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Lord of the Rings Online: Correspondent - A Look at Housing

StraddenStradden Managing EditorMember CommonPosts: 6,696

MMORPG.com LotRO Correspondent Matt McLean writes this article overview of the housing system in Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online.

The Lord of the Rings Online is one of the most highly acclaimed MMORPGs on the market right now, and it's mainly due to their consistent updates to the game. The folks over at Turbine Studios, the developers of LotRO, are some of the most attentive in the industry and are always listening to their loyal player-base for ideas. LotRO is also a game that lends itself to various role-playing applications, and one of those is having players own their own property in the game.

Housing was something that many of the fans of LOTRO wanted right off the bat, but Turbine was steadfast in making sure they had a stable game at launch, and housing was just not ready. Soon after the game launched in April 2007 though, housing was introduced as a part of one of their free "epic book" updates. Of course, like many MMORPGs, housing in LotRO is instanced. But unlike some other games, the neighborhoods actually exist as part of the landscape, meaning you don't have to own a house to see the houses. It's a great touch, and really adds to the lore.

Read the article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

Comments

  • JeroKaneJeroKane Member EpicPosts: 6,712

    Well written article.

    Altho LOTRO adds more freedom to housing when it comes to decorating your garden outside your house.

    When it comes to interior decorating, then it still is quite a leap behind compaired to games like SWG and EverQuest2.

    When Turbine get it as free as in EQ2, then housing will be trully awesome in LOTRO. Especially because you can decorate the outerior as well.

  • CujoSWAoACujoSWAoA Member UncommonPosts: 1,781

    Even if the decorating gets more intuitive (which I'm not really sure it ever will)... housing in LOTRO still has next to no point. Not that I know of it having any point in any game, but still.

    I don't see why logging out in your House doesn't provide a Bonus Buff of some degree when you next log in again. SOMEthing to give reason for spending your hard earned gold on one of those otherwise meaningless money-sinks.

  • amcyramcyr Member Posts: 16

    Having the extra storage at your house is great, but I wish they had done more for crafters.

    Good crafting takes up a huge amount of bag/bank/house slots. It would have been real nice if a player could buy or build his own oven/workbench/forge/study at his house and could buy extra storage for crafting mats only. As a crafter it's a real pain to be continuously running between the bank, the Auction Hall, the crafthall and your house. This was the perfect opportunity to give crafters a break and they blew it.

    As it is, the house serves as little more than either decoration or bit of inconvenient extra storage.

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  • GaliasGalias Lord of the Rings Online CorrespondentMember Posts: 70

    I think there are plans to allow kinship houses to place forges and work areas inside (or outside) the kinship houses.  I'm not sure if it would be the "superior" work areas that are located in a few spots in the game, but they would at least allow you the opportunity to craft from somewhere other than a town.

    Thanks for the feedback!  Keep it coming!

    -G

    image

  • rwyanrwyan Member UncommonPosts: 468

    DAoC has pretty much the exact implementation and I was never a huge fan of that system.  While it is nice to have a "house", outside of personal gratification there is no point to owning one.  It would be optimal for neighborhoods to be social gathering places, but right now they're just ghost towns.

    I kind of wish they allowed players to purchase "apartments" within the major cities, at least in Bree where there would probably be such establishments in addition to going the EQ2/Vanguard/Horizons route by having set houses/lots in certain cities and areas with high traffic that players could purchase.  Sure, this would make it more difficult to provide housing to everyone, but thats where apartments would come into play(since they would be instanced). 

  • senadinsenadin Member UncommonPosts: 247

    If for any reason you want to change houses or don't want to own your home anymore, it's very simple to do. Just access your Character panel and go to the "House" tab. You can "abandon" your house there and all of your decorations and anything in your housing chest(s) goes into escrow. Your items will stay in escrow for 14 days, so don't forget them or they will disappear forever!

     

     

    I am curious.... What about if for some reason i forgot to pay my upkeep fees, my house will go in escrow right?

     

     

    So are you telling me that once it does, if i dont pay it, i will loose it all? What if i was to play the game and then stop, will i eventually loose everything as well?

     

     

    or is this system like EQ2 were no matter what you do, no matter how long you go away from the game, your house can still be entered by simply paying the upkeep fee?

     

     

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  • OrihuelaOrihuela Member Posts: 115
    Originally posted by senadin


    If for any reason you want to change houses or don't want to own your home anymore, it's very simple to do. Just access your Character panel and go to the "House" tab. You can "abandon" your house there and all of your decorations and anything in your housing chest(s) goes into escrow. Your items will stay in escrow for 14 days, so don't forget them or they will disappear forever!
     
     
    I am curious.... What about if for some reason i forgot to pay my upkeep fees, my house will go in escrow right?
     
