Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Place to Call My Own

Well, it’s finally here: LotRO’s Housing update. At first I was determined not to get swept up in the whole thing. PHAIL! A kinshipmate and I went on a tour of the Shire and bought a couple Smials right next to each other. She opted for a smaller one and I got a deluxe one. She and I are two of fairly few Hobbits in the kinship and we both decided that Hobbits should live in the Shire if at all possible. The rest of the kinship is men and elves (we have very few dwarves) so they were out getting homes near Bree or in Falathorn.

Overall I am very pleased with the way they implemented housing. Once I purchased my home, it was mine and no one else could gain access except me. The first thing I did, once I figured out how, was to allow access to my kinshipmates. (When you’re near your home, you get two additional buttons on your navigation circle: one to set permissions and one to toggle to design mode.) You can allow no access (the default) right up to total access to everything including the vault and decorations if you want. I opted to give the kin visitor access. I will probably allow public visitor access at some point. You can also add specific people if you want to.

Once I had the place and the access permissions set up, I went looking for furniture. Each instance has a furniture shop in it but not all shops sell the same stuff. Also, the places people have been getting rep with have items you can purchase for your homes as well. You can tell by the statues people have in their yards what group(s) they are affiliated with. Sometimes the effect is a bit like having a statuary rummage sale on your lawn, but it’s neat to be able to show off your hard work for getting rep.

Rep items:
- Tom Bombadill music box from the Mathom House (plays the ambient music from Tom’s house in my house).
- Dwarven yard statue from Thorin’s Hall rep instance (which is too huge so it sits in my housing storage box for now)

Shire furnishings:
- A couple of scholar bookshelves for the study
- A Hobbit bed
- A couple of birch trees
- An additional fireplace for the bedroom.

- Chairs
- A long table which a cook can turn into a very nice looking breakfast table with dishes, a lit candle and food on it. (Note – this is a “special” item which requires a special item hook).

- Shire Oak Tree (why these aren’t available in the Shire, I’m not sure – it’s an awesome tree though and it’s friggin’ huge). Most of the rest of the elf furnishings look gaudy to me.

Thorin’s Gate:
- Iron chandelier
- Tall candle holder things
- Tapestries and pictures
- A little keg in a wheelbarrow for my yard.
- A mossy well for my yard
- A bunch of rugs

I used the trees to turn my rather plain lot into a wooded lot. I added the keg wagon and mossy well for lawn ornaments. I could also shuffle around things as I saw fit. I arranged one room to be my Hobbit’s bedroom complete with rug, bed, small scholar’s desk and a little fireplace. There’s no fire in the fireplace but it adds a certain charm to the room.

The other off-room became my Hobbit’s study. I have two large bookcases and a scholar’s desk covered with books in the middle. There’s a chair beside the fireplace for sitting and reading. I added a heraldry picture to the wall as well. In time, I hope to be able to add a map of Middle-earth (if one exists in-game). As an adventurer, I imagine him planning his escapades in this room and would like to fill it with items from his adventures.

The main room was tough. It’s enormous and even when using all the hooks, it looks like a vast chasm. In the center I put a large, red rug and my specially made breakfast table. Over the table hangs my chandelier. Along the sides I added a couple more pictures and some chairs and a small table I got from a housing quest. True to my roots in web design, I set things up, took them down and reset them up in different ways until I was happy with the layout of the place.

My gripes with the system are few. Every object has a name and, if you have object names turned on, it’s like walking into a floating catalog of the contents of someone’s house. As soon as I enter a house, I’ll turn the floating names off so I can take in the visuals without having text labels all over the place.

Items have a fixed orientation within their slotted areas. At one point I tried to put a chair in front of my fireplace only to find that the chair’s fixed position faces away from the fireplace. I tried changing it by removing it and adjusting the position from which I was adding the chair to the hook. No matter what I tried, it always faces away. I ended up putting a table there instead. Having a chair in front of a fireplace but facing the opposite direction looks kind of silly to me.

The table hooks don’t allow for chairs to be placed around them. My breakfast table sits openly on the floor like a buffet table rather than a place you’d actually want to sit and eat. Along with this is the fact that other furniture hooks are too far away from each other. If I wanted a number of chairs around in a circle so my friends and I could sit and talk, I can’t do it with the hooks that are there. I’m hoping there’s a special item I can get to put a set of chairs or a table and chairs in the center of the room. Something like a living room set would be neat and make it feel more like a home than a museum.

Overall, I have been enjoying setting up my house. I’m looking forward to actually using it for stuff. Parties! Woo!


mbp said...

Belated congratulations on becoming a Lotro Homeowner Khan. My Champion Throg has just bought a little dwarf house. It may be small but it comes with its own island. How cool is that.

I did discover one handy thing about chairs. If you are close to a chair and type /sit the chair moves to where you are even if it has to spin around. So even if you can't place a chair facing your fire you still can get your character sitting facing the fire.

I still haven't figures out a way to get a chair beside a table though.

Khan said...

Aye ... would still be neat to have it facing a certain way before hand. As I understand it, they'll be adding that functionality at a later date.

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