Rohan Housing is coming soon and who better to talk to about it than the creators themselves?!
We have gotten a good look at Rohan Housing already on Bullroarer (the beta server). The official release will occur this summer, at the same time as the release of Helm’s Deep on the legendary servers.
If you missed the new neighborhoods on Bullroarer, you can find D&Co’s summary articles here: Rohan Housing Preview Summary
In some even more exciting Rohan Housing news, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to ask a few questions of the developers who worked on the two new neighborhoods! After a brief delay, I am finally able to publish that interview today!
The interviewees are +Scenario (Lead World Builder) and +Baccata (Content Designer).
(FYI: Baccata also helped in the creation of the Cape of Belfalas neighborhood).
I hope the following transcription helps to answer some more questions you may have had about the development of housing in LOTRO. Enjoy!
Rohan Housing Q&A
(Yao) 1- How did you come up with the idea of Rohan Housing and when did you start development?
Baccata: “We had done some early test development on Rohan housing during the development of the Riders of Rohan expansion. While nothing initially came out of that experiment, I took inspiration from it when creating the Cape of Belfalas housing area. Since working on the Cape of Belfalas, I have been eager to return to Rohan and create a new housing area there as a followup to Belfalas.”
Scenario: “When the Legendary Servers were launched, it gave us the chance to go back and polish parts of the game. While doing that, it felt right to use the Helm's Deep update for the Legendary worlds as the right time to introduce new housing.”
2- In a few words, how would you describe the two new neighborhoods?
Scenario: “The neighborhoods are meant to evoke two quintessential Rohan experiences: living on the grassy plains and farmlands, and living in the rugged and wooded foothills of Rohan. We also want them to feel like they are a part of the world, instead of some pocket off to the side, which is how most of our other housing was implemented.”
3- Where did this idea of two separate neighborhoods comes from?
Scenario: “It's tied in with wanting to deliver on those quintessential experiences. We want to give players a lot of space with their homes, and give them choices in where they live. So, instead of one singular massive homestead, we decided to go with two smaller homesteads, each focused on a different type of environment.”
4- What are the new major features accompanying these new premium residences?
Scenario: “There are a number of new features that are coming, some of which are exclusive to Rohan homesteads:
- New Hitching Posts to show off mounts from your collection (Rohan only).
- Cosmetic Pets can be hooked on most interior and exterior hooks.
- New hook types, including moveable light sources, plus column and fire pit hooks that are unique to the Meadhalls (Rohan only).
- New per-house storage, separate from Shared Storage.
- A new Kinship Visit feature - players can designate a primary residence, and allow their kinmates to visit from the Kinship panel.
- Multiple interiors! Each Kingstead homestead has a main house and a barn, and both neighborhoods have a single homestead of a unique additional interior.”
Baccata: “Also, Rohan neighborhoods are the first neighborhoods to each have their own reputation, where homeowners can advance their neighborly notoriety in the community.”
5- Will some of these new features be transposed to the "old" neighborhoods (new "Light" hooks, "pets" and "mount" hooks, etc.)?
Scenario: “Cosmetic Pets, per-house storage and the kinship visit feature will be available for any house, but the new hook types are exclusive to Rohan homesteads for the time being.”
6- Are there other new features to be expected? (more hooks, easier way to visit other houses etc)?
Scenario: “We've got a bunch of ideas queued up for housing, but no specific ETA on additional features at this time.”
7- Were you inspired by certain cities of Rohan in particular during development?
Baccata: “ For the Eastfold housing area, I was mainly influenced by the town of Grimslade which has always been one of my favorite villages in Rohan.”
8- Do you already have some ideas for new neighborhoods in the more or less long term?
Baccata: “I believe everyone who works on housing has a location that they would like to bring housing to next. :)”
Scenario: “Do we! I've probably spent a good 15 hours talking with RedPanda about different ideas for neighborhoods and features we could introduce in them. That said, we're probably a ways of from introducing a new neighborhood - but when we do, it will likely be Elf, Dwarf or Hobbit styled.”
9- Can we expect improvements in non-premium areas in the future?
Scenario: “There are some systemic changes that will trickle down to non-premium homesteads. Things like the hookable cosmetic pets, kinship visit feature, per-house storage, and improved hook movement ranges (which should already be live) will be available.”
10- Are there any plans to introduce houses that are smaller and less expensive? What about raising the cap to 2 classic houses per account?
Baccata: “We have been thinking about different types of houses that can be introduced in future housing areas.”
11- Do either of you ever run around visiting people’s houses to see how they have decorated? Do you get new ideas, either for decorations or other changes to housing, by looking at how people decorate?
Baccata: “I don't usually run into a random player's house but if someone of the team comes across a video or image of a wonderfully decorated house, I am always eager to check it out!”
Scenario: “Honestly, I don't feel right trespassing on other people's properties. Maybe I'm weird but if I'm in a neighborhood and I accidentally wander on to someone's yard, I back right out! That said, from what I've seen of player's yards, I see an amazing job of setting up theming and designs within the constraints of what they have. And what people pull off on interiors - from what I've seen from community screenshots – often look down-right amazing!”
12- How do you come up with new ideas for housing decorations? Is it mainly from what players say? Internal brainstorming? Real life? In-game things? The books? Etc etc… What is the process you go through?
Baccata: “Quests, story, and the world we build always influence the majority of housing items that we create.“
Scenario: “ Much of our housing decoration offerings is inspired by our asset requests for the game. If we are asking for a new set of cultural deco, for example, that is also ripe for the picking in regards to making housing decorations. Sometimes decorations are inspired by random ideas a designer has, and sometimes the decorations come directly from the artists themselves (the sleeping pig, for example, is directly from the minds of our artists and was too good not to make into a housing item!)”
13- The introduction of more and varied decorations in game, along with things like more hooks, greater ability to move decorations, more types of hooks (lighting, mounts, pets….), etc all enable players to create more and more individualized and unique spaces. Have you brainstormed any other ideas for giving players greater ability to be creative? Any changes to the decorating system, other hook types, etc?
Scenario: “The hook system is here to stay, but we're trying to give it more "guided flexibility" where we can. We've got a handful of ideas that would give players more control over the setting of homesteads, the ambiance surrounding it, both inside and out. But those ideas are further down the road without any specific timetable on them.”
So that was my interview with Scenario and Baccata, two of the developers who worked closely on the new Rohan Housing areas which will be coming out this summer.
A big thank you to them both, and also to Cordovan, for making this question and answer possible. And thank you also to the whole team involved in the development of Rohan Housing at Standing Stone Games.
D&Co du Milieu