Housing system and the Store could be friends! We need a revamp, Turbine!
Hello there and good day.
First of all I want to apologize for my English. I know it is not good, but I hope if you don’t pay much attention to my mistakes you'll find something interesting here.
Second, I want to say a word to those, who says that the store is playing greater part in the game with each update. I could agree with you, but at the same time I understand that Turbine needs LOADS of money to make new game content, to make something new in general and to make the game better, so here will be some thoughts about how to make the housing system not only good for gamers, but profitable for the developer.
I want to say that this post is mostly a compilation of what I've read on various resources about LotRO, with some of my ideas and simple scenarios of "what it could look like" and "how it could work".
I think the most part of the community will agree that housing system needs a revamp, or at least a facelift. And I'm really surprised that Turbine haven't yet paid any attention to this, because in my opinion, housing system has great monetary potential.
1. Bauhaus you say?
Without any serious utility, houses play the same role as outfits do. And you know what? They fail. Homesteads look pretty poor and faceless. Same shapes, same colors, same decorations in each yard. Even an opportunity to change outward appearance of a house could change it. An opportunity to change the entire shape of a house (even just rotate it!), some extra textures for outer walls (I mean something like wallpapers), an opportunity to add several types of fences will do a great job.
But still it is not enough, because houses will remain clones inside.
You know how much trophies and decorations I have, and how many of them I could place? And how much space in vault/chests I need to keep things I can't place?
Some people say that free placement will be much better, but even hooks could be great, if we have MORE hooks. There should be an opportunity to buy hooks. Just like the vault chests: basically you have X hooks and can purchase more. Every next hook costs a bit more than previous, and some extra hooks in the Store of course
An opportunity to change basic (blank) interior would be great (even 2-3 versions), because some wallpapers and furniture look ugly with the default house's ledges and ceiling.
2. Expand it!
There are more complicated ways to give a room for players' imagination.
The worst thing in the (MMO) world is the lack of space. I have 7 active characters now. Can you imagine this horde LIVING in such a house we have in game now? Even in kinship house? I can't. Yeah, I know, you can always create a new account, level some char up to 15, buy a house and give maintaining permissions to your main account's character. You also can create a kinship of your very own toon characters, wait for 3 months and buy a kinship house, but still, it’s not enough for me and many others.
The best way to solve this problem is to allow to buy a house for each character, not an account. Ah, I would be happy to make a very own house for each of my toons! But here we meet the problem of abandoned accounts (and their houses) and huge number of homesteads. And still this won't be enough for some finical players (like me).
My way to solve this problem is to make houses expandable, flexible. So you pay some gold for the house itself and than...
Simple scenario #1: enough room for all.
Yay, I rolled a toon! He (she) needs a space to live, so I need an extra room in my house! What should I do?
I can ask in homestead for workers and materials. A simple quest line, probably some personal event with daily quests. Like: "Collect 100500 pieces of fine bree birch wood and 100500 pieces of bright ered luin marble, you can collect 10 per day (reset count token in Store for some turbine points)". Or I can buy a complete room in the Store (yay! Lots of money). Adding a new room (without the help of the Store) should not be that hard and definitely should not be easy. So in simple words: it should not be a part of raid content, but it should not be a thing that level 15 character could do in 3 minutes. It definitely should take some time.
There should be different types of rooms: cellars, attics, guest rooms, towers and even some extra outdoor buildings: barns and stables (as my friend says: "67 horses really need some living space outside my pockets"). The house should change with the addition of a new room. I mean, there should appear a real stair to attic, not just a door/stair with loading between parts of the house. Outward appearance should also change: there IS a difference between a house with a tower and a house without it.
Probably it is hard to implement, but I'm sure that it will help to gain some extra Store orders. And by the way, adding extra rooms makes a new scope for store exclusive merchandise and for some profitable restrictions (i.e. you will need to have some number of characters for further upgrades, so you need to buy character slots first, or you need to have high level for an upgrade, so you need to buy new quest packs and level up ) .
3. Utility and comfort.
In fact, the only useful function we have now is an opportunity to keep something in chests. And still we have some restrictions. Baaaad! There is a simple way to make houses more useful. Crafting.
There are some pros and cons about making crafting possible in homesteads. Some people say that if we have a possibility to craft in personal house, towns and cities will be deserted in a week. I don't think so. For example, I craft something when I need it, and it is not important for me, where to do it. The diffence in supplies' price won't make sence.
Crafting in homesteads could be carried out in several ways. It could be a general crafting hall in the middle of a homestead or some special furniture for a personal (or kinship) house.
Simple scenario #2: crafting room.
It is strongly connected with scenario #1, but when we speak about crafting rooms, there should be some details. First of all, I think that one room should be used for only one type of crafting, because I think that mix of a forge, an oven and a bookshelf in a personal house will look ugly. I'm not sure about number of crafting rooms in one house, but if something like this will appear in game, I want to make two: a kitchen and a library.
So how the crafting room should work? I think that it should be a special area with default crafting facility, that could be cosmetically changed. Some of these cosmetic items (ovens, bookshelves, etc.) could be bought in homesteads, and some of them should be reputation stuff and festival things. Of course, there should be two types of crafting rooms: ordinary and superior, and should be a quest (and a Store option ) for an improvement.
Even without extra rooms houses could be connected with crafting system itself: just add some furniture with crafting facility area buff!
Connection to crafting is not the only way to increase houses' utility, there could be some options, connected to other activities. I.e. there could be some extra features for mounted combat or even for making slayer deeds and raiding. Even an option to add more chests or space to chests would be great.
Just 3 simple ideas how to make housing in game both more profitable and enjoyable. Main ideas how to improve the housing system have been spoken out on these forums for the past 4+ year, so I doubt I’ve suggested anything original but it’s all because I haven’t lost hope yet to see a major revamp of housing in LotRO, I do care for all this. Just give some love to the game’s aspects which differ from mob killing.