At some point this year — I think — Lord of the Rings Online will be adding Rohan housing to the game, which will be the first new housing type since the premium Belfalas mansions arrived a few years ago.
CM Jerry Snook confirmed this in an interview back in April when he said, “So, we’re going to be looking at new housing probably right after the expansion, in which case we’re looking at Rohan housing around the time before Rohan comes to the legendary servers.” He later went on to specificy that “that won’t be the last housing. I know the players are looking for housing all over the place.”
As someone who has been drooling over Rohan housing ever since that expansion showed us the architecture and interiors of the horse-lords, I’m ecstatic over this. I’m eagerly anticipating the day when I’ll be moving my little Hobbit out of a hole and into a cozy rustic log cabin of sorts. And while I’m really glad to hear that SSG is working on different regions of housing (because that will be a money maker for them), what I’d also like to hear are any significant improvements on the housing system itself.
We all full well know that LOTRO’s housing is functional yet hobbled by the hook system. While we did get more flexibility where to put items in a patch a while back, most players (myself included) agree that there are far too few house hooks available. That results in homes that either have everything really spread out or rooms where all the stuff is clumped together in one part and then really empty everywhere else. We know that from the premium house that it is possible to design homes with many more hooks than the standard small and large homes, but it doesn’t seem like a technical hurdle that SSG wants to overcome.
Beyond that, I would dearly love to see more functionality for LOTRO’s homes, period. Perhaps I got really spoiled by WildStar’s housing (OK, I totally got spoiled), since now I expect homes to not only offer me the ability to shape looks but also to be interactive. There are a few useful objects that you can plop down in your LOTRO home — such as a teleporting keg or an item that pays out in crafting mats — but “few” is the operative word here. Once you get your home set up, the only reason you’re ever given to return is to put the odd piece of quest reward decor up or perhaps because you’re throwing a party or something.
Yet there are hints that LOTRO’s neighborhoods could be a lot more. At Halloween time, there’s a mission to go around trick-or-treating at various homes by installing and clicking on candy trays. It’s a small thing, but I was happy to see the game do SOMEthing with the normally dead neighborhoods. It’s just too bad that more festivals and events can’t work in something like this too.
So how to zazz up the housing? In addition to more hooks and more functional and interactive items, I’d suggest decoration contests, player vendor stalls that they could set up in their front yards, a collectible music jukebox (instead of the one set of installed songs for each home), customizable lighting, tools for social events, and perhaps even items that would serve as periodic quest triggers that SSG could use to encourage us to return home once in a while.
Maybe even if the more a home is decorated, the better a lasting rested buff we get when we log out there? Just spitballing here, but there are possibilities. I really liked what WildStar did in getting us to visit and rate other players’ homes, that’s something I’d like to see here.
Anyway, Rohan housing is nice, but I’m not going to stop wanting something deeper until we get it or the game shuts down.