Housing in MMOs: Everquest 2

Hobby's Halasian Home by Hobbysocks

I felt that there could not be a blog post series  about housing (with Lord of the Rings Online, Aion and Rift) without Everquest 2. Even though I have never really gotten into the game, the reason I tried it out in the first place was the housing. So, I’m very honored that Rakuno offered to write a guest post about this game’s housing as he’s been playing it for a very long time. Also, have a good look at the gallery at the end of this posting. 132 screenshots showing off the housing in Everquest 2!

If you like what you see here, please also be sure to check out his blog!

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Whenever the discussion of housing comes up in an existing MMO or one in development, Everquest 2’s housing system is often mentioned. There are good reasons for that, as housing in Everquest 2 is certainly one of the most feature rich of the current available MMOs. It is one of the features of the game that has been around since its launch in 2004 and has been improving ever since.

One of the first things anyone that gets a house in Everquest 2 will notice is that all houses are instanced. There is no neighbourhood like in Lord of the Rings Online or Aion. The only thing linking a house in Everquest 2 to a specific location is the door people use to enter or exit it. Whether this is an advantage of the game’s housing system or a disadvantage is a question of personal preference. Personally, I don’t mind it and never felt like it stopped me from creating any house I wanted.

Lastly, as you may have noticed by the size of this post I tried to cover as much about it as I possibly could fit into one post. Don’t be scared, though! This is one of those cases where the explanation is more complicated than the actual system. :)

Quick FAQ

Is there a minimum level required to get a house?
No. You can acquire any house at level 1. You just need to have the required money[1] (in some cases personal status, too) and be able to get to the house door and click on it. This isn’t too hard to do as pretty much all places aren’t very far from the starting area and the mobs can be easily avoided.

If you are just starting out and your character has just two coppers for their name, there are even two room inns in all cities that are free. You only have to click on the door and press the “Buy” button. There is also an accompanying optional quest given by an NPC near those inns that will give you a free broker board, a table, a chandelier and a mirror once completed.

The only real restriction is related to your character alignment. If they are of good alignment, then they can purchase houses in any good city but not in an evil city and vice versa for evil characters. So good character can purchase a house in New Halas, Kelethin or Qeynos as they are all good cities. They would not be able to buy a house in Gorowyn, Neriak or Freeport, though, as those are evil cities. Even that, however, isn’t set in stone. If you find out that the houses in the opposite alignment are more to your taste, you can always betray your character to the other side and purchase the houses there as if you have been from that faction all along.

Is there a fee/a recurring fee to keep the house?
Yes. There is a weekly fee to access the house unless it is a prestige house (more on prestige houses below). The rent cost depends on the size of the house. If you also had to spend personal status to buy the house then there will also be a cost in personal status to the rent. There are a few items that allow to reduce the rent cost in gold but not enough to reduce it to zero. The personal status cost of the rent, on the other hand, can be reduced to zero as pretty much all furniture put into your house reduces this cost. In fact, that is most likely to happen as you decorate your house normally.

If you don’t pay the house rent, nobody (including you) will be able to  enter the house until the rent is paid. To be able to access the house again you just need to pay the rent for one week. Rent can also be paid in advance for up to 12 weeks.

Is there an item limit? What about item placing?
The limit on how many items you can place in a house depends on the house you own. For instance, an inn house has an item count of 200 items and 200 building blocks. The biggest houses have an item count of 800 items and 800 building blocks. If you are wondering what kind of furniture counts as building blocks just check its description, it will have a “building block” tag on it.

The item count can be expanded by 100 with a “Dimensional Pocket Expander”, an item crafted by tinkerers or a “Personal House Item Limit Expander” acquired with real money in the Station Marketplace (SOE’s cash shop). The latter comes in two versions, one that expands the item count by 100 (costs 100 SC, roughly USD$1.00 and another that expands it by 200 items (costs 250 SC, roughly USD$2.50). The expanders bought in the store stack with the crafted one but they don’t stack with each other. That means I can use a “Dimensional Pocket Expander” and “Personal House Item Limit Expander (200)” to raise my house item count by 300. But I can’t use a “Personal House Item Limit Expander (100)” and a “Personal House Item Limit Expander (200)” in the same house. I am not entirely sure what would happen if you tried to use both. I guess the biggest one would be the one that would stick in this case. Keep in mind that they are all consumable, meaning that once you use it in a house they will be gone and you will have to acquire more if you want to expand the item count in other houses you own.

