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Lord British returns to his fantasy RPG roots with Shroud of the Avatar, hearkening back to his innovative early work.
Lord British returns to his fantasy RPG roots with Shroud of the Avatar, hearkening back to his innovative early work.
22,322 backers pledged $1,919,275 to help bring this project to life.

Housing Update!

Posted by Portalarium, Inc. (Creator)

As promised, we’re ready to reveal more design details.  Based on feedback from the forums we’re revealing some details on housing!

Let me jump right into the stuff you guys really want to hear:

  • House maintenance and acquisition can be paid for with in game currency (KS houses have no upkeep cost ever)
  • House deeds can be traded between players
  • Houses are 100% secure for items stored in them though not always 100% accessible due to nasty sieges by evil forces
  • Houses exist in shared spaces (not instanced) and everyone will see your house and its decorations
  • Houses can be decorated both inside and out
  • Houses will be fairly limited but more will be added over time as we grow the world
  • City houses > Town houses > Village houses
  • Vendors for houses will be paid a percentage of the item that they sell (KS vendors will not take a cut of the profits)

Ok, hopefully that answered 80% of the housing questions we've received! For the other 20%, here are details, in written and video form:

House ownership involves two main elements, the property deed and the house. The deed is actually the more valuable element and when acquired will come with a house of some sort.  The deed is the claim to be a landowner in the game and allows a player to claim a lot and build a house.  Once a lot has been claimed with the deed, houses can be constructed and torn down at the player’s whim, for a cost of course, but the player need not fear losing his claimed lot.  The player can however choose to unclaim their lot at any point and reclaim their deed.  Deeds are NOT tied to the City/Town/Village in which they are sold!

There are several reasons we chose to go with a deed to a lot and make the house itself secondary.  First, due to the scarcity, the land is the valuable part, not the house.  By going with a property deed we give people the option to upgrade their houses.  Maybe they want to go with a house focused on a particular crafting element or one with a larger garden.  Maybe they just want to upgrade because new house types were added and think one is dead sexy!  Whatever the reason, we want to give people the option to switch houses.  Switching houses can also be done through in game currency and will not be cheap but far less than the property deeds.

Second major reason for using property deeds is that the game will grow over time.  Though it will be rare, we will occasionally add new villages, towns, and cities with empty lots.  This means that players will not be tied to one area.  If a new village opens up and you decide you would rather be there then you can pick up and move to the new area.

The deeds are either city, town, or village deeds.  City being the rarest and most valuable, followed by towns and then villages.  If someone chooses to, they can use their City deed to claim a lot in a town or village and town deeds can claim in villages.  Villages are good only for villages.

So what is the advantage of being in a larger town or city?  There are a number of reasons players will want to be in a big city.  First is safety and accessibility.  Big towns are more heavily defended and nearly immune to attacks.  When the city/town/village your house is in is under attack, you don’t risk losing the items inside but there could be some period of time in which it is inaccessible. You can of course join in the defense of the town to help clear the attackers or just wait until it is safe.

Another three important reasons for being in a large population center are location, location, and location!  Big cities got big for a reason and it is almost always because they are in key map areas that are highly accessible and near important resources.

Players in larger population centers also have much more convenient access to good, crafting areas, services, training, and customers!  The customers part is super critical to anyone seeking to be a successful business person. Selling goods in town and Cities not only receive the most traffic but also have the most prime spots for houses.  Players can hire vendors to stand on their property and sell their crafted or collected wares to passing strangers.  

For crafters who elect not to own a house of their own, there will be bazaars available to sell the goods for a percentage of the profits.  The bazaars will only carry goods listed at them and not from throughout the lands.  The exceptionally talented homeowners will likely be able to turn a profit by buying low demand goods from one city and reselling them through their house vendors in a city with higher demand.

Houses and their decorations and trophies will be visible to all other players (unless you choose to lock it).  We fully expect people to proudly display their exceptionally crafted goods and items from their glorious adventures!  What fun is a house if you can’t fully personalize it!

