Back in July, I wrote in length about my feelings about Final Fantasy XIV’s player housing problem, an issue that’s become a hot topic lately. I came to the conclusion that I don’t feel comfortable paying my subscription until the issue, and the various disparities they propagate, are fixed. I don’t know if my sub goes toward sustaining the servers but if they do, I’m paying for rich players to disenfranchise my experience. If my money doesn’t, then I still don’t appreciate the symbolic value of paying for a game that continues to allow players like Seraph Altima and her friend to do what they do.
Shirogane is finally open to the public alongside FFXIV’s 4.1 patch, and it went as well as could be expected. Let’s see how the game is faring…
The plots available sold out in a matter of minutes, the people who were lucky enough to get in ahead of the queues were the ones who got new houses, and everyone else was left to rant and rave.
Yep. As well as could be expected. Adding more plots – even an expansion to the housing system – won’t fix the system’s problem because the problem is the system itself.
On the 12th, Naoki Yoshida released a statement on the game’s forums regarding 4.1’s housing issues. I’ve taken the liberty to bolden the parts I deem important:
Hello, everyone. This is FFXIV Producer and Director, Naoki Yoshida.
Patch 4.1 saw the introduction of the residential area, Shirogane, and though we are pleased to see so many players enjoying this area, we also received a great deal of feedback regarding this newest addition to housing.
While a great number of you were interested in either purchasing or relocating to a plot in Shirogane, we failed to prepare sufficient plots for players, and for that I deeply apologize.
This problem was only made worse by the increased stress on the servers from players rushing to log in after the end of maintenance. As a result, the system implemented to prevent players from abusing the relocation feature failed to function properly, preventing some players from relocating altogether.
Although this issue will be addressed in today’s hotfix, we understand this does not address the underlying issue. In light of the feedback we have received, we will be working to bolster our servers in preparation for additional wards in the Lavender Beds, the Goblet, Mist, and Shirogane by patch 4.2.
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. We ask for your patience and understanding until we can provide you with these details.
I hope we can count on your continued support, and that you all will continue to enjoy the various new content added in patch 4.1.
Let’s go through why I think the bold parts of the quote are important:
“…we failed to prepare sufficient plots for players, and for that I deeply apologize.”
After hearing this for years, I interpret this more as an apology for players’ bad experiences than an apology for the system itself and the team’s complete inability to fix the issue thus far. This is definitely my bias showing, though – I’m very critical about this right now.
“…we understand this does not address the underlying issue.”
Thank you. Thank you so much for saying this right now.
“…we will be working to bolster our servers in preparation for additional wards in the Lavender Beds, the Goblet, Mist, and Shirogane by patch 4.2.”
So what was the point of the Shirogane housing delay again? Was it to allow players to beat the main story content up to the point of unlocking housing in the first place? That has no prevalence on the housing system’s current issues. It has no prevalence as to why 4.1’s housing release was such an unsurprising shitshow.
“…we will be making an announcement outlining the number of new wards and how they will be sold after reviewing said feedback.“
I’m drastically more interested in how they will be sold than I am about the number of new wards being released. I’m also intrigued by the wording here – “how they will be sold.” Having followed a lot of what Yoshi-P has said since he started his reign as Director and Producer, I’ll bet you my finest racing Chocobo he’s talking about sale-gating wards to first-time buyers or buyers who have no existing house at the moment. That wouldn’t completely fix the issue, but it would make me less mad about it. It seems to me the kind of compromise Yoshi-P has been apt at lately.
I’m feeling a lot more optimistic and patient about an eventual positive solution. Hearing Yoshi-P use the words “underlying issues” about the housing system has to mean something. I’m going to hold my decision to resub until after I see specific details, though. I don’t like feeling anhedonic about FFXIV after playing it for so long.