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Why we need Community Housing Reps

Zypheran
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@ZOS_RichLambert , @ZOS_JessicaFolsom , @ZOS_CullenLee
Housing has developed incredibly over the last few years. For something that started out as a sub-system, it now has a vibrant community and is a significant part of ESO for many players.
Over those years, the topic and suggestion of community housing reps has come up several times and the reply in the past has been that you guys were looking at it but didnt feel you had to resources to support such a program. I think it is now time to give serious consideration again to this project.
The housing devs deliver some really good stuff every year but I think its fair to say that no housing dev has the capacity to engage with the community to the extent as a player. In fact, I must ask does any dev even have the time to "play housing"??! You know, farm the plans, farm the mats, get the furniture and decorate these houses like we do?
I can think of easily a dozen housing enthusiasts (for the record, myself not amongst them!) who pour in endless hours each week engaging with thousands of players across multiple housing guilds, Discord channels, Youtube channels and Twitch streams. Many of them actually spending most of their time in other peoples homes engaging with the community, understanding their likes, dislikes and issues. I just think that no dev can achieve this level of community engagement and it seems an oversight at best, not to utilize these resources given that they already exist.
Consider the housing feedback threads in the PTS section of forums. I see two issues. Firstly, lets face it, its too late!! By the time a house hits PTS it aint gonna change significantly. I just cant see how it would not be a positive thing to have 6-10 experienced house users and community champions give their feedback (under NDA) at a much earlier phase of design and development.
Secondly, the feedback you get on PTS threads is a tiny drop in ocean compared to the feedback some of these people are getting on a daily basis by virtue of spending HOURS every day on multiple Discord channels dedicated to ESO Housing - yes, these actually exist! There are probably 20 or more dedicated housing Discord guilds all with hundreds of members engaged daily in housing related events and activities. It would appear, ZOS see very little, if any, of this huge breadth of community discourse. I think without this input, you are only seeing a very slim fraction of the feedback that is coming from the housing community.
I have often felt, and see this belief shared by a many many others, that there seems to be a large gap between what the community are saying as feedback and what seems to come out every year for housing. I'm not going to run out a list of examples of issues, I think thats fairly well documented. I will just give one example - housing limits! You told us you cant increase housing limits at the moment and the community responded with multiple suggestions and other things that could be done to mitigate the issue.... very very few of these ideas seemed to reach the right ears! I think this alignment between community 'wants' and developer output will ever only be as strong as the communication chain between the two and the best way to improve this is to utilize some of these community reps that already exist in an unofficial capacity and begin to engage with them in a more formal structure.
Over the years, this section of the game has grown so much, as a player subset and surely as a revenue stream, that it must be worth revisiting this idea and seeing if we can better coordinate a communication stream between players and devs in housing.
Regards,
Zypheran
All my housing builds are available on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf3oJ_cxuu01HmWZJZ6KK6g?view_as=subscriber
I am happy to share the EHT save files for most of my builds.
  • hands0medevil
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    I agree since housing is now the core, most profitable and still working part of the game
    Edited by hands0medevil on April 21, 2021 9:56AM
  • ZAD1ST
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    I agree! I put a lot of my efforts in game into housing and I’d love to see representation
  • Alurria
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    I agree
  • VaranisArano
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    I agree since housing is now the core, most profitable and still working part of the game

    It's not the core of the game - the questing and group content is what gets the majority of players coming to ESO. That would be akin to calling the Hearthfire DLC the core of Skyrim.

    It's profitable, but that's because the majority of the profit comes from recycling assets made for the quest and group content. Adding a lot of non-recycled new stuff means more Dev time and effort, which means less profit. Similarly, a few big houses are more profitable in terms of dev time and effort than many smalk/medium houses. (And apparently, big houses sell well enough.)

    And it works most of the time...as long as you are content with the current item limits.


    I hate to say it, but Housing is extremely monetized for ZOS' benefit, and that's why the gap between housing enthusiasts' desires and what ZOS is selling exists. A lot of what players are asking for is essentially "less monetization, less recycling, less grinding, and more of what WE want instead of what's most cost-effective for you to make."

    I support housing enthusiasts in asking for that, to be clear. But my hopes are not high.
    Edited by VaranisArano on April 21, 2021 3:20PM
  • Jaimeh
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    It would be nice to have a housing rep who could relate our concerns and issues more directly to zos, since there's lots of things the community would like to see, as well as design flaws found in houses and bugs, visual and otherwise, that have been longstanding and nice to be fixed. However, as with other reps, I wouldn't expect too much, it seems that the program is not as active or at least impactful as it could be, and probably a huge wasted effort/time on the part of the reps.
    Edited by Jaimeh on April 21, 2021 3:23PM
  • StabbityDoom
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    Zypheran wrote: »
    Agree and I volunteer!