So why should players want to buy a house deed during Kickstarter?  Houses acquired during Kickstarter will be maintenance free for life and come with a free vendor who doesn’t take a % of your sales.  You will also have access to several house decorations that will only be available to people during kickstarter!  Definitely the easiest, lowest maintenance method of acquiring a house.

So what happens if you don't get a property deed during the crowd-funding phase?  There will still be some property deeds made available after the game goes live. We are currently looking at what the most fair method of distribution will be.  The three main options currently being considered are:

  • Put a deed up per week per area with an opening for a 1 week auction using in game currency.  This would obviously be VERY competitive!
  • Lottery system. Tickets are sold for a week and then we hold a random drawing to give away a few property deeds.  This will ensure that more people have a chance and makes it more exciting for the masses but could frustrate some players.
  • Land Rush!  We would set a very high but fixed in game price for deeds and let people race to get them.  This could be too rewarding for the earliest adopters and also could result in some negative side effects like organized groups or farmers working together to buy property deeds purely for resale reasons.

We are also open to suggestions from our backers!  No matter what system we choose, we know there will be some people not happy with the method chosen but we will strive to make it as fair as possible.

Houses in the offline single player version of the game will be available in most cities for an appropriate amount of in game currency and will not require a deed or significant maintenance.  Obviously, as this is the offline version, the house will not be visible to other players.  

I’m sure that this glimpse into housing will prompt even more questions!  Be sure to give us your feedback here, and on our forums, and we'll address them in future updates!

Thanks for reading this lengthy piece!

            The SotA team


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    1. greaseDonkey on

      While I played UO, my ultimate goal was always to have an home. If I can't have an home in SotA, because I'm a casual player, this is definitely a bad move from you're part.

      The more I read on this, I'm beginning to think that this is not the next UO. I'm considering removing my pledge.

    2. Taragon on

      perhaps multiple types of homes would be better? i assume the houses that are being given as rewards are quite large, but for some people maybe allt hey want is the equivalent of a studio apartment to hang their hat at the end of the day.

    3. Missing avatar

      Gibbs on

      You can keep your mansion in the city as your ever lasting symbol of l33tism but allow everyone to at least have a shack in the middle of no where if they so please. Everyone should be able to get some form of housing if they please. I can understand leaving the mansion in the hipster areas to those who pledged 500 or more. This still preserves incentive for higher pledges and still allows for location is everything property values. It's so simple it's silly. Look at RL folks.

    4. Benjamin Duranske on

      Hmm. In retrospect, that may not have been clear. I feel like this is happening. Old (me, at 38) relatively "rich" folks are being asked to pony up a minimum of $500 for a house. $3500 (now) gets me one in a city.

      I have no real faith that my $3500 house in a city is going to ever give me that much satisfaction in the game, because, based on a whole lot of UO play, I'm guessing houses will be huge. And that will create pressure on the devs to make more houses, which will mean I sunk $3500 into something I'll be able to buy on secondary markets for a lot less later.

      Seems broken.

    5. Benjamin Duranske on

      I've fluctuated my pledge between $60 and $3500 mainly based on this thread. I have the luxury of some free cash at the moment, and just would love to have a city house. My concern is that this is kind of an absurd amount for what at this point appears to be the only realistic option for adult gamers to get a prime location in the game. If I had the belief this would remain scarce, great... but I don't.

      I fear that either the scarcity of housing will limit the player base (leading to more housing and devaluing the KS city house I could get) or else the developers will feel compelled to open it up with tons more cities, basically leading to the same result.

      I guess I could gamble on this, but it's a staggering large amount of money to ask people to pony up on an unproven property, in spite of the awesome heritage.

    6. Roger van Velzen on

      @Astron. While there may not be a specific pay to win idea it does offer a tactical advantage in that you can store items there. When I played UO there was always a rush for getting the best spots for housing and the whole housing made the community playing together even better.

