I know you find this absolutely devastatingly unacceptable and will NOT be returning to LotRO because of it (although I think that has more to do with your VERY specific concern about possibly not being able to purchases several houses - on multiple accounts - right next to each other should you voluntarily take a long hiatus, rather than your concern for the tragically unavailable player). LotRO will so dearly miss you.
However, most everyone else will find it perfectly acceptable that after being away from the game for 6, 12, 18 months or longer, that if their absent-owner property was purchased out from under them, ALL their housing items and chests where perfectly kept indefinitely in an escrow account. And if they'd really like to get the exact same house (but likely in a different neighborhood that WILL have more active playing neighbors), it won't be too difficult as absent-owner homes become available for purchase.
As for your assertion that one would never know the players in their neighborhood no longer play, you don't need the notification if you knock on their door to figure that out. None of my adjacent neighbors yards have changed ONE bit since the day I moved in over 18 months ago. I just checked again recently and as expected none of them have paid their upkeep. I've since put their names in my friends list with a note, so I will know if any of them log in after being away for who knows how long. It's not difficult to find out if any of your neighbors play any more and their houses are just being kept for them while they don't play or pay their upkeep any more.
I want a community that changes. Where even if I don't physically SEE my neighbors, I know they are there because their yards change. If there is a dramatic change in the yard, then it's a good chance a NEW neighbor moved in. This is what keeps neighborhoods active and at least semi-interesting. Seeing your neighbors new yard decorations, and hopefully in an active neighborhood a lot more appropriate seasonably decorated yards (instead of the Yule trees I see EVER standing in absent-owner yards).
The bottom line is, especially now that we have an f2p system, that over time, without foreclosures, more and more neighborhood instances will have to open up, and more and more of the older instances will become total ghost towns FULL of long-term inactive players. This is not a viable, nor desirable, outcome for what anyone envisions housing to be in this game.
Houses for mercenaries? Perish the thought! Tents are for mercenaries, or at the most, rooms in the local inn. If you want a house, attach yourself to a town and become a crafts-person.
And right there, I've done it - solved everyone's problem, added a touch of reality and player diversity to the game. A tent for every "declared mercenary", to be pitched at various places in various zones, your choice as you move around. A room at the inn if you've got the money and want to pay - presumably with a few advantages, including free ale or mead. A house and permanent residence in a town, but only for "declared town-persons" who meet some ongoing standard of craft-production or community involvement in that town.
In AC1, where you lost your house if you did not pay your rent ... I actually knew my neighbors and saw them from time to time. We would check out each other's house and send /tells when someone added a cool decoration.
- Agree foreclosure would be a bad idea, as is any idea that punishes paying customers for having a life.
- Would love to see housing revisited and given a purpose beyond being glorified extra storage.
- Recommend banishing all the trolls in this thread to 30 days of mandatory chicken play in the Ettenmoors.
That is all.
What if instead of removing old (abandoned) player houses from server entirely, what happened instead were new homestead instances got created which any home left unloved for xxx months got moved to (equivalent house at same address), then old house in old neighbourhood got freed up, and if they ever logged back in they'd find themselves in same house except in another neighbourhood.
That way all neighbourhoods only have active players in it, and nobody ever actually loses their house.
Im with ya on the removal of instances FyreBrand & putting housing or even just Kinship housing in town.
Housing in town adds the feeling of a living and vibrant city, people coming & going. Verses the current system of a dead wasteland of endless towns in the middle of no where, with the bulk of the houses not being used or locked out.
Of course more people in town = Lagcity
I also like the idea of being able to pre-pay your house upkeep as long as you wish in advance.
I own a Kin house in the elf area & two houses in the Dwarf housing area (why? because its the closest to the horse point).. also because the larger houses by our Kin House are purchased & closed down. So the option to get one by the Kin house is now lost. Its really the only place i'd want one, if it had a quick travel to town.
When a player leaves the game, not just the ones who take a break.. but gone forever.. should their house remain forever? Think of the growing number of shut down housing that will form in the years to come.. Think of the games you've played with whole abandoned towns & cities... how it felt to walk through those..
Most importantly, why is the responsibility of taking care of a persons house pushed onto Turbines shoulders... why is it not on the owner?
