I think the idea behind this DLC is awesome. In RPGs, especially the Elder Scrolls series, I really get into the whole homestead idea. It’s nice to have a place for your character to store loot with accessible tools like crafting benches or enchanting tables. I like the added roleplaying dimension of having followers and spouses staying with you at your house. I know that many players don’t care about the housing part of Skyrim, and care even less about DLC that allows more customization.
I love the idea of Hearthfire, but I hated it’s delivery. Hearthfire, which I thought was going to be a build your own house mod, turned out to be similar to the house packages in Oblivion. Pre-set floor plans that act like any other player house throughout the game. The only difference: In Skyrim you have to waste your time gathering resources to get the house instead of having it presented to you. And it’s not fun gathering reasources, it’s menial work that’s not worth doing. The idea was cool, but the DLC was an utter failure, leaving almost no customization to the player, no amazing rewards, and lots of grind.
Still, Hearthfire allowed players a couple extra inches of customization. It wasn’t worth the money, and I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s there if you have an Xbox 360.
But if you have a PC and you’re thinking of getting Hearthfire then throw your computer out the window right now.
Bethesda released Hearthfire for the computer which allows players to pay money to get a very simple and boring mod. If you do a google search for “skyrim house mod” you’re sure to find much grander, more creative player creations that are most importantly, free. PC users have the option of modding their game anytime they want. And if you own Skyrim on Steam it’s even easier. Forget the google search just jump onto Steam and the Skyrim page will have a “Steam Workshop” link on it. Tour the library of player-made mods (there’s even a tab solely for player houses) and find a couple that you like. Subscribe to any of the mods you want to try out and you can disable/enable them the next time you start Skyrim. If you don’t like one unsubscribe and it’s gone.
It’s so easy to get a free alternative that’s better than Hearthfire that I don’t see the point in buying this DLC at all. If you still think that Hearthfire is going to allow you more creative freedom than downloading someone else’s house will then make a mod of your own! It’s the only way to have true creative control, and you’ll be able to build a much more personalized house modding with the Creation Kit then you will on Hearthfire. If you were considering Hearthfire for your computer, please, take my advice, and forget that Hearthfire was ever released.