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The Top 5 Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Games With Player Housing for the PC

David is an avid gamer across multiple platforms such as consoles, handhelds, mobile phones, and PC.

My mansion in Final Fantasy XIV.

My mansion in Final Fantasy XIV.

Looking for a game with a deep player housing system? Then this article has you covered, as it outlines the five top massively multiplayer online games with player housing.

For the basis of this top five list, I'll be considering those games that have a massively multiplayer aspect. There are a ton of games with player housing that allow co-op play, like Minecraft or Terraria, but I don't consider those to have a massive population on a server that is up all of the time.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV is considered to be one of the best MMORPGs currently on the market. From combat, to graphics, to the music, this game has everything. Plus there is a hefty crafting system and player run economy. Even without player housing, the game is good in its own right.

In FFXIV, housing is broken up into different residential districts. They are separate from the game world. Each residential district is broken up into 30 housing plots, ranging from small, medium, to large houses. Larger plots are more expensive. Housing is completely optional in the game, but tends to be a core component for guilds, which are called Free Companies in FFXIV.

Positives of player housing:

  • Hundreds of items to decorate with. House decorations can come from a variety of sources. You can craft housing decorations, find them through combat, or through other activities built into the game. There are microtransactions for housing decorations as well. Decorations range from the typical fantasy type, to more contemporary items in a modern setting.
  • You can show off your house. You can have different skins for your house as well as outdoor decorations, so those in your district can see your house. You can also choose to have the inside of your house accessible, so people can take a tour if they so wish.
  • Grants unique crafting opportunities. For Free Companies, they can have a workshop to build some of the most expensive items in the game, mostly related to housing. Additionally, they can send out airships and submarines on voyages for some rare and expensive items.

Negatives of player housing:

  • It's overly expensive. For a solo player wanting to buy a small house plot, it's expensive. Want a large plot? Be prepared to grind for months to save enough currency for that.
  • You may not get a house. There simply aren't enough plots for every player on a server. On the server I play on, people camp small plots for hours. Additionally, there aren't as many medium and large plots, making those nearly impossible to get. You also can't trade or sell houses to other players.
  • Decorating is a bit restrictive. For the most part you can't place items wherever you want. If an item belongs on a wall, then it has to be placed on a wall. There are ways to glitch some items, but it's a pain to do and should only be done if you really know what you are doing.
  • Free Companies Don't Own a House. Only the leader does, which makes it quite unfair to the Free Company members. The leader of a Free Company can kick everyone out and keep the house for themselves. Additionally, to unlock some of the high end crafting, you have to be part of a Free Company with a Free Company house.

To me, FFXIV has one of the best player housing systems of any MMO I have ever played, but, you have to fight to get a plot.

Path of Exile

Path of Exile is an action role playing game, similar to Diablo. What's unique about Path of Exile is that it is in a persistent game world. Small towns serve as player hubs, and it's easy to find groups and play with other players. Trading is also a huge component in the game. In fact, to make any real progression, it's expected that you will have to trade.

In Path of Exile, you will eventually be given a hideout. While not mandatory, it's considered to be the central hub when you want to craft, store items, or trade items with other players. Everyone will receive a hideout and they come at no cost of in-game or real world currency.

Positives of player housing:

  • Hundreds of items to decorate with. For the most part house decorations come from different masters you will do missions for. The more missions you do, the more currency you have to buy housing decorations. There are also a ton of microtransaction decorations, but I'll cover those more in the negatives of player housing.
  • People will see your hideout. But, only if you invite them, typically as part of a trade deal. I've traded hundreds of items in-game, which allowed people to see my hideout. Many times people explored my hideout after our trade because they liked how I decorated it.
  • You don't have to decorate at all. One neat feature that was added is that you can save your hideout as a file and share it with others. As long as you have the currency and items, you can download other player's hideouts and have them as your own.

Negatives of player housing:

  • A lot of microtransactions. Path of Exile is a free to play game. The way the developers make money is by selling cosmetic gear, stash tabs, and housing decorations. Some of those even come from loot boxes, where you aren't guaranteed to receive a housing decoration. Additionally, there are different types of hideouts you can buy with real world currency.
  • Hideouts may not be child friendly. The hideout system can also be abused, with people making decorations to resemble inappropriate images or words. While the developers do deal with those situations, it's a bit jarring to visit someone's hideout and see something that's completely inappropriate.
  • You'll never be done decorating. With new decorations coming out all of the time, I am never done decorating my hideout. Additionally, since you can get bored of a certain hideout type, you may change often, requiring you to decorate all over again.

Path of Exile is one of the best ARPGs I have ever played, and the hideout system makes it even better since it serves as a central hub for player activities. The video above shows one of my first hideouts in Path of Exile.

One of the first houses I owned in Ultima Online.

One of the first houses I owned in Ultima Online.

Ultima Online

Ultima Online is one of the first massively multiplayer online role playing games for the PC. It's the first MMO I ever started with. The game came out in 1997, so it's over 20 years old at this point, but it's also going strong still.

