Mr. Smith: You have a sofa on the bridge of a ship? That’s very… eccentric.John Rourke: This ship is pretty much my home, and I’m not one for holing up in cabins. I like to sit out here and look at the stars.
Clear Skies, Act 1, Scene 3
In any other game but Eve Online, CCP Chiliad's dev blog on the initial plans to implement Incarna would spark the headline "CCP To Introduce Player Housing to Eve Online." But since this is Eve, CCP first had to create the avatars needed to take advantage of the player housing. Fortunately for the Icelandic game company, most of the current player base likes to sit on their ships and look at the stars.
I've read a few pages of reactions to CCP Chiliad's dev post on the Eve Online forums and some players were disappointed that initially "Walking in Stations" would not interact with other players. Other players wondered at the whole purpose of Incarna. I think the post by The Mittani sums it up best.
"the cool-kid reply you're going to see is that space dollies etc aren't awesome and that this feature sucks, but in reality if this is properly implemented in stages it's going to be amazing from an immersion perspective, and eve desperately needs some immersion (as it has basically zilch)"
Going back to my initial point about the dev blog, the existence of player housing in a game is a major draw for many MMO players. From a role play perspective player housing is a huge step. And, reading a lot of blogs covering EQ2, player housing actually helps player retention because a lot of players spend a lot of time and effort on their homes and don't want to give them up. The fact that Aura is returning and will most likely be a part of your station home is a huge bonus.
One of the things about player housing is that players have to have the ability to show off their homes. I know in EQ2 players actually offered decorating services. If that type of emergent game play can evolve in a theme park game like EQ2, the same would definitely happen in Eve. CCP just needs to make sure they don't let the feature stagnate. From reading CCP Chiliad's dev post, that will not happen.
I'm really excited about Captain's Quarters and the feature may finally get me to visit the Singularity test server to check it out for myself. I've got more thoughts on player housing in Eve Online, but since I've run out of time for writing this post, I'll continue this on Monday.