Final Fantasy XIV temporarily suspends automatic housing demolition because of COVID-19

    
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While one would assume that self-isolation or quarantine due to the novel coronavirus would mean more time in your in-game house in Final Fantasy XIV, it’s also a very real possibility that people can’t afford their subscriptions and so are worried that their inability to log in and visit their house would make it a target for automatic demolition. If you’re in that boat, you can relax, as the devs have announced a temporary stay of execution.

As of March 26th, the auto-demolition counter has been halted for an indeterminate length of time as Squeenix monitors the situation. If a player’s estate or land is being prepared for auto-demolition, they can cancel this status by either entering their estate or building on their purchased plot. When the auto-demolition counter resumes — and resume it shall — the time will pick right up from where it was stopped, excluding housing plots where that counter was cancelled.

In other Final Fantasy XIV news, there’s a fresh developers’ blog that shows off all of the goodies awaiting in this year’s Hatching-Tide seasonal event, so if you want to make sure that full bunny suit is as horrifying and creepy as possible (spoiler alert: it totally is), you can get a look ahead.

source: official site (1, 2)

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elenie

Good. Would hate to see people lose their houses because they are sick or unable to afford the sub.

Next step: Add housing for everyone, stop it with the limited number of plots. Before I played FFXIV I heard that the system was bad but I had no idea. Getting a plot is a truly horrible experience where you must compete with other people by clicking on a sign as often as you can for hours or a day (most people who can use click macros). And then there’s the demolition timer (because housing is limited, there’s no rent costs), which punishes you for not logging on which also feels terrible.
Apartments are good but you cannot use gardening plots in them so they’re not a replacement for the limited housing plots.

Anyway, my wonderful FC has been a great comfort lately – shout out to House of Lotus on Tonberry!

Tizmah
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Tizmah

Truly glad that my virtual character gets a rent freeze during a global pandemic, and only my real life self gets to worry if I’ll have enough money to pay rent next month.

The fuck is wrong with us lol.

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Sorenthaz

Apparently they accidentally did the opposite and all houses/plots were set to auto-demollish on at least one server or something? Someone in my FC discord was spreading that message on the 27th at least. I don’t own a plot so I don’t have to worry about it, lol.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

There’s a lot of stress in the world and rumors are rife to run rampant. If that actually happened then Square fixed it almost immediately. Neither of my houses were in that state.

I’m leaning more towards intentional hoax myself. Either it was a troll or perhaps it was to scare folks into logging in and verifying.

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Kawaii Five-O

Or it could have been a genuine mistake. Sometimes, people don’t realize how long it’s been since they entered their house, and the game itself does an abysmal job of informing you.

I actually saved my friend’s house the other day which I’m a tenant of, because I happened to check my estate timers (because I’m paranoid and occasionally check to make sure my own house is properly refreshing) and saw it was 2 days away from being demolished.

You really shouldn’t have to manually check a tab that many players have no idea exists to see whether or not your house is up for demolition with the only other warning being an email you may or may not even receive.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Fair. But let’s be real. Open world housing does. not. work. in multi-player settings.

Square has unsuccessfully tried to paper over the problem for however long they’ve had housing. Their apartments are insultingly limited. A reasonable instanced housing implementation is way overdue.

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Bruno Brito

Open world housing does. not. work. in multi-player settings.

What’s wrong with SWG’s housing?

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Obligatory disclaimer: I’ve never played SWG so I’m working from hearsay.

The big problem with open world housing is that nobody has gotten the availability balance right. Mostly it’s been too scarce but SWG actually went the other way and there were vast abandoned ghettos.

SWG’s aggregate population was at least one or more orders of magnitude less than some of the more recent implementations. It eventually would have become enough of a problem that limits would need to be enforced.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

SWG’s problem wasn’t its availability or vastness; it was the cheapness of keeping up structures and cities coupled with the unwillingness of SOE to remove structures from the landscape when they’d been abandoned.

Had all of SWG’s servers been merged the way many modern games operate, everyone would likely have fit – but it would’ve been very ugly and made temporary structures like harvesters impossible. More planets with more space for player cities would’ve needed adding for sure. Even 10 years ago, it was almost impossible for a large group of players to get a city on the big servers, and very difficult for anyone to score a desirable spot.

In any case, open-world housing very definitely does and can work. But the studio needs to have the guts to clean up the landscape when people leave the game and to charge large groups sufficiently to hold land.

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Eamil

They don’t even have open-world housing, they have instanced neighborhoods. LOTRO did this without the headaches Squeenix is having, almost a decade before they did. There’s really no excuse for it at this point.

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Dug From The Earth

This comes across more like pandering than practicality.

Right now there are more people logged into games like FF14 than normal because they are stuck at home. This means that homes are less likely to be destroyed because the player isnt around.

Its more likely that the marketing team at FF14 is using this to jump on the “We are doing our part during this outbreak!” bandwagon.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

You’re not wrong, but it is something nice for players who are first responders and/or working jobs that have been declared essential services. If even 10% of those players are half as tired as I am after yet another a day in hell, they barely have the energy left to turn on Netflix, let alone log into a video game. I agree that it’s mainly a PR stunt, but still a nice thing for those aren’t able to log in right now.

Bereman
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Bereman

This really isn’t meant for those that have jobs that are essential services and may simply be too tired to log-in for a while.

This is more for those that won’t be able to log-in because of lower or lost income or other such financial difficulties and needing to cut things like paying for a subscription…which is consistent with the other times that they’ve halted the timer. Each time it’s been based on enough of the population in the affected region potentially being impacted by events to the point where they may not be able to log-in, or will have trouble logging in consistently. Earthquakes, hurricanes, etc., and in this case potential financial difficulties due to pandemic.

There’s also the other side of the situation – those that are able to continue playing who are looking to get a house typically rely on the timer (which wasn’t always part of the system, it was added based partially on player feedback back in I believe 2017 – housing has been in-game since late 2013 for FCs, mid-2014 for individual houses) to free up slots for purchase. Halting the timer for those who can’t get in means no open housing plots (unless someone intentionally relinquishes it) for those who can still play…

Which is why it’s not been done as a PR stunt in the past and only in response to significant events…which is clearly still the case here.

Bereman
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Bereman

Correction to the above – the demolition timer was added in November 2015, a little over a year after being able to buy a housing plot as an individual was added.

Bereman
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Bereman

Right now there are more people logged into games like FF14 than normal because they are stuck at home.

For now.

But some of those who are stuck at home, as noted in the article and in the original announcement, may be faced with uncertain financial situations in the coming months due to lower or lost income, which can and will lead to lapsed subscriptions for some. Being cognizant of that as a likely future for some and halting that system for the time being is less pandering and more simply a nice gesture.

It’s also consistent with their previous responses regarding housing – when there is a chance enough players may be impacted in such a way that prevents them from continuing to play the game, they halt the auto demolition timer for the area affected. Not really marketing and just a developer response consistent across multiple situations for several years at this point.

Marketing? That’d be dropping a free log-in campaign during this time that explicitly encouraged players to stay inside in real life while going “outside” in Eorzea.