    @StabbityDoom lol, in no particular order, you were one of the first 3 people that came to my mind😃
    I'm really glad to hear that should ZOS ever do this that somebody as deeply connected to the community like yourself, would be willing to do it👍.

    thanks! I actually already messaged some mods on here and offered a long time ago, and was told they weren't looking for any class reps for housing. So I'm glad you brought it up, I hate being a nag.
    PC/NA
    EHT zealot
    streamer: http://twitch.tv/stabbitydoom
  • Zypheran
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    Zypheran wrote: »
    Another example would be things like layout details for houses. Again, let's just accept that the next was to be a monster crown home but wouldn't it benefit to have some players that actually 'play housing' to give ZOS feedback on how to layout the house in a way that fits better with what people do with their homes?

    No offense but for the sake of argument I'll play devils advocate.

    What exactly grants someone the right to give feedback on what layout fits better with people do with their homes? Housing is extremely subjective; there are a good dozen homes I myself and I would wager almost every other member of the community would qualify as 'garbage' while just as many would say the opposite and have the complete opposite outlook.

    I personally thought Bastion Sanguinarius was the worst house they've made to date and still do. Some people would disagree wholly with me. So I'm just wondering specifically on that note how ZOS would benefit at all VS what they currently do; and if anyone higher up read this thread I'm sure they would want to hear the justification as well.

    I'm not against the idea of a Housing Rep/Reps but I personally feel it'd be a fine line to determine what they do/don't get a say in.

    I agree on the point of subjectivity. But even subjective input has value. If it didn't, why would we have film or food critics?!😄
    My point was more about the fact that I'm not so sure that housing developers get or have the opportunity to furnish, play with, or generally interact with these homes the way regular players do.
    Just to give an example, let's say we take a player who spends vast amounts of time online, touring hundreds of other peoples homes. Would it not stand to reason that such a person would build up a rather good idea of the kinds of things that players, in general, do with spaces in homes? After all, a good community rep would and should be someone that puts forward the wider community feedback rather than just their own opinion.
    When I mentioned specifically what you quoted above, about input on the layout, in effect, I'm talking about the function the space will be used for. For anybody that spends enough time touring others' homes and watching YouTube videos of player designs, it is easy to see some fairly common patterns of usage for housing space and probably more significantly, to be in touch with the challenges players encounter with certain layout choices.
    Take Bastion Sanginaris, as you mentioned. If you don't really decorate homes you might not see an issue with the main hall, it just looks like a cool hall. But for anybody who spends enough time decorating or touring other's stuff, straight away you see the challenges of trying to decorate that main hall due to its layout. It's one big huge towering box but all our furniture items are small dainty things. Every one I know that had tried to decorate that hall has felt a huge challenge to find objects for that main gallery room without them just looking lost. But ive seen loads of ideas for the main hall at Psijic, so what's the difference? It's because the space is broken up at Psijic. It's not one huge open box and you can place items at the sides of the main hall without them looking like dollhouse furniture! Same with the huge chamber in the new Ayleid Ruins. What can you do with it? Function is so important. If you had 6 to 10 players with a background of having visited 100's of homes, see a new home and ask them, from their experience, what kinds of things will people do with this space. If they all start to churn out loads of ideas, you're on a winner. If they all sit quietly and say... "I'm not sure what people could do with this space!", you know you have a problem!
    Just even from my own perspective. I spent probably a whole day on PTS in the Ayleid Ruins trying a couple of different things and thinking about what could be done with the layout. And after hours... I was stumped! The main chamber is just too vast for the size of furniture we have and the limitations. Remember, players don't have to solve the issues, that's what devs do best, but players can bring a wealth of input from visiting 100's of homes to say "you know, I think people will struggle with this layout or shape!"
    I do the following thing when I build, and I know many others that do the same - after I reach a particular point in the layout design, I ask 4 or 5 people I know to be very experienced in terms of just the sheer number of builds they have seen, to come and give me input. I can't tell you the amount of times that has led to me making various changed at early stages that led to better final outcome. So I've seen first hand that the process can add value.
    It will just be important to have people that offer feedback that channel the general views of many rather than just offer input from their own sense of taste. Going back to the point on food critics, a good one is successful not just because they say "My preference would be to have more salt in this!", but because they perhaps ate at 100's of other restaurants of the same type and can make a comparative assessment. Or if they're really good and engage with lots of other dinners, will even have a good idea that many people don't like x y or z in their food!
    All my housing builds are available on YouTube
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf3oJ_cxuu01HmWZJZ6KK6g?view_as=subscriber
    I am happy to share the EHT save files for most of my builds.
  • Hotdog_23
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    My vote is yes can't see more feedback as a bad thing especially considering they have none now. The main reason I would love a PTS for console is to help with housing and make better choices in what I do live on the server now. If they ever take a housing reps please don't forget us console peasants without add-ons and base game only.

