LOTRO Legendarium: The pros and cons of Rohan housing

It's been one heckuva successful whaling expedition

    
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LOTRO Legendarium: The pros and cons of Rohan housing

To my knowledge, this past week’s Update 27.2 for Lord of the Rings Online may well be the biggest housing patch that’s hit the game since the system was first implemented. The sheer amount of additions and improvements that came with the Rohan neighborhoods far exceeded my expectations, and I’ve been in housing heaven since it dropped.

For those not in the know, the addition of Rohan housing has been hinted at and promised for years now. It’s been one of the biggest player requests since the country was added to the game, and now it’s here. The only catch is that like Belfalas housing, Rohan housing has to be purchased with mithril coins. It’s “premium” in both cost and benefits, and from moving into my own Rohan estate, I am finding that the high price was worth what I get.

So in today’s column, I want to look at all of the facets of Rohan housing as well as general housing improvements that arrived with 27.2.

Neighborhoods and houses

Again, I am very impressed with the work that went into this housing update — it’s absolutely huge! For starters, we got two new Rohan neighborhoods instead of one. Kingstead Meadows is located in the wide-open plains, while Eastfold Hills sits in a more alpine, mountainous region. Each neighborhood has its own layout and architectural style, further demonstrating the great attention to detail that the developers had when creating Rohan in the first place.

Within these neighborhoods is a central area loaded with convenient services and then three different types of houses. There are the gargantuan mead halls, the basic house, and then a more deluxe house that comes with an extra interior location.

But no matter what house you get, you are treated to an estate that’s chock-full of slots, at least two instanced interiors (for example, the house and a separate barn), upstairs, downstairs, and new types of housing hooks (more on those in a bit). I was overflowing in my old deluxe house, but when I moved into my new Rohan mansion, I found that all of my stuff only half-filled the space.

The houses also look good, inside and outside, and that’s important. Belfalas housing was nice, but it also lacked this sort of personality. Those houses felt like you were moving into huge marble tombs; Rohan houses, on the other hand, exude a great log cabin atmosphere. I still wish that we could get smaller and more cozy houses that we encounter while questing, but I understand the hook system wouldn’t really allow for that. Pity.

Price points

The cost of Rohan houses isn’t just the elephant in the room; it’s the whale in the room. These houses are expensive, costing upwards of 400 mithril coins just for starter editions. I had 4700 LOTRO points saved up for a premium house, which I thought was more than enough for anything I wanted to get, but it turned out that I could only afford the basic home and nothing more.

SSG is going whaling with this addition, so be aware that you will pay a pretty penny just to secure one of these babies. This isn’t a complete shock, as Belfalas housing is pretty expensive as well. Those that pony up the dough do so because they want the extra house, the theming, the location, the great number of slots, and the nearby services. It’s all a subjective question of whether or not such a house is worth it to you. I’ve had friends that won’t buy one on principle or simply can’t afford one.

But so far, this looks like a successful whaling expedition because those neighborhoods started to sell out almost as soon as they were put up. Our kinship was full of chatter on patch day with people moving in, and I can only imagine that this will all result in a nice chunk of change for SSG this summer.

Hitching posts and pets

But the large price tag for Rohan houses hasn’t really proven to be the controversial element of these neighborhoods. Rather, it’s the fact that SSG steathily slipped in some extra monetization in both these premium houses and other houses in the game — and players are not happy.

In advance previews, SSG very happily talked up how it was going to add the ability to hitch your mounts in your estate’s stables and add cosmetic pets to your interiors. What it didn’t say was that all of this required a fee to use. Per animal.

With hitching posts, each premium house comes with a small bundle of tokens that you can use to put your mounts in the stable, but once those tokens are gone, any further changes are going to cost you. Cosmetic pets, both in premium and normal housing, costs 20 mithril coins to convert into a decoration. Again, this is per animal. If you want a whole herd of cats wandering around your house, you’re going to pay extravagantly for that privilege.

This really left a sour taste in the mouth of players, many of whom had dropped up to a hundred bucks on a premium house only to find the game asking for “more, please!” It’s greedy, moreso that the studio didn’t give players advance notice that this was how it was going to be. It’s another failure of both communication and monetization that serves to turn loyal fans against the company — and drive away those who might otherwise come into the fold.

“I placed one, because, I was totally unaware of the additional MC costs involved – because they didn’t put it in the article or on the patch notes,” one player lamented.

