Recap: Q&A with the LotRO Team

Did you miss the Q&A with the dev team we had on Friday? Here you go!

Last Friday, members of the LotRO team were around for an hour on our Discord to talk about housing. Over the course of that hour, they answered most of your questions!

First, I would like to thank Cordovan for organizing this and Scenario & Orion for their time and participation.

I would also like to thank everyone who asked questions during that hour! Thank you all!

I worked over the last few days to get the Q&A transcribed – at least most of it – for those of you who missed the event; you can also listen to the audio file recorded from the interview below.

Present during this Q&A session were:

  • Cordovan (Community Manager)
  • Scenario (Lead World Builder – Housing Specialist)
  • Orion (Lead System Designer – Housing Specialist)

Audio File:

Q&A Transcribed

Note: look for the text in green if you’re only interested in major annoncements. 

About Housing Neighborhoods

Question: We had Erebor this year, what’s next?

Scenario: Our goal for the next neighborhood is to not be human and to not be dwarf. We do have ideas in mind.

I am soon going to be moving into my ‘lab week’ times, ‘lab weeks’’ are kind of our prototyping times. Usually after a big release, we get a little bit of time to think about and prototype out our ideas. And one of the candidates I have for my lab weeks is to start thinking about what the next neighborhood is going to be.

We’re not at a point where I’m going to talk about any of that. But just know that we do have ideas in mind for a couple of different housing offerings.

Question: Has there even been any thought for an apartment style housing? Like buying an apartment in Bree?

Scenario: That’s something that I had been thinking about way back when I first came back to SSG.

When I did the revamps to Bree-land as part of the legendary server cleanup stuff, I made some additions to Bree town itself that would have been great for an apartment space, but we’ve never really wanted to pull the trigger on it quite yet.

Question: Can you allow us to run instances from our houses?

Scenario: This one of our biggest pains points I think with housing.

Technically when you’re in a neighborhood you’re in an instance and you can’t enter an instance from an instance.
It’s certainly something that we would love to have fixed and something that we want to have engineering on it as soon as they have the bandwidth to do it.

I think especially if in the future we were ever to really focus on a more kinship-based kind of neighborhood, this is something we would really need to resolve before doing something like that.

Question: My server is running out of Meadhalls, can you open more neighborhoods please?

Scenario: This is a thing where we do have a system in place where as neighborhoods fill up, new neighborhoods will open up.

Sometimes, some servers hit that capacity and we need to manually open up more neighborhoods. It’s certainly something that – especially since we know some of our higher populated servers are pretty full up on housing – we can take a look at and see about rolling out things if we need to.

We do that in general, whenever we see reports and a need for more neighborhoods.

About Housing Hooks

Question: Can we have more hooks, please?

Scenario: Adding more hooks is a tricky thing, because it can cause some technical difficulties with the servers.

At the moment you can already experience some loading time issues while entering your house. Plus, adding more hooks to old housing neighborhood is a lot of work, and those neighborhoods were not developed to have that many hooks.

So, we have kind of, through Rohan and Erebor, figured out what we want our base offering for hook amounts to be. It’s not perfect, but a good amount of coverage throughout the space.

Question: Will additional hooks ever be available in the LotRO Store?

Scenario: I know everyone would like to have more hooks.
Certainly, we can kind of like temper that a little bit by having hook packs be something available, as a paid for option.

But it kind of reduces the possibility that everyone will have them. It’s still something that we have to be careful about when we’re considering adding new hooks.

I’ve done some prototyping for hook packs, and I have a test space (Yao: you can actually see that Test Estate space on Bullroarer) that kinda has some stuff set up so that you could use those, but we need user experience and some engineering support to make that really work well in order to make it really viable for us.

Question: Would it be possible to more freely move yard items like we can in Erebor?

Scenario: Yard hooks in general are restricted in the way they are. Basically, in order to prevent people from putting their decorations into other people’s properties.

Each property has a center point. We call it “the housekeeper” and normal exterior hooks can only move so far from the housekeeper. Some neighborhoods are built to better handle that than others.

Erebor neighborhood is a bit different since we built it in the way that your yard is private. With Erebor, we also had to create some new tech to restrict the movement of certain hooks in certain ways.

The mobile hooks that we introduced for Erebor were introduced because we had a very specific problem with hooks in that place where the hooks would actually fall all the way through to the terrain beneath. So mobile hooks were introduced as kind of a compromise to solve the problems that we were facing.