      Like a lot of people I personally think $ 500 for the 'low end house' is rather a greedy move. Land maybe scarce but is that the reason why this tier is so ridiculously expensive? For most games I am willing to spend about $ 100 if there is some nice extras in the tier. For this kickstarted these tiers seem to be rather uninteresting hence I am at a very much lower tier than I would usually be.

      I would not be surprised if the reason this kickstarter hasn't exploded (like most of the other vg kickstarters) is that the interesting stuff is in tiers many of us cannot afford to spend. All in all there is still an economic crisis going on.

      I played UO for 9 years and we saw a lot of the 24h/day kids buy deeds and lock out a lot of the casual players. Of course it goes without saying that they often ended up placing houses in obscene patterns or just to annoy people. So yes great; I look forward to again having to compete with these players with my limited game time every week. :X

      {sarcasm} And after all my UO game time I have to again say: yay for maintenance. A game that forces you to play for upkeep might as well be considered work. {/sarcasm}

    7. Missing avatar

      Astron on

      @Bernie Ignoring the fact you can buy a house with in game currency and the kickstarter houses are unique how does it even come close to "pay to win"? The houses don't offer any tangible advantage that's not available elsewhere in the game. It won't help you complete the single player story any faster (in fact it will probably slow you down) and it certainly won't make your character more powerful in PVP. From a powergamers perspective at best it's pay muck around.

    8. BernieTime

      I feel extremely negative towards the need to spend $500 to gain the lowest level house in the game. I'd even feel somewhat miffed if it was more than a $50 perk. Honestly, it plants the idea of 'Pay to Win" firmly in my mind to the extent that I nearly dropped my pledge, and still might.

    9. Nathan Duby

      Disappointed with the choice of how housing is being implemented. As a casual gamer, I spend most my waking life working so I can afford my real house and provide for my family. I doubt I spend $500 a year on gaming, yet that would buy me only the lowest level of house in a game that doesn't yet exist. For the same price I could buy lifetime memberships on a couple older MMOs. For the price of the top level Deed, I can make my real mortgage payment. Player housing is one of the elements I enjoy in game, and while I don't spend enough time gaming to grind out every upgrade, being able to get a house and grind for the upgrades I want doesn't bother me. I guess I may have to stick to offline as well, as it seems the price of a house is too high now, and will remain so. I dislike the auction idea, cause gold farmers will buy them all. How about you use the lottery system, but with a catch.... you can only own one deed and you can only buy a single lottery ticket per lottery. Also only village level deeds are put in the lottery, any town or cities slots that get added are offered to existing village deed holders. In addition, add a level/quest requirement for the housing. For example, you have to pay x amount of gold for a ticket, but only after you achieve y amount of fame/levels/etc. At least that way casual players still have a chance of home ownership, even if they end up with village level housing, they can upgrade if you open up additional plots in towns or cities. In a way that does provide a benefit to long term players, as they would have first choice of town and city plots.

    10. Fris13

      Like some of the posters here, I'm concerned that I will be forced to play offline if I want to be able own a house. Its seems like months or years after launch the spots available will be so small or insanely expensive that I will have to just play offline all the time in order to be able to have a house where I want it.

      Not a deal breaker, but it would definitely be disappointing.

    11. Missing avatar

      Rick Irvine on

      I should've proof read my comment. Please forgive all the typos.

    12. Missing avatar

      Rick Irvine on

      Hmm, seems like I'm playing the singleplayer version of the game after all. I was looking forward to playing online, but it seems like getting a house will be impossible for casual players like me.

      I saw a comments about implementing rural houses, that are even less valuable than village house. Maybe a roadside hut somewhere. Then it would be more appealing for me to play online if it felt like I could atleast have a decent change of acquiting a house without paying a korean goldfarmer somewhere.

    13. Missing avatar

      Christopher Chambers on

      The land rush in Ultima Online suuuuuuucked. I had to miss the next day at work the system crashed so bad. It was a nightmare and the only open parcel I could find was (eventually) for a tiny house in the swamp south of Britannia. Constantly surrounded by lizardmen, and while collision and mass were still in effect it was impossible to come or go without getting surrounded and beaten to death. Ahhh, the memories!

