Finally, ESO gets one thing that players have been asking for since before the game's launch: player housing. The "Homestead" update arrives in February, and it will be a free update for everyone, not DLC. It won't be on the PTS until sometime in January (they've said they'll also have another article about it around that time), but I thought I'd compile everything we know about it so far (from their official article, two brief interviews, and a couple dev posts on the ESO forum):
How owning houses works:
- You get a free room in an inn upon completion of the tutorial.
- Houses will be purchasable via in-game gold or Crowns, although there will also be some Crown-exclusive homes, such as an island home. If you want to buy a home with gold, there will be an achievement in each zone that needs to be completed before you can purchase a house in the zone. No word on price range yet.
- Houses are instanced, so players will not be scrambling to get a house before it's taken. Theoretically you could own all the houses in the game if you can afford it.
- There will be housing styles available for all 10 races, although you'll need to have the Imperial Edition to get an Imperial-style house. Other styles will likely come in the future.
- The houses will be available in base zones only (except for Cyrodiil). Possibly in the future they might be in DLC zones or different planes. You can view a list of known ones here on the wiki.
- Homes are account-based, so all of your characters can use them.
- You will be able to preview homes before you purchase them.
- You will be able to fast travel to your homes for free via Collections, just like you can with wayshrines.
- House sizes vary, and the size determines how many items can be in the house and how many people can visit at once.
- You can invite friends into your home, and set them as "Visitor" or "Decorator" so that they can visit your primary home or move existing items (not add new ones or remove existing ones) even when you're offline. Players cannot steal items from other players' houses.
How decorating works:
- When you purchase a house, you have the option to buy it fully furnished for a higher price, or decorate it yourself.
- House size determines how many items you can decorate with, althoguh ESO Plus will allow subscribers to use twice as many items to decorate their home.. If your sub lapses your items will stay; you just can't put them back down after picking them up until you're under the cap or sub again.
- There will be some sort of in-game tool called the Housing Editor that allows you to place decorations. It will allow you to place things free-form pretty much any way you want; you can also align objects to surfaces. (Or, say, put your mount halfway through the wall so it looks like a trophy mounted on the wall.)
- Items will not be able to be resized, just placed and rotated.
- Decorative items can be purchased from in-game merchants for gold, or from the Crown Store - their announcement article claims that most items will be available both ways. Some specific types of in-game merchants are the Achievement Furnisher which have items related to the achievements you've earned, and the Luxury Furnisher which sells expensive items with a rotating limited selection. Shalidor's Library books will be able to be purchased from Mages Guild merchants and placed in your home once you've completed a set.
- You will be able to earn items in Arenas, Dungeons, and Trials.
- You will be able to place your Assistants, pets, and mounts in your home.
- You will be able to craft in your home.
- One item that can be placed is a training dummy - a skeleton that you can practice with.
- Items can be crafted using existing skill lines: for instance they have said "Woodworking makes wooden things, Provisioning makes wax foods". Some will require multiple skills: "a Dark Elf Full Bed requires Metalworking 4, Tailoring 10 and Woodworking 6".
- You can sell crafted furniture to other players.
- They do have plans for a gardening system, although it is not currently in the game.
- They'd like to do guild halls, but have no concrete plans/schedule.
- They'd like to do storage in the future, but it is not currently in the game. Specific quote from the ESO forum: "Extra storage in your home is something we know a number of you would love. It's something we'd love as well, but when we looked at all of the things had to get in for the base system, we had to draw the line somewhere. Additional storage didn't make the cut. That being said, we are looking at ways to add in additional storage space in the future."
- Update 13 will include some sort of update to the main story, though they haven't said what this entails.
During a livestream, the devs show off some of the items you can add - complete with a tree decorated with floating candles, flowers, and a starfish on top.