As for item placement it is freeform: You can place items anywhere you want and rotate them in all axes. You can also change the scale of the items although how much an item will scale up or down depends on the individual items.

I keep hearing people talking about “Prestige Houses”. What are those and how do I acquire them?
Prestige houses, as the name implies, are special houses that have certain features that are not available to the other houses. The following list is what makes them different from the normal houses:

  • They all have a base item count of at least 900 items and 900 building blocks with bigger houses often having more than that.
  • You can get a portal from them that you can put in any other house/guild hall you own or have trustee access too. That portal allows you and other people (if the house is open for visitors or they were granted access to it) to just enter the house. This can make it a very convenient way to travel between houses.
  • They don’t have a rent that needs to be paid.
  • They are all accessed through a small post. For the good side that post is located in Qeynos between 2 Bayle Court and 4 Bayle Court houses, near the zone in to Qeynos Harbor.  For the evil side it is in Freeport and is located between the 1 Justice Road and 3 Justice Road houses, South Freeport.

Most of these houses are sold through the Station Marketplace for real money. The cost of the houses varies between 700 SC (about USD$7.00) and 1,350 SC (about USD$13.50). Recently, some of the houses sold on the Marketplace have been available for a limited time as they are thematically linked to one of the seasonal events, like the Fright Manor, which is a horror themed house that was for sale only during Halloween or the Snowy Dwelling house, a lodge located in a small island covered in snow and surrounded by glaciers, which was available for purchase only during Christmas.

Other houses you can acquire through the Legends of Norrath TCG (LON for short) as loot cards that you can get by opening the corresponding pack or by trading with other LON players for it. If you are a gold subscriber you get 5 free LON packages every month of your choice. You need to make sure to claim your packs during the month as they don’t accumulate. Those packs (and their cards) are non-tradeable. Also, keep in mind that the chance of getting a loot card is very low so I wouldn’t recommend buying a bunch of packs and opening them to see if you can get the house. If you really want a prestige house from LON the best way would be to try trading it with another LON player.

Some prestige houses came as part of an expansion’s Collector’s Edition. Unfortunately SOE only sells the latest expansion, so if there is a prestige house that came as part of a previous expansion’s Collector’s Edition your only chance of getting one is either by finding it elsewhere, for example, in some bargain bin.

Lastly, there are houses you can get from the Loyalty Merchant that are purchased with Loyalty Points Tokens. You acquire those points by doing a daily quest. It is a pretty easy quest where you only need to complete two goals out of 6 options to complete it. The goals vary each day but usually involve something you would do anyway like killing X number of mobs, crafting a certain number of items, killing other players in PVP, etc. If you are free player you only get one point by completing the daily quest. If you are a gold subscriber you get 2 points.

At the time of this writing there are only two houses available from the Loyalty Merchants. The Mystmoore Manor[2] which costs 30 Loyalty Tokens and the Luxurious Kromzek Keep[3] which costs 60 points.

And for the sake of completeness, I will mention the Skyblade Skiff. That one was given to players who bought a Platinum Badge for the 2010 Fan Faire. That is a convention that SOE holds every year for their games and nowadays is called SOE Live. Currently there is no other way to obtain the Skyblade Skiff.

When you acquire a prestige house a deed will be put in your inventory. It has an heirloom tag, meaning that you can trade it between characters in the same account and server. Just take that deed with the character of your choice to the prestige house post, select the house from the list and click on the “Buy” button. After that your character will have a nice new house. :) Keep in mind that once you “buy” the house the deed will be gone and there is no way to get it back. So make sure the character who does get the house is the one you want to own the house.

Can you expand the house?
Kinda. You can increase the maximum item count as explained above. In terms of physical space, that is a bit more complicated. Some houses have a fake exterior so you can have a nice view when going to the balcony of your house or looking out the window. If you just try to jump from the balcony you can’t access those areas as there will be an invisible wall stopping you from doing that. But you can access those areas by using teleportation pads and either trying to pass one pad through the invisible walls (not a method I am too familiar with) or by editing the location of one of the pads in the layout file (more about this in a bit). Once you can access those parts with a teleportation pad you can start building in there. This is what people call a “Break Out”.

