End-game content is always an issue for games. And the games that have been the most successful, have incorporated player-generated content.
Out of the twelve planets that comprise the SWG universe, seven support player housing. Starports for planetary travel are restricted to the NPC cities, but outside those zones players can place structures anywhere that the geography allows. Each planet has a set number of possible player cities. Once the planet is capped, no more city halls may be placed.
In order to create a city, a player must purchase and place a city hall. Once the city hall is placed, it can not be moved; it can only be destroyed. So it’s possible for a player to take over a city and become mayor only to destroy it – such drama. The city hall is the central point of the city. The more citizens the city is able to attract, the wider the circumference of the city boundary, and so on. Each week the city population is evaluated and the city moves up or down in rank. The schedule is determined by the date the city was founded. There is also a cap on ranks, so only so many cities can reach Rank 5.
Mayors are elected by a ballot box located in the city hall. If a player wants to run for mayor, all they need to do is place their name and the election begins. The election runs for three weeks. All citizens are notified by game mail to go and vote. Players who do not vote are automatically counted for the incumbent. In order for a player to place a structure, the mayor or city militia member must grant them zoning rights which can last up to 24 hours. So it is not easy to take over a city, but it is possible.
When my guild transferred to a more populated server, we were confronted by caps on every planet. Our options were limited, so we sent out scouts to look for old low-rank cities with open zoning. Open zoning means that player structures can be placed without obtaining zoning from the mayor or militia. The lowest ranking cities do not show up on the map, so we needed to drive around and find them. Once an outpost is targeted, structures must be placed quickly, citizens declared and empty plots filled. Mayors are notified by game mail when a structure is placed, so it has to happen fast. Then someone runs for mayor, everybody votes and the city changes hands.
We almost took over a city on Dantooine, but the incumbent mayor decided to destroy the city hall instead, which of course was his right. After a few more weeks of failed attempts, another imperial guild on the server was kind enough to give us rank 5 city! Instant shuttle port for the Empire!
Once you have a shuttle port, the real fun begins because you can create vendor malls and really ramp up the local economy. Mayors are also able to set the focus of the city which gives certain bonuses to either crafting or entertainment. The layout of a city can vary. Some cities are incredibly detailed in their layout and others become a hodgepodge of structures.
In short, no other game to date has anything close to what SWG offers in terms of player housing. It is a mystery to me why so few games even address it. Because when there’s no real PVP to be had, it’s always fun to work on your guild’s city!