Give the owner some better tools:
- Longer escrow (6mo, 1, 2, 5 years or forever)
- Ability to prepay upkeep for as long as they wish
- Better access to towns via Quick travel or just put doors in towns.
- Allow them to sell house to vendor & get money back and then when they return 6 months, a year..etc...buy another house.
Put the responsibility on the owner to take care of their house.
Last edited by Lord_Kismet; Oct 03 2010 at 04:28 PM.
This is long, very long, I chose to put all my comments in one post vs many responses to other posts.
I've read most of the posts in this thread, and totally disagree with some of the options. Escpecially the foreclose and the buyout from under owner type solutions.
You can read below if interested in why I have so many houses, but let me say this. IF I ever have to take time off like I had to a year ago due to a separation and move, and the birth of my first grandchild all in the same week, (all high stress life altering situations) and I come back to someone named Yodelyahoonutcase Oranyothername living in one of my houses and my stuff in escrow with a ticket to purchase a new house, I will log back out and never be back again. I don't even want to think about losing it all period like it was originally set up when housing was new. Real life happens, and it should and will take priority, even if it means someone gets their house locked out for however long. The reason they don't play does not and should not matter. For the simple reason, no one knows the reason.
Even though the neighborhood we are currently in is new and none of the houses that are owned are locked out, I have seen ONE person who is not a kin member in the housing area in the last week, and he was AFK at the vault. ANY neighborhood, even though owned and not locked out, is and always will be, a ghost town. Unless you are stalking your neighbors and show up when you see them in the neighborhood. Of course, there is that random, wow someone is here moment.
About the only time people really use houses from all I've heard in talking to so many, is when they are alt and craft aholics. They are the people who are in the neighborhoods. For everyone else, the house is nothing more than storage or another port out of where you are. That is all it should be for those who want it for that reason. A place to put stuff you don't need to carry with you or want to lose bank space to, and a place for the housing trophies you pick up along the way.
I've taken steps to ensure my houses are not all locked out in the future if something happens to me. Thats all part of being a responsible person. Not everyone is responsible, and not everyone feels they need to be in a game. It's courtesy. But I'm from the old school where that stuff matters I guess.
Interesting enough, many of the comments I've read, I'm guilty of, and I play every day. Along with those comments, here are some other suggestions.
ONLY TRUE HOUSE-A-HOLICS SHOULD READ FURTHER:
- I have yule trees in the yards of the houses I decorate for Christmas. There will be far more when the festival comes around again. Don't move next to me if you don't want yule trees next door year round I decorate by theme, not by season.
- I don't change decorations except maybe once every six months or if I'm in the mood to make a bigger mess than normal. Or I get something new I need to make room for. Try decorating this many houses. I get them set up to where I like them, and they don't usually change unless I move.
- If you want an active neighborhood, be in an active kin of crafters and altaholics. They are the people you see in the neighborhoods.
- Move the kin house to a new neighborhood when one opens, along with a fresh neighborhood, it gives kin members a shot at joining the same one with kin house. Gold is easy to make in this game, you can get a kin house and all the chests for under 20 gold, so that should not be an issue. You can even be in the same house if that is where you like being, just in a different neighborhood. So you lose the original house cost. Again, gold is easy in this game. Yes, even at low levels if you are willing to put in the work/time.
- Plan kin events that are server wide to draw people into the neighborhoods. Its up to the players, not Turbine, to make the neighborhoods active. Plan your own party. Instead of having the band play in front of the vault person, where you are currently blowing out eardrums on anyone who chooses to use the vault, while playing an ABC file of Michael Jackson's Beat It, use /regional to invite players to your house for a party. Use a cook, brew some ales, people will come. Free booze does that.
- Worry less about checking to see which neighbors have locked out houses and worry more about making sure you are in a active neighborhood if that is what you want. Just why are you running up clicking mailboxes and doors to see if houses are locked out anyway? An unlocked house does not mean the person will show up in the neighborhood. Just look at my houses for an example of that. Four are owned by accounts that I only log in for the purpose of buying or moving a house. My main account pays the rents and have all the permissions other than abandon.
