How do you make housing public while restraining it to a limited amount of space?
Blizz has often said that this is an MMO and they expect us to have to deal with other players -- that's why they won't implement a "hidden" status for when we want to log on unseen. So I can assume that being able to make a guild and burrow into a private instance with yourself and maybe 2 friends would conflict with their interest in keeping everyone visible.
On the other hand, there is no space in cities to make housing visible within the current world. Spicytuna recommended preparing portions of each city as an instance for city-based housing, but that still separates portions of guilds from each other unless a) different races can set up shop in different cities and b) everyone in a guild, given that option, is willing to settle on one city.
Let's look at it from a roleplay perspective:
- You want your character to live wherever he or she roleplays as living.
- You want your character to be able to visit friends in their homes.
- You want your house to look cool.
- You want your house to be functional.
- You want awesome neighbors.
- You want your neighbors to see (and thus envy) your stuff.
- You want easy access to your guild hall.
- You don't want to have to ride through a housing complex the length of Northrend to find your home.
- You don't want to be isolated from WoW's bustling community.
- You don't want to be isolated from your friends.
- You want old and new guildmates to be able to live near you.
- You want to be able to move if you have a falling out.
Having one instance per city would create a collection of ever-expanding towns that sprawl wider than the city itself. Having multiple public but limited instances would separate friends and guilds as they fill up. Having individual instances per player or guild would isolate groups from the city's social whirl and turn the major cities into ghost towns. (I haven't even included the special problems of balancing High vs Low Pop Servers.)
The paradox of player housing is that everyone wants their own space but Blizzard wants to keep us from isolating ourselves within that space. I'm sure they want to find a compromise, but I can't see anything that would be an "improvement" on previous housing systems and still fulfill our needs.
Real houses take up space. You have to find space to place them and put limits on the system to keep jerkfaces from putting their homes in the most inconvenient spots for everyone else.
If we can help Blizzard brainstorm how to solve this, we may actually see progress in the player housing front.