I was pondering on some of the things I like about LOTRO the other day (something I do rather frequently). I had just finished one of the Moria instances and had returned to my homestead to repair. In Etfield, the sun was shining, the trees were just turning an autumnal gold. My little cottage nestled snugly in it’s lakeside nook. A neighbour (NPC) strolled by and greeted me.
I thought to myself, ‘This is nice.’
For many players, housing in LOTRO is just so much fluff especially since it is not as developed within the game as it could be; from what I understand other MMOs do it better but LOTRO is the one I’m playing. However for me the ability to ‘return home’ represents something intangible, my house is more than just a storage space or even somewhere to roleplay. In games I have always liked the idea of houses. In UO I wanted one but never managed it; they always went so fast when land was released. Playing Fable, I really enjoyed having one. I remember thinking that my ideal game was one where I could have a house and then go out and have adventures (Sims 3: the FPS perhaps). LOTRO approaches that. I have my own house and then I go and do things and because LOTRO is an MMO, the world I venture into is dynamic and peopled. And then I come back. I like that. I like the contrast between the intensity of the instances and the peace of the homesteads; the darkness and grandeur of Moria and the bright sunshine and greenery of Etfield (by the way Etfield is in the Bree homesteads, there would not be the contrast here with the underground dwarven homestead in Thorins Halls).
And I like that my home is my predictable base that I can control. When I was little I went on a camping holiday. I was told I hated it and screamed, not because I didn’t like being in a tent but because every night we were somewhere different. I’m better now; I know I have my own house in Walthamstow to return to and as long as the same tent is used I can deal! So having my Etfield house makes me happier. I have my own LOTRO home that I can come back to and wipe the blood and slime from my armour.
(this is probably why I haven’t upgraded. Many people in my kin have bought bigger homes in new neigbourhoods. Even if I had the money to be able to do this, I don’t think I would want to)