Sunsong swan song

“You can’t go home again,” so said Thomas Wolfe. Last week I decided to test that philosophy by returning to Sunsong Ranch on each of my characters. The experience has made for kind of an interesting study in economics as well as in psychology (mine — ymmv).

It was my new rogue that gave me the idea. I boosted him once I got to level 60, so I have been going back and doing some of the 60-100 level pieces he missed out on. Just the fun or required ones, not all of them. And one of the ones I consider fun is the whole Tillers/Sunsong Ranch series. I have done it now on 9 characters (only part way done on the rogue), and I never tire of it. Which is strange, because I am not usually one who likes — or even tolerates — repeating content. But something about the whole Tillers and farm saga fascinates me. I even actually enjoy spending hours searching for those little dirt mounds to find gifts for the eternally needy Tiller clan. I love it when I finally become Best Friends with Tina, and my barn of a ranch house becomes a cozy retreat. I like working through the quests to where I actually own it and can set my hearthstone to it. (Although that huge book lying open on the floor does offend my sense of tidiness, I keep wanting to pick it up and put it on a shelf.) I am delighted when I get my own mailbox, and my orange tree, chickens, dog, cat, everything.

Anyway, as I was working my way through the series on my rogue, I decided to have each of my characters go back, dust off the agricultural equipment, get rid of the crops that had been rotting in the fields for lo these many months, and make the place a working farm again. I had no idea what I might plant, or if I would be able to do anything but vendor the stuff once harvested, but still I thought I would give it a try.

It has been fun, in a nostalgic sort of way. Some things, like Golden Lotus and Motes/Spirits of Harmony,  do still actually sell on my server’s auction house. Not for great sums, but for a few gold. I am amazed people still buy them, but they do.

I couldn’t help but compare my feelings upon returning to Sunsong to my feelings for my garrison. Strangely, and in spite of the fact that I have spent much, much more time working my garrison than I ever did working Sunsong, I find I have zero emotional ties to the garrison. But as soon as I went back to Sunsong, saw all my animals happily doing their thing in the farm yard, and saw that cozy bed and bubbling pot in the house, I actually felt like I had come home after a long trip. Nothing before or since Sunsong has given me that feeling in the game. And I know with absolute certainty that I will not get that feeling from Legion’s Class Halls.

Why is it that Blizz stubbornly refuses to give us player housing? Sunsong demonstrated that they have the technical wherewithal to do it, garrisons demonstrated that they can make individual instances at least somewhat player-customizable. Surely the devs cannot be such soulless automatons that they do not feel the universal pull all humans have for a place of their own? As complex as they made garrisons, why did they not give us a small place inside them to call home? Everybody but the commander has their own place in the garrison, from the troops’ barracks to the gardener’s cottage, for crying out loud! And in Legion, they expect us to live with a bunch of smelly hunters or holier-than-thou priests or keep-your-hand-on-your-wallet rogues?? It’s not the same.

I am poking fun, but truly it is a serious question that I would love to have answered. What is the real reason Blizz digs in their heels and refuses to give us player housing? I want the actual reason, not some horse hockey about “We are at war, and no one gets to enjoy the comforts of home while it is so.” Does Blizz feel like adding player housing takes away from the hard-gamer illusion they have of the game? (Because, if so, then those ridiculous foofoo pet battles should never have been introduced. Real gamers don’t raise fighting poodles.) Is there some insurmountable technical problem with player housing? If so, I would like to hear it, and maybe in that case the Blizz devs could go take a training session from someone like the Wildstar devs who have figured it out.

After all Blizz has put me through with the disaster that was WoD, after they successfully and completely destroyed the one class I loved to play, after they managed to make raiding largely inaccessible to a large group of casual players, after they forced thousands of us to grovel and beg for weeks to reinstitute flying, they owe me!

I want player housing, dammit! I want to be able to go home at the end of the night. I want to have a place that I don’t share with every nutcase trade chat denizen on the server. Virtual or real, people yearn for their own private space. Why can’t you understand that, Blizz? More to the point, why can’t you do it?

See, I think Thomas Wolfe was wrong. I think you can go home again. But you have to have a home to go to. Sunsong taught me that.