      This has surely got to be better than that!

    14. Missing avatar

      Gibbs on

      Here's a genius solution, add more houses. This sounds crazy... but maybe even enough for every player if they want one. You can still have houses in the city for people that have too much money in RL or too much free time. But surely accommodations for everyone could easily be made. Make more village homes or make some deeds for only rural areas, which would be even more lowly than you village houses. I mean people can buy trailers and it doesn't effect those in their mansions. But this is a huge turn off me... limited housing. Think maybe I should divert my money on Camelot Unchained to be released soon. Sounds like that developed has a better grasp of such a basic game concept.

    15. The Great Goblin on

      The single player side still sounds good, but the more I read about the online part the less it appeals to me. Restricting something as basic as housing makes me feel that if I'm not spending silly amounts of real or ingame currency then I'm left out. If you're appealing to the minority of hardcore gamers that used to populate MMORPGs then this is the way to do it. The trend has been moving more towards casual players whom would feel alienated by this. There are whales that will buy houses but do you really think $3000 (now $3500) is a fair price for something intangible?

    16. Michael Vezina on

      Want to know what house ownership mean for me in Ultima 7? Identifying non-essential NPCs, slaying them, disposing of their corpses, and moving in!

      And in the case of Sepent Isle, displaying the former owners' cremated ashes on my dinner table. Haha.

    17. Michael Vezina on

      Land rush could work on a limited basis. Bear with me here. On a community notice board somewhere, quite subtly, could be a notice for something like "brave and daring men and women to join an expedition. Chance at great rewards and riches, but at significant personal risk. Sign up today!" Totally an 1800s feel, right? Maybe this expedition will ultimately be a bust, but full of adventure and well... XP. And stories. Or perhaps a diamond mine or a gold-laden river, or piece of ancient tech will be discovered. And the brave souls who decided to pull up stakes and take a risk will have first crack at new deeds in a new town? How's that for realism. Chinese gold farmers can farm all the gold they want, but won't get a chance at this. Maybe an artifact was discovered an returned to the Regent, who hands out rewards to the participants. Or the artifact sold on a black market to spur a new story line.

      This kind of expedition will make for good incremental content, and serve as a way to promote "Adventurer" as a career choice, and a way to selectively seed new deeds, possibly even for existing towns, into the world.

    18. Missing avatar

      Astron on

      Having thought about the existing suggestions I think auctioning is probably the best option presented. Lottery is... Well depends how it's done but utilising multiple methods is probably for the best. Buying tickets for a random draw would be a good money sync though it encourages gambling which is controversial. If there were other ways to randomly get it as well like it randomly gets awarded from random encounters or random quests (Not consistently, don't want it to be something that gets farmed) or one random active player a week gets a chance to buy one (active not determined by log in time). I'm not opposed to land rush as first come first serve is generally considered fair but the service limit means late comers miss out entirely is less then ideal... Perhaps if the way it worked is one lot randomly becomes available to purchase in each region each week/month and there's no way to know where the lot will appear so it can't be camped.

      I might suggest another distribution method you might consider is using houses as prizes for contests. Tournments have already been suggested but I'm thinking more community interaction and contribution contests. Have it change each month what it is. If there was in an in game newpaper have it be the award for the best in character letter to the editor or fan written article one month. Award the best player directed play or music concert the next month. Hold treasure hunts or other events with land as a prize a few months a year. If feasible an art contest. The key is diversity so it can't really be farmed and different people with different skillsets all get a shot at it over time... In addition to auctions.

      Overall I think house scarcity is fine (and preferable) as long is there is some guarantee those working towards getting one can do so "eventually" and have some means of tracking their progress to this goal... Which of course would be difficult to implement.

