Perhaps the perfect way to introduce housing into an MMO is to make a game that’s all about being settled in a single location. Instead of travelling the globe as an itinerant adventurer, the focus could be on building up the player’s house and garden/ lands and playing lord (or lady) of the manor.
This actually reminds me a lot of the original endgame that was envisaged for D&D. In the original game, when your character got past a certain level you had the option to settle down, build a stronghold, and attract some followers.
Fortunately, someone else has already had this idea, and Firefly Games announced this week that they were working on Stronghold Kingdoms, a castle type MMO simulation.
I think the basic concept is brilliant, so I’m hoping they find a publisher and make a go of it. It’ll be an MMO all about the player’s house with some strategy stuff thrown in. What could possibly go wrong …?