Screenshots, interviews, it’s a Middle-earth Online frenzy! Take a read through July’s letter from the MEO Team!

Hi all,

Close your eyes and picture Bag End. Chances are that you can see it almost as clearly as many of the places that you go every day. The homes that Tolkien visits throughout The Lord of the Rings are described in such vivid and loving detail that they are almost characters in and of themselves. One of the tasks of the MEO team is to recreate these dwellings so that players can live as well as adventure in Middle-earth. This month we’ll be sharing more information on the MEO housing system.

The first step with every aspect of MEO game development is to look at how a feature fits into the work of Tolkien. In this case one of the things that immediately springs to mind is that the races of Middle-earth live, for the most part, in distinct towns and regions, such as the Shire or Rivendell. At the same time, individuals of every race wander through the world, and frequently take up residence with new friends. To conform to this vision each race in MEO will have separate housing areas within the game, but any characters of any race will be able to stay close to their friends by purchasing housing in any town they can reach.

Another question that had to be addressed was the issue of who could claim a house. There had been some thought that only Kinships should be allowed to own housing. Ultimately, we thought that this system would be overly restrictive – after all Bilbo owned Bag End all by himself. So players in MEO will be able to inhabit individual houses, which they will have to pay individual rent on.

But there are some areas of the world where paying rent would conflict with our goal of staying true to Tolkien’s vision. For instance, gaining a house among the Elves will be based on proving your usefulness to their cause and your importance among your peers, as measured by Kinship size, not by paying rent!

Those are just some of the issues that we wrestled with in designing the housing system of MEO. Each week this month we’ll be releasing more info about the houses; their look and style, how they’ll be rented, and even some artwork. Stay tuned!

-The Middle-Earth Online Team

So who wants to come crash at Camp Flinch? Middle-earth Online is just going to be one awesome Tolkien Gaming Experience!