    19. Travis King on

      I am very pleased with the housing system so far. MMO's have long missed the boat on location based housing instead of "instanced-everyone gets house". Location based housing on the persistent server means you can leave you mark in the world. Perhaps every week you have an event at your house or a giveaway or a play as Lord British has talked about. It mean's other players will come to know your how and who you are which stories could live on well past your time of playing.

    20. High Admiral Doji on

      I think it should be a mix of the first two. I agree, the third option seems like it would simply be abused by early adopters (assuming you price them that high). I'm hoping there's another option, like Tim said, I'm a casual gamer as well, and I would just be looking for the deed and house. I won't be interested in crafting (not sure if Tim would be or not). Why not make the vendor the most expensive portion (or maybe have different types of deeds or houses... ones that allow vendors and ones that don't). I would just be looking for a place to store my stuff and look cool. If its a 'vendor-type' they could also have the more prime real estate where it matters.

    21. Missing avatar

      Tim Schuetz on

      Conflicting thoughts, here. I think you should go with a variety of options (some auctions, some lottery, some for sale but maybe not announced?). However, as a casual gamer, it really looks like I will never have the chance to have a house and keep it up in online mode, because it's going to very quickly have all property eaten up, and then it'll all be secondary market where the casual gamer never makes enough money to compete.

    22. Joel Connelly on

      The lottery system for houses seems fairer considering I don't want to have to farm gold for ages just for a deed. Or even a mixture of Auctions and lottery's.

    23. Absolem Gearhart

      A couple things:

      1) I like the idea of limited housing. It gives you something to work for and should create an interesting market. I understand that many players will be without one, but many players are without many things in online games. Hoping for and working toward those things is part of the fun! Since you are actually using the deed to own a plot of land, I hope the plots all have some unique characteristics on them. I know being near something is cool as well, but it would be nice for the plots themselves to have characteristics that could increase (or decrease) their value other than just size.

      2) I really like Edgardo's idea for how players could earn deeds. I think creating a Tournament system that players can compete against each other in is an absolutely wonderful idea, especially if players who are not participating can come to watch (as Edgardo suggested). This would definitely help players earn a name for themselves, if they desire such a thing, and a land deed earned in such a fashion would definitely make one feel very Knightly. :)

    24. Missing avatar

      Daniel Mohler on

      @Astron: There is a simple flaw in your argument and that is that for the purpose of usage there is little difference between renting and buying a home (you can not remodel and need approval for some other changes but with a good landlord these things will matter little). In addition a tax levied on your house is little different than paying rent while the deeds purchased over kickstarter are more like true home ownership (as opposed to home ownership in the US where property taxes are ridiculously high compared to elsewhere in the world).
      Are you now telling us renting should also be a privilege and status symbol?

    25. Missing avatar

      Julianna Holden Mohler on

      @Astron: You didn't ask me, but you asked, "what exactly other then social status do you expect owning a home to offer you?"

      The ability to be creative and have fun playing a game I paid to play? To be able to store my things so I have the enjoyment of looking at them?

    26. ☆Dame Lori☆ on

      "Having a roof over one's head?" We are still talking about pixels on a screen, right?

    27. Perma Frost on

      I just want ot say Congrats on making stretch goal #1. So pets are a go, and we are now looking at weather as the next goal.
      Nice update on the housing, looks like the comments are providing lots of input and a few new ideas.

    28. Missing avatar

      Julianna Holden Mohler on

      @Aston "If you want the status symbol it's only fair you should pay for it in one form or another." Having a roof over one's head is a status symbol? A house should not be a status symbol. Or are we into the rich and poor in a game? With people that have to pay to play it, that can't be poor if they're playing it....

    29. Missing avatar

      Astron on

      If you pledge $500 you are more or less guaranteed a rent free house. If you don't pay $500 you can save up and buy a house in game currency (e.g. gold you take off the corpse of bandits and monsters you've slain for justice) once you have earned enough of it to be competitive buyer on the real estate market place... Which will vary a lot.