     
    So are you telling me that once it does, if i dont pay it, i will loose it all? What if i was to play the game and then stop, will i eventually loose everything as well?
     
     
    or is this system like EQ2 were no matter what you do, no matter how long you go away from the game, your house can still be entered by simply paying the upkeep fee?
     
     

     

    That is the correct option ^

  • admriker4admriker4 Member Posts: 1,070

    I love LOTR's housing overall but there is room for improvement.

    They solved the problem that Star Wars Galaxies had with in-game housing. The landscape in SWG was ruined with all the homes cluttering the terrain.

    And instead of going EQ2's route, they created a neighborhood instance so we can freely explore our homes as well as our friends !

    Having said that, there are two things I would love to see with LOTR's housing...

    1. freedom to place items inside. right now Im stuck putting a medium piece of furniture in a medium spot. And maybe I have 4 small pieces that I love but only get 3 small spots to place. Allowing us to drop anything in those spots (or better yet drop anything anywhere) would be ideal.

    2. I would love to see something done with those town center areas to motivate players to role play. The tents and such just scream "pass me a pint" but from what Ive seen, rare is it to run across another player inside an instanced neighborhood.

    Give players an incentive to go to a party held by your neighborhood, maybe sitting for a pint gives us a nice buff. Or maybe you get rep rewards or a new instrument, etc.

    Maybe hold a fishing contest...biggest catch wins a prize tournament in the town square. Again with incentives to get players to leave the outside world for just a bit and join in. Personally, I do most of my fishing in my neighborhood and it would be cool to see other players in there smoking a pipe and catching some fish.

    Overall, I give a thumbs up to Turbine for LOTR. Its very nice to see features other than combat in an MMO.

    Plaguess - guardian

    Thorzz - hunter

    brandywine server

  • SamhaelSamhael Member RarePosts: 1,423

    I thought the housing system was interesting but since all it provided was some more bank-type space, that it really didn't merit the extremely high prices.

  • rsrestonrsreston Member UncommonPosts: 346
    Originally posted by CujoSWAoA


    Even if the decorating gets more intuitive (which I'm not really sure it ever will)... housing in LOTRO still has next to no point. Not that I know of it having any point in any game, but still.
    I don't see why logging out in your House doesn't provide a Bonus Buff of some degree when you next log in again. SOMEthing to give reason for spending your hard earned gold on one of those otherwise meaningless money-sinks.

    Decorating house is more for the kind of player that likes to collect stuff - the badge hunters/whores, the kind of people that would pay tons of monetary units for a rare collectable item - like in SWG.

    Now what you mention as a Bonus Buff for staying inside your house reminds me of the upcoming Issue 13 update for City of Heroes, which includes "Day Jobs" - when you log off inside a particular building and gets a temp buff related to that building. Or did you mean something like getting a XP bonus when you leave your toon inside an Inn in WoW?

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  • brenthbrenth Member UncommonPosts: 301

    First the bree homestead is in the direction of the lone lands  not north downs.

    turbine did a great first try at housing   but it definatly needs some improvements

    first off,, the content locations is very ridged and a bit limited your table and your bed are located in the middle of the room  and theres no way to place it near the wall.

    I do wish there was more  item slots  as it curreltly is kinda minimum  like 1 item in the middle of the floor,, 1 item each wall,,, and a few itens against the wall or in corners,,  for instance i wanted to have a comfy chair and a small table by my fire place in my small house  but you cant do this.

    also currently the housing area is really only another storage area and has no other use for players ,  the housing areas need some special abilities  to attract people to actually use the instance

    special housing vender and vender items

    public works projects  that benefit the locals or at least make different neighborhoods a bit more unique

    I myself would like  garden plots or flower beds at my house.

    there are many excelent locations for farming or other tradeskills,  which you could add special  neighborhood only recipies  what would get neighnors together better than  researching/questing tword some special neighborhood produceable  like cloaks or  bread?

    I know this is their first attempt and I fully expect to see improvements comming,, turbine has done a good job of gaining the trust and loyalty of their players,, something few other MMOs have done.

    the only goof up on my book so far is the  push button  boringly simple fishing.

    make a world, not a game, we dont want another game.

  • TerranahTerranah Member UncommonPosts: 3,575

    I loved how housing was done in SWG.  I spent a lot of time on it and would have friends over. Sometimes we would sit up there on the upper level deck, overlooking the towns cantina after a long day and just visit, maybe discussing the events of the day or what we would do the next day.  I spent tons of time building furniture, seeking out items and decorating, decorating, decorating.

     

    In SWG, it was fun running through a town and seeing your friends houses and sometimes just popping in to say hello.

     

    Also having the freedom to build almost anywhere was very nice, especially if you could find a nice lake or river view and your friends could build some houses next to you.  Sometimes, before you knew it, there could be a settlement that evolved into a town or city.  It was great!

