FFXIV Player Housing Fiasco

While I have been generally positive when posting about FFXIV over the months, I’m also not afraid to talk about where I think the game has tripped up. This is a sad post to make, especially since I just praised FFXIV for doing fluff right in a previous post. The newest patch 2.38, has me changing my thoughts on this, at least in the housing department.

A Little Background

Personal housing has been a hot topic for FFXIV players since probably even before the game’s re-launch. A year ago, many promises were made that we’d see housing, both for Free Companies and for individuals in game. I’m not sure what’s snagging them up about all this — I hear a lot about the dev’s concerns with server optimization and needing server expansions for housing. I’m not real clear on why this is difficult and expensive for them to balance out. I just know every time they talk about housing, they mention the servers and the server load.

So, late last year, they introduced FC housing. This included a handful of wards (neighborhoods) that all looked the same (depending on the starter city) and contained the same number of plots. There are three sizes of plots – small, medium, and large. To be honest, there’s not a whole lot of plots in each ward (I read there’s about 30 plots each).

So think about housing being released with about 9 wards total across the whole server, to pacify all the FCs on that server. Depending on the server population, prices started out differently. Over time, the prices of unpurchased plots dropped until they all hit the same lowest cost across all servers. Keep in mind, this is only the cost of the plot. To place a house, you have to pay even more for a house permit.

Starting housing prices on large servers.

Players threw a fit when they saw these prices, naturally. Here was something FCs had been waiting for, mostly for socialization at the time, and the cost was seriously out the roof.

Of course, the devs told us this was considered end game type content that FCs needed to work towards. It wasn’t intended to be something easy to get. This didn’t sit well with everyone, but I found it acceptable since I feel a FC should work together to save for their social hangouts.

When more features were introduced, such as farming, chocobo training, and now chocobo dyeing, they became tied to the FC house. Also, if you want your own personal room, that is tied to the FC house. So now, the FC house is more than just a place of meeting, decorating and socialization. It’s a gateway to other desired fluff content. If your FC doesn’t have a house, you can’t stable a chocobo, train it or dye it. Sure, it’s not mandatory, but that kinda sucks.

History of Personal Housing

We were told that FC housing was the first stage of housing in general. Personal housing was coming, though we were never specifically informed how it would come. We were given a brief idea of what it would look like from this official post (which was originally complaining about the outrageous cost of the original FC prices).

From that quote, myself, and many others imagined that personal housing would be a completely separate system from the wards the FC housing used. We imagined neighborhoods of player houses, perhaps not quite as fancy as the FC houses, that would be more in line with the savings of a normal individual (I remember something about the price of 800K gil being tossed around).

With these ideas in mind, I set about saving up for personal housing months ago.

When they released personal rooms that were attached to the FC house, I hesitated. Did I want to plunk down 300K for a room, or save it for a few more months of that imagined personal house with a full yard and garden? I didn’t pick up my room right away, but eventually I did (partially due to having a boat load of decoration items clogging my inventory).

With the announcement of patch 2.38, I’m glad I did. There’s no way I’ll see personal housing given the system they’ve implemented.

Housing Dreams Out the Window

So, the real deal launched with patch 2.38 yesterday. And boy, was it a huge disappointment for those, like myself, who have waited the arrival of full personal housing for over a year. Instead of the personal housing ward we imagined, a separate system priced separately from the existing FC housing system, we get…

The exact same housing system, just with houses unlocked for purchase to individuals. You read that right. Personal housing is just FC housing, at the same price, in the same wards. This causes several issues including:

  • Shortage of housing for both FC and individuals — there’s no way the paultry couple of wards released with this patch will meet the demand of both FCs who need a home and individuals who want one.
  • FCs now compete with wealthy individuals for this meager space.
  • Outrageous costs that were originally meant as a challenge for a full FC of people to obtain…  even if there are lots open to purchase, it’s stupid-expensive for casuals and non-wealthy folks.

No matter how you look at it, a LOT of people are going to be left out of this housing system. Either due to cost, competition or shortage, it continues to cut FCs out of features tied to the houses and disappoint individuals who hoped for that little cottage with a yard and a garden.

The Response

The response, as you might guess, has not been favorable among the players. Then, Yoshi-P got on the forums yesterday to address the reason why things ended up the way they did.

My thoughts – he spouted a bunch of PR speak to try to cover his butt when confronted with his own quotes from previous threads. I’m not content with this response at all.

The statement I said was from a post made last December.
At that time, we were correcting the economic disparity between legacy players and new players with regards to Free Company land prices in Patch 2.1. As we were hoping to implement World Transfers as quickly as possible, we set Free Company plot prices on the high side. Due to this, we received a lot of feedback mentioning that even though there were plans for personal housing, there would be no way that players would be able to pay that high of a cost. In my reply, I wrote: “I can say that prices will be completely separate from Free Company housing, and, naturally, far more affordable.”

What this meant was the following:

  • The prices will be completely separate from Free Company land prices (At the time of Patch 2.1)
  • We’ll be making the prices much cheaper than what they are currently (At the time of Patch 2.1)

However, reading this again, I realize that this statement is extremely unclear. Also, because I wrote this quickly to try to quell the uneasiness at the time, I ended up causing even more problems for everyone. I sincerely apologize for this.

Um, no. I’m sorry. You said something that was pretty simple and it meant something pretty simple. Never did you say in the original post that it was “in relation to Patch 2.1” in any way.

“Completely separate” means… well… absolutely set apart from the original. And “far more affordable” also means… well… not the same price, but much cheaper.

Yet what we got were the exact same FC houses at the exact same prices.

I… don’t even know where to begin with this response. It’s full of so much twisty communication that it boggles the mind.