The Stratics House of Commons had their dev chat two nights ago and the transcript is up! During the chat Patience, Orion, Keth, Scenario, Saffron, Constant, and Annuvin (I think I got them all!) were flooded with questions on housing, Book 11, and the developers plans for the future of LOTRO. While the questions regarding ‘plans’ were artfully dodged with nebulous responses (no surprise there) we did receive quite a bit of information on housing and Book 11. First up let me share a few of the highlights from the chat:
Sprite – *Icidian* How many different types of homes will there be in the 30 home neighborhoods?
Scenario – Each neighborhood will have thirty houses. Out of those thirty – 16 are “Tier 1”, 10 are “Tier 2” and 4 are Kinship Homes.
So right off we now know that there will be Kinship housing. At first I was unsure that there would be any form of kinship support when it was stated that there would be no kinship neighborhoods. This is a pleasant surprise and one worthy of further discussion. To go deeper into the housing revelations:
Sprite – *Mirbain* Will Kinship Housing have Crafting areas? Also how much will housing cost and will there be a continous fee to keep a house?
Keth – Well, we have definitely been talking about how to incorporate crafting and forges into housing, however we aren’t sure what shape that will take yet.
Keth – We want to promote a sense of neighborhood in our housing, so it may appear as part of that, or it may appear as part of kinship housing.
Keth – Or it might appear as something altogether different.
Keth – As for costs, I can’t get into that yet, because that’s still being determined, however there will be an initial cost to purchase a house and regular upkeep.
Keth – We want to make sure that the cost and the upkeep are within the reach of everyone, so don’t get too worried about costs yet.
If you remember from DAOC guild housing quickly became THE way to craft. By adding crafting stations to homes Mythic effectively created ghost towns in major cities such as Jordheim where you could spend all day wandering around and maybe see one newbie. While Turbine runs the same risk I like the idea of making neighborhoods into focal community gathering points. Perhaps by creating crafting stations somewhere in the neighborhood they could in a sense create a social gathering point. This could work out in favor of practical implementation for those wanting to craft and for players seeking a more immersive experience of block parties and such.
In an interview at the Austin GDC the CEO of Turbine said that decorating your house would involve “hooks”. I interpret this as saying that there will be specific locations in your house where certain items/decorations can go. Your couch can only go here, your pictures can only go there, etc. Sadly that eliminates such customization options as seen in EQ2 and Vanguard, but it still allows for a customizable experience as stated below:
Sprite – *Theoldwizard* Hello, I also have a question about the houses, will they be able to be customized? Or will it be just one way
Keth – (we now return you to your regularly scheduled program.)
Scenario – Home-owners will be able to decorate the interiors and exteriors of their homes with a variety of different furnishings, some obtained from a vendor, others by crafting and some through the trials of battle. You will also be able to modify the colors and materials used to construct the interiors of your home.
Changing the colors and materials inside the houses, given enough options, will suffice for me. I definitely look forward to finding different trophies from huntings and raiding to add to my housing arsenal. Moving away from the housing talk, there was also a ton of information on content coming in Book 11:
Sprite – *Eekamouse* Can they tell us any more about the new zones coming in Book 11? Will they be raid content? PvMP content? Or, more 6-man instance content?
Scenario – Book 11 does not introduce any new regions to the landscape but it does add quite a lot of a couple of existing regions.
Scenario – In the Trollshaws, players will be able to explore Tal Bruinen – the hills and marshes south of the Bruinen Ford. The Misty Mountains nearly doubles in size with the addition of the High Pass. And what is the High Pass without a trip down…. down down to Goblin-Town!
Scenario – We’ll also be making additions to the landscape with our Housing system and stretching the abilities of our dungeon technology with our second raid instance.
Annuvin – In general, we’re focusing on smaller instances. As it stands, the majority of players (based on our secret marketing ninjas, that are watching you from behind your flatscreens)
Annuvin – have a hard time getting into full sized fellowships, let alone larger groups. So… yeah.
*Sadface* I really was hoping for more ‘new’ stuff to see. The addition of High Pass and the Goblin-Town really does sound fun though. During the interview it was also mentioned that they will focus heavily on the Goblins and be revealing Gollum finally!
LOTRO is moving at… a healthy pace. I can’t really say they’re pushing ahead full steam because they’re taking a really long time to produce new and interesting things for those of us stuck at the top. It’s become blatantly obvious that there is too little to do when you reach the top and hopefully with the ‘expansion’ of the world more options become available. The game is still good and it’s far from failing, but if they don’t kick it into high gear soon they will feel a serious hurt when WAR and AoC hit the shelves.
Definitely check out the full House of Commons Developer Chat.