If you want to regularly update your blog, there are two bits of advice I have for you:
- Don’t let your diabetes get completely out of control.
- Avoid having any close relatives die. Especially those who leave you responsible for cleaning out their worldly possessions.
Still, both of those are now past, and I can get back to the important business of games.
I was really excited when I found out that there was a new DownLoadable Content (DLC) for Skyrim, called Hearthfire. It doesn’t add any new quests, as such, but adds the ability to build your own house (in one of three locations), and also to adopt children once your house is sufficiently furnished (beds, at least, it seems).
Building, once you have the money (and materials, which are easy to get with money), is very quick. You use the drafting table (near your new home to be) to work out what room to build and then you craft your house at the new carpenter’s workbench. They’ve really done this section well. You start with the foundation, then the supports, and roof frame. You can then add in the flooring, walls and roof. At each stage you can wander through your partially built house/room and you get a real feeling that you’re building something.
There are also some new crafting items you need: locks, hinges, fastenings and nails. These are all made of iron (ingots) and a bit of corundum, and are made at forges or anvils.
I’ve already mentioned “money” and I get the feeling Hearthfire wasn’t designed for those who are “late in the game”. The money at level 50, after I’ve completed the main quest-line and the majority of the sidequests, comes quickly. Time, on the other hand, is a problem. There are not many quests, or busywork, to keep me busy as things happen.
And you do need to be “kept busy” because fun and easy as the crafting is, the real time killer is furnishing. Once you’ve asked your housecarl (you did get one, didn’t you?) to furnish a room, and provided them with money, it can then take many in-game days (or weeks, for the Main Hall) for the furniture to arrive. It arrives one bit at a time to slowly fill in the room. It’s an effective way of doing it, but at the endgame is too drawn out.
Once you have a main bed and two smaller beds (and your bard and housecarl haven’t claimed them – see more on bugs later), then you can adopt a child or two. I found my wife (Borghak the Steel Heart) who had been residing in Whiterun, automatically moved to my new home once I’d adopted a child.
I’m clearly a negligent parent who’s always away, as my new child has already worked out that I’ll bring her a present when I come home, and has begun asking for them. Still, she eventually does chores when asked, so that’s a win. Right?
Unfortunately, not all is wonderful with this new DLC, and there are bugs aplenty with both it, and the main game.
I won’t give an exhaustive list but a few that have bitten me so far are:
Your bard and/or housecarl can ‘steal’ one or more of the single beds. If they do this, you no longer have a space for a child and can’t adopt. So far this has only happened with the beds in the Bedroom. By going back a few saves and waiting until the beds in the Main Hall have arrived, I seem to have now avoided this bug. Going back saves, given how long it takes to furnish things, is not recommended.
You begin with a ‘small house’, to which you can then add a ‘Main Hall’, which becomes the new nexus from which all further wings are added. Once you have a Main Hall you can turn the Small House into the Entryway. Unfortunately it seems that trying to furnish the entryway leads to the option never disappearing from your housecarl’s speech options, and choosing that option leads them to tell you that you don’t have enough money. I haven’t found a way around this.
The other bug I’ve found is very serious. I’m finding that the game is locking up more often. And by game, I mean console. I can guarantee that walking over one of the bridges near Honeymead Brewery will cause a lock-up. Otherwise it randomly locks up in either loading screens or (less often) while just wandering around Skryim. None of this makes me happy.
Is it still worth the download? At 400 points, and the fact that there is some fun to be had (if you’re into the whole owning a house/nesting thing), then yes. Just be aware that the bugs, and the time factor may make it less fun. Probably it would be better for a mid-level game/character.