"Welcome to my castle!"
"But this is only a small tower?"
One of the most unique and exciting parts of UO is owning a house. To date, no other MMO has implemented a system quite like it. The ability to place, decorate, and customize your own home is one of the greatest aspects of this game.
Acquiring your abode
There are two methods to get a house: build or buy.
To build a home you first need to purchase a House Placement Tool from an NPC Architect. They cost under 1,000 gold. Some characters of a persecuted nature advocate always carrying a tool so you can check your bank balance without saying "balance" and getting the public display of your net worth. Once you have your tool, look at the price ranges to see what is in your budget.
Once you have enough gold for the house it is time to find the location. Depending on your Shard, the open land available can vary greatly. On a heavily populated shard such as Atlantic, medium size houses are all that can fit. On less populated, 18x18 and other large sizes can be found if looked for hard enough.
When you are at your spot, select the house size/style and target the ground where the steps would go. Either the house will appear or it will tell you something is blocking. New housing requires no blocking objects under or within 1 tile of the foundation. The house must also be 5 tiles away from any other player house from front and behind. For more specifics on house placing, see House Placing.
If the house appears, congratulations! If not, keep trying.
House buyers do so for many reasons. They don't have the time to look for a spot. They can't find one because they want a large. They want a house in a specific location. Etc.
One of the main advantages to buying a house is it is usually a lot quicker than placing yourself. A big disadvantage is that the price is usually 10x or more then what it would cost to place yourself. For very large homes such as Keeps and Castles, buying is pretty much the only option available to most players.
Once you settle on buying, there is another decision. Whether to pay with gold or cash. The really pricey homes, such as the ones in Luna, usually only sell for cash. There is no real secure method to handle such a transaction and going about how to pay by cash is not going to be covered here.
There are several ways to find a house for sale. You can stand at a popular bank, such as West Britain Bank or Luna. You can go to areas you would like to live in and check house signs for sellers. If you see someone while searching, ask them if they know anyone selling. They might even say decide to if the price you offer is good enough. Shard specific trading sites are a good place to look for listings or post your own buy requests.
Once you have located a home and decided on a price with the seller, you both meet at the house. The seller opens the house sign and begins the transaction process. A trade window opens and on the seller's side, a glacial colored deed is shown with the house information. You then place the agreed upon gold/items in. Both parties accept. You now own the house!
There are two types of housing: pre-built and custom.
In the beginning, housing only came in premade styles. These houses cost slightly more than their dirt plot counter-parts. Original houses came first, Renaissance houses were adding during the Renaissance expansion.
Castles & Keeps
The demand for customized Castles and Keeps grew as more players were able to attain these buildings and wanted to differentiate themselves. Eventually, a system for implementing player input in the new designs was created. During the publish cycle, a contest is held on the Test Center. Players are allowed to create either a customized Keep or Castle design, which is voted upon by other players. This system went into place with the testing of Publish 101. The official rules can be found here: Keep and Castle Contest Rules
Each time the contest runs, the top 5 player-voted designs plus an additional design selected by the developers are added to the Housing Placement Tool. The cost for these buildings are pretty high which adds to their value and exclusivity. Winners of the contests do not get to have their design for free. Links below go to the UO.com site with images of each building's design and layout.
- Publish 101: 1 Keep and 5 Castle designs added Pub101-Design Contest
- Publish 102: skipped, no contest
- Publish 103: 6 Keep designs added Pub103-Design Contest
- Publish 104: 6 Castle designs added Pub104-Design Contest
- Publish 105: 6 Keep designs added Pub105-Design Contest
- Publish 106: 6 Castle designs added (coming soon)
Introduced with the Age of Shadows expansion, custom houses were a groundbreaking system redefining what housing was and could be. No longer were players restricted to a dozen or so styles. The new limit is imagination.
Custom housing is available in a variety of sizes from 7x7 up to 18x18. Once a plot is placed, you can enter customization mode through the house sign and build your dream home. For further details, please see house customization.
Owning a home
Once your house is built, what do you do with it? That is up to you. The function of your house can vary greatly from a storage depot to a guild headquarters to a PVP hot spot or just a place you use to unwind after a long day of slaying monsters.