     

    LOTRO housing is nice that they put it in but falls short in execution.  It is way too restrictive in terms of furniture and decoration placement.  Also, the fact that it is instanced really limits traffic, and you have to live in set areas, you can't scout out a nice little spot and build.  I hardly see anyone ever in my neighboorhood which just makes it seem abandoned and lonely, nothing like SWG in its heyday.

     

    Overall, in SWG housing was a much used function that was very integral to the social aspect of the game.  In LOTRO it just feels tacked on and frankly unnecessary.

  • NeoWolf73NeoWolf73 Member UncommonPosts: 29

    Love Hosuing however Id much rather it was done via a pay a fixed real life ££/$$ fee to have a home permanently attached to your account as opposed to the "We will force you to grind and stay subscribed to do it" upkeep mechanic they currently have, I dont like anyone having that much say in if and when I play.

  • Jrr6415sunJrr6415sun Member Posts: 2

    housing in LOTRO sucks big time. Hooks are horrible, there is no point to it besides storage. You can't store bound items, almost all the housing items are bound. people don't lose their houses so the neighborhoods are all dead...

     

    it's basically a joke

  • GreenfeenGreenfeen Member UncommonPosts: 47

    Housing in lotro IMHO was a failure. As well it shows how Turbine developes their game, if we have to do this lets do it on the cheap and easy.

    Over all I seen housing done way better in the early 2d mmos. Todays developers should just pay the developers that have gone before them a stipend. Back in the day developers worked hard to get all aspects their product unique or better than the other game company. Whereas today companies like turbine just go lets pinch this idea or that idea and do a cheap and easy mockup, quick test, now ship. LOL then release the marketing ninjas to slap the unruly crowd with pitchforks at the gate, telling everyone over and over again be patient, be patient, this isnt the final housing layout its just a 'framework'.

    Turbine doesnt have player housing as much as they are the slum lords of a company run trailer park. You buy in, you pay a rental 'pad fee' and everyones can choose trailer 1a,2b,3c then choose item a or item b then they can place it slot 1 or slot 2. Player housing in Lotro is dull, uninspired and done on the cheap and easy. BTW turbine its getting close to a year out on housing maybe its time to actaully fix broken static hooks, its not like there was much choice to start with and having broken hooks that dont display items or only display a part of the item once again goes to prove a point you cant be bothered with housing with the exception of releasing marketing ninjas to crow about how great it is.

  • JenuvielJenuviel Member Posts: 960
    Originally posted by Terranah


    I loved how housing was done in SWG.  I spent a lot of time on it and would have friends over. Sometimes we would sit up there on the upper level deck, overlooking the towns cantina after a long day and just visit, maybe discussing the events of the day or what we would do the next day.  I spent tons of time building furniture, seeking out items and decorating, decorating, decorating.
     
    In SWG, it was fun running through a town and seeing your friends houses and sometimes just popping in to say hello.
     
    Also having the freedom to build almost anywhere was very nice, especially if you could find a nice lake or river view and your friends could build some houses next to you.  Sometimes, before you knew it, there could be a settlement that evolved into a town or city.  It was great!
     
    LOTRO housing is nice that they put it in but falls short in execution.  It is way too restrictive in terms of furniture and decoration placement.  Also, the fact that it is instanced really limits traffic, and you have to live in set areas, you can't scout out a nice little spot and build.  I hardly see anyone ever in my neighboorhood which just makes it seem abandoned and lonely, nothing like SWG in its heyday.
     
    Overall, in SWG housing was a much used function that was very integral to the social aspect of the game.  In LOTRO it just feels tacked on and frankly unnecessary.

     

    Yes, the problem is that the way housing currently stands, it's only really a draw to the nesting/decorating crowd (there's not much actual function). Regrettably, it's not even especially appealing to that nesting/decorating crowd for the very reasons you mentioned (there's not much form to compensate for the lack of function). The hook system really is disappointing, and there's precious little to decorate with. In SWG, you could put pretty much any item you found anywhere you wanted it, but in LotRO you're restricted to a few dozen decorative items created specifically to be furniture, and you can only put those items in a handful of places in your home. It really stifles creativity, which, as mentioned, is  the main reason to have a house in most MMOs.

    On a tangent, the housing neighborhoods do feel very isolated. I really wish they'd gone with a system more like EQ2's (shared doors to instanced homes), but instead of having only a few doors, make all of those unused, decorative, painted-on doors in the various cities and villages lead to an instanced house of the appropriate type and size. While it's possible you'd eventually see some stranger going into "your" door, at least you could pick a door in a metroplis where you'd see other people, or you could pick one near a vendor or some other service you wanted to be close to. Combine that with the free-placement system of EQ2 and SWG and you'd really have something.