    Stay safe and enjoy the journey 😊

    PS. ZOS stop the micromanagement of the green tree 🥺
  • Dropstitch
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    I think ZOS probably get a good aggregate of opinion from what is posted in the forums and from what is purchased/ built in game, and a Rep would only serve to narrow the information they obtain through a niche lens.

    If it was up to me, every house would be a blank canvas like Moonsugar Meadow, but obviously the people who have access to the metrics (namely ZOS) disagree.

    I would imagine the following is true: -

    1. The people who want to decorate a prebuilt house (probably the majority) will generally buy the prebuilt houses rather than a blank canvas,
    2. Psychologically crown houses need to be sufficiently large/ grand to justify the significant cost (even if you cannot decorate them within the slot limit).
    3. Those of us who want to build from the ground up (probably the minority) will find a way to do so within the limitations of the prebuilt houses.

    Essentially the housing community is already spending their money on housing. ZOS seems interested in attracting wavering customers with overblown monuments to excess.



    Edited by Dropstitch on April 23, 2021 7:52AM
  • chuck-18_ESO
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    Anything that improves the Housing system gets my seal of approval! It's the primary reason I log on these days, and using Housing to anchor my characters to the world is a huge part of my enjoyment of the Elder Scrolls franchise in general. Bring on the Housing Reps, ZoS!
    The Exclusionary Mandates of Maruhkite Selection: All Are Equal

    1: That the Supreme Spirit Akatosh is of unitary essence, as proven by the monolinearity of Time.
    1: That Shezarr the missing sibling is Singularly Misplaced and therefore Doubly Venerated.
    1: That the protean substrate that informs all denial of (1) is the Aldmeri Taint.
    1: That the Prophet Most Simian demonstrated that monothought begets Proper-Life.
    1: That the purpose of Proper-Life is the Expungement of the Taint.
    1: That the Arc of Time provides the mortal theater for the Sacred Expungement.
    1: That Akatosh is Time is Proper-Life is Taint-Death.
  • bluebird
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    If we want questions answered, @bluebird the best way to do that would to be to provide written questions ahead of time for Gina to filter and review so that the devs can give us answers that are approved during ESO LIve or whatever. There's no way the devs could answer questions on the fly given that most game companies have strict communication policies.

    This may just be the lawyer in me (yes, sadly, I am)... sort of akin to giving a month for discovery answers. You need time to be careful.
    @StabbityDoom Hi Stabby! Yes, that's what i meant! It would be nice if they addressed the most common fan questions in a Q&A format - they already answer random live questions from chat on the fly, but usually only boring stuff (like what house is this, when will this be available etc). :smile: I made a thread a while ago asking devs what the best way is to make sure our ideas reach devs (e.g. do they prefer reddit, twitter, forums, what), and asked fans what they would like to ask the Housing devs if they ever answered questions (https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/537960/what-would-you-like-to-ask-the-housing-devs-q-a#latest).

    Of course, the thread didn't go anywhere, as most feedback / dev question / request threads tend to go :sweat_smile: But it just reminded me that this may be one of the ways in which a rep program would be useful - not only to mediate community-dev feedback before content gets released, but also to communicate fan concerns to the devs which they could address in the ESO Lives, in an attempt to improve communication.
  • Vehlir
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    bluebird wrote: »
    @StabbityDoom Hi Stabby! Yes, that's what i meant! It would be nice if they addressed the most common fan questions in a Q&A format - they already answer random live questions from chat on the fly, but usually only boring stuff (like what house is this, when will this be available etc). :smile: I made a thread a while ago asking devs what the best way is to make sure our ideas reach devs (e.g. do they prefer reddit, twitter, forums, what), and asked fans what they would like to ask the Housing devs if they ever answered questions (https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/537960/what-would-you-like-to-ask-the-housing-devs-q-a#latest).

