Kinship Neighborhoods. What a lovely idea. A place where all your kin can live together to decorate your homes, RP for events, share storage space, or just see familiar names when you are walking to the neighborhood vendor. A great feature right? But one that Turbine has never provided us.
Do not despair! After much experience, I have come up with a technique that will virtually guarantee your kinship its own private slice of Middle Earth. My kinship, The Lonely Mountain Band, has now used this successfully on 4 neighborhoods, one for each racial type. It takes time, patience, and money to pull off. Here’s how it works:
A Kinship Neighborhood
The kinship neighborhood technique relies on knowing when a brand new neighborhood will spawn. This occurs a few hours after there are no more of any type of houses in a particular racial area. So if there are no more Standard homes in the Falathlorn Estates, then 3 empty neighborhoods will spontaneously appear. If you can predict when the spawn will occur, your kinship can quickly swoop in to buy up all the property.
Planning for the move
Buying up an entire neighborhoods worth of homes is very difficult to coordinate. Not all of your kinship may want to move to a Shire neighborhood. Not everyone is willing to accept a standard size home. At LMB, we planned our neighborhood in 2 stages. Stage 1 is where we look for a critical mass of players who want to move into a new neighborhood. Once we know we can at least buy out the deluxe homes, we’ll move on to the second stage. In that stage, we allocate an address to each player on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once we get all the plots (or most of them) allocated its time to start waiting…
A set of 3 new neighborhoods is spawned every 2-3 months for each racial neighborhood. This is a very long time in MMO land. So the group you have when the neighborhood spawns may not be exactly the buyers who signed up originally. Make sure to keep up on your address list, checking that your buyers haven’t left the game or purchased homes elsewhere. Nowadays, most neighborhoods spawn when Deluxe homes are all exhausted. To find out how many are left in a racial area, check with the housing broker each day and tally up the number of free Deluxe homes in all the neighborhoods. When this number dips below 5, its time to start planning on a move! Organize your kin and get ready!
Manipulating the Spawn time
You accelerate spawn time forward or backward in time somewhat by purchasing up the last few Deluxe homes in a racial area to force the spawn. You can slow it down by having members who already own homes in the racial area abandon homes so that there are more on the market.
Ghost Homes and CDs
Sometimes there will be no homes listed available and no neighborhood will spawn. This is due to a player abandoning a home that hasn’t shown up on the market yet. This “Ghost Home” will clog up the spawn until it shows up on the market and gets bought up. Also, beware of purchase cool downs (CDs). You can only buy one home every 48 hours. So if you purchase a home to force a spawn, you cannot immediately abandon it and purchase a home in the new neighborhood. You need to wait 48 hours.
Finally the day has come! Three new neighborhoods have spawned and its time for your kin to get in gear. First order is to pick a neighborhood your kin wants. It all comes down to name and if any homes have already been purchased by non-kin members. Once you pick a neighborhood, its time to start moving in quickly! Have your members start purchasing their homes ASAP. Buying out homes not only takes them off the market, it makes your neighborhood look less attractive than the other 2 new neighborhoods because there is less choice.
Tips for holding the neighborhood
Each neighborhood has 4 kin halls, 10 deluxes, and 16 standards. Its easy to max out the deluxe homes, but harder to fill up the kin halls and standards. For Standards, we generally put new players and free to play alts in. Remember, you must be level 15 to purchase a home, and free to play accounts have a gold cap that prevents them from buying deluxe homes.
Kin houses are a little more problematic. One approach is to form “alt-kins” made up of alts of kin members. These alt-kins need to be planned well in advance so they can mature for 90-days to reach the rank required to purchase a kin house. Another approach is to find other kins to move into the neighborhood with you. When the Lonely Mountain Band purchased our Dwarven neighborhood, we asked our long-time friends and Allies “The Glory of the Longbeards” to join us with a truly Dwarven corner of the neighborhood.
Keeping your neighborhood current
As time goes on, you’ll have players come and go from your kin, and also come and go from LOTRO. To prevent your neighborhood from becoming a ghost town, try the following guidelines:
- Open up maintenance permissions so your house doesn’t get condemned
- Share your vault space with kinship members so your house is worth storage even if you leave the game
- Give your kinship leader permissions rights to your home in case you leave the game
- If you leave the game, abandon your home and let a kin member move in
Once in a while you’ll get players purchasing an empty home in your neighborhood. In such cases, its best to be polite and generous. Find a kin member (or alt account) willing to buy the home and then contact the owner with an offer to buy out the home for double the normal purchase price. Generosity goes much farther than annoyance here, so make sure to emphasize that you’d like to purchase the home, not that you need them to leave your little corner of Middle Earth.
Turbine may not have given us the tools to create a kinship only neighborhood, but given patience and organization, you can get one put together for your kin. The benefits of a kinship neighborhood cannot be understated. It forms a heart for your kin, a space in Middle Earth that many of your kin can be a part of. The act of creating it is a lesson in team-work. And the resulting “barn-raising” after purchase is a truly wonderful time as players help each other decorate their homes as a kin.