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Elder Scrolls Online hosted a contest for best player houses, and the results are incredible

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

The Elder Scrolls Online recently held a contest for best in-game housing, and some of the entries will have the folks from Million Dollar Beach House looking at Tamriel real estate.

The housing editor in Elder Scrolls Online lets you create lavish custom-built homesteads, decorate pre-built houses, and design the exterior landscape. You can also have pets, mounts, and assistants wander around in a specific pattern with the new homestead pathing feature. The customization options are quite extensive, as evidenced in the gallery below of the custom housing contest's winners and runners-up.

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Vampire house exterior by "Moon-Sugar," from Russia

Vampire house exterior by "Moon-Sugar," from Russia (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)
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Gothic banquet hall, by "nitigar" from the UK

Gothic banquet hall, by "nitigar" from the UK (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)
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Homely Nord cottage, by "Chryseia" from the US

Homely Nord cottage, by "Chryseia" from the US (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)
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Abode-in-a-barrel, by "Nyraelle" from Germany

Abode-in-a-barrel, by "Nyraelle" from Germany (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)
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Nord banquet hall, by "seaofstars" from France

Nord banquet hall, by "seaofstars" from France (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)
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Farming banquet hall, by "researchmonkey" from Australia

Farming banquet hall, by "researchmonkey" from Australia (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)
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Vampire lair, by "Lalothen" from the UK

Vampire lair, by "Lalothen" from the UK (Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

The freedom Elder Scrolls Online affords its home builders has inspired a rather active housing community, and we had the privilege of hearing from one of its most well-known members about their award-winning house. Chryseia (gaming handle) is the creative Elder Scrolls Onliner responsible for the snug wintery Nord homestead above, as well as several other crowd-pleasing attractions.

"A few times I have walked into one of my homes and seen a handful of people hanging out. And sometimes when I go to one of my homes, I see that all the lights and interactable [features] have been toggled and I have to go through and clean it all up."

While they traded screenshots with other players for perspective, the finished product you see is the work of one player, who meticulously cobbled, arranged, and decorated every asset. But it's actually the gorgeous landscaping outside, some of which was custom-made from scratch, that the creator is most proud of. 

"I am not naturally talented with, nor do I particularly enjoy creating organic housing features - buildings and furniture make so much more sense to me on a fundamental level. This property has a lot of landscaping going on that I created from scratch, and it was a challenge. I spent more than half of my build time just trying to deal with... plants."

Talking of Elder Scrolls Online in general, Chryseia says the housing editor is one of three reasons they play the game, along with the art and questing. "I love that ESO gives players the freedom to see past what an item is and imagine what it could be. The freedom to reimagine the resources provided to us and impart our own perspective into what we create is, in my opinion, the most rewarding part of any housing system, and I love how any two people can see the very same asset so differently!"

Chryseia, who says they're recognized in the housing community as "that crazy Darien girl," argues the cobbling feature in Elder Scrolls Online, which allows creators to sink items into other items, walls, and floors, elevates the game's housing editor above most other MMOs. "In my opinion, any housing system without cobbling is worse than any system with cobbling, which automatically puts ESO in the highest tier."

You might think such an elaborate creation would take months of labor, but Chryseia says the house and landscaping took 13 days, and they waited another two hours for the in-game time to set the perfect screenshot. "I had a ton of fun making this build (even the torturous landscaping part!) and I hope to see more official events like this in the future," they said. I think I speak for everyone when I say we can't wait to see what else the Elder Scrolls Online housing community cooks up.

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I'm GamesRadar's green tea-fueled, late-night news hound. I'm perpetually in search of an MMO to recapture the feeling of playing Ultima Online in the early 2000s, and I'm still sorting out self-esteem issues from being relegated to second player duties growing up with two older brothers. On a related note, I'm irrationally defensive of Luigi and his mansion.