Skyrim DLC Hearthfire Review: Where Do You Get Quarried Stone? Who’s Selling Land? Why Do I Even Care?
It took all of thirty seconds for my first Skyrim Hearthfire glitch to show itself. After downloading the (tiny - 25 MB) DLC and loading one of my characters a courier ran up to him with a letter. "Sweet" I thought, "let's get house building started." It was a letter from the orphanage. The head lady wanted to see me. OK! Lets see what this DLC has to offer.
A fast travel (the first of many) to Riften, and I'm chatting up Constance Michel. She asks my profession, and among the unsavory options such as Thief and Assassin, I select the euphemistic 'Adventurer.' Good impressions and all that. She tells me I need to own a home to adopt a kid. Great! I own several. But none are apparently equipped to handle children, she tells me. And that's all she tells me. Over and over and over as I mash the dialogue button in the futile hope she'll give some quest direction info. 'Go see such-and-such for a deed,' or 'Jarl What's-His-Beard can help you.'
But, in typical glitchy Skyrim DLC fashion, Hearthfire yields nothing. No help, no updated quest info, no further couriers. However, as a member of the elite video game press (see: Guy who still has to pay for everything himself and wait for the release date like a commoner) I am an informed gamer and know from previous reporting I can buy land in Falkreath. So I go to Falkreath to see the Jarl. Guess what? No help whatsoever. Neither the Jarl nor his steward have any info for me on land or housing or adoption.
Maybe I need to go to one of my other homes? Several fast travels later, no courier, no NPC, no nothing.
So, now I do what any Skyrim fan stuck in a pickle would do ... TO THE INTERNET!
A quick Google search sent me to see another Jarl, this time in Morthal. Apparently, other gamers are getting the same courier glitch and are seeking a nudge in the right direction. I talk to the steward and get my first plot of land for a mere $5k. So much for my hope that this DLC would burn up all this excess gold my character has.
The plot appears on my map and, fortunately, it's a short horsey ride from Morthal. (Sidenote: If you haven't got Shadowmere from the Dark Brotherhood quests I highly recommend you do so. He's basically the Batmobile of horses.) Upon arrival I find all the house building tools I need. Drafting table, carpenter's bench and some raw materials are accompanied by a basic how-to book showing me the ropes. I build a small house with the materials on hand in about thirty seconds, and set about to gather more raw materials to add expansions. It's worth noting that this is not the Minecraft-type experience of building whatever-you-want-however-you-want. The guide explains the "rules." First build a small house, then add a main hall. After that, you can add three wings and three wings only. So that dream you had about having a house with all nine crafting and decorative elements in one place? Apparently, it ain't happening.
I get a miscellaneous quest telling me to go buy lumber at the Half-Moon Mill. After a fast travel and a dragon battle (which seem more and more frequent with the new DLCs) I was roaming around Half-Moon Mill looking for the HNPCIC. According to my map, I'm in the right spot. But no one is around. Another glitch. SHOCKER! After roaming around for ten minutes looking for an NPC who is either A. Dead or B. Invisible I use my map to find a different saw mill and, in spite of the protestations of a stubborn guide arrow telling me I HAVE to go to Half Moon Mill, I'm able to buy some lumber at a mill outside Solitude. Twenty logs for a cool 200 gold pieces, so I stock up. I also hit up a few armorers and load up on iron ingots. I'm getting sick of all the fast traveling, although making the figures rotate on the loading screens is still oddly entertaining.
So I fast travel back to my new home, Windstad Manor, to continue building. I have a ton of lumber and plenty of iron so I hit the carpenter's bench. Now I need more quarried stone. Great. The how-to book says that there are deposits available in the areas around your buildsite. I found the clay deposit immediately. Good start. The stone should be ... somewhere? There are a ton of huge rocks around Windstad, but I can't mine them. I found an iron ore deposit, but that's not it. I wander around for twenty minutes looking for quarried stone. Nothing.
TO THE INTERNET!
After two Youtube videos, which show locations at the other plots I don't own, (including the Falkreath plot that a glitch wouldn't let me access) and ten minutes on the Wiki page, which said it could be mined from "a mine on the wall to the left of the drafting table," I still can't find the f---ing quarried stone near Windstad manner.
So, I went to Dawnstar where, thankfully, no glitches hindered my purchase of Heljarchen Hall. Because when you can't find stone at one plot, you go and buy a whole other plot of land like a boss. And at this site, thankfully, the stone is easily located. Also, all the lumber you buy is available at each location. I don't know if my Windstad manner had a stone hiding glitch or i'm just an r-tard (quite possible), but I would advise against buying your first home there.
Finally, I have the ball rolling. It only took the better part of two and a half hours to track down all the glitch answers and raw materials needed to start building a home I don't need for kids I don't want in a game I haven't touched in weeks.
Sounds like fun, right?
Hopefully the decorating and adopting go more smoothly. If not, there's always those unfinished side quests I forgot about, not to mention a handful of new achievements to work on. Bethesda operates like a drug pusher. They know as soon as you kick your twenty-hour a week Skyrim habit all it takes is a taste of a DLC like Hearthfire to get you addicted all over again.
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