About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

6 Responses to Sunsong swan song

  1. Casually Odd says:

    On my own blog I’ve rambled about City of Heroes and how much I loved it. one thing they had was superbases that you could build in an editor. It wasn’t perfect and it required a lot of upkeep at times, but it really was fun. And you could get really detailed with colors and textures and fluff items. Man, I miss that game.

    I’ve never had a great desire for player housing in WoW, but I’m sure I’d enjoy it as would many others. And you are right that the dev team already have so many basic components to do some type of player housing. They don’t even need to go to the full level of detail that City of Heroes did. It really does seem like some fundamental aversion to the concept rather than a technical limitation.

    • Fiannor says:

      Well, in my head I think of player housing as something that would be optional — really optional, not Blizz optional like garrisons. More like jukebox music — something you could do if you enjoyed it, but completely free to skip if you didn’t. And as you point out, it would not have to be over-the-top fantastic. Something like the Sunsong place, with a few little doodads you could collect doing stuff in game would be perfectly fine, maybe with a decorating line like they did for garrison holiday events, only not tied to holidays.

  2. I have not returned, except to fly over it to kill Galleon, but I know exactly where you are coming from. Something about it made it feel a little more comfortable when thinking back. Bigger does not always mean better and all garrisons are is a version of the ranch on steroids.

    I don’t think we will get player housing now, ever. I had once thought we would. I even predicted that WoD would have it before WoD was even announced. I guess I was half right considering garrisons were partly like it. But after garrisons and such a backlash they got from them added to seeing how it killed the outside world, they will be completely gun shy about taking it further and making player housing.

    I do still want player housing. As you said, it is nice to have a home base. I’ve liked the garrison for that, but sadly I don’t see player housing ever happening. At least we will have sunsong and our garrison, little bits of what could have been.

    • Fiannor says:

      I reluctantly have to agree with you. It seems very unlikely we will ever see it now. I, too, was hoping for at least some sort of simple player housing in WoD. I actually thought that was the whole idea originally behind garrisons. So imagine my surprise when there was not even a commander’s cottage to be found. As usual, Blizz took a simple idea — give players a home base (not necessarily player housing) — and twisted it so badly that it was unrecognizable, then jammed it down people’s throats so that even those who might have been fans grew to hate it.

      All in all, imo they would have been much better off to just go with the faction city concept as a hub, spending their resources on making that happen and trashing the whole garrison idea. But maybe it was impossible given all their personnel and time constraints, and at any rate water under the bridge…

      If we have what amounts to instant portals to our Class Halls in Legion, I may just end up setting my hearthstone to Sunsong or even zoning in to my garrison as a cozy refuge to go to before logging off each night!

  3. It would cost us a tier.
    The expectations are so different for every player and what they’d like to see. We night elves were offended at the architecture of the garrisons, skewed Stormwind bias and all.
    I would like it. I’d like a Tillers experience blended with a Garrison experience to build my own castle of my race, faction and with my class fantasy and flavors.
    We, as players, can see potential like the toggling of holiday decorations and mentally expand on that; wanting rows of radio buttons to choose to display what we’ve earned and conquered. And we want people to visit. The artwork should be the biggest hurdle; I sometimes sit and watch the gryphon flight point animations — a lot went into that one thing.
    I love the mini-games a lot. Pet Battles and Brawlers Guild and Plants vs Zombies, I loved serving up noodles as per order; that was amazing. Racing games in DMF are another mini-game. But nothing, none of the above, compares to the artwork, storyline, programming, questing, rewards and expansion arc of making player housing.

    • Fiannor says:

      Well, I think it is always true that expectations vary widely for each player, but I think Blizz is used to dealing with that, otherwise they would never be able to implement anything. Certainly for example lots of players had different expectations/wants for garrison music, but Blizz implemented a fairly simple, non-expansive mechanic for it. So they could certainly do something similar for some player housing.

      I am assuming your “It would cost us a tier” is a satirical comment, which I chuckled over. Might it cost a few resources? Yes, but if Legion turns out to be as bereft of patch content as WoD was, they should have close to a year of expansion down time, maybe they could program simple player housing into a patch late into Legion.

      However, I don’t think it matters. As was speculated on in Grumpy’s comment, it seems very unlikely we will ever see player housing in this game. 😦

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