Letters From Tamriel

An epistolary gaming blog

Housing reaction: yay

@Zells - sepia stone - small

I won’t bury the lede: I’m just as happy about housing as I hoped I would be.  Yay, ZOS.  Cookies all around.  The housing patch represents an immense amount of work on the devs part, really staggering.  The system has a ton of options that make it extraordinarily customizable and yet the overall set-up is still very accessible to casual players.  I’m really impressed. Specific comments after the cut.

I’ve heard some people complain about the cost – the Large homes are over a million gold and the Manors are over 2 or 3 million.  Some vloggers on YouTube rant about how ridiculous that is, I’ve heard it in-game, and I don’t understand the complaint at all.  The Large and Manor homes are meant for end-game players and guilds, and I know many people who have millions of gold in the bank.  I am not an aggressive gold farmer, but I can make nearly 100K a week with some effort; 50K/week is pretty easy.  Yes, I would have to save for a few weeks, up my auction game if I wanted a Manor, but… it should be an accomplishment to own a house like that, right?

And it isn’t as though the Manors are the only cool homes – the smaller houses are much more affordable, perfectly cool in their own right, and accessible to casual players.   Game economies tend to all follow a certain curve: gold is precious in the beginning, but by the time you hit end game, you generally have more than you need or can even spend. It’s perfectly legit to expect long-term players to have millions. I have no issues with the cost of the houses (either in gold or Crowns), and I have no issues with the cost I’m seeing in chat for crafted furnishings. Besides, it’s not like you’re building a bank account that’s going to support your children after you die – game gold is for spending; there’s no advantage in saving it up.  Go buy pretty things.

Some of the achievement furnishings are bland, but many are hella cool.  Theoretically I’m  saving gold to buy the Hunding’s Palatial crib, but the achievement furnishings are very shiny and Instant Gratification is a problem. 🙂

I still wish/hope they will introduce some form of storage to the houses, even if it’s a scaled number of spots – 3 for an Apartment, say, vs. 20 for a Manor.  I’m really hoping we’ll get functional chests at some point.  That’s still my only serious quibble.

(Well, ok, one more – the Aldmeri Dominion apartment is ridiculously small, unusable as a “home”; it’s only good for free porting to the city.  I’m a little irritated that it’s so undersized in comparison to the EP and DC apts.  But moving on…)

I had a small hiccup right at the beginning – I bought the first apartment and then realized I couldn’t furnish it.  In terms of “minor quibbles” I wish the furnishings vendors sold 5-6 basic pieces in the racial style of their zone: bed, chair, candle, rug, table, for example, and not just that one tea table that we all now own to fulfill the “furnish your apt so it’s not a skooma den” quest requirement.  I set down my tea table and then went looking for more basic pieces to buy… and: no.  Once I owned the place, my next step was not to stay in it obsessively playing with furniture, but to leave and go farm for patterns.  That was a bit of a let-down.  I ended up spending some Crowns on a small house just so I could cannibalize the furniture.  But that is a thing you can do; they gave us that option.

On the other hand – omg, the patterns.  Over a thousand new crafting patterns to acquire.  As a die-hard crafter, I am super excited about all the new things I can make and use.

(For instance: candles.  It’s a silly thing, but I was so grumpy about the lighting profiles in the player homes of both Oblivion and Skyrim, and I don’t have to be in ESO – there are no dark corners unless I want them dark.  I can make a ton of different kinds of lighting: candles, lanterns, sconces, braziers, fire for the fireplace, hanging lamps… it’s awesome. I can make them, place them, move them if I want, and zomg, they all toggle!)

Speaking of farming, I have some useful advice for those of you who’ve read this far – here are my favorite farming spots.  Feel free to share these – unlike chests or harvest nodes, containers are instanced: you and I can enter a delve and loot all the same urns side by side.  Crowded dungeons are actually better for farming b/c there’s less hassle from the mobs and bosses.  So come join me. 🙂

Unowned containers – Hands down the best place I’ve found for recipe farming is Bahraha’s Gloom in Hew’s Bane.  It’s a compact, easily-navigated delve with literally dozens of urns/trunks.  Additionally, it’s close to a wayshrine and a town.  If you have the DLC and haven’t farmed BG, definitely give it a try.  There are so many containers that I never leave the delve without a blue pattern or recipe, and I regularly find purples there.

