Monday, December 16, 2013

Cabin In The Woods : EQ2

Someone at SOE is on a roll. For Halloween they came up with what was quite possibly the best small prestige house in EQ2 history - Fright Manor. Now for Frostfell they've surpassed even that exemplary standard with a positively Platonic Ideal of a winter retreat.

For years I've been piling up Station Cash for no better reason than "it might come in handy some day". Now that day has come. Two houses bought in two months. Carry on like this and I'll be SC broke in under a year!

The deed on the generically named "Snowy Dwelling" (seriously, for something this gorgeous, that's the best name you could come up with?) comes with a price tag of 1350SC. That's $13.50 at face value but it's probably closer to $5.00 at the exchange rate that prevailed when I last topped up my imaginary money pit. That was back in the glory days before someone at Sony's Accounting Dept. paid a visit to San Diego and put the kibosh on all those Double and Treble SC sales.

Note to self: Check insurance for cover against meteor strikes

Even at full price it would be one hell of a bargain. Not only do you get a beyond-charming log cabin, surrounded by mature pines and set on its own private island, you also take freehold on a large swathe of the surrounding ocean both above and below the waterline, including several ice floe archipelagos. Everything's fully enabled: you can swim in the water, you can fly through the sky (assuming you can fly in the first place, of course). It's your own personal Winter Wonderland and it feels bigger than Norrath's actual holiday zone itself, Frostfell Wonderland Village.

The Greening of Frostfell. I smell elf.

Talking of The Village, it recently underwent a very successful and welcome facelift during which not only did the invisible decorator elves (the best kind) polish the ice, plump up the snowdrifts and repaint the rainbow bridges, they somehow managed to drag up a whole new mountain. Add that to the considerable visual pleasures of the Ethernere and the very convincing "Spring Meets Winter at Tundra's Edge" atmosphere of the recently-added Velious zone Cobalt Scar and it would seem that EQ2's artists and zone designers have turned something of a corner.

Maybe it's new blood in the art department. Maybe it's the same old bloods feeling the hot breath of the Landmark crew on the backs of their necks. Maybe they just have better tools to work with nowadays. Whatever it is, EQ2 has never looked better.

Not your grandmother's Cobalt Scar, that's for sure.

So my Beastlord has a log cabin with enough stable room for a few dozen warders, provided they don't mind a few inches of snow on their backs. Like my Necromancer before him, now he just needs to decorate. But where to start? There's so much potential, what with the church-high ceiling, the exposed beams and the massive basement.

So much potential and so much work. Just getting the carpets laid and finding a bed took the best part of an hour. Still and all, it'll be good practice for Landmark. If I can't commit to decorating one single-room cabin I can hardly expect to make much of a go of a game dedicated to the building of worlds now, can I?

Bloody goblins. They told me it was flameproof...

This winter and the spring that follows look set to be all about building and decorating. I suppose they always did, inasmuch as I'd expected to be decorating in Eorzea around now, with FFXIV's promised housing patch due to land just before Christmas. Then Square announced that housing would be for Free Companies only for the foreseeable future and that even if personal housing ever did arrive it might only be in the form of rented rooms within Free Company halls and that went most of the way to killing any interest I had in setting up home in FFXIV. The recent revelation of the truly insane pricing structure only delivered the final death blow.

Heating might be a problem

When it comes to payment models for MMOs I'm no zealot. I'll pay my sub or buy in the cash shop as required provided I'm enjoying myself. When it comes to a choice between paying a monthly fee to grind repetitive in-game content for hundreds of hours to save up sufficient imaginary money to buy an imaginary house or just getting out my credit card and handing over the earnings from just an hour or two of real-life work...well, there's no choice, is there?

Calm down! It's not a giant reindeer coming to get you. It's just the sunrise.

Today, in Norrath, I decided to have a cabin in the woods. Today I have a cabin in the woods in Norrath. Now I get to spend many fun hours in-game crafting, questing, buying and trading for things for my house, followed by many more fun hours making the old place look like home. If I'd decided today to get a tiny house the size of an inn room in Eorzea, I guess if I did nothing else but grind the gil I might have one by, ooh, this time next year. Provided I had a few friends willing to give up their free time and throw their cash in the pool too.

I think I'll stay where I am. I know where I'm well-off.


  1. That is another nice little location. I wish SOE had really hit their stride on housing like this about five years back when it would have meant something to me.

  2. Oh, I hardly know where to start, but you covered things nicely instead... Yes, "Snowy Dwelling" has me baffled for its lack of thought, but it was even less thought for me to buy one on the first day of Frostfell. The prestige house output and quality this year has been over the top. I think it's even starting to daunt some of us décor whores, although I count myself relatively casual and puttering in that crowd. Still... I can hardly keep up decorating the houses I've acquired in the last year or so, even while passing on several of the new ones. At that, there is adventuring to do. gads...

    Good point about this possibly being warm-up for Landmark. hmmm... I'm usually skeptical about how much SOE actually thinks through things but...yeah, interesting notion.

    Meanwhile, I'm about to follow that Mog link you posted. I don't expect housing in Tyria (not quite sure why), but, to me Eorzea is just a natural for it. If that's a bust, well, then, once again, we're back home in Norrath, yup.

    -- 7rlsy (AB)

  3. I'm with you all the way, here! Well, almost. But as you know, it's always the minor things one disagrees with that light the spark to write, not the major things one agrees with.

    Don't you think you'd be more appreciative of a home you'd really had to work for, rather than a home that cost you the same as a bucket of fried chicken? Every time you walk into the house your credit card paid for, you'll be thinking "this is my KFC house". Not only does the act of paying for it by credit card break immersion and drop you back to Earth, but also every time you go back to that house you'll feel the same way.

    1. It's a good point. I would certainly agree that of all the MMO houses I've ever owned the one that gave me most satisfaction was my first house in Vanguard, for which I had to scrimp, save and do in-game deals with crafters. And runner-up was my second Vanguard house, when I realized I'd rather live on a beautiful sunny beach in Qalia than a windswept, rainy shore in Thestra. Then after those comes my Maj'Dul mansion for which I had to grind a very great deal of Court of Blades faction.

      On the other hand, there is an immense amount of pleasure in seeing something you want and being able to go "I want that AND I think I'll have it right now".

      On balance I'd say that in an MMO I'm playing full-time I'd prefer a house I had to work for but in a game where I'm more of a dabbler I'd prefer to pay up-front. EQ2 kind of falls in the middle, since I play it regularly but not currently as my main game. If really think about it (and I hadn't until your comment) then yes, I think I'd have preferred to grind faction or quest for the cabin or the haunted house. Given they didn't offer that option, however, I'm more than happy to have something good to spend my Station Cash on for once.


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