Some Assembly Required: Desert homes of Vanguard's Qalia

Some Assembly Required
Player housing. Now there's a topic you don't hear from me much. Oh, come now, I talk about other topics, too... sometimes... once in a while! You have to admit, it's hard not to talk about housing. It's by far one of the best canvasses for showcasing player creativity available in MMOs. And Vanguard has top-notch player housing.

Back at the inception of Some Assembly Required, I took you on a tour of housing on Vanguard's island of Kojan. Of the three continents, Kojan was an easy first choice; from the very beginning I wanted a house there to soak up the unique flavor of the area. However, Kojan is by far the smallest continent with the fewest housing plots; contrast its six housing isles to the 22 chunks with housing available on Qalia and you can see that more opportunities abound to find the perfect home-sweet-home in the land of Arabian nights.

By the sheer volume of plots involved, you can see that touring Qalia is quite the undertaking! Not one to shirk my duties of bringing demonstrations of player creativity to you, I forged ahead to highlight the advantages of Qalian living and compile this gallery of amazing ingenuity -- including a Foosball table!%Gallery-158807%
Vanguard screenshot
Since the previous article on Vanguard housing in Kojan covered the basics of decorating, we won't really delve into it too much here. Instead, we'll jump right into noting the distinct differences in Qalian home-ownership -- both advantages and disadvantages -- and showcasing the creativity of players. Unfortunately, I was not able to explore every available area as I did on the first tour. Luckily, enough homes were open that I could find a decent showing.

Home, home on the desert...
Probably the first and most apparent difference between the continents' housing is the style of the structure itself. Qalia has more of an Arabian feel, and the houses reflect that desert culture; these houses are made of a stucco/adobe type material (as appropriate for the heat) and contain more ornate latticework and stone.

Vanguard screenshotEven more notable a difference is the placement of the housing plots in Qalia. Back in that first article describing Kojan's housing, one commenter (yes, I read your comments!) pointed out that one of the aspects he disliked about Vanguard housing was that it is sequestered away and isolated from the adventuring part of the game. My response to that is: Get a home in Qalia or Thestra! While there are segregated isles for housing in Qalia, there is a huge assortment of plots scattered throughout the main continent itself. In fact, the majority of available housing plots are nestled right alongside the adventuring areas; you could literally own a home not too far from your preferred adventuring spot. Natural resources are also closer to your front door, making gathering easier. On the isles, gathering resources is impossible.

However, living on the mainland might mean sacrificing some convenience. The housing isles have the benefit of mailboxes and other amenities for crafting and banking nearby. Those amenities do exist in the housing hubs on the mainland, but they can be located pretty far away if you chose a more remote location instead of the hub.

Another difference is the pricing of housing plots. In Kojan, all non-guildhall plots are an even 10 gold. This is the mid-range price. On Qalia, however, you have plots of varying prices. Depending on the location of the plot, you could pay 2.5, 10, or 30 gold to purchase your site. Now, the good news is once you find the perfect spot, you can build any size house on any priced lot, with the exception of guildhalls, which are separate. The more expensive the plot, though, the higher the weekly upkeep.

Map of some Qalian housing plots
You can also rebuild on the same plot. If you have only the funds for a small house, build that and save for the larger house later. Then, to build the larger house, just tear down the current one and rebuild on the same plot. Just remember, you don't get any compensation for materials from a demolished house or a refund if you move plots.

Tour guide MJ
I have to say, it doesn't seem fair that I get paid to sail up and down a river, basking in the awesome creativity of other players. I may love my Kojani Inn, but after touring Qalia, I yearn for a place in the desert oasis as well.

Vanguard screenshotMost of my tour focused on The Infineum Plateaus. Had I taken screenshots of all the areas, I would have broken Massively's gallery maker! Sadly, as demonstrated on our livestream tour of Thestra, the locals of Qalia appeared less trusting of letting strangers wander in to view their houses; many doors were locked. But in the homes and guildhalls I could peruse, the ideas I encountered were fun to behold.

What were some of these ideas? I came across statues created out of... well, I am not even sure what, but one resembled an elephant in a cage. I saw aquariums, a private theater with a large screen depicting a show, a masseuse parlor, and even the aforementioned Foosball table! There were roasting dragon skulls and artfully arranged vases and assorted pottery highlighting the desert furniture style. Many homes sported kitchens and baths. I also came across a throne guarded by pigs at attention. (Remember the pig washing dishes in Kojan? It seems pork servants are all the rage Telon-wide!) Since it was my first time in a Qalian guildhall, I have to say that those things are simply gorgeous, even before the furniture is added!

I blushingly admit that while viewing one holiday-themed house, I was momentarily suspicious of the snowman, but it turned out it was just an innocuous decoration chilling out in a sleigh and not the stalking kind.

These are but a few examples of the creativity. I hope to find even more open doors and continue the tour as I meander through the many other chunks of housing plots. Keep an eye out as I'll certainly be highlighting more tours on Massively TV.

Free welcome back mat
If you are a veteran who hasn't been in-game for a while, you might want to note that the June vet rewards include all the materials necessary to complete a small house. Free. You still have to find and buy the plot, but you won't have to scramble around looking for enough crafters to secure all of the building materials. Not a bad deal, huh? This could give you a push to snag a house before the onslaught of free-to-play players join sometime in the summer. Of course, with so many plots available around the world, especially in Qalia, there will be plenty left for those who are still waiting to enjoy Vanguard.

My thanks to everyone who had an open door, allowing me to experience and share your creativity. If you have some housing you'd like to show off, send me a mail or let me know in the comments below!

Every two weeks, Jef Reahard and MJ Guthrie take a break from their themepark day jobs to delve into the world of player-generated content. Comments, suggestions, and coverage ideas are welcome, and Some Assembly Required is always looking for players who'd like to show off their MMO creativity. Contact us!
This article was originally published on Massively.