections broken into by burglars with sufficient lock picking skills. They might also find themselves the targets of thieves, murderers and other unsavory characters. For this reason shop owners will want to hire guards to protect their business. If a player's shop is in a guild city, NPC city or village, the local guards and town watches will guard their shops. Players who have stand alone houses outside cities and villages will have to hire their own independent guards. Villages Scattered throughout the wilderness are Village Stones. Village Stones mark off areas which can be turned into villages. When a player happens upon a village stone, they will be able to claim it and found a village. The player who first founds a village becomes the mayor. To claim a village stone, a player must pay a fee to officially declare their new village. Managing a village allows for the mayor to organize a town watch, hire guards, and build town walls and roads. Unlike guild cities, villages can be run by non guilded players. Villages are smaller than guild cities and have lighter defenses. Mayors cannot demand taxes of the village residents and they cannot throw people out of the village. Villages offer players more security for their house as opposed to houses placed alone in the wilderness. The town watch will guard all houses placed in the vicinity of the village. Residents of the village can also commit their own guards, hirelings and pets to protect and patrol the village. Town watch guards will patrol around the village looking for criminals or anyone who violates the laws of the village. The laws of the village are set by the mayor. Guild Cities Guild cities are for player run guilds who wish to build their own empire. Dotted throughout the wilderness are Founder's Stones. A founder's stone is required to begin building a guild city. Guild cities are substantially larger than villages and even more costly. In order to claim a founder's stone, a guild master must plant his guild's flag in the stone. This officially claims the stone in the name of that guild. Once the flag has been planted, the guild master can begin to build his or her guild's city. The guild master will be in charge of placing the essential buildings for the city as well as the roads, walls, moats, draw bridges, portcullis, battlements, siege engines and defensive towers. This will cost not only money but resources such as wood, stone and metal to construct the walls, buildings and roads. Once the guild master is finished planning out the city it will be ready to have houses and shops placed by members of the guild. Unlike a village, a guild city will be able to support buildings found in NPC faction towns. The essential buildings are as follows: · Guild Bank: A localized bank where guild members can store extra items they find in their journeys. It also gives access to the communal guild bank where guild members can deposit items and resources for other guild members to have access to. They can also deposit money into the guild coffers to help keep the guild city running. During a siege, if an enemy guild manages to claim the city, all items in the guild bank will be ripe for the looting. Guild banks can also be destroyed during a siege. If they are, all bank boxes will be left on the ground and can be looted by anyone. · Soldier Barracks: The Solder Barracks is the building needed to train guards for the guild city. The guild master can choose what type of guards they want for the city. The soldiers will range from poorly skilled but low priced, to highly skilled but very expensive. The higher the skill of the soldiers the better they will be able to defend the city and uphold the laws of the city. In the Soldier Barracks there will be a chest for the guild master and other guild members to place armor, weapons, and food for the soldiers to use. As the soldiers' armor and weapons become damaged, they will take new pieces from the chest to replace their gear. They will also take food and drink from the chest. Also the Barracks serves as the guild master's interface for controlling the city's soldier NPCs. The guild master can set the laws of the town, the priority targets for NPC soldiers to attack during a siege, and access the security functions of the city. Every city will have a maximum number of guards that can be trained. Once the city has reached this limit, no more guards can be trained. However, the guild master is still free to hire more NPC guards from other sources to supplement the city's defenses. These guards can be hired in NPC towns at various mercenary companies. However, unlike solider NPCs trained from a barracks, NPC mercenaries cannot operate siege engines. · Siege Workshop: In these buildings, carpenters who also have the tinkering skill will be able to construct various offensive and defensive siege engines. Defensive siege engines are placed in the guild inventory for the guild master and any lieutenants who have the permission to place them on defensive towers. Offensive siege engines appear as mountable vehicles which guild members can enter and operate to get them to the battle. Both defensive and offensive siege engines can be sold to other guilds or independent players. · Defensive Towers: Defensive towers are needed to mount defensive siege engines. Once mounted on a tower, a defensive siege engine can be operated by player guild members or by the soldier NPCs. The number of defensive towers a city can have depends on its size. The larger the city, the more towers it gets. · Guild Castle: The Guild Castle is the key building of the city. Castles are placed over the founder's stone to defend the stone against attackers during a siege. Guild Castles come in various shapes and sizes for a guild master to choose from. Guild Castles come with 5 of their own defense towers which do no count towards the city's overall defense tower quota. In the event that a city's outer defenses fall, the castle is the last line of defense for the founder's stone. Only guilds can place castles. This is to prevent individual players from eating up housing space by over placement of castles. Guild masters will also be able to set the laws of their guild city(s). They can choose which laws are enforced, the level of alignment allowed and what factions can enter the city. And thus, housing is a more intricate part of the game and more than just a place to store your excess stuff. Granted, most of these ideas are for a game that allows for seige warfare between guilds, but the basic principles are still sound.