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Housing Discussion

Rephren

Neophyte
So, in reading all the replies, again AYK makes many excellent suggestions and obviously housing has become an issue.

Yes, having a house should be a valuable thing.
Yes, it should be difficult and extremely rewarding to be able to afford your own home. It was. Now, the shard has become filled with empty houses. Just run through any packed housing area, you will see many empty wagons and 8x8's which are holding houses people place through VPN's. Not gonna name any guild names but it is happening. Also, as AYK mentions, people shouldn't keep being rewarded for their past contributions to the shard, having moved on to other games but logging in once a month for 5 seconds to refresh their houses and move on again just because they like "having their plot on Outlands" but there is a high probability they will never return to actively play.

That being said, as someone said, everyone recoils in horror at property taxes. OK, fine then let's make houses require resources. Iron and Boards, specifically. It is in line with upkeep on houses. It was floated a while back, it seems to be slowly gaining traction. It can start off low for small houses such as wagons and 8x8s. Maybe, 2k iron 2k boards per month. Getting more and more for bigger houses. This will really help a lot.

The amount of houses hogging valuable Outlands land has now become a problem. As the small discussion in the Real Estate discord earlier, there are also now no wagon spots left anywhere. The real estate guys are convinced Outlands is now officially full. New players want to know they can own their own piece, as AYK, they will be more invested and will play longer. I don't have a problem with people owning 3 properties per IP. I have a problem with empty houses that sit for a year or more doing nothing but blocking people expanding their houses, or letting new players own a house.

Maybe property can be dealt up in sizes per IP? up to 12x12 3 allowed per IP, 21x21 only 2 allowed per IP (can't own a third house), 30x30 only one allowed per IP (can't own a second or third house on their IP).

Just some ideas, hopefully a solution is brought in the next few months otherwise we're going to see some serious problems for new players, which is the lifeblood of any server.
 
So, in reading all the replies, again AYK makes many excellent suggestions and obviously housing has become an issue.

Yes, having a house should be a valuable thing.
Yes, it should be difficult and extremely rewarding to be able to afford your own home. It was. Now, the shard has become filled with empty houses. Just run through any .....

What's the difference between overly-complex resources required to keep homes alive and just having a tax? People will just go buy ingots/boards.

Make the tax flat at 20gp per tile per week. If you're in an 8x8 that's 1280 gold per week. Peanuts.
If you're in a 30x30 that's 18k/week. If you're going to take up 900 tiles of land and deny it to others, pay for it. You somehow got the scratch to afford a mansion you can pay the upkeep.
 

Lemora

Apprentice
I still dont understand what all the hubbub is about.

Theres plenty of houses for sale on the vendor every day.

Housing isnt even the most expensive thing on this shard. For the price of one gold link you can easily have a house on every account, just willy nilly buying off the vendor right now.

Owyn is quoted as saying the whole tax thing wont happen because its entirely un-fun and way too irl bad times.

If population doubles from here, yeah maybe you rethink idoc timers. Housing situation seems more fine and the least of concern the more I play here.
 

Rephren

Neophyte
What's the difference between overly-complex resources required to keep homes alive and just having a tax? People will just go buy ingots/boards.

Make the tax flat at 20gp per tile per week. If you're in an 8x8 that's 1280 gold per week. Peanuts.
If you're in a 30x30 that's 18k/week. If you're going to take up 900 tiles of land and deny it to others, pay for it. You somehow got the scratch to afford a mansion you can pay the upkeep.
Because it is part of immersion into upkeep on houses. Also it gives the player an option to mine/lumber the wood themselves, creating more interest in gathering, potentially.

Or, we could always just do nothing and keep everything the same as it is and see 8x8's going up in price exponentially. I joined a year ago, 8x8 was 200k. I bought 2 8x8's for 200k and one under 200k. Now? 400%-500% increase. February 2022? Where are the new players? Oh, in inns until they manage to grind out a few mil for a small house. Not the best situation for a shard. There have been examples in the past of other servers where new players arriving started tapering off, because they saw how difficult it is to own a piece of the server land and how advanced everyone else is, and that the grind to get started looks intimidating. This is not conjecture, MMORPG's have been going for decades, the history is there, clear to see. The fact people have identified housing as a possible issue coming up in the next year, is not people being bored and wanting to moan over something.