I think it’s a little bit easier for us to feel comfortable with introducing them in Erebor than on open landscape, because this neighborhood is a little bit more closed in and contained.
And if you make something float, it’s not as strikingly weird as if you were like in Rohan or in Belfalas and all of a sudden you have a tower that’s floating up in the air.
Plus, those Mobile Hooks don’t follow along terrain like normal Yard Hooks do.

Unfortunately, I think the movement restrictions in general are probably going to stay the way they are for yard hooks for the time being, unless we get some new tech in to kind of help with that.

Question: Will there ever be a scaling slider on hooks?

Scenario: I think I have a request in for some additional fun hook properties, mostly associated with wall and floor surfaces.
But those are both basically in the queue and waiting for us to find the time and the right time in place to do that work.

Our engineers are rightfully very, very busy. So, things like scaling sliders, things like, the checkbooks, to make something ethereal versus solid, those things are things that we can consider, but they’re not things that are on our immediate plans because we only have so much engineering time available to us to work on things like that.

Question: Would be great if you could increase the movement range of housing items.

Scenario: So, the answer to that is (providing that the QA team does not come back to me and say, things are horribly broken!):
With our next major update, we’ll be increasing the movement range of all interior hooks.

Question: Can we have hooks inside hooks? Like having hooks on a table to put some food items on it?

Orion: That is interesting. That would require like hooks within hooks and I don’t think that’s something we’re going to be able to do in the near future.

With the way that the hook system works right now, that’s not something that is currently possible. And it would be very difficult for us to actually create the ‘hooks within hooks’ style of functionality that you’re looking for.

Scenario: We would be more likely allow things like crafting compile.

Like: you had four pies, a table, and a bunch of chairs. You use crafting to create a table and chairs with pies on the table, that would be a bit easier for us to do. We have in the past, talked about the ‘hooks inside hooks’ stuff, but there is certainly a technical challenge for that.

Question: Will any of the newer hook types (lighting, ambience, hitching posts) will show up for the classic housing neighborhoods?

Scenario: The older a neighborhood is the more complex it is because it was built in a way that didn’t necessarily care about all of these new features.

So for example, going into the Belfalas neighborhood and introducing the exterior, ambient music and dayfile stuff was actually a little challenging because that neighborhood was not build with that in mind, like the properties aren’t nice and square, which makes it really hard to put those volumes down.

Then thinking about going into the Shire or Breland, or, you know, those original neighborhoods and doing the same there, and those places are definitely not built with that kind of squareness in mind.

I’ve seen some comments about people saying “this volume/music doesn’t completely cover” my property. I wish I could make it do that, but I can’t necessarily do that without then making that volume intrude on someone else’s property.
And I don’t want to do that.

So, we’ll kind of like pick and choose the things that we backport.

I have a task right now that I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get to it, but I do want to bring the movable lighting into Belfalas.
So that’ll happen at some point. I think lighting and hitching posts are probably the easiest things to do.

About Decoration Items

Question: What’s the process for going through the Housing Assets deco thread? Do you go through the forum posts by order, or just requests that fit the newest upcoming area/content?

Click here to access the thread on the forums

Orion: We do actually go through the decoration thread.

They are usually identified and then set up – if they can be – inside of a pretty large list that we have that tracks the items that we haven’t made.

There are a lot of assets that we have inside of the game world that aren’t necessarily set up to be turned into deco items easily. So, we have to be cautious about the way we do that.

We don’t want to hit anything that is going to cause even more non-performance or for the items to have issues.

Scenario: We have a spreadsheet that the team shares, and I will often go into that thread and kind of do the work to bring that information into the spreadsheet. And, you know, everyone that’s working on the team, everyone that’s working on rewards is basically like “carte blanche”.

Like if you need a reward for something, if you’re making a region reputation and some of the items in there would work well, we just pull these from that list. So, there are some things already from that request list that have been turned into housing items.

I think there was stuff in that list that has been turned into deco items for Yondershire. So, it’s not forgotten!

Cordovan: We’re just picking at it as we have time to and where the assets make sense to be introduced.
We’ve got that spreadsheet and when the opportunity arises, we can quickly go and find meaningful items.

It’s an important example of how your direct feedback often will lead to a direct result in game.

Question: What’s the actual mechanical process of turning an asset into a housing item? All the steps you have to take in, the difficulties, etc.

Orion: So, the process of turning an asset into a housing item is pretty simple.

If it’s an entity that allows us to actually set it up, we just have to create the files, and create the data that allows us to put that into the specific place.

So, we would have to create the actual object, assign the entity, and then test it.

