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Many RPGs, especially the free-roaming type, offer the player character some chance at owning housing or a stronghold. It seems like a fairly popular addition - it's been in the last 3 Elder Scrolls games, Baldur's Gate 2 and Throne of Bhaal, at least one Might & Magic game, etc.

What makes player housing a good addition to the game? What do you look for or hope it will provide? What's an example of it working well?

I thought the strongholds in Baldur's Gate 2 were pretty fun, especially in that they specialized based on your class. The Wizard stronghold even gave you unique artifacts if you played your cards right. It didn't exactly feel like a refuge from the world in the way that strongholds in Oblivion and Skyrim were, though.

Pillars of Eternity is supposed to have a *really* involved stronghold, complete with defending it from bandits. I'm pretty psyched about that.
Perhaps a bit strangely, the first one that sprung to my mind is the Kahleigh's Retreat mod for Morrowind. Many Morrowind house mods overdo things or take downsizing to an extreme; I think that the Retreat strikes a good balance for me, and the location's good as well. Also, I seem to recall that the cat in the house was named after ours.

E: typo.
Post edited December 31, 2014 by AlKim
benimarus manor
and i mostly use it to store all my crap

i like the houses in vampire bloodlines they again allow me to store my crap and read my emails
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AlKim: Perhaps a bit strangely, the first one that sprung to my mind is the Kalheigh's Retreat mod for Morrowind. Many Morrowind house mods overdo things or take downsizing to an extreme; I think that the Retreat strikes a good balance for me, and the location's good as well. Also, I seem to recall that the cat in the house was named after ours.
Thanks for including the link. Believe it or not, while I played a lot of Morrowind I never got around to modding it. I've always been concerned about the quality and balance of mods ... this one looks nice, though.
I can't wait to see the one for Pillars of Eternity since my favorite stronghold so far is Crossroads Keep in Neverwinter Nights 2. I love anything that offers choices. I also love that they give a goal to work towards, it takes serious effort to accumulate all the needed gold mid-game, I always feel very invested in my strongholds, but if you don't want to, you don't have to. NWN2 gives utilitarian choices, the buildings provide different inventories, different bonus stats, including even the ability to shift your alignment dramatically. You can recruit people to man your castle and train your soldiers. You prospect for huge veins of ore to be able to make better weapons and armor to arm your people. The improvements also tilt something extremely plot-significant in your favor or against it. Plus you have Jarred and his crew, which is just a ball of laughs. You chose how much to tax people, how criminals should be dealt with, where the guards patrol, etc. And each one of those has consequences. Overlord on the other hand offers almost entirely cosmetic options. You choose what your evil tower of evil looks like, statues, carpet, spikes, throne, flooring, etc. My least favorite, although I still am okay with it, is the villa in Assassin's Creed II. You can choose in what order to buy upgrades, and you can buy paintings, but everything is very set. You basically are just sinking wealth in it to make the villa more inhabited and aesthetically pleasing. But there are no choices. The end full-furnished villa will look like absolutely everyone else's and behave exactly the same. At least the tax system is fairly well done in ACII.
Post edited December 30, 2014 by Melhelix
I loved Baldur's Gate 2's strongholds except for the Thieves Guild which annoyed me as you'd loose it if away more than a week.
I also lookk forward to Pillars of Eternity. I just hope it won't have hundreds of DLCs in Paradox style. Umtil then I have Wasteland 2 to finish.
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Melhelix: I can't wait to see the one for Pillars of Eternity since my favorite stronghold so far is Crossroads Keep in Neverwinter Nights 2. I love anything that offers choices. I also love that they give a goal to work towards, it takes serious effort to accumulate all the needed gold mid-game, I always feel very invested in my strongholds, but if you don't want to, you don't have to.
It sounds like I should revisit my NWN 2 campaign game. I was getting tired of playing a bard, but that stronghold sounds amazing.

Can you revisit it after the end-game? Or would answering that be spoilerish?