Anyway, I'm not here to convince people who refuse to acknowledge the problem, I'm just here to help suggest it could become an issue and help suggest possible solutions, along with others. I always say to my team at work, if you see a problem, come to me, but come with at least one possible solution. I'm trying to do the same.
 

Elric

Journeyman
It would much easier to do nothing instead of having continued discussions of fairness and the economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole . Luckily I see many other shards pop up on Reddit that probably have an abundance of land to build homes on.
 

Lemora

Apprentice
Well if they follow such economically backwards and oppressive socialist nonsense I am indeed sure they have plenty of open land. The realm of UO shards is indeed a free market. Enjoy.
 
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Cabal

Neophyte
While I agree with the statements above from Lemora and Elric, it was the administrators that started this thread to begin with. So instead of getting into political ideologies and economics, too much, I view it differently. I view this more as a business situation, where the admins have created a product or provide a service and we are their customers or consumers. So they are asking their customers about their product/service.

The admins can correct me if I am wrong but I feel like this discussion is about how they can potentially improve upon their product and/or provide a better service to their customers/consumers.
 

Eric

Neophyte
So changing the subject away from the very clear off topic nature of trying to compare ultima online free shards to nation-state economies, how about another suggestion:

Require an hour of active playtime before you can refresh your house - people who are logging in just to refresh, likely barely only give enough of a crap to do something for literally 2 minutes each month. Make it just a bit more inconvenient, and I think a lot more unused houses will collapse.
 

Lemora

Apprentice
While I agree with the statements above from Lemora and Elric, it was the administrators that started this thread to begin with. So instead of getting into political ideologies and economics, too much, I view it differently. I view this more as a business situation, where the admins have created a product or provide a service and we are their customers or consumers. So they are asking their customers about their product/service.

The admins can correct me if I am wrong but I feel like this discussion is about how they can potentially improve upon their product and/or provide a better service to their customers/consumers.

I dont mean to insert politics. However UO shards, having watched many rise and fall and interacting with all of their markets, are very free markets that operate on pure human emotion and response, so they very, one might even say eerily, resemble and mirror real life markets.

Except unlike real life where a person is attached at the hip to his property location and the burdens of moving (and therefore more succesptible to oppressive regulation), a UO player can up and leave at any time. This is why Owyn is quoted as saying such an idea would never be implemented. All it would do is turn away players.

The type of player who works hard to establish himself wants to be left alone, and these are long term players not bothered by a normal functioning market (if not simply feeling a bit of temporary demand stress). Players too lazy to check the real estate vendor every other day, and farm a few nights to get a house, are of course by human nature the ones that want the market adjusted to fit their desires. This is the tragedy of the commons scenario (disguised as """"fairness"""") that is analogous to real life. That road always ends in destruction.

So changing the subject away from the very clear off topic nature of trying to compare ultima online free shards to nation-state economies,
Except, no offense, if you understood macroeconomics youd know that they are actually very much analogous and parallel. Which is why it came up. But I digress. If no one wants to take it there (and I didnt really except being very offended by the notions of the post up there, because I really love this shard) then thats fine, and I only disagree and want to point out that the thought they are not similar is interestingly, wrong.

Im not super interested in taking this into political discussion, but it is at least interesting and in my opinion this thread had already run its course anyway.
 
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Cabal

Neophyte
Lemora and Elric I like your thoughts and ideas. I agree there are parallels to be seen and I do find it somewhat interesting regarding real life economics and politics. I agree with not just trying to make things a cake walk into housing and manipulating housing to make it easy in various ways.

I have always thought this thread was generated for the purpose of combatting "housing waste" or "land waste" on the shard. I myself are not looking for some serious housing or economy manipulating systems to be put in place.

So I am glad Owyn would not implement taxes as yes that would be not fun. I did agree with it if it would be necessary to combat my aforementioned housing waste issue.

Yes Lemora I could agree this thread has potentially ran it's course as the same ideas are being rehashed and rediscussed. That is why I have been interested if the admins have decided upon anything.
 

Lemora

Apprentice
Well the problem is a lot of different angles to any potential housing issue are getting muddied up.

