Dev Talk Update 40 – Group Finder and Grand Master Crafting Station

October 18, 2023

Learn more about two of the big new additions arriving as part of the Update 40 base-game patch.

Dive deep into Update 40’s two major base-game additions with two members of the development team responsible for the upcoming Group Finder tool and Grand Master Crafting Stations. These changes, along with everything else coming in Update 40, will be free for all players!


“Group content can be difficult to break into when you don’t have a social circle or are just stepping into it,” says Bobby Weir, ESO’s Lead UI Designer. “We aimed to create a tool that would help bridge that gap and make it easier for folks to meet others with similar goals. This is especially true for content that requires a group but doesn’t have an easy way to find one.”

Arriving in Update 40, the new Group Finder tool allows you to quickly jump into ESO’s various activities, from Trial or Dungeon runs, World Boss zone tours, or social events like roleplaying or fashion contests.


Group up to take on almost any challenge

To ensure the Group Finder covered as many needs as possible, the team started with major content categories that typically require a group, such as Dungeons and Trials, but they did not stop there. They also included content where players generally group together, even if it’s not required.

“Cyrodiil and the Imperial City are good examples of activities where there’s safety in numbers, as are the game’s world bosses and world events,” explains Bobby. “We also looked at activities that may have only small gameplay benefits while grouped, but potentially strong social benefits. You may not strictly need someone to quest or explore with for example, but it can be more enjoyable with a friend. We also added a Custom category to fill in any of the gaps.”

Because the tool needed to cover these many different activities, the development of the Group Finder proved to be a complex process for the team.

“It can be difficult to strike a balance between usability and a wide variety of functionality,” says Bobby. “With most new features, we look back at similar things we’ve done in the past, either for learnings or to leverage UI paradigms from it. Guild Finder was a common reference point for this feature, since a lot of components are similar. With our UI, we focus on consistency across features so that if you learn it in one place, you have a good idea of how it’ll work in this new place.”


Group Finder helps you find like-minded adventurers

“The trickiest part was finding ways to fit all of the niche requirements for each content category together in a way that flowed well,” explains Bobby. “The UI design consisted of over 260 mockup screenshots!”

All that hard work has translated into a new tool for players to come together and explore Tamriel in any way they choose.


Since their introduction in 2017, Attunable Crafting Stations have been highly sought-after by Tamriel’s master crafters. Perhaps even too sought after—as new sets have been added to the game over time, the space required for a full set of these desirable furnishings has ballooned. Now, with Update 40, a new feature resolves the issue for good.

“Grand Master Crafting Stations build on our prior Attunable Crafting Stations and help to solve a fundamental problem with the way they expand over time,” says Senior Systems Designer Cullen Lee. “If you’ve got 75+ sets for four different professions, that’s 300+ crafting stations to organize. They also eat up a huge chunk of your home’s furnishing budget, and that problem gets bigger with every zone. With Grand Master Crafting Stations, you can squish all those sets down into a single station per trade skill, so instead of 300+ stations, it’s just four, forever.”


Grand Master Crafting Stations distill the essence of a craft

Players can feed their Attunable Crafting Stations to Grand Master Crafting Stations, giving them access to the function of any consumed station. Of course, getting your hands on these new stations won’t be easy, as they require the Unsurpassed Crafter Achievement* and significant resources. 

“Grand Master Crafting Stations represent the top end of crafting mastery. As such, they have a significant cost associated with them while still making up a relatively small fraction of the overall cost of building a collection of set stations,” Cullen notes. “These are something really special, and they’re not something most folks should feel pressured to spend Vouchers on early in their Master Writ career.”

For those who do make the journey as a Grand Master crafter, the new stations appear visually distinct from regular Attunable ones. 

“We wanted people with a large collection of set stations to feel proud when they looked at their station,” says Cullen. “After some iteration, we landed on a design where the station grows physically more complex at certain thresholds as you add sets. There’s also a visual projection of the tradeskill symbol above the station once you’ve unlocked every set.”


Refined designs for refined work

These exciting new features should be a great boon to the ESO community, with one assisting in forging new bonds in battle, and the other with forging new gear with which to undertake those challenges! Which Update 40 feature are you looking forward to the most? Let us know via X (formerly Twitter)Instagram, or Facebook!

Update 40 arrives free for all players on October 30 for PC/Mac and November 14 for Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

*Requiring the completion of 100 Master Writs to unlock—no easy task!

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