You CAN go home again...
Since the first article in this series, MMOs, Housing, and Hope, I’ve rediscovered an older gem in a new setting: EverQuest II Extended, usually called EQ2X by those in the know (that is, geeky gamer types like me). The X, or Extended, refers to the Free-to-Play option, a remarkably robust system with more than enough quests and regions to get you to the level cap (maximum level) with plenty of quests to finish when you get there. However, rather than extolling the virtues of running a free-to-play model this way, I’ll get you straight to what you’re here for — the housing.
EQ2X housing offers a wide variety of options in each capital city. Starting with the standard “apartment”, a two-level structure with windows, a storage area, and in some cases, a fireplace, you pay just a few silver for weekly upkeep on an open-ended, deeply customizable housing system. Place furniture, trophies and doodads wherever you like, setting up a table and chairs in the center of a rug, then adding candlesticks and place settings, until the full RPG look is ready for your visitors — invite them over for lunch! Home access permissions are similar to LotRO, with different degrees of visitor access and control — if you want someone else to pay your upkeep, treat them like family, with full access to move and re-size your furnishings.
Note the statue with her arms upraised; my character is half the height of that figure.
That statue is a four-inch tall figurine in my son's house, and she guards the message center.
How do I move my furniture?
Your mouse scroll wheel controls everything from rotating to raising and lowering furnishings, as well as changing their size:
- Rotate item: Scroll mouse wheel up and down
- Adjust height: Control (ctrl) plus mouse wheel to lift items off the floor and place them (against a wall, for example) in mid-air
- Re-size item: Shift plus mouse wheel to miniaturize or giant-size your furniture and decor
One of the first things I noticed when I placed a bed I’d earned from a quest, was that the bed looked ridiculously small next to my character’s frame. This quest took place in a pixie-like realm, so of course the bed was tiny. I ran through a number of crafting quests to make my own bed (not quite right, but certainly larger) before realizing that I could re-size the original bed. Nevertheless, the EQ2X crafting options for furnishings include several different styles, letting you create and decorate to your tastes. And if two rooms aren’t enough, turn your woodworking talents to room dividers, or just pack up and move your stuff into a bigger home.
Look out the window and see your reflection in the mirror. Place books as you like -- on tables, in shelves, stacked on a box... you get the idea. It's YOUR home!
While I do prefer the graphics in LotRO, you’d expect far less visual competition from an older game like EQ2 (originally released in 2004). However, in EverQuest II, I love scrolling in to closely examine threadwork on my armor, etchings along the edge of a table, and the wide variety of textures throughout the game. EQ2 hasn’t just “aged well”, it’s on par with many modern games and in some aspects far better than most — housing, in particular.