The main issues I see are:
- House refreshing. In my opinion not an issue. Im sorry if your neighbors empty house is an eyesore, but you cant assume his motive. It is also quite selfish to demand action and removal of property of someone else because of how you feel about it and your assumed motives. Sure there are people who just refresh monthly. What if they are just really busy? What if they are sick and its a relative logging on? We have no idea. Also a player dedicated enough to keep their house standing IS something to still keep because that means they will be back, otherwise it would IDOC. Im torn on this one, but on sheer principle of natural property rights, lessaize faire.

- House hoarding. This definitely is an issue. And I am not sure what can be done to stop it as Owyn has explained. Just today or yesterday on Discord someone was very blatantly holding more than three houses and dropped for a CY but theres not much to do to stop it with VPN. I would prefer to see houses limited to 1 per IP, or account group. Or possibly keep it at 3 but implement some shard wide registration of account group. The former might not even be enough because "my brother" etc. This would be the one regulation sort of measure that I think would actually work and be healthy, market wise, if it could even be implemented.

- House cost. I do not think this is an issue. There are plenty of houses for sale on the vendor every day reasonably for the population and current gold inflation. Ive been playing this shard for months, and havent bought one yet because Im picky and I also dont farm, so its slow and been watching. One has to ignore the dumb overpriced houses that sit, and just watch daily to see the housing market price wise and volume moving is fine considering the level of farming here and how short of time one can earn one, and people act like nothing is available at all and that isnt true.

I would personally as well like to see a shorter IDOC and have posted such in the past. But in my opinion the only issue needed urgent addressing is hoarding abuse, but again, I have no idea how to solve that. What is needed definitely isnt any sort of broad sweeping communal regulation that hurts everyone, but I digress as that horse is pulp at this point.

See, theres plenty still to talk about after all.
 
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Eric

Neophyte
edited to remove off topic comment.

On topic:

I don't agree with a shorter IDOC.

I'd much rather see active playtime used to keep houses intact, vs the legacy IDOC process, or taxes. (edit: I'm not passionately against preserving the status quo, or taxes for that matter - either won't affect my playing on the shard)

I have mixed opinions on if hoarding is actually the main problem or not. There are tons of empty houses of all sizes (not a single chest). The answer as to why they are empty is something only the shard admins could find out, and even then they would be using a lot of incomplete information.

Hell, my house looks like a parked house to any passerby, because I'm too busy playing the game and selling all my items to raise gold to even decorate it!
 
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Markar

Neophyte
I think the biggest improvement from a new player's perspective would be upgrading the room rental system. I found out about the rental system fairly late, and although I still don't have a real house, I haven't bothered with the rentals simply because you can't add co-owners or share the rental with other accounts. Even new players are generally playing up two or three accounts (say two for sparring and one for crafting), and the biggest draw for housing is so you can consolidate your loot and kegs. Even if you can't add accounts from other IP addresses (which I would prefer, just increase the cost to say 10k/week), I would at least use the system then. As it stands, housing prices are getting worse and worse, with the cheapest wagons running about 500k now. Between aspect, skill balls, skill scrolls, and cost of raising skills, I think many people would prefer to use a rental room for a longer period of time while working on those more essential parts of the game, and then upgrading to a real house when they want the cosmetics (and larger space).
 

Macunzo

Neophyte
Sorry, just saw this thread now, after posting a somewhat drastic revolution to the age-old housing issue on the Suggestions Forum. Should have posted here instead.

TLDR: Phase out all individual houses with rented 'semi-instanced' off-map houses with the full functionality of present houses. Persistant on-map houses are only for guild achievements.
 

Eric

Neophyte
you can't add co-owners or share the rental with other accounts.
This is actually a big part of why I completely bypassed the inn system as well.

I did read somewhere (discord maybe) that they are working on some inn system improvements. I think that has the capability of alleviating some of the pressure on low-end real estate prices, especially if they can make the inn rooms a bit more "desirable".
 

Laughing Skull

Apprentice
Wow, a lot of good information and ideas here, love it. Based on what I've heard from admin, taxes/upkeep and limiting by IP are not options. So, we need to think of other ideas.

I think the solution lies somewhere with building upon, or improving the inn rental system. IRL, what has happened every time we run out of room? We build up! I still like the idea of creating apartments/condos you can own in the big cities of outlands. You can go up multiple stories if needed. This will add an urban style vibe and add to the immersion of the game (I don't like the idea of instanced anything). You can freely co-own whoever you want, add people, ban people. Basically this would operate like a normal house, but just in city limits.
 