That is actually where the difficulty comes in because we have to make sure that the size is correct. And we have to make sure that the positioning on the hook is possible.

Question: Currently, we have the visiting Banker and Barber, can we have more of these? (i.e., Auction House)

Scenario: I think adding town services to housing hooked items is something that we are both interested in. And also, we want to be cautious about it because there is value in having social spaces in the neighborhoods (and not only inside your house).

We don’t want to just dry out the social spaces.
And I’m not really sure what the net pro versus con benefit has been with that, we haven’t really done the research, like what has happened. And, we don’t necessarily have the data to know what has happened to town populations once those services have become something that players can get and hook.

So, I don’t want to say that it’s something that we’ll never introduce, but I think we are a bit more cautious about adding town services as hook items than we would be about like just simple items because they’re more dynamic objects that have a little bit more logic to them, which means they’re a little bit heavier as well.

Question: Can we have race specific bankers, barbers, and furnishers for our houses?

Scenario: It’s certainly something that I’m not opposed to doing. We did that for the stable masters. So, there are a variety of different gendered and race versions of the different stable masters.

So, it’s something that we can certainly consider, because allowing people that diversity and allowing people that ability to kind of tailor their house the way they want is definitely beneficial.

Question: Now that we have Decorative Walls, can we have more? Like stairs or things like that.

Scenario: The next major update will also be including Decorative Floors and Decorative Stairs, to kind of go along with the Decorative Walls.

Question: Can we have the ability to paint the new decorative walls?

Scenario: That is something that we are researching, yes!

Orion: I’m still looking into it.

The way that the game systems work to support that style of functionality is something that doesn’t extend into walls yet. And I say yet, because there is a very real possibility that we can do it fairly simply.
But there’s going to be a little bit more research into whether or not it’s going to take an engineer or engineering time to set it up. If it doesn’t take engineering time to set it up, then that’s something that could be sooner rather than later.

Certainly not in the next number update, but potentially within the next few months, depending on exactly how difficult it ends up being. If it requires an engineer to actually get in there and do some of the work, it would take a little more time, but that’s something that I think is probably worth it in the long run.

Question: Can we have a mannequin that we can dress up with our own cosmetics?

Orion: That’s an interesting one too. I think we could probably do something with crafting to make that possible, but I don’t know the difficulty on it.

As Scenario said before, the possibility there is to give you the ability to create a crafted item that would actually display what it is that you’re actually looking to do. I’ll take that one and take a look at it and see if it’s something possible, but no guarantees on whether or not we can, at this point though.

Question: Can we get a replica of Barad Dûr for our yards?

Scenario: I think the tricky thing is we would actually need an asset created for it.

A lot of the times our bigger settings, things like our cities and whatnot are not a single asset that we plop down. It’s multiple assets that we use to build the shape of building, there’s walls, columns.
So, all of those would need to be consolidated into one single asset.

Question: Any more plans for ‘water’ items? (i.e., fountains, pond…)

Scenario: Water is actually really tricky to do for housing items because water works best when we can use multiple objects to both kind of frame it and have the water plane.

Having both of those items be a single item is actually kind of hard to do and it’s not something we’ve done very often.

Question: We recently had a Harp for our houses, would be great if we could use it as an actual instrument that we could play.

Orion: That would be really difficult because right now instruments do have to be on the player in order to activate, in order to actually use the music system.

Putting a sound on it is probably something fairly simple to do, but not necessarily something we’re going to do in the immediate future.

Misc / General

Question: What’s next for housing?

Scenario: There’s a lot of stuff that we could just like talk about in general about Housing. I think between the two of us, we’re kind of the big idea guys for Housing.

Orion: A lot of what we want to do, though, we’re not really capable of talking about right now, right? Yeah. But there are things we can tease.

Scenario: Ever since I came back to the team, like each addition we’ve had for housing has kind of been a part of the long game plan. We want to get to a certain point with housing.

And we have these big ideas. And each thing that we offer as a new housing option kind of moves us one step closer to what our final goal is.
I know that’s a real tease to talk about, because we can say specifics, but it’s certainly like everything that we’re doing, we’re trying to do it so that we’re growing the system with each new thing to make it more robust.

Orion: 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.

Scenario: I think we all have all sorts of ideas in the future, you know, and the idea right now is as far as like kinship neighborhood, that’s an idea.

Orion: It’s definitely an idea. And it’s something that Scenario and I have definitely talked about.

