Today’s 4.1 update to Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood introduced new player housing in the scenic, Far Eastern-themed district of Shirogane. Servers went online at 6AM, putting 720 new housing plots on the market. The choicest locations were gone before many players could even clear the login queue.
In order to acquire one of the new housing plots, players had to be fast. Grabbing one involves making their way as quickly as possibly to the area their preferred plot is located in and staking a claim before anyone else. One helpful tip circulating for players hoping to score a home this morning involves setting their character to busy, so other players can’t attempt to interrupt the purchase by opening a trade window. It’s a cutthroat game that’s over in a flash.
The login queues did not help. The launch of a new update is a busy time for any popular MMO, and the 4.1 “The Legend Returns” update is pretty huge. According to reports gathered in game and in the Final Fantasy XIV forums, many players who had prepared for today’s land rush found them stuck in login queues, their hopes of a new home ticking away with each passing minute.
Final Fantasy XIV’s housing system is notoriously bad. Where other games allow players to carve out a private space for themselves or their guild as they see fit, Square Enix’s MMO keeps available housing limited. Up until today’s patch there were three housing areas in each server. Each housing area features 12 wards, with 60 plots of varying sizes in each. That’s 2,160 spots for players and free companies (guilds). Taking into account players who like to horde housing or free companies attempting to buy up plots en masse, that’s not a lot of space.
Adding 720 more plots per server doesn’t help much, especially when they’re fresh and new and oh-so-pretty. The forums and Reddit are filled with nightmare stories about today’s chaotic land grab. It’s the worst part of an otherwise excellent patch. It’s souring the entire experience. Players are talking about canceling their accounts. My free company leader mentioned hearing someone suggest the Shirogane area’s name be changed to “Shiogane” (“shio” is Japanese for salt.)
It’s a rough system, to be sure. It’s been rough for years. When housing was introduced in Final Fantasy XIV back in 2011, I was excited at the idea of owning my own little home and decorating it with all sorts of virtual FF items. Then I saw the exorbitant prices for player homes and the relatively slim chance of actually getting one, and I gave up. I am a bold adventurer. I have conquered gods, demons and kings and averted world-ending catastrophe on several occasions. My home is wherever my sword or fishing rod takes me.
Seriously though, please fix this, Square Enix. I am fine with anything. Build us a Final Fantasy-flavored slum and I will live under a box, as long as I don’t have to fight for it.
Update October 12, 11:45 AM: This morning game producer Naoki Yoshida addressed the housing problem in a post on the official forums. Yoshida apologized for failing to prepare sufficient land plots in the Shirogane region, along with the server stress that resulted in players not being able to log during the land rush.
According to Yoshida, plans are now underway to strengthen the game servers to facilitate the introduction of new plots in all game areas with patch 4.2. The team is also considering changing the way wards are sold.
We’ve also received considerable feedback as to how they should be added, and we will be making an announcement outlining the number of new wards and how they will be sold after reviewing said feedback. To prevent speculation, we will refrain from releasing information until absolutely necessary.