- If you are new, or looking for a house, do NOT go to the entrance, pick a neighborhood and find a empty house to buy. DO go to the broker, look thru the list and pick the neighborhood with the most EMPTY houses. You won't find yourself in a old neighborhood with locked out houses that way. It will still be a ghost town, and no telling how long before houses start getting locked out, but at least there is a chance you might see someone there.
I have houses, lots of houses. I have bought and I pay the upkeep on 2 kin houses, 4 deluxe and 1 standard, and since everyone always ask how I have so many houses, here is the breakdown.
I did not always have all these houses. I started two years ago and my first house was a standard. A week later, I moved up to a deluxe. Then became a kin leader, when able, I got the kin house and moved my deluxe to be next to the kin house. Started the second account, moved houses to get that house next to kin and other house, and on it went. I've moved from the Shire, to Bree-land, to Falathlorn, back to the Shire, and now back in Falathlorn housing, each time, kin members who wanted to, moved as well. Kin members own over half the houses in the neighborhood we are in now. A few chose to stay where they were, and others who are not active, have locked houses in neighborhoods we are no longer in. I've checked those neighborhoods, interesting enough, the houses we have abandoned except for ONE are still empty. In some cases, that is half the neighborhood.
- I'm a kin leader, so on my main account I have the kin house and my deluxe house.
- My second account also has one character as a kin leader so there is a kin house and a deluxe house. (storage kin)
- I now have a F2P acct who also has...a deluxe house. (yes, I actually bought TPs to lift the gold cap to do this, thereby making her a premium account.)
- I have full permissions on my daughters house, she doesn't play, prefers the other game. She is now in a deluxe house.
- I have full permissions on my ex's house, who has not played in a year, and won't and he has the only small house. Wasn't putting him in a deluxe, sorry. I've always bought his houses and he's never had a deluxe.
About a week ago is when we moved back into Falathlorn housing and I purchased the houses as I have them now. To the cost of about 70 gold between houses and chests. I figure I've easily paid well over 300 gold on housing in this game. I don't plan on ever moving again. I'm still cleaning up the mess, decorating and organizing.
Why do I have so many houses? Because I can, and more so because I'm a crafter, a kin leader, and a pack rat. Ever stopped to add up how many components, ingredients and resources there are in crafting? Class quest items, reputation items, the list goes on and on. Having all the crafts, thats a lot of stuff.
Fifteen chests sounds like a whole lot of storage, but with the sheer quantity of stuff in this game, its really not when there are others who need access to it. Ten professions, reputation, class items, recipes, food, etc all takes up a huge amount of room. Last count, just crafted components and ingredients and resources was over 450 and I know I missed a lot. Do I need houses set up with nothing but components? No. I started doing that when I was doing all the crafting and found I needed room to store those pesky components that crit into more than I needed. It got out of hand and I finally said, well, if I need to make room for one's and twos', why not set up so they are there permanently in larger quantities. Found it saves tons and tons of time in crafting. And easy to work with. But it does take space.
Long enough, hope something in here helped someone, even if it was nothing more than a good laugh at a nutty player who admits to being a craft-alt-aholic with an over abundance of houses.
Have a great day! Time to log into the game
Obviously there are a handful of people with some very special circumstances here, however I still do not believe it is appropriate to have houses be permanently locked out and unavailable, forever creating ever more unused neighborhoods, with the vast majority of those locked houses NEVER to be set foot in again by players who have permanently left the game.
Which is why you will simply need to compromise here. I would STRONGLY recommend you put in your suggestions for the possible (I would say inevitible) time when Turbine again begins foreclosing on the homes of unused accounts, as to what you'd like Turbine to do to help allieviate your particular concerns.
Now by unused accounts, I'm referring to accounts which have not even been logged into over a period of time. Say 6 months on the low end to 18 months on the high end. Personally I would like to see foreclosures happening as early as 6 months of inactivity, though I see 12 months being a fair compromise on that. (Lifetime account holders being permanently exempt.)
So... lets just PRETEND (for the sake of argument) that Turbine WILL begin a house foreclosure policy; to all those who insist that Turbine NEVER foreclose on a house, how would you like this policy to be implemented? I will put forth the following recommendations:
- Absent-Owner homes become available for purchase at 12 months.
- Such homes are not immediately foreclosed on, in fact they can stay with the current owner indefinately, unless some other player decides they would like that house in that neighborhood
- If another player wants a house that has an absent-owner, they can place the purchase price for the home up front (heck maybe even make them have to pay the back taxes to deincentivize purchasing an absent-owner's property).