It’s one of the things that he definitely brought up to me when I came back, and I countered to Matt that there’s something I would like to do.
And if you know my background, you can probably figure out what it is.

Scenario: And I already had a plan for that!

Orion: I know! 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.

But as far as something that happens in the near future, definitely not near future, or even pseudo, distant future.

Question: Rohan Housing introduced Column hooks. Why wasn’t it made available for Erebor Housing too? Any way to change more of the appearance of those houses (like removing those green lines from Erebor houses)?

Scenario: It’s possible, but it would take us a lot of work.

For Erebor, the original columns and pillars were originally much more Erebor focused when it was first introduced and then based off of Palantir feedbacks, we made changes and I tried to kind of reduce the Ereboringness of those particular pieces.

I think columns were an interesting experiment for us in Rohan housing that I’m not entirely sure was completely successful. And I think if we were to bring them back, with some more work on them, we would need to kind of reevaluate the effort because I don’t think they were as successful as I wanted.

Question: I would love to be able to change the grass on my yard, or to add flowers to it.

Scenario: I would certainly love to be able to allow players to have a bit more control over landscape around their space but there are performance reasons.

Allowing the scene assets to change in those spaces based off of a player decision is kind of scary.
We could certainly do some things where it’s like you have an item and spawn other items that look and feel like those things, but that’s even also not really the best solution. So, I’m not really sure how we would go about something quite like that.

Question: Can you make a single NPC in every neighborhood that has all the Housing Furnishers stuff? Because right now, it’s a pain to have to travel between neighborhoods just for buying housing items.

Scenario: Currently you can get a lot of them off of the Belfalas Furnisher.

Orion: This is something I can certainly look into. Wouldn’t be that difficult.

Scenario: I think the only items that are missing on the Belfalas Furnisher are the Rohan and Erebor ones.

Orion: This sounds like a pretty simple task that would just be an updated vendor profile.
That’s entirely possible. No guarantee on the timeline, but it’s something I’m going to take a look at.

Question: Any plans to allow more than one classic house per account?

Scenario: I would love for us to be able to do that and hope that we could do that at some point soon. It’s just a matter of time and, and resources to do it.

Question: Is it possible to reduce cool-down to kinship houses?

Scenario: It’s possible. I know sometimes we those cool-downs on teleports particularly because there is a cost associated with someone bouncing back and forth from places to place pretty quickly.

Orion: Servers don’t like it when we migrate people along from one to another.
That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It just means that it’s something that we have to look at carefully and make those adjustments with the understanding that it could have some impact to performance.

Question: Can we have some new painting colors for our surfaces? Why some textures are not affected by paintings?

Scenario: This is something we can take a look at. The way the painting system works is it kind of overlays the color on top of things, which is more successful on some textures than others.

Question: With Erebor, you added Universal Hooks that can accept any housing item. Can we expect more of these in the future?

Scenario: Universal hooks were introduced as a solution to a problem.

Erebor housing had those like balcony spaces that you could go out, up on your third floor and I wanted to make sure that the hooks there could be used for both interior and exterior purposes. And that’s why the Universal Hooks exists.

If there is a reason for us to use them again, then we certainly will.

Question: Could we have a way to change the outside textures of our houses? Like a Wall Surface for exterior?

Scenario: So originally that was in the original housing system. That was something we wanted to do. But one of the problems that we ran across was with far view.

So, if you were in one far corner of a neighborhood, for example, you can still see the structure of the houses in the neighborhood because they’re setting in far view.
But they would be dynamic objects and, dynamic objects and farview don’t play well together.
So, from a certain distance, you might see the house without the changed exterior and then as you approach it, you would see that changed exterior. And that just felt like a weird experience to us.

If we were to ever introduce smaller neighborhoods where far view wasn’t a concern, then something like that might be feasible. But with the way our current neighborhoods are, they’re just too big on the technical level to do that.

Thanks again everyone, to SSG and every LotRO player who made this Q&A possible! <3


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Explorer of unexplored places and collector of decorations, Yao offers you a whole range of items brought from the four corners of Middle Earth. If you like what I do, or I’ve helped you in some way please consider buying me a coffee.

3 Responses

  1. Thank you again Yao ! For this and for all that you do for the Lotro Housing Community !

  2. Huge thank you, Yao!!! This and all you do is much appreciated! Thank you to the SSG team for their time and insight!

  3. I think that thanks to that Q & A session, i just learned a lot or at least now i understand better, the process of creating new house decoration items. It help me appreciate more all the beautiful things they have done already, those about to get released on next update & all the job they have in process for later releases.


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