Housing Release 3, or as it is known in some parts, Housing for Realz, is mostly settled in. Those that like to decorate have decorated—or are waiting for more credits—and demand on the auctions for building materials has slowed. This time is actually when I planned to create my own home, so soon I might find an excuse to fit in images of my Glitch castle. In the meantime, I’ve put my time, resources, and iMG into my home street and the streets of others on Housing Resource Routes.
Routes are incredibly useful for gathering a large amount of a particular resource. Traffic seems pretty steady, and projects to restore worn out resources are just as steady — recent tweaks have made those projects much less of a burden if a burden at all, giving them a fair cost to reward ratio. I’ve passed an hour or two of game time actively seeking out projects. Just this afternoon, the HRR group grew large enough to reach the top 10 groups, by population, in Glitch.
The routes have brought a new way of life to Ur — or at least, a new style of game play. With anything new comes controversy. Some are upset that less players are wandering the public streets. Some feel resource routes make things too easy. I’ve even seen at least one update from someone fearing being added to a route against her will, and a few forum posts concerned that HRR might become the bully on the block.
I have several thoughts about less players wandering the old streets of Ur. First, I think the novelty of the new homes and streets has yet to completely fade, so it’s difficult to determine the reasons less people are wandering the traditional streets. Since I’ve scheduled customizing my home as a future endeavor, I’ve actually been spending more time on the traditional streets, taking advantage of my quoin multiplier. And in the past, prior to any of the updates, it was not uncommon to see a large number of people at home when online. I think it is also possible that the new naming makes it more obvious when people are home or visiting someone else’s home. I think it’s just too early to make this objection, and even later, difficult to pin the blame solely on the routes.
As for resource routes making it too easy to gather materials, I will never agree that simply not being able to walk past a resource in quantity in a short period of time should be equated with challenge. And once upon a time, many of us had other solutions that similarly guaranteed our resource runs. Routes turn old secrets into common knowledge.
As for the last few, routes are and will always be a voluntary thing. Route participants agree to the route’s requirements — no one forces them to join. There are no expectations of those who are not members, and never will be.
But clearly I do not agree with the objections. More interesting is what the routes provide other than controversial, quick tree runs: a reason for players to work together towards a common objective. Oh sure, rook attacks need a group of players, but in those situations players all find themselves in the same place for the same reason, take care of business, and move along. Resource routes have provided a reason to unite players behind a project for a long period of time, and that’s a sandbox element that had been missing from Glitch. Resource restoration projects give even more reason for these players to communicate — since housing has launched, I have only seen the projects for my street resources once but noticed they have been restored quite a number of times. The HRR’s chat regularly has members pointing out projects along the routes and asking for help.
I’m sure Tiny Speck has their own plans for long term cooperative projects. And I’m willing to bet they will be awesome. But in the meantime, I think the routes help fill that gap, and I’m happy to be a part of them.