The new housing rules, though, are probably going to make some bigger changes. And they’re changes that we can analyze and speculate about, even though some of them have some potential impacts we just won’t know about until later. So let’s start in, piece by piece, with the question marks and the known quantities.
And I will also be laughing at the frustration of people who screwed the system and are now sad about it.
One home, one company
This is the prohibition a lot of people have been expecting for a while, and honestly, it’s the one that makes the most sense. You can’t buy a home for a free company if you’re part of a free company that already has one, and you can have exactly one home per account. You also can’t get a home for a free company with fewer than four members (I’m going to assume characters rather than simply accounts here). For the majority of players, this is fairly transparent and doesn’t affect anything; for players who have been cheesing the housing system, well, screw you and enjoy getting dunked on.
My hope is also that this particular system is not given any sort of grandfather clause for players already violating the rule. Obviously, there’s no way to change free company housing, but if you already have multiple character houses? Choose one and you’re losing the others. If you’re in a free company without four members? Recruit or lose the house.
Basically, this is one of those places where I have little to no sympathy for people who are using this to game the system. My hand instinctively starts punching the desk every time I read that defense by the self-entitled turd-wrestlers who cheated their way into an entire ward on Mateus, because their defense comes down to “why shouldn’t we be allowed to have what we want” when the answer is “because it is literally at the expense of people around you, this is not complicated, how can you be this willfully dense.”
If these rules are not the new law of the land and only apply to everything moving forward, then it is definitely going to help a fair bit. It’s not going to solve everything, but it’s going to mean that houses are going to people who want houses and don’t have them or are relocating. That’s good. If they’re the new law of the land as I hope, then we’re probably going to see a lot of houses coming free regardless, and that’s also a good thing. We’ll also see a lot of sad people who wanted to game the system.
Those people can enjoy misery and they can lose. Seriously, no sympathy.
Free companies first
Another one of the rules laid down for this particular dance is that free companies will be the ones getting a first crack at the new houses. I have mixed personal feelings on this while at the same time acknowledging that it is, in fact, the right call. My own mixed feelings don’t change the fact that when choosing between a plot that will serve as a home for four or more people and a plot that will serve as a home for one, the former should get higher priority.
It’s a little unclear, based on the current wording, if relocation will be possible for players who already own a house or if even that will be locked out for a time. My reading is that it’s probably possible to relocate no matter what, but it’s possible that private owners will have to wait.
Combined with the other rule, this feels like it’s a good litmus test to see how urgent the situation still is; I tend to doubt that there are a thousand free companies still urgently seeking a home, although there are probably a fair number looking to relocate and/or upgrade. That in and of itself is a bit of a problem (speaking as someone who would like to upgrade), since the lion’s share of the housing spots are still small houses and those tend to not be exactly warmly received by players. Still, the important thing is that these factors in concert will at least slow and diversify the flood of players eagerly chasing houses, although I imagine they’ll still be going fast.
Of course, this is still a rule patch on a system that shouldn’t be in place in the first place, so it’s also legit to look at this as kind of an awkward fix in the worst ways. I think it’s the right decision, but I also think it’s the right decision in a context where it would have been very easy to have fewer bad decisions available.
The last big rule change that stands alone is a little one, but it seems like something that’s specifically meant to kick house resellers. Releasing a house doesn’t reset its availability immediately; instead, it means that it’s going to come up sometime in the near future. I imagine this would also apply for auto-demolition, although we don’t yet know for certain.
For those of you who didn’t take part in the shady-as-heck resale market, it worked based on having both people standing in place by the plot. Person A trades Person B a large amount of gil, Person B relinquishes the plot, Person A is already right there and can re-purchase it. Now, however, all that you know that will happen is that the plot will become available within a certain time window. You can no longer be certain that you’ll be right there.
Frankly, this seems a bit unnecessary, like throwing out an extra solution when the existing solutions already would have worked. For that matter, stripping the resellers of houses directly would have worked well, but apparently Square-Enix didn’t want to do the filthy business of policing Reddit to stop these sorts of resales. It’s not going to have much impact on most players, much like the changes to one-per-account rules; on the other hand, it’s hard to see this having an effect upon the targets, who are already being screwed through other means.
And, I’ll note, deservedly so.
Will it fix things?
Leaving aside “the housing system doesn’t work and doesn’t need to be this way” as a tired refrain, the question remains whether or not all of this is going to work. The answer to that is that I don’t know. I know that I would like it to work, I would like to be able to purchase the upgrade that I’ve wanted, and I’d like to see far more people even on Balmung being happy about having a home rather than scrambling for one. For that matter, I’d like to see people having apartments and places to call their own, so that alone is going to be a good thing.
On some level, though, I think there’s an issue here that still isn’t really being discussed. There are servers that are more quiet than the largest servers, and I don’t think many of those servers can really make full use of an extra 1,440 plots; at the same time, it’s possible the biggest servers are still going to be bursting at the seams. Are 144 additional Large plots enough for all of the companies and relocating players who want a Large, or are we just going to have the same problem in short order all over again?
I don’t know. We’ll get more information soon. These are all good rules, and having them added to the game makes the housing situation better. But it’s still too early to say whether this is going to fix the overarching issues or just put a patch on the same underlying problems that I’ve been writing about for a while.
The bright side, though, is that it is a serious effort at fixing actual, real overarching issues. So even if it doesn’t fix everything, it at least serves as a good foundation to do so.
Feedback, like always, is welcome down below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, next time we’re doing the patch notes as planned. This just didn’t fit nicely in a weekly schedule, you see.