    Overall, while I love LotRO as a game, the housing is really lackluster when compared to the features available in other games. It's not a complete loss, but it has a long way to go before it's anywhere near "great" or "exciting," which is unfortunate. Given the fact that the system is already in place and it's based on the hook-system, I really doubt we'll see dramatic evolution in the way it works. I think the best we might see would be some new floorplans in future housing areas when the game expands into other civilized, heavily-populated regions of Middle Earth.

  • Mariner-80Mariner-80 Member Posts: 347

    Housing in LOTRO (which is a great game!) seems pretty lame as currently implemented, imo. I wish they had placed, say, 10 or 20 instanced homes in or near the major cities (Bree, etc.). They could then let players pick and pay for one of them and decorate the interior as they wish. Add a couple of room suite options at the Prancing Pony, for example, and other places in or near Bree, and I'd be interested in buying one. Otherwise, no thanks...

    That way, you'd actually *want* to come home, and all the things you needed (for crafting and whatnot) would be right close by. Having homes in secluded ghost "burbs", as they are now, was not a good idea.

  • vladwwvladww Member UncommonPosts: 417

    Housing in UO, Horizons or SWG was 1000 times better.

     

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    Playing : Uncharted Waters Online
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  • grimfallgrimfall Member UncommonPosts: 1,153

    Housing ruined UO.  It didn't ruin Horizons because there weren't enough people to do it.

    There's nothing worse than logging into a virtual world and having to walk past leagues of player owned houses that all look the same.  Talk about 'Trailer Park' UO, had it.

  • YeeboYeebo Member Posts: 1,359

    I like the housing system in LoTRO.  I like a system where you get to pick out and decorate your yard better than games like AO or EQ II where you just step into a door that magically transports you to your home.   I also love the wide variety of means to get decorations for your house.  Crafting,  hunting, faction work, and festivals can all lead to different unique decorations.

    I just wish that we weren't stuck with the hook system, it seems odd that LoTRO is limited to that since other MMOs have had free placement for over a decade.

    As far as "what is the point,"  it's mainly just a fun side game.  Many games allow you to set up NPC vendors in your house, and in a sandbox MMO it works pretty well.  However in an MMO solidly focused on questing like LoTRO all it would accomplish is to split crafted goods between the AH the 40 random neighborhoods.  I think it would make shopping a bear more than it would enhance the game. 

    Turbine has also stated specifically that they don't let you set up crafting stations in your house because they want players to be concentrated in the existing public crafting hubs rather than squirreled away in their homes crafting.  I have to say I think they are right.  It's exciting to go into Bree and see all the activity.   It would be a ghost town if we didn't craft and auction there. 

    Even so there are benefits. The main benefit of owning a home is that it gives you an additional travel point that is on a separate timer from your map and your racial ability.  If you are  member of a KS you get yet another one.  

    Extra storage can also be a real benefit if you are a crafter.  For example, my scholar keeps my personal house filled with dyes and healing potions at all times.  My alts go by the house any time they need scholar products, saving me logging in and out and also saving me having to keep my scholar's bank crammed with products.  I can also give freinds access to my chest and they can go by and grab potions from it even when I'm off line. 



    I will reiterate I think the housing system needs free placement of furnature and decorations, it's stupid that it doesn't.  However apart from that I think it is a good system that suits the game it's in.

    I don't want to write this, and you don't want to read it. But now it's too late for both of us.

  • vladwwvladww Member UncommonPosts: 417
    Originally posted by grimfall


    Housing ruined UO.  It didn't ruin Horizons because there weren't enough people to do it.
    There's nothing worse than logging into a virtual world and having to walk past leagues of player owned houses that all look the same.  Talk about 'Trailer Park' UO, had it.



     

    You just proved what i wrote.

    Housing in UO was so successful that it cluttered the landscape.

    This couldn't happen in Horizons not because of lack of players but because the plots were carefully situated in specific regions.

    ****************************
    Playing : Uncharted Waters Online
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  • shavashava Member UncommonPosts: 324

    Housing in LOTRO is probably only really worthwhile to folks who craft (and I do!) or people who run five alts (I do!).  I miss the housing systems from SWG and EQ2.

    The housing in SWG was cluttering -- but in that world (a frontier space economy) that made sense.  Why wouldn't people build anywhere they cared to?  I wouldn't want that in LOTRO tho, and the neighborhoods seem like a decent, if unexploited idea (props to whoever said that the tents cry out to be the neighborhood openair pub!).

    I hate the hook system.  Not only are you dictated where to put what, and restricted by type of what to hook to any hook, but the hooks make no sense.  If they had it set up so your front room could have a seating area, for example, would that be too much to ask?  Or provided a table-and-six-chairs item where folks could actually sit?

    They designed this feature to be lame.  It's the only explanation.  They rushed it out, and probably don't have any graceful upgrade path that isn't going to consume them with support for months.

    *sigh*

    Shava

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