Wisdom of Nym: Examining Final Fantasy XIV’s housing issues (other than availability)

    
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This housing district looks nice.
When we talk about issues with Final Fantasy XIV’s housing system, the first issue that’s going to be brought up – invariably – is the fact that there are too many people and not enough houses. Seriously, that’s going to come up in seconds, and it’s going to suck the air out of any further discussion. This is kind of a problem, because while this is true, it’s also not the limit of the actual issues the game’s housing system has. It literally ends every discussion before it starts.

This is a problem. Because yes, without a doubt, the dearth of space and the number of people who want houses is a serious issue for the game’s housing system. But there are other issues even once you actually get into the house, and at some point it would be nice to see these things actually addressed amidst the need to address the availability problem. Even once you get the house, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

Interactions and the lack of space

I take this seriously.What’s the smallest furnishing limit in the game? You would probably argue it’s for private rooms and apartments, but you’d be wrong. The smallest limit in the game is for interactive furnishings, and it’s a limit the game never tells you about or makes clear. Once you have 40 interactive objects in a room, the game starts culling some to render the closest ones only, and suddenly you’re watching the house clip in and out of existence.

In smaller places, of course, this is less likely to be an issue; after all, it’s unlikely that you’ll want 40 interactive items in a 100-item room. In larger homes, though, it becomes a bigger problem. And the issue is compounded by the fact that several interactive items are, in fact, not things you would think of as interactive items. Blank walls? Painting frames? Both interactive, despite the fact that once they’re up you probably don’t want to interact with them.

So long as there are limits in place, there are going to be certain housing tricks that you just can’t get around, and that’s normal. But the interactive limit is particularly bothersome just because it’s invisible, not tracked anywhere, and can strike without any warning whatsoever. With walls that are used for laying out the flow of your house, no less.

Even just having some form of tracking would help for this, but providing alternative for some of the more static items would be helpful too. It’s unclear how much of this is hard-coded limitations of the game, but you shouldn’t be choosing between the decorations you want and the ones that will actually render properly.

Placement problems

I can, in fact, completely understand why you can’t place windows on partitions from a logical standpoint. It makes perfect sense that you can’t make a small column of partitions and just place a bunch of windows on it, that makes almost no sense from a practical standpoint and thus should not be allowed unless you can point to something else that makes no practical sense.

You know, like placing fireplaces in the basement without any exhaust system. Oh snap.

The game has a lot of hard-coded limits about where you can place items within a house that relate to clipping the wall, where things can go on stairs, and so forth. They are, almost universally, ridiculous. They’re made even more ridiculous by the fact that people have long found ways to glitch things into these places; it’s obviously not that the system can’t handle it, it’s that the developers either foresaw some weird glitch option that could be put into place if you arranged items just so, or there was a decision made that this looks ugly and shouldn’t be allowed.

Pshaw to that, says I. Let us place objects the way we want. Sure, some people are going to use that to make some hideously ugly homes, but people are going to do that anyway. You can at least let the people who are going to use these tools well use more tools.

As for glitches? As long as it’s not causing horrible server strain or offering advantages within the game, don’t worry about that. Think of running off the side of the airship in Final Fantasy XI. That glitch has been there for ages, but no one has ever talked about fixing it, simply because it does nothing bad for the game but it’s fun to exploit. Let us have those silly glitches.

A lot of these furnishings, too.

Floor plans and restrictions

My mansion is in Mist. This is endlessly lucky for me for several reasons; Mist has my favorite housing styles, it’s the most popular housing district in the game, and also it’s not as if mansions are exactly common for people who do have the money for one. I got in early, made my run, and got my house when it was available. I attribute it as much to luck as to planning.

The one spot of bad luck there? I can’t use my favorite style of fence because that’s only for Gridanian houses.

Admittedly, this does tie a little bit into availability; you cannot pick and choose where you get your house much of the time. You have to be happy to have a house at all. But the fact that there are only certain fences you can use with a given style of house, only certain house styles based on districts… all of these things are restrictions that would make sense if there were plenty of space for housing, so you had to pick and choose. That’s not the reality and that makes it kind of awful.

For that matter, every single small house has the same floor layout. Every single apartment is limited to the exact same design. I understand that there are certain limitations to be observed here, but why can’t I have a Medium where the stairs are across from the door and both contained in one flight? Why can’t we have a Large without the exact same floor layout? Why can the interior not have different pillar and trim styles?

When you’re decorating, this stuff comes up. For all of the mistakes WildStar made, it didn’t make the mistake of giving you very limited house layouts; you could choose between lots of very different styles as you wished. That you can’t do this with housing in FFXIV feels like an unnecessary limitation.

Missing furnishings

Why, exactly, are there so many furnishing designs that we still don’t have access to? I’m not talking about utility things like the Glamour Dresser; I’m talking about things like, say, the chaise-lounges we see on the Prima Vista that we still can’t make. We have exactly one fountain in the game. We still don’t have mirrors, and even if those provide technical hurdles we still don’t have non-functional mirrors.

The slow roll of new housing items would be a bit better if what we tended to lack also tended to be more accessible, but there’s actually a painfully small list of things to craft with non-limited materials in the upper tiers. Getting something as simple as a wine glass requires no small amount of resources and crafting chops for some reason.

Yes, you need to give crafters something to do. But there are points wherein it just becomes ridiculous.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next week, I’d like to talk about a rather little change we know is coming that has rather big implications for role actions and the future.

The Nymian civilization hosted an immense amount of knowledge and learning, but so much of it has been lost to the people of Eorzea. That doesn’t stop Eliot Lefebvre from scrutinizing Final Fantasy XIV each week in Wisdom of Nym, hosting guides, discussion, and opinions without so much as a trace of rancor.
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Mr Poolaty

Ok so I’ve had a small Shirogane house since the last release of houses… So awesome ikr!!
I haven’t decorated shit in it unfortunately.. I decided I’d look on ffxiv housing site because unfortunately there isn’t a housing item preview. It’d be great to have any item at your disposal like a housing item book within your home to see how things look but even so I’m sure that would be a lot of work but just being able to preview the item at the market board would be so much of an upgrade!!!

So I found some things I wanted to put in my house and omfg after like 10 minutes of trying to get my miniature starlight tree on the top of the doll display case in the middle of the step with no luck I just said Fuck it and left it cockeyed

Idk there isn’t some sort I’d visible grid system so you can see where you can set the gd shit…

I’m just starting to decorate but gd it’s a pita!!! besides the fact my body takes up half the viewing area in the house :(

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Toy Clown

One good thing to be said about apartments is it’s great to have one if you play on-and-off. I probably re-sub 1-2 times a year and hang around for 1 to 8 months at most, and it’s nice having my apartment waiting for me when I log back in.

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cursedseishi

Just off a guess, I would say the lack of variation between one house layout and another of the same size is due to server limitations. As long as the game has to recall and keep them all active in a given shard, its easier on the hardware to have a uniform layout where the variable is item placement outside and within… Rather than all of that, on top of the countless variations in layout you’d see if people had free reign.

That’s why I’ve had, and will continue, to push for an instanced single house unique to individual players. Surely it would be less strain to have housing brought up individually only when it is being accessed, rather than whenever someone jumps into a neighborhood where you have 30+ houses each with their own unique elements being called up and specific things requiring constant tracking server side *coughGardenscough*

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Dagget Burmese

Shirogane is the most popular housing district, mist is #2

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Mr Poolaty

I’m hoping he was joking about mist number 1…