Homestead, the forthcoming mega housing patch for Elder Scrolls Online, just hit the Public Test Server and we dove in eagerly to view a few of the more luxurious spaces and see how the decorating works. Alongside all the new homely goodness, ESO is also adding furniture crafting, overhauling a ton of class and weapon skills for balance, and tweaking loads of other aspects to the game. Primarily, this article will be about the housing, expect more thoughts from our staff on the other bits later.
The first thing I can report is that no crown prices are yet mentioned in the Crown Store for the houses. Everything on PTS is going for 1 crown, but I did notice there are two Crown Store exclusive homes, also denoted by House Icons on the world map of Tamriel. The Stonetear Cavern in Craglorn, and the Torpal Island off the southern coast of Grahtwood are both only available for crowns. Since one of them is a WHOLE FREAKING ISLAND, I can’t imagine it’ll be very cheap. We’ll report back as soon as we know the cost, but if you’re aiming to have your own volcanic island, I’d wager you’ll want to start saving now. The lead image of this article is a view from its private dock.
There are nearly 40 total houses in the game to start, each with their own distinct look and feels, for ever race, faction, and region. I’m fond of the Orsimer and the Nords, so I’ll probably go for one of their homes first, but since houses are account-bound and not character-bound, I’ll probably eventually own as many as I can.
It’s worth noting that houses come unfurnished, or you can spend Crowns to buy them completely furnished if you’re lacking the time, patience, or creativity to fill them with furniture. While Housing is just one of the game’s many features, it’s most likely meant as a gold sink or long-term activity for those who enjoy collecting and crafting. You can place your pets, assistants, even your mounts anywhere in the houses. They still come with you and are summonable outside of the homes, but it adds a little atmosphere to have your merchant or banker on your own private estate.
Completion of any Veteran dungeon when Homestead launches will net you a statue of the dungeon’s final bust to display in your house too, and crafters of all professions can find and learn recipes to make home furnishings. Expect the many markets of ESO to be flooded with furniture for a while, adding to my feeling that ESO needs to make some sort of centralized market or auction house one day. I know their thoughts on the matter, but finding what you want in Tamriel is too rough as it is now unless you join several trading guilds.
I’ve only scratched the surface of what housing has to offer for the MMO-er that likes their game with leisure activities included (that’s me). I expected there to be a lot of homes, and they will set you back some gold or Crowns beyond the initial free apartment given via questing. I expect many people will just fork out the cash to buy their ideal house, and that’s not so bad. I’m not super keen on their be Crown Store exclusive homes, but considering how magnanimous they are I get it. I just know there will be folks who are miffed about not being able to earn them in-game, even if they have zero impact on the game’s competitive or progression paths. Heck, if the price is right, I’ll probably buy the Torpal Island myself.
I’m pretty impressed by Homestead from my brief tour, knowing there’s plenty of stuff to collect and add to my own personal abode. I can’t wait until other functions can be done in housing – some sort of gardening system would be grand. But you can craft in them, you can invite your guilds, friends, or no one at all to your own private Idaho. Most all the houses can be seen in the open world (save the two Crown store private instances), and while the houses themselves are instanced privately it’s good to see they’re not separated from the general populace. It’ll be interested to see how many people are loitering around your domicile though – that might be a bit weird.
Expect more reports from the PTS in the next week or two, as Homestead is due out on the live servers in February.