    30. T. Rob Brown Photography & Writing on

      Yeah... is that right? Only if you pledge $500+ do you get a house... I honestly don't have that type of cash laying around for a video game. I want to play this game but looks like housing isn't an option for me, so I have no further interest in hearing about it. Next cool thing to be added to the game?

    31. Missing avatar

      Astron on

      @Paul, He has money but he doesn't have "enough" money and credentials. He could buy a house if he saved for 25 years. No bank will give him a loan no matter how stable and high paying his job is and you can't buy a home on just a high income, you need the money up front, he can't get it. Banks will only back the best investment, which isn't the person who makes the most money... Even then they can only afford to back a certain percent of the population, turns out it's only about 45%. Not in the top 45% of low risk income earners? Well you want to hope you were born a millionaire cause it doesn't matter how much you are earning.
      As for gameplay, this update specifically states you can rent a vendor without a house, in fact you can rent one in every town. You can craft in the center of town, which is also where non house based storage will be available and if you want no one else around while you do it can switch off having other people connect to you. So what exactly other then social status do you expect owning a home to offer you?
      I still say if people want a private space to retire to with the non persistent world functionality of house they should be able to rent a room at an inn. It's what all the homeless high income owners do in real life.

    32. Benjamin Duranske on

      Want to make sure I understand this correctly. When you talk about how you can "get a property deed during the crowd-funding phase" do you mean only by backing the project at the $500+ levels (which clearly do come with a property deed) or is there going to be some opportunity during "early bird alpha and beta" (which will be open for all KS participants) for a KS-backer player to *buy* a property deed directly pre-launch?

    33. ☆Dame Lori☆ on

      If they allow unlimited housing, would they not have greater server needs? And would this not translate to real money needing to be paid for housing? Perhaps they are limiting housing not only for in-game economic reasons etc, but because it is an ongoing service they are providing at no additional cost beyond the price of the game. Would everyone be happy if they started charging monthly?

      I am only speculating as I have no idea what the server demands for housing would be.

    34. kellian1

      The best housing system I've experienced in any game, by far, was LOTRO. Instanced housing inside a city or town. UO as much as I liked the game, the housing was just....not well done in my opinion (took away alot of the immersion having houses all over the place).

      EQ and EQ2 housing never had a real sense of community. LOTRO was done in a way where you had an instanced neighborhood, but still had the ability to have a unique feel about your "home", with different plots with different style houses with other people around fixing their homes and yard to give your neighborhood a unique feel.

      I for one, don't have the time I used to, and I'm not real sure how much time I can devote to any multi-player aspect (I'm in for the single player), so this is all probably a moot point for me, just giving my 2 cents on it.

    35. Paul Carr on

      First of all, as I said, a game is meant to be fun. We shouldn't have a homelessness problem.

      Secondly, if you brother has the money, he could buy a house. Not necessarily where he wants it, but he could go right now, find a house somewhere, and buy it.

      And third, houses aren't just a status symbol. They are a part of many people's gameplay. I used to play Star Wars Galaxies. I didn't have a lot of time to play it (I was working most of the time). But when I did play it I had a house, it was decorated, I had a vendor (to sell things when I wasn't there, which is even more important if you don't play much), I would do my crafting there. People didn't visit (apart from my wife). No one even knew it existed as far as I know (except people that occasionally stumbled upon it. But it was part of the gameplay. The developers of SOTA, in the video above, very specifically talked about the exact same type of gameplay. Gameplay which is going to be limited to a small percentage of the players at the moment. This is a game. Large portions of gameplay (extremely large portions of the on-going, non-single player gameplay) being unavailable to many players is an extremely bad choice.