    Of course, the thread didn't go anywhere, as most feedback / dev question / request threads tend to go :sweat_smile: But it just reminded me that this may be one of the ways in which a rep program would be useful - not only to mediate community-dev feedback before content gets released, but also to communicate fan concerns to the devs which they could address in the ESO Lives, in an attempt to improve communication.


    Agreed! Whether it comes in the form of Community Housing Reps or something as simple as Monthly or Bi-Monthly Community Posts where:

    1) They share details (Where they are allowed ofc) about what things they are working on, updates on longstanding issues they've acknowledged.


    2) Monthly/Bi-Monthly Q&A. It would allow them time to vet questions to avoid ones they can't answer for reasons like Stabby said, but also make it feel a lot more like there is actual discourse between community and development.


    As a guy whose made several suggestion threads, you don't really ever know how those threads have REALLY gone. You don't know if they've read liked, disliked or even CAN'T do those things. I'd 100% totally be fine being told "We don't like this" or "Here's the reason we can't do that." But atm you just never know and it eventually makes for an environment where it's hard to keep motivation for reaching out. Aka right now it sorta feels like making a wish, and throwing a penny in a fountain and crossing your fingers. I'm not ignorant to the fact there is a lot more nuance and complicated process behind the scenes then any of us actually know, but I'd love to actually discuss ideas even if they mean being rejected. Rather then just eternally wondering what they are thinking or if an idea is even possible for reasons players who aren't behind the scenes couldn't otherwise ever know.
    Edited by Vehlir on April 25, 2021 4:28AM
  • bluebird
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    Vehlir wrote: »
    bluebird wrote: »
    @StabbityDoom Hi Stabby! Yes, that's what i meant! It would be nice if they addressed the most common fan questions in a Q&A format - they already answer random live questions from chat on the fly, but usually only boring stuff (like what house is this, when will this be available etc). :smile: I made a thread a while ago asking devs what the best way is to make sure our ideas reach devs (e.g. do they prefer reddit, twitter, forums, what), and asked fans what they would like to ask the Housing devs if they ever answered questions (https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/537960/what-would-you-like-to-ask-the-housing-devs-q-a#latest).

    Of course, the thread didn't go anywhere, as most feedback / dev question / request threads tend to go :sweat_smile: But it just reminded me that this may be one of the ways in which a rep program would be useful - not only to mediate community-dev feedback before content gets released, but also to communicate fan concerns to the devs which they could address in the ESO Lives, in an attempt to improve communication.
    As a guy whose made several suggestion threads, you don't really ever know how those threads have REALLY gone. You don't know if they've read liked, disliked or even CAN'T do those things. I'd 100% totally be fine being told "We don't like this" or "Here's the reason we can't do that." But atm you just never know and it eventually makes for an environment where it's hard to keep motivation for reaching out.
    Yeah, that's a great point, sadly! :disappointed: It's really not encouraging for the community when the devs are on communication lockdown and there is no intel through the grapevine either. It would go a long way, as you say, even if they just said 'we can't talk about it right now, but we're planning a big system update' or even if they said 'we did read your complaints about Houseguest special collectible limits but we can't do anything about those so it was going to be this or nothing at all', or something.

  • StabbityDoom
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    bluebird wrote: »
    If we want questions answered, @bluebird the best way to do that would to be to provide written questions ahead of time for Gina to filter and review so that the devs can give us answers that are approved during ESO LIve or whatever. There's no way the devs could answer questions on the fly given that most game companies have strict communication policies.

    This may just be the lawyer in me (yes, sadly, I am)... sort of akin to giving a month for discovery answers. You need time to be careful.
    @StabbityDoom Hi Stabby! Yes, that's what i meant! It would be nice if they addressed the most common fan questions in a Q&A format - they already answer random live questions from chat on the fly, but usually only boring stuff (like what house is this, when will this be available etc). :smile: I made a thread a while ago asking devs what the best way is to make sure our ideas reach devs (e.g. do they prefer reddit, twitter, forums, what), and asked fans what they would like to ask the Housing devs if they ever answered questions (https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/537960/what-would-you-like-to-ask-the-housing-devs-q-a#latest).