As a back up option, I’ve tried Razek’s Wheel, and it’s a pretty good spot.  Bigger map and fewer containers than BG, so less efficient, but you have the chance of getting Dwemer motifs from the Dwemer pots you’ll be opening.

Owned containers – There’s a slightly smaller chance of pulling patterns from owned containers, but ZOS says there are some rare patterns that are exclusive to thieving, which is cool.  Also, if you haven’t gotten the achievement for selling loot in each of the Refuges, you might as well load up and sell your ill-gotten gains that way, because yeah, there’s achievement furnishings for that. 🙂  The castle in Orsinium (Scarp Keep) has ~70 owned, recipe-possible containers (and many, many more crates and baskets).  And yes, I counted. :p  It’s by far the largest number of owned containers in a single dwelling that I’ve found.

(Pro-tip: you can loot containers, log out, log back in, and they’ll be restocked.)

Harvesting Mats – As a general rule, the starter islands are node-heavy and are good places to farm mats, but they’re pretty swamped atm, and they are, of course, first-come, first-served, not instanced.  The best option is to harvest mats when the smallest number of people are logged in.  I’m really hoping they tweak the drop rate of heartwood soon; it’s  nuts.  I spent 4 hrs in Crag and ended up with 2 nirns and 1 heartwood.  My reaction: o.O

ZOS mentioned that Remains Silent in the Dark Brotherhood will sometimes drop rare, Dark-Brotherhood-themed furnishing items if you have the Shadowy Supplier skill, and I can verify that’s true.  Last night I got a purple item in my daily Toxins bag – a Vial of Poisoned Blood.  I immediately ported to my assassin’s Creepy Little Murder Trophy Apartment (TM) and put it on a shelf next to the Bowl of Blood and the Poisonmaker’s Satchel.  I don’t yet have an item list for what Remains Silent will drop, but guildmates verified that all 3 of her options have the chance to give furnishing items.  So if you have quit checking with her daily, you might want to pick that up again.

It will take me several weeks to farm patterns and mats for the exact furnishings I want, but as I put the homes together I will post screenshots.

Past time to wrap this up.  Let me close with a really cool vid from MassivelyOP – Elder Scrolls housing through the years.  Daggerfall is every bit as awful-looking as I remember, yet I still felt nostalgic seeing that pixelated sandstone on my screen. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Housing reaction: yay

  1. Great post! I struggle everyday: Do I quest, or do I farm? I compromised. I do one quest a day. lol I am upping my crafting skills, and bought the Autumns gate house. Great for a new home owner, and novice decorator. I do long for storage chests, and trophy cases, but I have a feeling the demand for them will have them in our needy little hands soon enough. 🙂

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  2. I know they have a real issue with storage in the houses b/c they say it gives a game advantage, but in terms of game balance, I don’t see how it’s a big deal – all inventory storage costs money, so why is buying a house and getting new slots different than, say, buying inventory slots at the stable? Certainly if we could craft open-ended storage containers that would change the game, but that’s not the only way to do it. Limited options would work.

    The easiest answer is a 10-slot storage chest. (or whatever number) But like you, when I say “storage” I’m really hoping for functioning trophy cases and, of course, armor mannequins. It would be fantastic if we could store a set of specialized gear on a mannequin. Also, mannequins are super cool; no castle should be without them!

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  3. Ahh Mannequins. Mine live in Skyrim. 🙂 They would be a nice addition, for costumes, and armor.

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  4. True Story: I was puttering around in my house and decided that a spot was perfect for a mannequin. Actually alt-tab’d over to the internetz to find a mannequin mod to download before I remembered that’s not a thing. I may have shaken a fist at the computer and said “Curses!”, but no one can prove that.

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  5. I also would like pets to move around on their own…my cat has been sitting near the fire for far too long.

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  6. Oh, yeah, pets. Yes, that would be a good tweak. The pets have so many nice animations, but they’re all “muted” when placed in the house. There’s a Dwemer sphere pet in my guild hall that exists only as a vibrating gold ball, which is… odd.

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