Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I didn't blog much about player housing in EQ2 because I don't use my characters' houses for much. Mostly, I just deposit any quest reward house items I acquire in the starter Inn room so I don't have to store them anywhere else, and use it to house the all important portal that leads from the city that the character actually lives in to my guild's hall.
All that said, I'm happy the feature exists. It has been fun to visit other players' home storefronts, and occasionally give a moment's thought to how I'm organizing my own home before leaving it cluttered as always. This is possible because housing is cheap - the starter room at the Inn costs a mere 5 silver per week to maintain, and you can get several gold (=100 silver) just by selling random stuff you find in the newbie areas on the broker.
By contrast, I haven't even tried LOTRO's player housing. Though it sounds like a great feature - see Victor's post at MMEOW on the topic - I'm very nervous about the costs. My character is sitting on 4.5 gold (=1000 silver in this game, just to screw with you), but his cash flow has been trending slightly negative. Moria does offer a variety of repeatable quests for things like health potions that I would otherwise need to purchase at a markup from other players, but I haven't really been bringing in large sums of money because I'm actually crafting with my crafting harvests.
In context, I get around 7 silver per mob kill. A ride on the invincible goat taxi averages around 40 silver. My repair bill when I'm defeated runs around 100G. I also spend a fair amount of coin on cooking ingredients for the food I consume (which I can cook, it's probable that it would have been somewhat cheaper to buy someone else's food, but I hate to do that sort of thing). The weekly rental fee on entry level housing, is fine.
However, Turbine apparently decided that they didn't want players to game the system by opting to pay their rent when they feel like visiting their homes and abandoning the places when they did not without penalty. Fair enough, one could argue that EQ2 is a bit forgiving in that camp, especially given the relatively affordable rates. However, their solution to this was to implement a steep penalty curve - if you're gone too long, the price of reacquiring your house will jump to 75% of its original purchase price.
In the end, I should probably bite the bullet, buy a house, and make sure not to use it to store anything that I would be horribly sad to be without if I physically end up without the cash to pay the rent. That said, it seems odd to me that they chose this particular place to stick this particular time and money sink. Perhaps I'm overly conservative with my digital finances, but the whole arrangement makes me nervous, and that unease is deterring me from trying a feature that might otherwise be a selling point that keeps me in the game. You'd think that would be the opposite of Turbine's interest in this case.