Eric

Neophyte
I still like the idea of creating apartments/condos you can own in the big cities of outlands. You can go up multiple stories if needed. This will add an urban style vibe and add to the immersion of the game (I don't like the idea of instanced anything). You can freely co-own whoever you want, add people, ban people. Basically this would operate like a normal house, but just in city limits.
I actually like this a lot, and it isn't like it would have to be thematically jarring, either.

Do a search for Chester, England for an example of urban/dense multi-level living that fits in the aesthetic that Andaria and Prevalia pulls from.

Create a vendor rental system for the first floor of said building (i.e. server-owned first floor), and use the upper two to three levels for housing - either rented monthly, or purchased.

Unfortunately, this is another example of a time consuming idea with a crapload of mapwork. Maybe Owyn could point everyone to the map editing tools he uses and hold a building-design contest in order to get other people to do a lot of the legwork for him. The "prize" for winning is that your building gets added to the shard and you get your character name on the sign or something.
 

Laughing Skull

Apprentice
I know absolutely nothing of what goes into creating artwork/content. But, if it is any easier instead of going up, go down. like dungeons...... think Mausoleum where those tormented souls are. You can share a common hallway, or even a common central area.

Lots of possibilities, what if this common area allows vendor placement?
 

SHAMBAMPOW

Neophyte
I like the last point on Owyns list regarding lockable public doors. If a house could in a sense be used for both private and public functionality. But, maybe not all of the doors - maybe just a room. I think small houses could have basements or a garage of sorts, perhaps similar to the inn rental concept where it's kind of instanced. Maybe if there was a benefit of using the smaller houses to free up server real-estate space, but still having a private or lockable accesses area (trapdoor/teleporter, or a innkeeper-type contract that you could interact with to enter), and still allowing or a private-to-friends/guilds option (so multiple accounts could share a small house still).

As another point, in the real world where real estate is limited (cities), people tend to build up and down rather than outward. Perhaps it could be an option in a certain (new?) area(s) to only allow these types of houses so a large house can't be placed and take up 5 house spots in one just because the owner is rich - to benefit the server spacing.

IDOCs would need to be considered with the private storage area, not sure if it would work similar to the innkeeper rental situation (where those items go to the persons bank queue in the event of collapse (or if implemented, a lack of funds).
 

Macunzo

Neophyte
I haven't bothered with the rentals simply because you can't add co-owners or share the rental with other accounts.
...
I would at least use the system then. As it stands, housing prices are getting worse and worse, with the cheapest wagons running about 500k now. Between aspect, skill balls, skill scrolls, and cost of raising skills, I think many people would prefer to use a rental room for a longer period of time while working on those more essential parts of the game, and then upgrading to a real house when they want the cosmetics (and larger space).

I think this nails the problem perfectly. UOO has introduced many new systems of character enhancements that cost a lot of gold. On a server with a saturated housing market, should a new player farm for a house or for the character?

A new player, as well as a returning player who let their old house go, will probably want to prioritize the new systems instead of farming a long time for an expensive house from the secondary market. Two years ago, my (only) 8x8 cost 50k, in a cute spot. It fit right into my char development path, still let me buy skillscrolls and balls and later aspect stuff. Nowadays, a wagon in the swamp would cost the newb 500k, and an 8x8 1.5 mil? Probably they (and certainly I) would prefer to rent for a prolonged period, but only if the rented house/room had the functionality of a true house.

Combining this with my (probably too drastic) proposal in my housing revolution post in the suggestions forum:

What if all small houses (wagons and 8x8) were nice looking semi-instanced rented houses on a special map, with the full housing funcionality?

That would be an organic step 1 for a new player (plus a returning player who never cared about big houses in UO), paying a weekly rent. A good number of those new players (and of players like me) will leave again after 3-4 months ... but they won't clog the map with small houses that they refresh for a year and leave for IDOC thereafter.

Step 2, once you have your characters developed and aspected and balled and whatnot, and if you now wished to farm 20 million for a CY... ok, you will happily buy that and hop over to the main map. Making houses a big goal instead of a catch 22 bump in your character development.