    36. Missing avatar

      Astron on

      @Paul My mother has worked in welfare my entire life (except when she worked in justice). I've probably met more homeless people then you've met home "owners" (Unless you count people mortgaging their home as home owners, but I'd argue the bank owns it). 30-40% of the population that is simply not an option(Oh and proportion of home ownership is higher here then the USA), the economy is just not set up for that portion of the populations to have means to break into the real estate market. There's also not enough home available for sale to accommodate that many people even if they had the money. The overwhelming majority of people live in a home that belongs to someone else. Parents, friends, people who don't know they are squatting there... Even with the money you need references. It's very easy to get blacklisted on the real estate market. My brother earns more in a month then I make all year and yet he rent's a single tiny room from me, because he simply cannot get a place of his own in spite of his well paying white collar job. So don't tell me, there is housing available for everyone in. Even in first world countries that's not remotely true.

    37. Missing avatar

      Astron on

      Well there's something to be said for the people who spending the most time playing the game and thus who have will get the most out of owning a home in the game are the ones who have the best chance of getting them.
      But inversely if you don't have the time to play the game to get them, presumably it's because your working making real money, which you could instead spend on the convenience of getting a house up front. Our minimum wage is $16... So if it's going to take you 33 hours of playtime in the game make enough money to buy the house, you could spend that time working and buy it with real money instead. Fact is digital real estate has real value.
      You are assured to be able to get a house without competition in offline play. If you want one for online play it's for decorating and using as a hub for social interaction... In which case if you can't spend much time online doing so, why do you need it? As long as the core functionality is avaiable elsewhere (item storage, vendors) which I believe they are... If you want the status symbol it's only fair you should pay for it in one form or another.

    38. Paul Carr on

      @Astron There isn't a shortage of houses in real life. If you get the money, you can buy a house. It may not be in exactly the place you want, or exactly the house you want, but you can always buy one. And if you do have a lot more money, you can often buy a house someone else owns in the place you want.

      That is, at the very least, what the game needs. You should be able to get a house if you have the money. There could still be an economy built around who owns the best locations, but the majority shouldn't be just told no. I just watched their video and they were going on about how crafters could have their own crafting stations, vendors, etc. What about all the crafters that under the proposed system can't do that. It's saying "We have this awesome gameplay programmed in... but you aren't allowed to use it".

      Considering the limited world-space, my only current solution is to have instanced housing areas for the majority (like in LOTRO... you enter an area that is just for housing and choose which one to go to), and then also do the lots in the villages/towns/cities like they are talking about for the prime real estate (that isn't instanced, so people will be going passed your house all the time). It's not perfect, but I can't think of a better idea as of yet.

    39. Missing avatar

      Julianna Holden Mohler on

      I agree with Paul Carr. Far too many times, these 15 year old kids who were home all summer and in the game 18 hours a day often were able to make the money necessary to buy homes. People who could only play eves & weekends were out of luck. The largest population of players probably are teens up to college students. But what was unique about UO was the huge variety of ages & both genders (mine included) that played. The game had so much variety that it attracted all these. Equally, these kids who got houses built the most horrible things ever. Most just wanted a way to store a lot more items.

    40. Missing avatar

      Astron on

      @Paul/Julianna they don't really have much choice in how scarce houses are. They will fit as many on the maps as they feasibly can but that's still going to be rather limited. It wont create lag... There isn't going to be multiple shards run over multiple servers as they aren't necessary with this game model. It's peer to peer not server hosted. Any lag will be a result of high ping times due to long distances or sub par computer hardware on your end. Also there are shortages of home in real life. As long as you can bunk up at a friends house in game I don't think it's that unrealistic.

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      Julianna Holden Mohler on

      I'm not sure I have any practical suggestions. Just when I hear "land rush" as one possible way to obtain a house (land), it brings to mind the days, so firmly etched in my mind, when the servers were so jammed and lagged there was no way some people could conceivably even log on, not to mention not able to try. This also reminds me of the days when certain people made UO part of their real life living, by selling property and possessions on Ebay for real US dollars, even though this was a bannable offense, it happened constantly. I personally bought a house this way, because it was the only way I was able to own one. The person I bought from was always buying up houses and selling them. People camping when a house was about to decay, at hours during the night when most people slept. Is that really what we want to encourage? I know this is a terribly complicated issue, but there must be solutions for it.