Just to make it clear: This is not some cheat but it wasn’t something intended either. What I mean by this is this wasn’t something the developers intended to happen when they implemented teleport pads and the fake exterior areas. But since people were doing cool stuff with it and it wasn’t really giving anyone any real advantage in the game nor consuming any more resources they decided to turn a blind eye to it. They made it pretty clear, however, that they would also not give any official support to anyone who did a break out. Unfortunately, I can’t find the thread where they said that anymore, so you will have to take my word for it and the evidence of people openly discussing it on the official forums and even having a thread where they share coordinates for breakouts. :)

Are there any advantages when you own a house?
A few. There are house vaults which works kind of like your bank where you have six slots to put in some crates or bags to store your stuff. The house vault is shared between all your houses.

You can also place sales crates in the house to sell stuff. This way people can come to your house, if they so choose, and buy directly from you without having to pay any broker tax. Keep in mind that by placing a sales crate in your house it will automatically change your house permissions to allow anyone to visit it.

There are also personal depots which is a more specialized storage but allows you to store far more of that item type. They can only be accessed from the house you put the depot in, though. An example of a depot would be the harvesting one where you can store any harvesting materials in. It has a capacity to hold all tiers of harvesting materials including rares and some seasonal materials in stacks of up to 99.999. The personal depots are crafted by tinkerers and are tradeable.

It is also possible to buy crafting stations from the NPCs to place in your home. The “simple” ones are more for show than anything else nowadays (it only allows you to craft up to the first bar) while the “Elaborate” ones work just like a normal crafting station.

Lastly, there are also tradeskill apprentices that will give you a daily tradeskill quest which rewards some crafting XP, some random items and they will research some unique recipes over time.

What’s the maximum amount of houses per characters / per account?
At the time of this writing you can have up to 25 houses per character.

I betrayed my character from the good side to the evil side. Can I keep the house I had on the good side (or vice-versa)?
You can. It might just be a little more complicated to go back to your old house depending on the circumstances since your call to home will be changed to only be usable on cities of your new alignment. So if the betrayal was from the good side to the evil side you will only be able to bind your “call to home” spell to evil cities. This would require you to sneak in the city where your old house is located. However, if it is a prestige house you can take a portal with you and put it in a convenient place to access your old house or if you are in a guild that has a guild hall with the “portal to member housing” amenity this isn’t much of an issue.

Are there guild houses?
Yes. There are two styles of guild halls, good and evil, with 4 tiers each. The higher the tier the bigger the hall and the bigger the item count. Which style your guild gets is purely dependent on the guild’s preference. The game doesn’t really care in which city the guild was originally made or the alignment of the officer buying the guild hall. As long as they can reach the door to the chosen guild hall, the guild has the required level to buy it and the officer can buy it then it is all fine. That means your guild leader could be a shadow knight (evil only class) who decides to sneak into Qeynos (good only city) to buy a guild hall there. :)

Which tier your guild can buy depends on the guild level. Tier 1 can only be bought starting from guild level 30, tier 2 on guild level 50, tier 3 on guild level 70 and tier 4 on guild level 95. The higher the tier the higher the cost to buy it as well as the weekly rent to keep it open. Just like houses, your guild hall becomes inaccessible if rent wasn’t paid until one of the officers (or any person with permission to do so) pays one week of rent. There is an escrow where people can donate money and/or status to help pay the rent as well as any amenities. Unlike houses, the rent of a guild hall cannot be brought down by any means.

Another feature of guild halls is that they can have amenities like a guild banker, broker, teleportation devices, etc. How many amenity slots your guild can have depends on its level. At guild level 30 it can have up to 5 amenities. Every 5 levels after that you get two more amenity slots and 3 more every 10 levels. At level 62 that formula changes to one amenity slot every other level instead.

Are there any limitations unless you pay real money?
Not directly to housing, no. There are some indirect ones. For instance, as a free player you can’t buy directly from someone’s selling crate. If you want to buy something from another player it has to be done trough the broker or by opening a trade window with them.

