Interview: Everything we know about Elder Scrolls Online's player housing
The Elder Scrolls Online plans to release its next big update in February 2017. No solid date has been revealed, but we do have a name for the update and some very juicy details. It's called Homestead, and it will allow players to own their very own piece of Tamriel real estate. That's 40 possible dwellings, ranging from rooms at an inn to manors with huge outdoor spaces. Of course, players will be able to decorate these homes themselves, but ESO will also offer some fully furnished homes as well, for those of us who aren't Joanna Gaines.
All the homes will be in the base zones -- not the DLC zones -- and accessible via the world map like way shrines. Every character on your account may access the all your homes, and of course, you can invite your friends along, too.
ZeniMax plans on releasing more than 1,300 items to personalize and decorate your homes via the Housing Editor. The items will range from tables and chairs to paintings and light fixtures to beds and bookshelves. Players can also receive trophies as loot drops from Dungeon and Trials end bosses. ZeniMax also says that you will be able to place interactive items like assistants, mounts, pets, crafting stations, and combat dummies.
Of course, we had more questions, and ZeniMax had answers -- read on for our interview and the new trailer and images.
Massively OP: Could you explain a bit more about the mechanics of decorating? For example, it says that we can place things where we would like, but does that mean chairs on the ceiling, floating in the air, or just on the ground? Are we looking at a truly freeform system or a system with "hooks"?
ZeniMax: It’s a free-form system and you can place furnishings pretty much any way you like. There are a few tools in the editor to help you align objects to surfaces, but you can turn those off and go crazy if that’s what you want to do. If you really want to have a floating upside down chair, or stick your mount in a wall so that only it’s head is showing, like a trophy… you can.
Housing systems in some other MMORPGs allow for size changes, like scaling individual pieces of furniture -- can we expect that?
You cannot resize or scale items, but you can rotate them any way you want.
Can we look forward to interactive and animated decor and housing tiles like furniture, doors, and fireplaces? Will the light fixtures mentioned be toggleable on and off?
Yep, there are some pretty cool animated fixtures, interactable fixtures (like crafting stations!) and all fixtures classified as lights can be toggled off and on. Doors work like they do currently in game, where you interact with them and there is a screen fade.
There is a crown-store-only house, but is there an equivalent gold-only house being planned, too? What we mean by that is how "pay-to-win" or "pay-to-be-awesome" will houses end up being? Are credit card warriors going to have access to significantly better houses (like the "ultra-luxurious island retreat") than folks who just play the game?
There will be a huge number of homes available players to purchase with in-game Gold – ranging from small Apartments all the way up to Manors. Those houses are also available for Crowns. We felt that it was important to provide players with options for how they acquire their homes, whether they want to spend in-game currency or buy them using Crowns. Almost all of the homes can be bought with either currency, with only a few exceptions that are available only via Crowns.
There are no in-game “advantages” to be gained over other players in owning a home, and there are also no advantages gained from owning one home versus another, other than an increased item and player cap for larger homes. The crown store exclusive island is huge, and looks amazing, but it is classified as Manor house size, so it has the same player and item caps as the other Manors you can purchase with gold. The short of it is that Crown Store exclusive homes work in a very similar way to how the Crown Store already functions with Limited Time Offers on special cosmetic items. As with all Crown Store activity, we abide strictly by our “do no harm” mantra, and we don’t ever want there to be a “pay-to-win” scenario in Elder Scrolls Online.
Are we going to see future homes styled in ways that aren't defined by the playable races? (Ayleid and Daedric and Dwemer architecture is coming to mind!)
Pretty safe to say that will happen at some point.
How does storage inside homes work? Do small homes allow as much hoarding as large homes? Will players be incentivized to own lots of homes for storage purposes?
There are caps on the number of furnishings and players allowed in your home – those caps are determined by the size of the home. An apartment can hold much fewer items/players compared to a manor.
Is there any in-game benefit to owning or visiting your house, other than for the fun of it? If players stop subbing or leave the game for a long period of time, will their homes still be there when they return? Is there an "upkeep" fee we should be worried about or a limit to the number of total houses distributed across all players?
There are a huge number of items to collect and craft as well as some really convenient features, crafting stations and combat dummies to name a few. In general though, homes are a place for you to get creative and show off your prowess to your friends/guildmates.
There is no upkeep or rent on a home – once you purchase it, you will always have access to it. Being an ESO+ member doubles the number of furnishings and other items you can place in your home, but like the crafting bag, if your sub lapses those items stay, you just can’t edit your home until you get back to the item cap.
How many players can fit in a single housing instance, and can you hand out "keys" to friends so that they can enter when you aren't around?
Depends on the size of the home – an Inn room can hold a lot fewer players than a Manor. We haven’t yet finalized player caps as we are still performance testing, but it’s pretty safe to say at least 24 players will safely fit into a Manor. Access to your home is permission based, so yes you will be able to allow access to your primary home when offline.
Is there any chance that more formal guild halls might be part of a future update? What about homes in DLC locations or in different planes entirely?
We would love to do formal guild halls as well as some additional overall guild improvements one day. We don’t have concrete plans or schedules for those items yet.
As for homes in DLC locations or different planes? Yeah, I think those are both very logical places to visit at some point in the future.
Thanks for speaking with us, ZeniMax! And don't forget to check out our dedicated Elder Scrolls column, Tamriel Infinium, as well as Choose My Adventure, which is currently featuring Eliot's reader-guided adventures in One Tamriel.