- Once that purchase payment is made, they have to wait 2 weeks, during which time the LotRO Account Owner's E-mail on record is spammed DAILY that their house is about to be purchased by another player.
- They can then click on the E-mail. 'Fine stop bothering me', or,
- 'I intend to return. Please refuse the purchase'.
- This is a HUGE compromise over forcing the owner to actually log into their account, let alone having to pay the unlock fee and back upkeep.
- If an absent-owner's home is sold, all the items and chests are put into an Escrow that NEVER expires until such time that they log back in. After they log in, their items remain in Escrow for 30 days. They will need to purchase a new home during that time, or otherwise empty their escrow into storage, otherwise their items are sold at Vendor value and the money deposited into their bank.
- Any time a home owner logs into LotRO, the timer for foreclosure is reset. This is regardless of whether they visit the home, pay upkeep, pay to unlock it, etc...
So those are my recommendations for such a policy. Personally I would be more harsh, but I'm trying to accomodate those few who have concerns over losing their homes given the possiblility of an extended absense from the game.
Again, just assuming Turbine were going to reinstitute foreclosures, other than the rage-quit option, what would you advise them to do to make such a policy as accomodating as possible? For instance, if you like any of my ideas, how might you REASONABLY adjust the times, etc...
I do not understand the "I may not ever play again, and I am not playing my mortgage, but you better let me keep my house" mindset. As long as this continues, neghborhoods will probably always be Ghost towns.
There may be a way around that though. What if there was a mechanism where a group of players could spawn a new neighborhood - if they all bought houses there. I could see a guild spawning a new neighborhood and everyone buying a house there. That would be so much more fun than the present system.
If you set up the permissions, anyone can pay your upkeep for you. I don't know why this isn't the default setting. We have a neighborhood that is all kin except for one, and we will pay some upkeep on long absent players. And guess what - sometimes they come back!
As mentioned here and in many other threads after 3 years you would think something would change?
A man has got to know his limitations
Unless the game starts running out of house space and they will be needed for new home buyers, i see no reason why someone cant keep their house, even if they are behind in their payments.
Are you the fabled Aunt Bertha who sits on her porch all day sipping cold lemonade watching the neighbors? Maybe peeping out from behind the curtains and sharing some 'gossip' whispered to Aunt Gertie over what Mrs Jones did last night?
Seriously, if you are that desperate to see someone move in next door, MOVE your house to a new neighborhood! Be one if not the first to move in when one opens, and enjoy the immense activity for a few days. When it dies out, move again!
No matter the neighborhood, whether people are currently playing or not, some things will never change. Including yard decorations. Not everyone rearranges their trees once they plant them.
I have kin members who have taken long absences. One was gone 11 months, came back, had his house. Another was gone about five months, still had his house. I have two that are on my roster who have not logged in for almost 18 months, one is military, I went by and guess what, his house is still there, just as he left it, waiting for him to come back. Yes it is locked out, but interesting thing is, I would not have noticed had I not tried to enter. His yard is decorated, and imagine this, its not yule trees! It is however birch trees.
We recruited a new member in the kinship last night, and in talking to him, he told me he had just come back from a long absence. 222 days since his last login. He was pretty happy from what I gathered to find his house still there. Just as he left it.
His kin booted him, but at least he had his house. I for one, am happy to have him join ours. And I don't boot people just because they find they need to take a break from the game for whatever reason.
I don't know what it costs or how it works to have housing instances open and abandoned, versus say dumping everything from a house into escrow and storing it there indefinately. Lets just for giggles, assume its less to store in escrow.
A gadzillion houses all of a sudden have their stuff dumped into escrow and all these houses open up to new buyers. Instead of having housing neighborhoods full of locked houses with yard decor that never changes, you now have all these housing neighborhoods with various houses with for sale signs in front.
Hate to say it, but the neighborhood is still just as empty of people, now its even empty of the appearance of anyone living there due to empty yards and for sale signs everywhere.