Ambiance, decor, and new tricks

I didn’t want to end on a down note, so let’s go back to something to cheer about. This patch not only adds new houses but also a lot of new tricks for players to use. Lighting hooks have appeared for the first time in LOTRO, letting players set the mood lighting in different rooms. There are soft and intense lights, lights that fill the space, and lights that are very dim. My favorite are the lights that mimic the flickering glow of a campfire.

The new ambiance vendor has plenty of other toys to play with, especially for ceiling slots. I was laughing at the ability to put rainbows, falling water, snow fall, and even bat colonies in my house. All of this gives us even more ways to personalize our home and create a specific feel. The Rohan housing brokers also sell a whole host of housing decor that can help with filling out those homes and making homes fit in with the region.

Finally, there are some new features that add more functionality to housing. Premium houses enjoy per-house storage in addition to shared storage (more inventory is always good), and Rohan neighborhoods have a reputation system to encourage players to create great layouts. Even better, kinships can visit each other’s primary home through the kinship panel, which is extremely convenient and a fun way to go house-hopping for an evening.

Overall, it’s a really great update with many cool features that is only hampered by a high price tag and additional nickel-and-diming by the studio for hitching posts and cosmetic pets. I hope that some of these features — such as lighting — make their way to all houses everywhere, as they’re fantastic additions to the game.

Every two weeks, the LOTRO Legendarium goes on an adventure (horrid things, those) through the wondrous, terrifying, inspiring, and, well, legendary online world of Middle-earth. Justin has been playing LOTRO since its launch in 2007! If you have a topic for the column, send it to him at justin@massivelyop.com.

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Terry Shull

Unlike some commenting below, I’ve been thrilled with the new housing. Then again, I have been “saving” LP for well over a year, knowing that I didn’t want to get a big hit financially when it was finally released. I can’t even express how happy I have been for the past two weeks on my two accounts. (Long story).

Housing is what us non pew-pew’ers play this game for. And I’m not about to let some deriders try to rain on my happiness.

*Places my shield maiden security guard right at the front of my mead hall*

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Christopher Davis

It is hard to justify spending exorbitant amount of money on player housing in an MMO. No one really wants to tour your house unless you want to come off as an online creep. Moreover, the player character does not benefit in anyway. Like where is the kitchen, bathroom, etc… My advice is to play Ark: Survival Evolved and learn player housing in action. Then, just as another poster mentioned, get Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 for less money to boot. Btw, my character in LOTRO is Herb Mangal :)

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Bango on Laurelin

Think I’ll keep the money and spend it on MS Flight Sim 2020.

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Kickstarter Donor
Darthbawl

Thank goodness I am a minnow, a cheapskate little minnow. 🤣

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Vincent Clark

“Overall, it’s a really great update with many cool features that is only hampered by a high price tag and additional nickel-and-diming by the studio for hitching posts and cosmetic pets.”

This “summary” is a bit baffling to me. Look, I know this is your MMORPG home, your baby. But saying it was just a simple case of “additional nickel-and-diming” in your closing…

It was intentional and shady. They purposefully hid the fact that you would have to fork out more money for an already overpriced item in an attempt to gouge more money off of people. And calling it simply greedy earlier on in the article was an understatement of all understatements.

This, right off the heels of the past three weeks and all the other crappy monetizaton practices of this company (loot boxes being just one of them)…I don’t understand how people can support this game anymore.

I’m not trying to be a judgemental prick–and I realise I’m going to sound like one anyway–but, what does this company have to do to get you to stop supporting them? What line do they have to cross? Or is it just simply a game, I’m taking shit too seriously and a MMOPRG developer being ethical is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things so why even bother and just shut up and ride my pony through the Shire?

Because believe me, part of me wants to do that…but I just can’t, not with this company at the helm. Not when there are better games out there who treat their customers way better and have way more morals than SSG.

And gods help SSG when/if the new LOTR MMORPG comes out…the bar is set so low right now, they don’t have to get that much right to wipe LOTRO out.

Sorry for the rant…one of those days.

Apridise
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Apridise

I for one am not happy with the nickle and diming how many other FTP/BTP MMO’s out there are there that don’t nickle and dime? Swtor and ESO both favorites of mine have their things where they charge you extra for things you want but don’t need. I have a house in lotro that I barely use and it only costs what in-game money I make from running quests and I’m happy to stick with that. The housing update is far too expensive for my tastes. Perhaps with the double points they offer for purchase a few times a year and if there is a discount for the coins at as well I might be convinced to change my mind in the future.

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2Ton Gamer

where’s our LOTRO themed Moby Dick meme?