    Of course, the thread didn't go anywhere, as most feedback / dev question / request threads tend to go :sweat_smile: But it just reminded me that this may be one of the ways in which a rep program would be useful - not only to mediate community-dev feedback before content gets released, but also to communicate fan concerns to the devs which they could address in the ESO Lives, in an attempt to improve communication.

    let me help you with this, if you like. I don't mind putting together a draft list (I've seen some similar threads in the past full of suggestions, and I can go through all the past ones like @vehlir 's etc) and we can all do some voting on which we like best. Then we can submit the questions to Gina and ask her to get us a response in the most practical way for her. I've found contacting mods, as well, can help get things to where they belong. Plus, the mods and devs do read this channel, so I think we'd have good luck with your idea! Let me know if you'd like me to do this.
    Edited by StabbityDoom on April 25, 2021 2:21PM
    PC/NA
    EHT zealot
    streamer: http://twitch.tv/stabbitydoom
  • bluebird
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    bluebird wrote: »
    If we want questions answered, bluebird the best way to do that would to be to provide written questions ahead of time for Gina to filter and review so that the devs can give us answers that are approved during ESO LIve or whatever. There's no way the devs could answer questions on the fly given that most game companies have strict communication policies.

    This may just be the lawyer in me (yes, sadly, I am)... sort of akin to giving a month for discovery answers. You need time to be careful.
    StabbityDoom Hi Stabby! Yes, that's what i meant! It would be nice if they addressed the most common fan questions in a Q&A format - they already answer random live questions from chat on the fly, but usually only boring stuff (like what house is this, when will this be available etc). :smile: I made a thread a while ago asking devs what the best way is to make sure our ideas reach devs (e.g. do they prefer reddit, twitter, forums, what), and asked fans what they would like to ask the Housing devs if they ever answered questions (https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/537960/what-would-you-like-to-ask-the-housing-devs-q-a#latest).

    Of course, the thread didn't go anywhere, as most feedback / dev question / request threads tend to go :sweat_smile: But it just reminded me that this may be one of the ways in which a rep program would be useful - not only to mediate community-dev feedback before content gets released, but also to communicate fan concerns to the devs which they could address in the ESO Lives, in an attempt to improve communication.
    let me help you with this, if you like. I don't mind putting together a draft list (I've seen some similar threads in the past full of suggestions, and I can go through all the past ones like vehlir 's etc) and we can all do some voting on which we like best. Then we can submit the questions to Gina and ask her to get us a response in the most practical way for her. I've found contacting mods, as well, can help get things to where they belong. Plus, the mods and devs do read this channel, so I think we'd have good luck with your idea! Let me know if you'd like me to do this.
    I think loads of us would like any way that would get a dev response to frequent questions / issues! :smile: I don't know how that would work and how much work it would be, but if you're volunteering and it wouldn't be too much bother, that'd be awesome, thanks!
  • StabbityDoom
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    bluebird wrote: »
    bluebird wrote: »
    If we want questions answered, bluebird the best way to do that would to be to provide written questions ahead of time for Gina to filter and review so that the devs can give us answers that are approved during ESO LIve or whatever. There's no way the devs could answer questions on the fly given that most game companies have strict communication policies.

    This may just be the lawyer in me (yes, sadly, I am)... sort of akin to giving a month for discovery answers. You need time to be careful.
    StabbityDoom Hi Stabby! Yes, that's what i meant! It would be nice if they addressed the most common fan questions in a Q&A format - they already answer random live questions from chat on the fly, but usually only boring stuff (like what house is this, when will this be available etc). :smile: I made a thread a while ago asking devs what the best way is to make sure our ideas reach devs (e.g. do they prefer reddit, twitter, forums, what), and asked fans what they would like to ask the Housing devs if they ever answered questions (https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/537960/what-would-you-like-to-ask-the-housing-devs-q-a#latest).

    Of course, the thread didn't go anywhere, as most feedback / dev question / request threads tend to go :sweat_smile: But it just reminded me that this may be one of the ways in which a rep program would be useful - not only to mediate community-dev feedback before content gets released, but also to communicate fan concerns to the devs which they could address in the ESO Lives, in an attempt to improve communication.
    let me help you with this, if you like. I don't mind putting together a draft list (I've seen some similar threads in the past full of suggestions, and I can go through all the past ones like vehlir 's etc) and we can all do some voting on which we like best. Then we can submit the questions to Gina and ask her to get us a response in the most practical way for her. I've found contacting mods, as well, can help get things to where they belong. Plus, the mods and devs do read this channel, so I think we'd have good luck with your idea! Let me know if you'd like me to do this.
    I think loads of us would like any way that would get a dev response to frequent questions / issues! :smile: I don't know how that would work and how much work it would be, but if you're volunteering and it wouldn't be too much bother, that'd be awesome, thanks!

    yeah I can do it, and I can try to get answers for us, I'm a little bit persistent :)
    PC/NA
    EHT zealot
    streamer: http://twitch.tv/stabbitydoom
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