You also can’t put anything to sell in the broker unless you buy some Broker Credits. Broker Credits cost 50 SC (about USD$0.10). They will give you 10 tokens and each token allows you to sell *one* item. If you used to be a gold subscriber any items that were listed for sale before you stopped subscribing will continue to be listed unless you take it off the broker. You won’t be able to add new items for sale either in that case unless you buy the tokens like a regular free player.

What other features distinguish Everquest 2’s housing from other games?
There is the ability to save and load a house layout. This means that the position of all your house items can be saved, allowing you to experiment with the decoration and if you don’t like it go back to how things were. It can also be used for temporary decorations like for instance a decoration for Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day or anything else. You could just load that layout for the appropriate season and when it is over you can easily put everything back in the moving crate. :)

What I like most about the layout feature, though, is that the files are all saved to your own computer in a text file. So, I can open that file with a text editor and change the coordinates of the furniture. This allows for a much higher precision over the items’ placements than moving them manually in-game. Breaking out is also easier since all you have to do is change the coordinates of the teleport pad to a known location.

It is also pretty trivial to share the  decoration of one of your houses with somebody else. All you need to do is send them the layout files. The person just needs to make sure they have the same items, load the file and voilà, an identical decoration. This doesn’t necessarily need to be for a full house decoration. It can also be used for parts of a house, like a custom aquarium.

Additional information
If you find yourself enjoying the decoration part of Everquest 2 and would like to chat with like-minded people there is a custom channel in-game called Homeshow. To join it type in the chat:

/join Antonia_Bayle.Homeshow

That command is for any server, regardless of region. If you play on the Antonia Bayle server the command is easier. Just type:

/join Homeshow

The official forums also have a corner dedicated just for house decoration. Besides discussing ideas and things we would like to see implemented among other subjects, it is a nice place to share screenshots of your work or admiring the works of others. :) You can find it here.

Well, that is it. Thank you for reading and hope it answered some questions for anyone wondering how housing works in Everquest 2. :)

Footnotes
[1] There are a few exceptions to that in where they will have additional requirements besides money and status. For instance, all the biggest houses in Qeynos and Freeport also require the character to be in a guild of level 30 or higher to acquire it, but staying in the guild isn’t required to keep the house after it has been purchased. Maj’Dul houses will require money, personal status and to have an ally (40,000 or more) faction with one of the Maj’Dul courts so you can buy a house license. You can obtain that faction either by questing or by turning in tokens dropped by members of the opposite courts to the NPC of your chosen court located in the Tower of the Moon in Maj’Dul. The reason for that is those houses are very old content (Qeynos and Freeport houses were released with the game, Maj’Dul came with the game’s first expansion, Desert of Flames) so they reflect the kind of thinking of the time.

[2] The Mystmoore Manor is also a 7-year veteran reward. It appears automatically on your /claim window as soon as your account gets that old. As a veteran reward the house deed can be claimed once per character and is heirloom (meaning it is no-trade except for characters in the same account and same server).

[3] The deed can also be acquired as a raid drop. I wasn’t able to find a clear answer of where it drops. The biggest possibility seems to be The Fortress of Drunder, a level 90 raid, in Velious.

3 thoughts on “Housing in MMOs: Everquest 2

  1. Thank you once more for allowing me this opportunity. :)

    I hope this will be a good introduction for people interested to Everquest 2’s housing and hopefully help someone decide if it is something they are interested in or not.

    About the amount of screenshots… Well, I am not good at taking screenshots. So I tried to take a bunch of of them hoping at least some of them would end being good! ^^;;;

    Also I wanted to show as much variety of the housing in Everquest 2 as possible as well as the different decorations people can make. Although perhaps that might have been a bit too ambitious for an introductory post… ^^ ;;;

    Oh, and about the “invisible” ratonga in the screenshots. There is a first person view in Everquest 2. But if I did take screenshots with it then they would all be from the height of a ratonga, the race of my character, which wouldn’t make for good screenshots. So I tried the next best thing which was to make my character invisible and look for the best angle I could to take screenshots.

    Like

    1. Aaah. I was wondering about that, because I thought I had seen first person view in EQ2 – and I think Guild Wars 2 is the only MMO that refuses to give us this feature. ;)

      Like

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