The future of player housing, ‘hoods, and hooks in Lord of the Rings Online


Last week, Standing Stone Games ran an audio Q&A on the Deco du Milieu fansite focused entirely on Lord of the Rings Online’s housing, and now, the group has kindly published it as a written transcription. And there’s plenty of news packed in the infodrop! Some of the highlights:

Hooks: SSG knows people want more hooks; the devs have been prototyping ideas, but they openly say they need more engineering support to make them happen, they’re just leery of adding them as cash-shop items to fund it. There are no plans for hook scaling, nested hooks, or expanding yard hooks movement in old neighborhoods. (No towers floating in the air, guys.) However, interior hook movement range will be increasing in the next major update. If you’re sensing a theme here, it’s that SSG’s devs understand the demand for hook functionality, and they simply doesn’t have the engineering support to bolster it (meaning, the company isn’t investing in the developer time on it). The older neighborhoods appear to pose extra challenges.

Neighborhoods: The next housing neighborhood won’t use human or dwarf themes. SSG has no hard plans for apartment-style housing. It’s also aware of the need for more meadhalls but hopes the current system for adding more neighborhoods will take care of it. Finally, problems with “far view” of houses are why we can’t have exterior paintable walls.

Deco: The devs say they actually do poke through the decoration wish-list forum thread and parse it to compile a spreadsheet of items and assets they and you want in the game, then they add things as it makes sense: “We’ve got that spreadsheet and when the opportunity arises, we can quickly go and find meaningful items.” The next update will include more floors and stairs, and the team is looking into more paintables. Don’t expect large instruments, however. Similarly, performance is the rationale for not allowing more deco in yards.

Other: Allowing players to run instances from their houses would require a hefty rework as you can’t enter instances from instances. On that same note, the devs are wary about adding more town services to housing lest they “dry out the social spaces.” That said, the studio is considering allowing more than one classic house per account. (Yay!)

The future: SSG’s Scenario and Orion are somewhat cagey about what’s next, but they promise they’re working on big stuff that’s part of “the long game plan.” In fact, in the context of possibilities for kinship neighborhoods, Orion teases a dream he has about something related to them that ties into his background (he was a PvMP dev). “These are things that in the future, if we have another 15 years to continue working on the game, this is probably something that would be entirely possible,” he says.

“We do have a long term set of plans that we’re actually working on. And I’m actually in the process of writing specs around housing that would really expand the system and turn it into something even more robust than it currently is. It’s certainly a long-term goal. We just need to be cautious about the way that we actually introduce it, and in the way that we actually discuss it, because it is something that will take us a long time. It’s going to take us a while to get to the point where we can actually enact a lot of the new functionality and feature sets that would be an improvement through housing overall. And that would be for the entirety of the game.”

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