      A house should be something that's earned, just like in real life. But there are no shortage of homes irl, so making a purposeful shortage turns it into a competition that drives people to buy and sell for real dollars, outside the game, that don't benefit the game developers or company.

      I understand making it a perk by getting pledges before the game is developed (that cost is pretty high, far out of reach of the average person, which in this case probably should be). I also understand it has to remain a perk considering the big financial stake the person put into development of the game, so it wouldn't serve to make the same available to everyone once the game goes live. But there must be some middle ground to obtaining deeds/property.

      Behind the scenes, you all have probably had these discussions. I just thought I'd put my thoughts out there, how the game effected me personally and what I saw happen over the years.

    42. Paul Carr on

      Don't make the housing to scarce. In all of those cases you could have people playing for years that never get access to a house. Two of them are simply "Whoever has the most ingame currency wins" (which is good for people that... well... grind and have lots of time to play), and the other one is luck of the draw, which is at least slightly fairer for the little guys.

      But either way... we're talking how many players? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? From the size of the map I can't see there being more than hundreds, or possibly if they're packed in a couple of thousand, of houses. That basically means that I can't own a house. I won't have the time to make enough money to win an auction (the top 1% will always have a hundred times more money than me). The chances of winning the "lotto" will be next to nothing. So, no house for me (or 99% of players).

      I know that the idea of a living economy where house prices go up due to demand is something that you think is a great idea (it has been said enough in interviews), but it just seems like a really, really, really bad idea to me. This is a game. It is meant to be fun. And a enormous percentage of players will find their fun metre dropping when they can't get a house. And in relation to this campaign, what is the point of getting a kickstarter reward of a in-house map decoration if you can't actually put it up?

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      Dave blanchard on

      @jmc I'm not sure how having those types of cities will work for a storyline position.

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      jmc223 on

      I like the idea of having a different competition per city. So then, depending on the competition, you would get a warrior city, crafter city, etc.

    45. Steve McGouldrick on

      What I am actually curious about is what ability will I have to be able to upgrade my location? With the housing market being controlled, which I am happy with, will there be implemented any way for me to upgrade my village home to a town home?

      Will whole villages, which happen to be frequented more, be able to completely upgrade, for a shared cost, to include walling in the town, etc. And by extension, towns, be able to upgrade to cities?

      Just like real life, sometimes a rare resource, or some other not planned for event causes population booms, and then all of a sudden, your small 400 person town becomes a sprawling metropolis.

    46. Martin Nicolas on

      Great update and answering all the questions coming up regarding houses. Glad to read that there is no instanced housing! To rent some space/rooms of the own house to other players would be a nice possibility as suggested earlier in the comments.
      I'm wondering at what stages the online world will be reset regarding houses/plots become taken in the final release.

    47. Mathew Anderson on

      I can't wait to build a house in Shroud of Avatar! I still go back to my rune library in Ultima Online, still the largest across all shards. You can find it on the Lake Superior shard immediately east and north of the Broken Mountains path in Malas. It's a white marble 18x18:

    48. Missing avatar

      nightarrow85 on

      though I second Mohler's idea for a different system per city. It'll disperse the world and create an interesting culture in each.

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      nightarrow85 on

      Random drawing - it helps even things out and prevents farming.

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      Daniel Mohler on

      I would advocate for variety in giving out deeds as this enables players with various play styles to have a shot at a deed. Apart from previous suggestions, why not also let the authorities reward players taking on difficult challenges in game or serving the community (helping newbies, promoting the game, giving input about critical bugs during beta,...)?

      Personally I don't actually mind if guilds will form with the specific goal to get a well-frequented guild house as this will create a lively element. However if all tiers of houses are dominated by auctions or attained through means only realistically achievable by a large group (including a land rush) this will make the game very frustrating for those who prefer their independence. One could even vary the methods used not only by size but also by city in order to create a certain atmosphere (a city dominated by powerful player guilds, a city where people who served the community will have received a house, etc...).

      One should see this issue as an opportunity not as a problem!