The Homestead update in The Elder Scrolls Online allows your characters to own housing and craft furniture. After a week of owning a property, I’m appreciating how nice it feels to have a place to call home in the quiet moments between adventuring.
Room at the inn
To begin your ascension from a homeless hero to a property-owning protagonist, you can pick up a free advertisement from the Crown Store or spot a poster around cities that points you towards an elf housing broker named Canthion.
Canthion owns a room at the local inn that he’s been letting out to an orc named Bulag Idolus. It turns out that Bulag has been running a skooma operation out of the place, and has absconded with the deed to the property. Canthion can’t send guards out looking for Bulag, as he can’t prove his ownership. It’s up to you to help Canthion and retrieve the deed.
After visiting the nearby Outlaws Refuge and persuading Bulag’s former partner Szugoroth to let you inspect clues he took from the room, you get a lead about where Bulag might be hiding. I liked how there were different options available to persuade Szugoroth, depending on your character’s affiliations – if you are a member of the Dark Brotherhood, you could use their reputation to scare him; or if you are a member of the Thieves Guild, you could offer to put in a good word with the guild. There’s also the default option of being able to bribe Szugoroth with gold, which suited my character who is neither a thief nor an assassin.
Bulag is hiding out inside a delve with some unsavory types for protection, but eventually you track her down. It’s not a problem to get there on a seasoned character who has been around the world, but for a lower level character, it might involve a trek across areas you haven’t explored yet and don’t have convenient wayshrines to teleport to.
After dealing with Bulag and returning to Canthion, he says you can keep the deed as a reward. But before he’ll sign it over, he wants to ensure that you can furnish your new room (as reassurance that you aren’t just going to use it as a skooma lab). Your options are to craft your own piece of furniture, or buy something from one of the new home furnishing vendors in town.
Each of the crafting profession vendors have basic blueprints, designs or patterns for furnishings. You can also randomly find more furnishing designs in containers around the world such as backpacks or from stealing and pickpocketing. Once you’ve learnt a crafting recipe, you’ll need to find some of the new crafting materials, which have a chance to appear at all of the regular resource nodes – for example heartwood may appear while you’re gathering wood.
Once Canthion is satisfied, you’ll be the proud owner of your own room at the inn. It’s quite a modest sized room, but there was enough space to for me to put down a bed and some other items, including my pet monkey.
First time buyer
If you have some gold to spare, then owning a house is a lot more impressive than a room at the inn. There are a variety of homes available across Tamriel, in various sizes including small, medium, large and mansion. There are houses representing all of the major racial styles and in locations around the world both remote and in the middle of bustling cities.
The large mansions cost millions of gold – way out of my character’s price range for now. I’ve seen people complaining about the high cost, but to me it seems quite reasonable for something you’d need to save up for and work on over time. You can’t expect to grab a huge mansion right away without saving up some gold and working towards a goal. Even if you had a rich character that could afford it, then furnishing the place would take even more time and gold.
I decided that it’s mostly sensible to start small and work my way up. The small homes available in the game contain one reasonably sized open space for a reasonable price. The one I wanted cost 56,000 gold, which is far less than what I’ve previously spent on bank and bag space upgrades.
I bought the former home of Captain Margaux in Daggerfall for my Daggerfall Covenant Templar. I like how there’s a little bit of lore for the house, involving the Breton merchant-explorer Captain Margaux sailing off into the Sea of Pearls and not being seen since, making the house available for purchase. It also feels like coming full circle in my journey, as my new house is located directly opposite the place where my character first awoke in Nirn after escaping from Coldharbour.
My house is also very convenient. It’s right in the middle of Daggerfall’s crafting district and has the Bank of Daggerfall across the street. The noticeboards where I pick up daily crafting writs are right outside too. It’s definitely a great place to teleport to whenever I need to deposit stuff at the bank or use a crafting station. The stables are also nearby, although I no longer need to train my horse. One of the only downsides to the location is that the Daggerfall wayshrine is on the opposite side of town near my room at the Rosy Lion Inn.
A great feature of Homestead is the ability to set permissions for visitor entry, so specific people can visit your primary residence at any time, even while you are offline. You can easily set permissions for your guildmates or set permissions for individual characters.
There’s a mind-boggling number of furnishings available for your home, in every racial style. Some of these you can buy from home furnishing vendors, with unique selections based on their location. There are also achievement furnishing vendors, with special items and decorations you can buy if you’ve completed the appropriate achievements in the area.
While looting various chests, backpacks, baskets and barrels, you can either find furnishings or blueprints to craft furnishings. In just a week of adventuring and opening every container I come across, I’ve learnt how to craft several pieces of furniture that I’ve placed around my home, including a desk, dining chair and fancy decorative urn. If you’re looking for something specific, you could also try shopping at guild traders to buy furnishings from other players, or you could buy furnishings from the Crown Store directly from within the decorating mode interface.
The decorating mode allows you to place any item of furniture wherever you want, and rotate it however you want. You can even do crazy things like placing an upside-down horse in the middle of the room. It can take a few tries to place something perfectly, but otherwise it is straightforward to use.
A great thing about furnishings is that some of them are functional and interactable. You can sit in the chairs you place. You can use crafting stations. You can put out or light candles and lanterns. For players with assistants, such as the smuggler who fences stolen goods for you, you can even place them in your house and use their services.
Home sweet home
I really like how the Homestead update has added something interesting to the game. There’s not really any new story quest content, but that’s coming soon in The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind expansion releasing in June 2017.
Homestead feels like a well-integrated part of the game, building up the existing crafting system and adding new furnishings everywhere in the world that you’ll want to explore and find. I even went into the PvP area of Cyrodiil and found furnishing vendors there selling items.
I’ve only put a couple of furnishings in my house, but it already feels more homely and cozy. I definitely think it was the right choice to start small, as I’d imagine people with larger houses feeling more empty until they managed to get more furniture.
I wasn’t sure what I’d make of player housing when it was first announced to be coming to the game, but now that it’s here, I find it strange to think of how my character made his way though the world as a homeless hobo all this time and hadn’t realised.
I do feel a sense of ownership when I look at the desk I crafted and placed, with the trophy I earned from completing a veteran dungeon on top of it. There’s also the bookshelf with the books I placed, all individually readable. They’re copies of lore books I collected for the Mages Guild, which you can get once you’ve completed each set of collections. All of it reminds me of the stuff my character has achieved in the game.
Perhaps someday, I’ll be walking around that giant mansion full of mementos and fond memories of adventures past.