In Ultima Online, player housing is optional. However, to increase the storage of items and to have a better way to craft and sell items, a house is pretty much mandatory. It does cost in-game currency to buy a house in Ultima Online, but it's still pretty affordable.

Positives of player housing:

  • Houses are in the game world. Of all of the games on this list, this is the only game where houses are in the game world itself. This is good because you get to see everyone's houses and people can see your house, but bad since it can clutter up the game screen. Still, I think it's a huge positive. Plus not all areas can have player housing, leaving some areas uncluttered.
  • Everything is a decoration. Every item in the game can serve as a decoration, no matter what it is. The best part is that you put the pieces together to make something look different and unusual. It's a very open ended decorating system that other games haven't been able to replicate.
  • House decorations are a huge money maker. People are always willing to spend a lot for rare or unusual house decorations. Some can only be obtained in very hard dungeons, or, through events that aren't happening anymore. So it can be a huge money maker. The selling of items also occurs by placing NPC vendors right in your house!

Negatives of player housing:

  • The game is old. As stated earlier, Ultima Online is over 20 years old. So the graphics aren't on par with the other games on this list. The combat, while still fun, is pretty basic. The player population isn't as big as the other games on this list either.
  • Houses can collapse. If you fail to log in every once in awhile, your house can collapse, which means you lose everything kept there. The positive of this is that if you find a house that has collapsed, you can take all of their stuff and place a house there if it's a spot you like.
  • Large real estate is hard to come by. Houses range from small plots to castles. While there is a lot of land for small houses, finding a spot for a large castle is hard to come by. I would frequently travel the game world trying to find a spot for a castle.

I went back to play Ultima Online many times just because of the player housing. It's a good system that no other game has been able to successfully recreate.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the few sci fi MMORPGs still active. Even if you are not a fan of Star Wars, the game is pretty good as it's a fun, sci-fi setting with solid combat mechanics.

In SWTOR, housing is called strongholds. They are basically apartments in various planets across the game world. They aren't required, but can serve as a place for players to relax with friends, or, for guilds to get together. They are expensive, but they are designed for everyone to have one.

Positives of player housing:

  • Various ways to obtain decorations. While players have a way to purchase decorations upon initially obtaining a stronghold, other decorations can be obtained through different events in-game, like PvP, crew skills, etc. If you are already taking part in these activities, then there is a good chance you will earn more decorations as you play.
  • Shared for multiple characters. There are two factions in SWTOR, and typically they don't mix during gameplay. However, you can have characters from both factions enjoy the same stronghold. Very unusual, but a nice touch.
  • Can show off collectables. What I like is that you can show off certain mounts and pets in your stronghold. Not many other player housing systems allow this, so it's like showing off certain achievements players have accomplished.
  • Can own multiple strongholds. It's one of the few games where you can have multiple player housing locations. Though I really only recommend this if you want to have different looks for each stronghold.

Negatives of player housing:

  • Others may never see a stronghold. There really isn't many reasons to visit other strongholds unless players want to hang out with others. Guilds have more of a use for them, but solo players may not.
  • Decorating is basic. While there are plenty of decorations in the game, the system of decorating a stronghold isn't as robust as other games on this list. But with how neat strongholds are with the the right decorations, this is a minor grievance.

SWTOR is a fun game without the need for strongholds, but they are a nice touch if you want something different or relaxing to do between all of the combat.

Wildstar

This last choice was a tough decision, as Wildstar was cancelled a number of years ago. However, I felt it needed to be included in this list. Wildstar was a MMORPG, but with a sci-fi setting. While the combat itself was rough around the edges, the housing system was fun.

Every player in Wildstar had a house, and while not required, they were pretty much necessary if you wanted to craft, obtain materials, and increase your wealth. It was also a system I enjoyed thoroughly, and kept me in the game longer despite the other issues with the game.

Positives of player housing:

  • You could resize and fully rotate decorations. This is something not many other games have picked up. You could make a decoration smaller, bigger, turn it on an axis, etc. This allowed for some very unusual setups in decorating. It really had its own style.
  • There was a good reason to visit other players houses. Each housing area had spots player could put activities. These could be gathering activities, mini games, or combat activities. They typically had a reward tied to them. So if you found a plot with an activity you wanted, you could bookmark it and visit it later to do that activity.

Negatives of player housing:

  • Housing was instanced. Each player had their own housing plot, which was instanced on their own. You had no neighbors and didn't really see other players unless they visited your plot. So it could feel lonely.
  • The game no longer exists. Since the game is cancelled, there is no way to enjoy this player housing. Even when it was active, the gameplay itself wasn't that great to keep players interested in the end.

I started Wildstar for the housing system, but in the end, I stopped playing since there were issues with the combat and other content in the game. It's a shame, as player housing in Wildstar was pretty good at the time. The video above shows how I had my plot decorated in Wildstar.

© 2021 David Livermore

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