Housing is an often-requested feature in just about every MMORPG that launces without it. Elder Scrolls Online is no different. Since the game launched, housing has been one of Zenimax’s most-requested additions. In early 2017, Homestead will be the free Update that brings it to all Tamriel’s citizens. We caught up with the Creative Director Rich Lambert to chat about all the many things you’ll get to do with your own private residence.
MMORPG: Housing is something that's LONG been requested of ESO. What took so long? (Don't hit me!)
Rich Lambert: Homesteads are a huge system and we needed the time to get everything in. We had to build an editor for furniture placement, build the actual homes, create the assets and get everything sourced in game. On top of that we had to make sure the backend work was done for everything as well as making sure the servers could handle the additional load. It takes times to make something as huge as this.
MMORPG: Have you created new assets specifically for housing, or is it mostly stuff we've already seen in the game?
RL: There are some new assets, but the majority were pulled from the base game and DLC zones.
MMORPG: What other housing systems in MMOs gave you your inspiration for how to approach it in Tamriel?
RL: We knew from the start what our core pillars of the system would be, but we did look at a ton of different games – not just MMOs for inspiration. In addition, we have quite a few housing fanatics on the team, so we didn’t have a shortage of ideas.
MMORPG: What crafting professions can make furniture, and at what level can someone start making items to place in their house?
RL: All the crafting professions can make furnishings which are themed around the material they use. (i.e. – Woodworking makes wooden things, Provisioning makes wax foods…etc) In addition there are some furnishings that require skill in multiple professions in order to craft. (i.e. – a Dark Elf Full Bed requires Metalworking 4, Tailoring 10 and Woodworking 6)
The most basic crafted items can generally start being made around level 5 in their crafting skill lines (i.e. – 2 points in the passive), so you can craft things pretty early on.
MMORPG: You mention that a quest will give everyone their first house. Can you give more detail without spoiling the story?
RL: It’s a pretty simple story intended to teach you how to find a home, how furnishings work and how to place them. Once you complete it, you receive a small inn room to call your own. Additional homes can be purchased in the world with gold once you’ve completed certain achievements.
MMORPG: On that note, when WILL we see the story continued? We all want to know what's going on with Varen and the rest of the cast since the defeat of Molag Baal.
RL: Something will happen sometime during Update 13 to further that particular storyline. Not going to say when, what or how just yet because… spoilers.
MMORPG: Will Homestead be a paid DLC or one for everyone?
RL: It’s part of the base game – so free for anyone to participate in.
MMORPG: You mention an island retreat that can only be bought in the Crown Store. Is it just the locale that makes this special, or are there other benefits to owning it?
RL: It’s huge, and looks amazing. It has the same item / player cap as the Manor homes which can be purchased with gold though, so no other extra special benefits.
MMORPG: Decorating and relaxing in your house are all well and good, but what about other game functions - crafting namely. Or maybe as a place to log out to get rest XP?
RL: You can craft in your home, yep. You can also test out your combat prowess with target dummies as well. You can also allow others access to your home to visit! We already have a system for “rested xp” which is enlightenment, so we didn’t add any more bonuses to that.
MMORPG: Will there be houses in Cyrodiil?
RL: There are no homes placed directly in Cyrodiil, but there are Imperial homes spread throughout the world. (I suggest checking Malabal Tor, Craglorn and Reaper’s March if you are interested)
MMORPG: What about using houses for gardening or farming?
RL: For this initial release of housing, we wanted to focus on the homes, collecting furnishings and decorating your home the way you want. We do have plans for a gardening type system at a later date though.