Housing in ESO is very functional. For one, each house is a free recall point. So the more houses you buy the more locations around the game you can freely recall to. You can build up a secondary portal network for yourself. And yes, that’s expensive. But a few houses here and there are cheap and extremely handy.
First would be Mara’s Kiss Public House in Auridon. This house is the absolute closest to a Wayshrine of any (affordable) house I’ve seen. Just recall outside the house, which puts you steps from the inn door, which is steps from the wayshrine.
Another handy house is Snugpod in Grahtwood. This house is already outside, so if you recall outside the house, you are good to go. The Undaunted Enclave is just up the road, guild traders nearby, all sorts of stuff in Elden Root. Even if it is annoying to navigate that city.
Up there in usefulness is Flaming Nix Deluxe Garret, in Mournhold, because Mournhold offers an Undaunted Enclave, Fighter’s and Mage’s guilds, Master Writ turn ins, and the usual other stuff.
My friend is more familiar with Wayrest, but there isn’t a cheap house for sale there – the one in the city is Gardner House for a cool 1 million gold. The other capital with nice services is Elden Root and the zoning around is annoying. So all my chars visit Mournhold for Undaunted/Fighter/Mage stuff. Well OK, Elden Root is fine if all I need to do is Undaunted. 😉
Saint Delyn Penthouse in Vivec City is nice to have also, because Vivec has a fantastic crafting/writ layout. All the stations are in a circle around 2 banks!
For a larger home, I recommend doing the Northern Elsweyr zone quests in order to get the Hall of the Lunar Champion, plus the first wing. No cost, gigantic, and Rimmen is a good city for to base out of as well.
OK, this is essentially expected. A housing system that doesn’t let you decorate? The playerbase would just ignore the entire system.
Decorations come from many sources: crafting, dungeon trophies, the antiquities system, purchases.
I’ve devoted one corner to the boss trophies from doing dungeons with my friend. Outside houses the larger items, mostly antiquities. It’s fun to display these items.
So ESO housing offers lots of decorating possibilities, and a free travel network with locations sprinkled all around the world. But what elevates ESO housing above other games I’ve played, as far as housing usefulness, are services furnishings.
Disclaimer: I’m not rich enough in FF14 to try out what is available there. But I get the idea items are mostly along the decorating and visual appearance side of things.
Services Furnishings are things like:
- Mundus Stones – those buffs available from rock pillars on the landscape. Got a few you switch between? Install them in your home and don’t spend time riding out to them.
- Crafting stations – are you a hardcore crafter and get tired of someone’s pet blocking the crafting station? Install one in your house!
- Training dummies – want to test your DPS? Practice a new combat rotation? Get a damage sponge that doesn’t fight back, pair with an Aetherial Well to recover faster in between bouts.
- Storage chest – keep things here to separate them from appearing at crafting stations.
- Assistants – you can have your own merchant, banker, and fence for convenience!
I don’t have any of this stuff, other than the merchant and banker, and I’m very close to unlocking the fence. Some of these items (training dummies, perhaps a key mundus stone or two) are almost expected for a guild house.
Speaking of guild housing… I don’t think there is any specially designated guild house. It’s just a house that a guild member owns where they have set the permissions to allow visitors. Typically that would be the guild leader, but I don’t think it has to be. If you want to visit, find that player in the roster and “travel to house”.
In LoTRO, if the kinship has a kin house, you get a special recall ability to it. In FF14, your Free Company Estate House will appear in your teleport menu.
EDIT: as Sylow notes in the comments, ESO’s housing system allows a guild to split various functions between multiple homes. I had not thought of this advantage!