Emergent gameplay... sorta
One of the newer things I've discovered is that shields can be used as alternative wall decorations. Weapon racks are some of the many furniture pieces that come with storage slots, and the weapons that you insert into those slots are actually visible when you place the rack on a wall.
The cool part comes with knowing that some of the rack's slots are for off-hand equipment locations. This means you can store shields that will be visible. As many shields dwarf the size of the cross weapon rack, it basically looks like you are hanging a shield on a wall. It opens the door for just about any shield in RoM to become a piece of furniture. Plus, since you have access to in-game items as furniture pieces, you also can take advantage of visual effects that can be applied through upgrading with jewels. What you can end up with is a wall covered with uniquely shaped wall hanging that are all sparkling and pulsating with different colors. It's pretty cool to think of all the players who are raiding or upgrading armor not to make their characters stronger, but to make their houses look wicked.
It'd be great to be able to resize furniture in the future, but for now there are still many items to choose from in the cash shop or in-game. And you do have nearly unlimited options for where you can place things. There's nothing stopping me from putting a bed on a wall, placing a storage chest on the ceiling, or even suspending furniture in mid-air. House contracts like the luxurious two-story wooden house with basement have high ceilings that give enough open space to create entire rooms beneath them. A floor and walls made from shelves finished off with some stools or carpets for stairs would do the job nicely.
Another idea is using two pieces of furniture to create a third. Whoever made the wet bar out of strung-together night stands first -- I'm buying him the first round of Taborean Ale. Because some of the furniture has the ability to overlap other furniture, you can make a lot of creative new designs.
I like how fluid placing items can be. There's no invisible grid locking positions down into specified increments. You slide and rotate furniture as precisely as you want. It tends to feel a little glitchy this way, but the good outweighs the bad. Runewaker could have created a rigid structure of grids to guide the placement of furniture and thus maintain a very clean and organized look, but it wouldn't have been as fun. I think it's much more enjoyable the way it is, even if it feels fidgety, because it allows for unbridled freedom.
Guild castle fun
There's a lot of room for some creative fun you can have with furniture in a guild castle's courtyard. In addition to the opportunity to make a spiraling staircase to heaven (like the one I saw in one guild's courtyard), there's the option to use furniture for games. Maybe timed-races through a maze made of up-ended tables or floating racetracks made of carpets. Carpets make nice platforms that could add platform-jumping gameplay. There's a lot potential for added gameplay for someone at endgame to explore. It doesn't always have to be guild sieges or farming dungeons.
Housekeepers are furniture?
I wouldn't want to demean an NPC, but housekeepers make for great furniture. They can be your bartenders, cheap storage, and more-animated mannequins. Housekeepers come with 19 storage slots, and they only take a one-time payment in gold to hire. Not only is a helper a great way to get more storage slots, but if you utilize the specified armor slots, many of the pieces actually show up on her person. It's just one more way to decorate your house even further, not to mention all the other benefits
Meet the neighbors
Don't discount visiting other players' houses as a means for fun gameplay. Many players never password-protect their homes because they just don't need to. Any storage they may be using to store valuables has its own protection settings, and the players may actually hope to get visitors. Who doesn't like someone popping in and telling you how much he likes your place? I've been spending a lot of time house-hopping lately and have found some impressive furniture layouts.
Everything I've mentioned so far adds up to possibly the best reason to have a house -- or castle -- to begin with: a house party. There's something exciting about watching a lot of players packed into one house, jumping, running around and just goofing off. I'm always up for visiting whenever someone shouts out "house party" in world chat. Players can also be a lot more talkative. I've made friends to group with, trade gear with, and just chat with. And really, until RoM
needs something similar to World of Warcraft's
dungeon finder, I can't think of a better way to pass the time while waiting to form a group.
Housing in RoM
has a lot of possibilities to enhance and expand gameplay. Keep in mind that placing furniture in mid-air can be tough. The way I do it is by stacking items on top of each other then removing the bottom items. I hope this article has shed light on housing ideas for veterans and new players alike. If you know about even more than I've mentioned, let everyone know in the comments.