My House. 4 Wending Way

I like player housing in MMO’s and I like Lord of the Rings (LOTR) so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’d enjoy having a house in middle earth. What might be a surprise is realizing that I don’t just have one house but I have three houses in Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). So let’s dive in and I’ll explain.

First let’s start with why I even play LOTRO. The game is currently celebrating it’s 17th anniversary and I think it’s fair to say that while there is still an active community the game as a whole isn’t mentioned much in gaming or MMO circles. I actually had never played it myself until the 15th year celebration when I saw an article, or someone mentioned, that they were having a big giveaway. I guess I didn’t have a game to play at the time and decided to check it out.

The unique thing about the LOTRO 15th year anniversary, and why I even tried it, was they were giving away a bunch of expansions for free as well as some other cool items. So I thought why not just log in and get some free stuff in case I ever wanted to play in the future. Oh, and another reason is the game is free to play.

I created a Hobbit, of course, who is a hunter and I enjoyed leveling through The Shire and being in the world of middle earth. This game is older but I’ve been playing MMORPG’s since 2001 (e.g. DAOC) so this doesn’t bother me. The developers did a great job of making the game world feel alive, which in today’s MMO space can be lacking (looking at you Amazon with New World). Some people might not even notice it but I do. In the towns all the NPC’s have purpose and are living their lives. There is a woman on her balcony looking down at people, kids playing, others chatting, sharpening knives, the list goes on. I also think the world design really brings The Shire and other parts I’ve seen to life. The game just felt good and immersive.

As I was playing I hit level 15 and it said that I unlocked player housing. Whoa! I didn’t even know they had player housing. Honestly, I had no idea what LOTRO was about and just wanted free expansions so player housing was a surprise. I won’t get too much into the LOTRO game systems but I did need some more gold and instead of farming by killing hundreds of mobs it I was able to farm LOTRO shop points by doing in-game quests like kill 50 of mob A and unlocked the auction house perk. As a low level you can make tons of gold just selling low level materials like ore so I could easily afford my house.

I knew I wanted to live in The Shire as I was a hobbit and really enjoy this part of Middle Earth. To me, hobbits live in the hills with the front of their house extending out and the rest of it inside the hill. In The Shire homesteads there are freestanding houses and those in hills so I found one that I really liked tucked away. 2 Wending Way would be my new home.

Now I was able to start decorating. The LOTRO has a very dated and unique housing decoration system but it still works. There are a limited number of boxes you can select, drop an item into, then move the item along an X, Y, and sometimes Z axis. Then you can save it’s position and the item will stay there. It can feel a bit clunky but I just accept games for how they are and work with the system. It wasn’t to bad.

I began searching for items for the house. In each homestead area (e.g. The Shire for Hobbits, Bree for Men, etc.) there are unique furniture you can buy. I traveled to 2-3 places and picked up some items but I also used the auction house and the anniversary event to get furniture. Before I knew it I had a lovely hobbit hole to call home.

This is really how I enjoy playing LOTRO. I’m actually only level 20 and have frozen my level so I don’t even get more xp. On occasion I just log into LOTRO, hang around The Shire, play a bit, then log out for a few months. It might sound silly to some people but a good chunk of MMO’s don’t have player housing (looking at you WoW) so LOTRO fills that gap. Plus, LOTRO is free and player housing is free. You do have to pay upkeep but with in-game currency and you can pay up front for almost six months or so in advance so I really just log in every few months, pay the upkeep then log out.

Honestly, until about a week ago I had only really played two years ago and ever since they I just log in to pay the upkeep. That was until I saw the house next to me was for sale. Hmm, an interesting opportunity. I have no idea why but sometimes ideas pop in my head and I just go with them.

So, I leveled an alt in a day from 1-15 and then realized I didn’t have enough gold to buy the house. I grinded out some LOTRO points for the shop then bought auction house privilege’s, got the gold, then bought the house across from me. Now I could decorate both yards and that sounded fun.

Wait, what’s that by the water? The other house is up for sale? Well it’s a deluxe house so I’d have to have a subscription to own that. Wait, I don’t need a subscription? Oh man, okay. Well here comes my third alt.

On my main I let go of my original house to get the deluxe by the water, then bought up the other two housing spaces with my alts. Now I have three houses in a cluster by themselves next to the water and next to the community area. Again, I have no idea what really drove me to do this but it was just like any other goal in a video game. I just needed to grind it out to make it happen and now I have this little neighborhood.

As mentioned, the 17th anniversary event for LOTRO is going on now but they aren’t giving away any expansions or anything special. There are just some furniture items I bought for fun and that’s it. At this point I’ve done what I set out to do. I have all three houses with the rents paid for the next few months and I have no desire to level any more characters or actually level my “main” character. It was great visiting The Shire again and while I don’t see LOTRO ever being my main game it is fun to jump back into every now and again even if I am just paying my rent.

By Matt

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