This post is to detail upgrades I would like to see for the LOTRO housing system, and also includes ways to pay for the upgrades through new items in the LOTRO store.
The existing neighborhood system should be expanded on by offering Rank 10 Kins to buy a Kinship Neighborhood. These new kinship neighborhoods would be roughly based on the layout of the existing neighborhoods, though possibly expanded to allow more lots to exist should the average kin size be larger then a current neighborhood. These new kinship neighborhoods would have a larger more central kinship house that would also accommodate the neighborhood vault, neighborhood vendors, and add kin use only crafting and skirmish trainer/bard/exchange, and player bards. These services will help make these neighborhoods hubs of activity and will also relieve lag from other world centers. Kins that reach a certain capacity would be able to purchase additional neighborhoods, even in other regions. The Neighborhoods can also be named after the kin, and the kin leader would be able to set access permissions to the Neighborhood.
Since most of the neighborhood entrances are not close to major horse routes, I would also propose adding a horse path just outside of the gate that connects to the major world hubs (Bree, Thorins, Celeondim, Surikyla, Rivendell, 21st hall, ICG, Galtrev). This will make them feel less far away in an ever growing middle earth.
Existing neighborhoods should all be closed and players given a token equivalent to the value of their house. Housing Escrow should also be change to have an unlimited duration. This would not only help clear out areas that are mostly foreclosed, but would help clear the way for additional changes to neighborhoods.
Houses that fall 6 weeks behind in payment (12 weeks, or 3 months total elapsed time) would be foreclosed on, placing a token for a new lot and all items into a non-expiring escrow.
Both the new Kin Neighborhoods, and the existing Neighborhoods would allow a player to buy a lot, and then choose what type of home to place on that lot. Homes would not have to match the neighborhood type. So any lot could have a normal or deluxe house, of Dwarf, Man, Hobbit or Elf design.
Both the new Kin Neighborhoods and the existing neighborhoods would have free-form placement of yard and interior housing items, allowing much greater control and capacity.
The cost of development for these new systems can be paid for by new LOTRO store items. Ideas for items include:
Exclusive Furnishings and Wall art. There are many furniture and wall art item throughout middle earth that we don't have access to that can be converted, and new items can be made as well. Since many of these items are set pieces for new content this will also help offset art time needed for that as well.
New Normal and Deluxe House styles. This could include existing styles decorated for the various festivals of Middle Earth.
Larger Normal and Deluxe house interiors, or additional layout styles. These could have themes form other regions, like Dunland, Moria, Mirkwoord, or even Lothlorien flets.
Kin Neighborhood Seasons, allow the kin leader to buy different seasonal layouts to apply to the neighborhood, like a snowy winter with iced over ponds in Bree, or a orange autumn in Falathorn.
Scrolls that grant additional pre-payment weeks.
Scrolls that remove weekly upkeep entirely.
Access to new neighborhoods in places like Rivendell, Moria, Lothlorien, Dunland, etc.
I really believe that with some work the LOTRO housing system can be something pretty cool and engaging, and have put a lot of thought into how this would work not only for players, but for Turbine as a company. I hope that anyone else that has ideas on how to expand the housing system and make it better, or even other things Turbine could put in the store to pay for it will add to this.