Developer Diary - Proactively Preventing a Housing Crisis | Star Wars Galaxies Restoration

Developer Diary Proactively Preventing a Housing Crisis

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Proactively Preventing a Housing Crisis

Lessons from other communities teach us that absent early intervention, a combination of in-game environmental factors can lead to a detrimental shortage of inhabitable land and constrain the natural growth of player cities. Consequently, the Development Team has chosen to take a proactive approach to this inevitable issue by implementing a series of preemptive measures discussed below.

Player House Abandonment for Inactivity

As early as 2007, SOE routinely activated the Housing Demolition Program to empower players as demolition crews in search of abandoned structures. After meeting an inactivity threshold, structures were flagged and their housing signs appended with "(Abandoned)" to signal the owner had gone inactive. Players could then target the sign and call in for the demolition of the structure which would be safely packed away in the owner's datapad when they return for their next adventure. And of course, there were badges and items purchasable from a vendor to reward participation in the program.

Restoration III will be permanently activating the Housing Demolition Program effective on November 4, 2021. Once the program is active, if the owner of a structure (including harvesters and factories) has not logged in for more than three months (90 days), their structures will be flagged as abandoned and subject to removal by any player looking to earn demolition credit. To reiterate, demolishing a structure that was abandoned merely packs the structure into the owner's datapad to remove it from the world, it does not physically destroy all items inside or the structure itself.

Accounts No Longer Eligible to Play

A more unique issue to servers that don't have a subscription model is the use of houses to circumvent gameplay mechanics. For example, one common approach used by players looking to cheat the system is to use throw-away accounts that are made only to place houses and add other characters to the admin list in order to give the players more storage or allow them to hide items before the accounts are caught and banned.

In order to prevent abuse of this nature, we're making two system-level changes that will be automatically triggered when a suspension or ban is issued:
  • When an account is suspended (a temporary ban), the entry and administrator list for every player-placed structure owned by every character on the account will be cleared immediately. The suspended account will be responsible for restoring entries manually upon their return.
  • When an account is permanently banned or terminated, all player-placed structures on every character on the account will have their admin and entry list cleared and will be flagged as abandoned and subject to demolition by another player immediately.

Catalyzing Community and Counteracting Urban Sprawl

Venturing just a few hundred meters outside each NPC city you will inevitably run into a wall of houses in the unincorporated territory just beyond the no-build lines which protect each region. Star Wars Galaxies has been susceptible to urban sprawl since the dawn of its existence and addressing it guided by the long-term goal of predominately catalyzing community and player interdependence while building upon the existing player city experience is an important target of our Phase 2.0 changeset. While we don't have more to share with you at this time, we wanted to highlight the subject in this diary as well so you know it is on the top of our minds.

We're so excited for the future of player housing and cities and can't wait to share more with you very soon!

May The Force Be With You,
The SWG Restoration III Development Team
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