Not being very well versed in the plethora of games that have been created I have no idea if an idea that I had recently has ever been, even in part, implemented. If so then I claim full ignorance and am not liable for any damages of any kind to any person or entity that may wish to claim that I stole their idea.
That said I was thinking about real property in a gaming environment, and how a guild could take advantage of the vast spaces in the wilds of Azeroth or beyond to strengthen and fortify themselves. I realize that the idea of player created property in the game world isn't a new idea, I'm sure I've read of it many times before, but I'd like to go into some depth on what I think would be an entertaining use of this "real, virtual, land".
To start with, let's assume that the purchasing of land in any zone in the game is limited to guilds only, so a single, guildless player is unable to purchase land while a guild officer, in the name of the guild, has power to buy a spot of land in, let's say, Arathi Highlands.
PHASE 1: LAND PURCHASING
The purchasing of a plot of land would need to be approved by 50% or more of the guildies with the rank of officer or higher. So, for example, if a guild with only 1 player wants to purchase land he/she can do so simply because of the 100% ownership. A 2 person guild would simply require one of the 2 to buy the land, and a guild with 3 or more at rank of officer or higher would require 50% or a majority, depending on whether internals have an even or odd number of eligible voters.
So, this rule being simple to apply, if someone wanted to be a radical and attempt to go to zone X to the "Land Officer" and try to purchase a plot of land without anyone knowing, they will be surprised to find out that they are unable to complete the buy without the vote of the eligible guildies. They then smack their keyboard and make a stupid joke in guild chat about how "it was worth a try", while the rest of the guild gives them sideways glances wondering if that will be the first person to defect in the upcoming patch.
The vote system would be initiated via an in-game pop-up once an eligible voter logs in. The location of the desired plot of land will be displayed on a map, and that officer may cast his/her vote before of after any discussion with their fellow guildies. Once a site has been approved, the next phase of my idea begins.
P.S. Buyable land will be marked by a zone's Land Officer, and only a finite number of sites per zone will be allowed. However, just becuase someone else buys a certain plot of land, doesn't mean they get to keep it forever, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Moving on.
PHASE 2: SETTING UP HOUSING
The most difficult part about this is how to maintain the beauty of the game world while providing real estate for guilds to enjoy. The solution is not an easy one, and I won't pretend to assume that any idea I have is a perfect one, but I'll attempt to explain myself no matter the cost. Understanding this issue and being one who does not desire to disrupt the balance of nature or of the world that has been so carefully at artfully crafted, the building created in the establishment of the guild housing will need to be carefully phased, let me explain.
The starter building created on each plot of land will only be visible to the members of that particular guild at first. There is planted outside the front door a sign, one that has style, coloring, and material of the zone in which it is located so as to not disrupt the artistic balance too much. This sign is visible to all who pass by, and is the means of communicating with the guild inside.
The building itself is instanced, so a guild member upon entering will appear to disappear to an outsider watching them, but will be transported into their housing. Back outdoors is left the friend from a diffent guild, wondering if he'll ever be able to see this cool new guild house. Well, all that's required is to click on the guild sign/standard and a menu will appear.
Part of this menu will be a "I come in peace" salutation. If anyone is inside the guild house, they will receive a message that person X from guild Y and/or faction Z is outside the door and wishes to see your guild house so that he/she may then enter. If you agree, you click yes and suddenly your guild housing becomes visible and the friend may enter to see your beautiful shack.
While your guild house exists, you may step out to see how life progresses on your new property. Phased workers appear here and there bringing in new loads of trade goods from all over the world to help support the guild and build a stronger fortress and powerful empire. The amounts of goods and materials are minimal and possibly random (possibly not, I haven't decided), nevertheless what you see is a real, living property in action, one that you and your guild built and can be proud of.
Over time you can build additions to your house, your land ownership can expand to a fixed space from it's humble beginnings, and the more land you own the more goods and materials your workers bring to you. But there exist enmies to beware of, both in your faction and the opposing. Let's talk about how those issues are handled.
PHASE 3: PROTECT THIS HOUSE
Recall the guild sign posted in your front yard, the only thing visible to outsiders who don't have permission to view your palace/shack and enter your gates. There may be a time when a rival guild wishes to challenge your guild for the resources of your land. An enemy may come to the posted sign and click on an option that reads something like "Challenge from Opposing Guild (same/rival faction)". If someone is in your guild house they may step out to view the threat or send a spy to check out the enemies movements. One way or another they will need to assess the threat and decide whether they wish to accept the challenge.
If nobody is in guild housing, a message is still sent to an officer online that a challenge has been made. The terms of the challenge may include 1 v 1 duel, a BG wargame challenge, maybe even one of the new Scenarios or Challenge mode dungeons where their time is compared to your team's time. However the challenge is constructed, you can accept the challenge and be instantly teleported to your guild house, ready to protect your guild's integrity.
Losing a challenge means a small percentage of your property's goods and materials collected by your loyal workers will be automatically re-routed to the winning guild's vaults. You may reclaim this portion by issuing a challenge to them in return, possibly making for some entertaining, and heated rivalries.
Obviously I don't have all the details worked out completely, but the general idea still exists. Guild housing can have a minimal impact on the environment, can be both shared with outsiders and its honor and prestige protected through targeted and victorious challenges. Your guild's power and influence can be increased, or decreased through a reckless and gambling nature of just a few wildcard guildies. Thus making guild management a truly complex but rewarding duty.
A FEW MORE THINGS
Just a few loose ends to tie up my idea, a guild house can never be destroyed. Even if you are a solo person guild, if you have the money to purchase land and plop a small house there, you may keep it and the small rewards that come with the minimum. But if you are an extremely astute and skilled player, even solo, you can expand your empire through careful and targeted challenges, ones that play to your strengths. No reason to just cater to large guilds. After all, if a guild does not want to accept a challenge, they don't have to. They keep their house at whatever size they wish, and live contently in their playstyle. Large or small guilds, both can flurish if they are smart enough, and skilled enough.
There were other things that I wanted to throw out there, but forgot them for the moment. I will continue to refine this idea as much as possible because I see potential in it. Fun, excitement, rewards, and potential and epic failure. Tell me, do you think this idea has any possibility or am I simply in a dream world and don't know what I'm talking about?
That's all for today, cheers peeps!