by Cody "Micajah" Bye

In the United States, there's nothing more sought after than the chance
of owning your own home. Many (at least in the States) even call it
"the American Dream." We desperately want to own something that is
completely ours and decorate it how we want. It's our own space in a
world where space has been an exclusive commodity. This "American
Dream" even prompts us to take out huge loans and incur sometimes
crippling debt to show that what we own is the best that money can buy.

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 136px; height: 165px;"

href=""> src=""
width="200"> src=""
alt="" height="1" width="1"> src=""
alt="" height="1" width="1">

style="font-style: italic;">This is the inside
of a Hobbit home that's already in the game. Player housing will
probably have a similar feel.

The same sort of desire also has found its way into MMOGs, with players
of established MMOGs often declaring their absolute need for a place to
call their own in their massive virtual worlds. Since the introduction
of the player housing option in Ultima
, MMOG players have been totally thrilled with the
idea of owning their own space - or at least having the option of doing
so. And it shows, almost every game since UO has tried to incorporate a
form of housing in their games on a player or guild level. Although style="font-style: italic;">Everquest didn't
incorporate player housing into their successful title, they did
eventually include a guild-housing option. Everquest 2, however, did
sport player owned apartments that could be decorated. style="font-style: italic;">Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard,
and Dark Age of Camelot
have all included some form of in-game housing. Even if a game doesn't
necessarily include player housing, it's often an option that is
continually discussed in their content meetings. As the WoW Insider has
pointed out, even the developers behind style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft
have been href="">giving
thought to introducing housing into their game.

Game developers often struggle with ways that they can accomplish this
task without covering their world in fields of empty houses and
abandoned shops. It's a tough shell to crack, but the developers at
Turbine have been attempting to break that code and bring a functional
form of housing to gamers in their recently released MMOG, style="font-style: italic;">Lord of the Rings Online:
Shadows of Angmar. Not only are the LOTRO developers
pursuing player-housing, but they've also been working on the
development of kinship (guild) housing as well. As a part of a 45
minute phone interview ( href="">that you read
a portion of yesterday), Ten Ton Hammer's Cody "Micajah" Bye
and Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle discussed the upcoming housing additions
with LOTRO's executive producer, Jeffrey Steefel, and public relations
manager, Adam Mersky. During the talk, we discussed the varying levels
of housing, the items players could expect to buy, and sort of impact
introducing player housing could have on the game. If you need more
background on what's already been said about Book 11 housing, make sure
you check out Stacy "Martuk" Jones's article that is running on our
LOTRO community site

To start, we wanted to make sure we had all the basic foundational
details down pat. Although there will be different sort of houses you
can purchase, there are three "main" tiers of housing: basic, deluxe,
and kinship. I wondered aloud whether the beginning players would be
buying "Elven shacks or mansions," which brought the entire group to

"There will be lots of different levels of housing to buy," Mersky

"I don't know if we're calling them shacks and mansions, though,"
Steefel added.

"You have a basic house," Mersky continued. "And you have a deluxe
house – it's larger, more storage, more opportunity for
customization, just bigger. The third tier are the kinship houses,
which are quite large. [The kinship houses are] significantly bigger,
with multiple-stories in some cases."

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: left; width: 136px; height: 165px;"

href=""> src=""
width="200"> src=""
alt="" height="1" width="1"> src=""
alt="" height="1" width="1">

style="font-style: italic;">Some 
racial neighborhoods will be very close to already established NPC

"I was running through an early demo of it in one of the dwarven
neighborhoods," Steefel said. "Whereas a house would be a small house
that you would recognize, the kinship hall looks like the big church in
town – a giant central building, whether it's a church or the
city hall. That seems to be the scale of kinship houses over regular

"[And] there's more than one per neighborhood," Mersky concluded.

At this point my mind was whirling with the possibility of actually
being able to walk through actual LOTRO neighborhoods and see the homes
of my guildmates and rivals. It was a heady thought, and I wanted to
make sure I'd heard Steefel correctly when he mentioned it. Would
players actual be able to wander through these neighborhoods?

"Correct, it's not a cul-de-sac," Steefel confirmed. "It's not an
apartment house – it really is like going into a town. There
will be multiple instances of that type of town – they'll all
be different from each other because the players will make them
different from each other. There are four types of towns based on the
four races, and they're located near the major social centers for those
races. So, for example, the Dwarven housing neighborhood is located in
Thorin's Gate, right near Thorin's Hall. It feels like it's in the
right part of the world."

"It really is a whole other town that you go into," Mersky echoed.
"There are opportunities to hang out, to do things with other people.
There's large seating areas for people to congregate at. What we're
hoping people will get a sense of when they come in here is that, first
of all, yes, I can get a house, I can customize it, do the stuff I
would expect to be able to do to make this house really feel like mine
– increase the persistent space that belongs to me and that I
can share with friends. But we hope that people start to see that, wow,
this is a whole other town. There's a lot that can happen in here over
time – this is the beginning of something that has a huge
opportunity for growth. Our plans obviously include how that growth
actually works."

 "But it's like a whole other [player] community," Steefel
concluded. "You've got fellowships, you've got kinships, and now you'll
have townships."

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Lord of the Rings Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016