Picture this, if you will - You are in Lord of the Rings Online and have amassed just enough coinage to purchase your first house, a minimum of 950 silver. You have looked through the various neighborhood maps for each of the races to determine where you want to be, taking into consideration the proximity of the housing to a town, the proximity of the house you chose to the gate and the water feature within the neighborhood (for safe fishing right outside your door), and the amount you will have to pay in upkeep. You head to the housing broker of your choice, find a neighborhood that has that house available and purchase it.
Ahh, your first property. A place to call your very own in the middle of a bustling game life. You put some nice carpets down, paint the walls, and put some locally-caught fish up as trophies. You might even put a bed in one of the rooms as an homage to real life - not that anyone sleeps in LotRO... at least on purpose. You pay a couple of additional weeks' upkeep in advance to ensure that the house remains yours. Eventually, you unlock the storage container within the house and put some of the items in that would not fit in the bank and you haven't quite decided what to do with. All is going swimmingly.
Then, a few short weeks later, real life calls you away on vacation to somewhere with limited internet access (may it never be so!). You get back to heaps of work and do not have time to log in for a little while. When you finally do, there is a box on the left-hand side of your screen informing you that maintenance is now overdue on your house and you have been locked out until such time as you pay it.
"Oh noes!!!" you cry, "Whatever shall I do now? I cannot get to the things in my storage container to sell them and I do not have the money to pay this outright. My house is doomed!"
Ah, not so, Grasshopper. There are ways to save your house and today we explore my favorite - the crafting method.
There are some really nifty features in LotRO when it comes to housing. You do not immediately lose your house when the maintenance money runs out. Instead, the game gives you a week or two to scrape together the money while being locked out of the property. The amount owed at this point is generally two weeks' worth of maintenance, a minimum of 95 silver. That's a hefty sum if you don't expect its coming.
Beyond being locked out, if you cannot pay by the time specified, you will lose the house (as of Book 13 the foreclosure process was cancelled - Thanks, V) but the possessions within it will be held in escrow. This means that any items you had in your storage containers are relatively safe. Mind you, that doesn't help you putting them back into a house, but at least you can keep them.
That being said, if you do want to keep the house and need to make a couple hundred silver fast, the best, most reliable way that I have found to do so is through the trade skill system. You might be asking yourself why I say this given a previous article about how the value chains of most crafts are broken in LotRO... yet that is precisely how we can gain this money.
Step 1 to unlocking the house: ensure that you have a vocation. My recommendation is to take a vocation with a gathering skill other than Farming. Really, any other gathering skill will usually do the trick. But because several farm-able ingredients can be harvested by anyone who stumbles upon them in their travels, the prices tend to be pretty low on most raw farmed goods. That and it takes more of them for a cook to turn them into a bonus-yielding consumable. Arguably, the best vocation in this instance would be Explorer, which grants access to both Foresting and Prospecting.
Step 2: Find resources. This is pretty easy given that finding hides for the boiling is as easy as slaying some beasts. It's even simpler in the other gathering skills as each comes with node tracking so that all you have to do is toggle tracking on and follow the blue arrows.
Step 3: Process the resources. This means boiling the hides, treating the wood, or smelting the ore. Not difficult and each one grants you skill points towards mastering that level of your profession. It also means that someone at the auction house looking for this stuff who needs the finished resources but does not have that gathering profession in their vocation can purchase and use them. This is the part of the value chain that works.
Step 4: Visit the auction house and sell the processed resources. If you have a stack of 50, most times you will make enough on a single sale to repay your maintenance on a standard house. If you got all fancy and bought a deluxe house, it may take a few stacks to pay off the amount you owe and keep the house.
Step 5: Do it again! It sounds tedious, but really it does help to do this whole process over again and give yourself some lead time until the next payment is due. It will help cut down the possibility of getting locked out again and you will gain trade skills as well. And since upkeep can be paid six weeks or so in advance, vacations should not infringe on your happy gaming any more.
One other rather nice feature in the game is that any of your characters on the same server can pay the upkeep. This means that if you have a mule character who happens to have a few hundred silver (or more) in the bank, they can pay it too. That frees the character that purchased the house up from some of the responsibility of paying for its maintenance. It also means that a character of level 5 could follow this diabolical scheme to keep the house or to build up a hoard of their own before it was even possible for them to purchase said housing.
What are your favorite ways to make a quick buck in LotRO? Have you had any success selling recipes or crafted items? Just frustrated with being locked out of your house... again? We'd love to hear from you.
Alexis Kassan is a numbers nerd. She spends her days with statistical programs and her nights with spreadsheets and textbooks. She's also a MMORPG addict, having gotten sucked into Ultima Online at a formative age. In her time away from work, books and games, she can usually be found drowning in pools of sprinkles. If you have a question about in-game economics or how crafting fits in with them, hit her up at alexis DOT kassan at weblogsinc DOT com.