The military guy mentioned above, was in the neighborhood in Falathlorn when we moved all the houses to the Shire. Not just me and my houses, but half our kin moved out of that neighborhood into the shire, and in going to check on his house, I noticed something quite interesting. Only one house that one of our kinnies had at the time, has someone living in it now (yes, locked out) Of the other 8 houses that our kin members had, not one has been rented. Not a single one. 8 houses is almost 1/3 of the neighborhood. There are only 30 houses in each one. I also know that there are houses there that are not locked, I checked on quite a few.
Needless to say, unless its a horrendously large savings on dumping stuff in escrow versus leaving houses as is, in the end, what is worse? locked houses you wouldn't know were locked if we didn't go trying to enter, or for sale signs dotted around a neighborhood because the owners did not come back in time to pay the upkeep?
By the way of the folks mentioned about who came back after long absenses? They all said they were happy to see their houses and everything just as they left them. Is the price difference of storing someones housing items in escrow worth the cost of risking the loss of that player when they log back in to find someone else living in their house and the need to unpack escrow?
Oh, a great thought just occurred to me, might be the answer to everyone's wishes here.
turbine, can we please get some front porches with rocking chairs and NPC's sitting there? That will make the neighborhoods appear lived in. Just have them spawn the day a house goes into lock out, and they can vanish when the player logs in.
Neighborhoods are ghost towns for an entirely different reason than foreclosed houses.
Lets take a FULL neighborhood. On Nimrodel, my neighborhood is full and there are only two foreclosed houses in it.
That's thirty houses. Thirty players. Thirty. Did you really expect all thirty of them to be on at the same time? Did you expect all thiry of them to be logged in even on the same DAY? Not everyone plays every day. So with only thirty people, you will be lucky if there is ever three or four of them logged in at the same time on the same day. And then there is another problem. They aren't necessarily going to be logged in at their house, since there is this whole gigantic world to play in. I play most days from the perspective of one or the other of my two accounts. But that means I can only be logged into ONE of those two accounts at any given time. So in my neighborhood, one or two of my houses is not going to have a logged in player because he happens to be on the other account!
So you have four people in your neighborhood logged into the game all at the same time. Miraculous number that! But one of them is deep inside of Moria and won't see the light of the sun or moon for days. Another is off adventuring in Enedwaith. One is in the middle of playing Angmar and is probably logging in and out in Aughaire. So you probably aren't going to see those four players in the housing area, in spite of the fact that they are all logged in at the same time.
THAT is why housing neighborhoods are empty. THAT is why they appear to be ghost towns and that is why they will ALWAYS appear to be ghost towns whether you foreclose on players or not.
And it only takes one foreclosure to make a player NEVER BUY ANOTHER HOUSE IN THAT GAME! I rather suspect that in a year you'd have no one buying houses at all for fear of losing them just because they had to take an unwilling break from the game and lost their house. And I also wonder how many players would just say to hell with the game? I know I would. I have four high level characters - five actually. And yet there is still only ONE player behind those five characters. Money is always a problem for me in the game. I'm the only one playing those five characters and I can only play one of them at a time. And I am casual. I play more frequently than most casuals - averaging 20 to 30 hours a week in the game. But I am still casual. I don't run around trying to min/max eveything. I learned long ago that the game stays fresh a lot longer if I stop and smell the roses along the way. So I do a lot of that. I don't rush anything. I enjoy the journey, rather than look for the fastest route to the end. That also hinders my income in the game.
The bottom line remains that the whole problem with ghost town neighborhoods is that there are not enough houses in them to make for a 'crowd' of players unless you go to great lengths to organize neighborhood events, and have people who are willing to attend them. My neighborhood doesn't do any of that. So in spite of the fact that it is a full neighborhood, I NEVER see anyone else in my neighborhood. Ever. All of those other houses might as well be abandoned for all the people I see in the area. But it has nothing to do with the houses being abandoned. It has nothing to do with the players not paying their upkeep. It has everything to do with the fact that we all log in at different times and on different days and even when we are on at the same time, we are not in the same part of the game world at the same time.
The root problem of housing is not the players. As so many other posters pointed out, the root problem is the design and functionality as developed by Turbine. While the housing system on the surface looks great, in reality it's a dead-end piece of content that's either superseded by other functionality (ie: shared storage) or deprecated due to game mechanics (ie: no stable travel to a city and not located next to any major hub).
