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Opinion: It's Time for Final Fantasy XIV to Revise it's Housing System

13 Oct 2020

With the most recent Letter from the Producer LIVE, I was reminded that Patch 5.35 would include new housing plots. An inclusion that sounds simple and innocent enough…unless you’re one of the 20 million registered players of Final Fantasy XIV.

I’m writing this right now at 2:00 AM PDT because I can’t sleep. For the past 24 hours the only thing that has been on my mind is “I hope I can get a bigger house.” I woke up an hour ago. As I laid in bed, my stomach slowly began to turn- a result of the stress my mind was putting my body through.

The fact of the matter is that upon it’s launch into 2.0 with A Realm Reborn, Square Enix was just hoping they could run even a minorly successful MMO. With the game now rebooted under the leadership of Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida, the game ended up being very popular, likely more so than Square Enix imagined was possible. I remember all of the server issues when 2.0 went live because of the overwhelming amount of players attempting to log-in, and telling Yoshida-san that “It’s unfortunate there are issues, but…too many players is a good problem!”

As we’ve moved on from A Realm Reborn, it’s become increasingly clear that the housing system hasn’t scaled with the demand of the game itself, especially on more popular servers. The fact that I’m awake right now at an ungodly hour is proof of that. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

The funny part about all of this is- I already have a house (after spending night after night spamming through menus until my hand become too sore to continue). Things like gardening, Chocobo raising, or displaying some furniture are not inaccessible for me. So why the hell is my mind doing this too me? Worse case scenario, I still have a house. However, Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t allow you to upgrade the size of your house, it’s dependent on the size of the land. Therefore, upgrading to a bigger house means that you need to get a bigger piece of land, and those larger plots aren’t as numerous, with only three large plots per ward. I can decorate a bit… but what am I supposed to do with these Gold Saucer games? They’re too big for a small house. I need something bigger!

About 20 minutes have passed since I started to write this. I’m still unsure of the point of this article, but it’s helping to (oddly) keep my mind off of worrying about grabbing a housing plot.

Before maintenance last night, I spent time in the ward where I want to get a house. I know that takes me 28 seconds to get to the house of my preference after entering the zone. I’ll sprint immediately upon entering the zone, hit the aetheryte, and then spam the hotbar key for my mount, because even though the house is very close to where I’ll teleport too, I’ll save 3 seconds by riding a mount vs sprinting. Why do I know this? More importantly, why does this feel necessary for even a remote chance at success?

One of the cool things about Final Fantasy XIV‘s housing system when it arrived was that all of the houses are in neighborhoods. Instead of an instanced system like Final Fantasy XI‘s Mog House, FFXIV lets you buy a plot in an area. Because of this, you can have neighbors, say hello to familiar faces at the Market Board every Tuesday, or even host roleplay events. The problem of course here, is that the majority of players don’t really do that. Square Enix utilized the neighborhood idea during one of its earlier winter events, but haven’t really made use of it since.

At one point, Square Enix introduced apartments, allowing more players to get the ability to place furniture in a small one-room apartment, while also still blocking out gardening and bigger FC restricted content.

With Patch 5.4 which is set to arrive in December, many players are wondering what the completion of Ishgard’s restoration will hold for players who are interested in getting a house in Coerthas. Will it be another series of wards and subdivisions that cause some players to have large amounts of anxiety in trying to secure even the smallest plot of land? Or is there a chance that Ishgard might bring in a new type of housing- an instanced housing that gives all players access to all of the content that’s available to that system?

I sincerely hope that Square Enix can do something to ease the incredible frustrations that are tied to its current housing system. For a game that does such a good job of taking care of its players, its housing system is one of the biggest game-systems I’ve ever seen that doesn’t respect the player or their time.

Has this post made any sense? Has it just been rambling? I’ve skimmed it over a few times and I’m still not sure if it’s even worth publishing. Then again, the patch is live in 20 minutes so I need to start spamming my log-in so that I can get in right away when the patch goes live.

To everyone looking to get a house, or a bigger plot with this patch, I wish you the best of luck.

To Square Enix: Housing is terrible. Please find a more permanent solution to solve the housing issues instead of band-aiding in a few wards every now and then. I shouldn’t be feeling the way I am about a house in a video game.