Thanks.
Tenpenny Tower in Fallout 3. Nothing more fun that standing on the balcony with old man whizzlecheeks and shooting subhuman mutant scum with high powered rifles, then going inside and relaxing with a nice cold glass of nuka cola.

And the view to Megaton is a sight to behold.
I'm a simple man.
My shed in Gothic. :D

What I like is how overprotective they are. Try to take a crust of bread out of someone else's shed and they come at you with a fucking battle ax. XD

Very Nice thread BTW OP.
Post edited December 30, 2014 by tinyE
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sergeant_citrus: It sounds like I should revisit my NWN 2 campaign game. I was getting tired of playing a bard, but that stronghold sounds amazing.

Can you revisit it after the end-game? Or would answering that be spoilerish?

Thanks.
The end game for the base NWN2 campaign is very final. You get an epilogue, but then it's straight to the credits. You can end up hitting the Keep in the Storm of Zehir expansion, but the Keep doesn't carry over the choices you made, which sucks. NWN2's main campaign bogs down significantly with the whole Owl Well bit, hoooowever, from the start of the Trial onward, it goes completely fantastic (in my opinion at least, except for the Good epilogue. That's just idiotic. The Evil one is better. But to each their own). Then, there's the expansion Mask of the Betrayer which is known as one of the best game expansions written, ever. I also like the Storm of Zehir expansion due to how they changed up talking to NPCs and your party's input.
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sergeant_citrus: What makes player housing a good addition to the game? What do you look for or hope it will provide? What's an example of it working well?

I thought the strongholds in Baldur's Gate 2 were pretty fun, especially in that they specialized based on your class.
The one in BG 2 was the first that came to my mind. I wish I had spent a bit more time developing it. It was a gorgeous, typical looking and immense castle. Loved it even more because I "earned" it by clearing out a warren of trolls.

I remember having a bit of fun with the stronghold in Divinity 2 as well. For me, what "makes" a stronghold is the ability to upgrade it and have it perform useful functions (maybe I can train allies there, maybe I have to maintain it with a garrison and actually defend it, maybe it will produce unique or interesting items or give my character bonuses).

Now that I think of it, Expeditions Conquistador had a fun stronghold as well (I remember being thrilled when I learned I was able to use it - though it showed up a bit late in game to be as useful as it could have - it was the icing on top of an already amazing game).

Oh and Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood has wonderful strongholds. Actually, the more I type this, the more I realize it's a feature I really enjoy and wish were peppered into more games!
On the minimalistic side, my backpack in Divine Divinity. I have a nice metal bed that fits right in there and doesn't weigh anything. A comfy mattress is much nicer than a blanket spread on the hard ground after a long day fighting!
*edit because I just read your post Melhelix
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Melhelix: ... since my favorite stronghold so far is Crossroads Keep in Neverwinter Nights 2. I love anything that offers choices ...
This is awesome and sounds exactly like what I most enjoy about and hope for in strongholds LOL! Might have to give this a go sometime!
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tinyE: I'm a simple man.
My shed in Gothic. :D

What I like is how overprotective they are. Try to take a crust of bread out of someone else's shed and they come at you with a fucking battle ax. XD

Very Nice thread BTW OP.
Ha, I'm currently on a playthrough of Risen, and people are very concerned about me when I look at their cupboards the wrong way ... I have to actually RP this game!

Thanks!
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Ixamyakxim: For me, what "makes" a stronghold is the ability to upgrade it and have it perform useful functions (maybe I can train allies there, maybe I have to maintain it with a garrison and actually defend it, maybe it will produce unique or interesting items or give my character bonuses).
I think that's a big part of it for me, too. I like developing my character, and I like developing his/her stronghold, too. This is partially why I liked the Hearthfire DLC for Skyrim, even though many people knocked it ... I slowly built up the house and enjoyed as it added more features and crafting stations and things.
Post edited December 30, 2014 by sergeant_citrus