Then there is the problem of being able to find my house. I go to my neighborhood and find that somebody else owns my house. Where do I look for mine? In one of those hundreds of other neighborhoods? So now somebody has to mail me a message to tell me that my house was moved from Crickwent to Glumhollow. Great. Another staff member on the payroll.
I honestly don't think this is going to happen in this lifetime. I may be wrong and Turbine may go for it in a big way. But logic and reason tells me that is unlikely. Especially when there is a much simpler solution to this whole thing. Just eliminate the upkeep fees. Problem gone.
Besides my little attempt at dry sarcasm there re: pie? A quiet and serene neighborhood (to me) is much better than a clustered one where people are playing waaaay too loud music. Not when Turbine has yet to fix that atrocious player music slider issue, SO KEEP OFF MY LAWN AND KEEP THAT EAR BLEEDY NOISE DOWN, kthanx! *shoos trespassers away by throwing brooms and sharp weaponry at 'em!* I'd also hate to see what a housing instance would be like, if there were 'nuff people in it that it had to be dynamic layered. That might be facepalm worthy.
Anyhoo. *ahems* As a caretaker for an elderly family member, I run the potential risk of having to be away for a prolonged period of time should certain situations arise. I'd like to know the pixel home I have, and the treasures within, will be available for me to unlock when I eventually return. I always try to pay ahead of time. I keep an eye out on friend's houses, and I pay their upkeep if they are going to be away or if they ask nicely.
IMO it's WAI and I'm happy with it. This was even if I couldn't find a single suitable house in the Shire on my server! I got over it and moved to a different housing area, and I've been quite happy with it. The devs need to make -more- new housing instance neighborhoods though, for those who want a house next to their friends or kinnies. Hopefully they look into doing that soon or adding lots more over itme, with the influx of new players.
A good compromise (at least in my opinion) would be to make housing escrow permanent and foreclose on "abandoned" houses. This way, all the stuff in a house that gets foreclosed on gets send into storage forever so people don't lose everything they had in their house. As for money lost when initially buying the house, well, that's pretty much lost already since you'd have to pay to open up your house again anyway. If it's that much of a problem, I suppose you could get a barter coin for the house (same type as you had before).
Granted, you might lose your original address... but then again you might not. It would just be the chance you had to take.
Another option I like would be to be strict about house payments (revert back to the old way where if you didn't pay, your house became open to anyone to buy again) but if you do that either greatly increase the amount of time you could pay ahead for a house OR set up an option to automatically have housing fees deduced from your pool of in-game money. That way people who are going to be away for long stretches for whatever reason, can pay ahead more but it's not forever (in case someone actually did leave the game).
(and I apologize if this was mentioned already.. this is a long thread to slog though )
But that is purely aesthetic. When it got down to actually owning a house that had little or no functionality and no means to decorate it the way I'd like to, the illusion evaporated and I was left with housing that could only be complained about. No offense to the poor soul/s who spent so much time making it very pleasing to look at.
Housing needs to be more than a piece of useless junk that you have to keep paying for every week if they want players to utilize it and take an interest in it. Do they want that? Maybe not. Maybe they've looked at the whole mess and said it isn't worth spending time on. To them. They didn't bother to ask us. And when they posted questions regarding housing, the response was pretty universal that housing IS desirable to players, but it has to be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.
I have a lot of suggestions for housing that eliminate MOST or all of the problems we are currently experiencing in the game with the current implementation of housing. For one thing, I would not focus on COMMUNITY. You cannot create larger communities without creating a lag-machine. These houses have dynamic items in the yards. Parts of the neighborhoods push the limits already. So community isn't going to work for the very reasons I stated in my other response. The best thing to do is give up on community housing. Do housing the way it is done in Wizard 101, where you have a much larger piece of property, and more different settings and styles to choose from, but you are the only one in your 'neighborhood'. That way you don't see empty or abandoned houses. You don't see other players either, but then, we have that already.
