ASHES 101 - HOUSING
The Housing System in Ashes of Creation is intended to be very robust.
It is important to note that no discussion about Housing can take place without first having an Understanding about Nodes. I highly recommend watching the Ashes 101 video on Nodes first, in order to understand how nodes, grow and operate. The housing system is directed tied to the Node System in that In-Node Housing and Freeholds are not able to be accessed until a Node has reached Stage 3 (Village) and Instanced Apartments are not available until Stage 4 (Town) and then only if the Mayor of the town decides to build the apartment building and open them to the public.
Also, property ownership is the path to citizenship in a particular node, so the the value of knowledge about Nodes cannot be overstated. Economic success, availability of goods and services, accessibility to dungeons and raids all revolve around the Node System. In order to reap the benefits of a prospering 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 I want to mention, but it was mentioned once and never mentioned again. Want to acknowledge the point here, but will talk about it more when this topic is brought up again.
As a quick note 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. Given the rules on housing and that you can only own 1 of each type of housing per server (1 freehold per account), it make sense that the citizenship would be restricted as well.
Why is housing important?
Before we begin with the hard and fast rules about housing, I want to talk about why housing is important. Housing in MMORPGs create a lot of immersion. It gives you a list of objectives to do before simply grind for this gear, run this dungeon, grind to this level etc. As already stated, in order to get a House, Freehold or Apartment you are going to have to first find a node that is at the appropriate level.
Now, will some people wait around and let others do the hard work of leveling those nodes? Sure, absolutely. However, there will be people who are the driving forces behind node development because they want that 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.
Economic Impacts of Housing
Housing has a two fold impact on the economy.
First and foremost, it impacts the economy because it is a gold sink that will remove gold from the hands of the players and put it back into "the system" where no individual player can use it for their own benefit. Housing comes with a tax cost, and this is a major way to curb inflation. 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 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. 100% of their income goes to 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.
Types of Housing
There are three types of housing in Ashes of Creaction
Houses (In-Node Houses): Inside of the Nodes themselves are a finite number of Houses. For sake of nomenclature I will refer to these as In Node Houses because it is possible to put a House on your Freehold and I do not want there to be confusion between the two. You may have 1 In-Node House per account per server, but all of your alts have access to your houses.
Freeholds: Freeholds are a half-acre plot of land out in the world that you can do design to your own specifications. Maybe you want a farm and a stable, maybe you want a house and a tavern, maybe you want a shrine and a forge. Whatever your desires are for your property, you can make them happen with your Freehold. You may have 1 Freehold per account period. No matter how many different servers you play on, you will only ever have one Freehold.
Apartments: Apartments are instanced housing options that appear in Nodes at Stage 4 if the local government permits it. Now, one key thing about apartments is they get more expensive the more apartments that are sold, so while there is no hard cap on the number of citizens in a node, there is a soft cap by the Number of Houses plus the number of Freehold spots added together plus the reasonable rent on the Apartments. Granted, if someone really wants to live in a Node and they have an obscene amount of money, they can always buy into the Apartment at high price.
Will Everyone be able to get Housing?
The answer to this is yes and no.
Everyone should be able to secure some form of housing somewhere.
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. It doesn't mean that everyone will have an awesome little spot in the world that they like, however with a 480 sq km world and 100 sq km of Underream, with the plots all being half an acre, there should be more than enough freeholds to go around.
Can Housing Be Destroyed?
In-node housing can be destroyed and removed if a Node is attacked and deleveled. As explained in the video, at each level up of the Node, new housing becomes available and previous housing gets nicer. So when your local Node went from 3 to 4 you purchased one of the new houses that appeared at Stage 4. If the node gets Sieged and delevles than your house no longer exists because that node no longer supports Stage 4 housing. If your house is destroyed, you won't lose any of the furniture that you put in the house, all that will be returned to you.
I am currently waiting for the next Q&A in order to ask some other questions about what happens to the items (gear, weapons, armor, gatherables, consumables) you have at your house when it gets sieged
Freeholds are vulnerable to attack for 1-2 hours (not yet decided) after a successful siege. We know they can be destroyed and looted but we aren't sure what items are claimable so this question will go in as well. The good news is, that if your freehold is destroyed you don't lose the buildings, or the design and layout. That gets rolled back up to you as a freehold blueprint. You will need to go and find a new Level 3 or above node to place your freehold at, or you may be able to get a new deed and rebuild right where you were.