What I want from my housing doesn't require the presence of a neighborhood. The neighborhood is nice, especially when you have multiple accounts and you manage to get all of your houses adjacent to each other. Very convenient indeed! But my priorities in housing are:
- many more yard decorations
- many more house decorations
- freeform placement of decorations
- choice of styles to choose from
- choice of settings to choose from
- expandable house
- stables and farmyard items (chicken coop, pig style, sheep cote, barn, etc)
- keep my mounts on display in the stables
- store yard decorations in a SHED addon
- store housing decorations in an ATTIC addon
- usable book cases
- usable beds and chairs
- usable cupboards
- crafting in the house (or in the yard)
- much greater storage capacity (this, by the way, does NOT eliminate the use of a bank!)
Those things don't require me to have a neighborhood and neighbors around me, especially since that system has been a failure since day one. RP communities can probably make that work, but it isn't anything the devs did that makes it work for them. It is purely the efforts of the RP community (to be commended!) that makes such things work. Times like that I envy them
The main things I would do to FIX housing:
- Eliminate house upkeep fees. Once purchased, the house is owned. Period.
- Add functionality to the house and items.
- Design single home instances with larger yards and more variable settings.
- Dump the hook system and incorporate a freeform placement system.
- Add small neighborhoods for people who want to own multiple houses (multiple accounts)
- Leave the existing large neighborhoods as they are. Let people move out of them as they choose or not. Consolidate the mostly empty neighborhoods.
The bottom line for Turbine is that this game needs sandbox features. Housing is one of the best sandbox features you can add to a game. But it has to be a usable and attractive system. It has to have some functionality for the player or he won't waste gold on it. Give him a functional house that he can decorate and be proud of, where he can display his most valuable possessions, and allow him the functionality of being able to craft from his house, and you turn housing into something players will love and spend time with. Being able to say that your game has such a system is a big plus on the front page when it comes to selling subscriptions.
No, housing is not VITAL to a game. That's why it is called a sandbox feature. But I myself choose my games partly on whether they offer player housing or not. Blizzard's perpetual promise to eventually add housing to their game was one of the reasons I quit playing WoW. It was a lie and it pissed me off to be continuously lied to like that. I finally showed them what I thought of their game with the cancellation of my accounts. Permanent, it was. I haven't been back in WoW for two years now. And since I hate being lied to so much, I will NEVER be back to WoW.
Turbine CAN fix this system and its problems, and they can turn housing from something the players practically despise to something they play the game for! Imagine the LOTRO store possibilities once you have a system like this in place!
EDIT: Addressing some of the concerns:
Crafting in the house: Crafting does not make or break the towns. Turbine did not put all of its eggs in a single basket, so to speak. Towns have other things that produce more activity than crafting does. Shopping is one of those things. Players need to run from bank to bard to auction house to mailbox. Put some kinship centers in each town. Leave the bank, mailbox, shops, auction house and bard in place. Allowing crafting in houses is not going to have a significant effect on the populations in the towns. When I go to bree, there are six or eight people in the craft hall, thirty to forty people running around town. Those six or eight people won't be missed because they are NOT in town anyways - they are inside of the crafting hall.
Banks being replaced by housing storage: I have only one response to this: how many players are ever happy with the amount of storage they have? You could add 500 slots to housing storage and it would have very little affect on how many people frequent the banks! I currently use THREE different kinds of storage. I use my house to share crafting mastery and other crafting items. I use my shared storage to trade items between my characters. I use my personal storage (bank vault) to store personal items like IXP tokens, rep stuff, personal trophies and treasures, etc. Because I use my personal storage for that purpose, it is also the storage I have to visit most often.
On a side note, housing areas have their own vaults and vault-keepers. And yet when I go into Bree on Crickhollow, I run into dozens of people in the vault every time I visit it. Isn't it amazing how the housing vault keepers didn't replace the town vault keepers? I think people overstate the effect of having things available in neighborhoods. You don't PLAY the game in your neighborhood. That means you are still going to use the public services more often than not.
Last edited by Hammerfast; Oct 04 2010 at 12:18 PM.
Housing in LOTRO feels more like housing in FFXI - an instanced space that no one else ever sees used mainly for storage.
Last edited by Bradd; Oct 04 2010 at 12:35 PM.
And crafting in the homes (or outside the homes for forge work, etc.) is something a huge portion of the community has been asking for ever since housing was first introduced. Crafting is one big way to make a home useful again. It would also make house chests worthwhile and bring more social interaction to neighborhoods.
Last edited by cipher_nemo; Oct 04 2010 at 12:42 PM.
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