Final Fantasy XIV’s long awaited housing demolition finally occurred recently… and the result has been good old-fashioned MMORPG drama the likes of which FFXIV players haven’t seen in a while.
Let me take you back to late October of this year. Towards the end of the month, Square Enix announced via the Final Fantasy XIV Lodestone page that starting on Nov. 10 (the release date of Patch 3.1), inactive players that still owned housing would have 45 days to log back in to access their house or it would be demolished and put back on the market. This was a welcomed change at the time. Housing (free company or private) had always been extremely scarce especially in crowded servers, and finally Square Enix was going to do something about it.
Let’s fast forward Dec. 25, when that 45-day doomsday timer finally ticked down to an end, and all of the inactive houses were released back into the market. What Square Enix was probably hoping for was rich loyal longtime players, decked out in the latest Heavensward, gear showing up sometime after the housing reset to finally have the opportunity to buy their dream home. Instead what resulted was total chaos.
There were plenty of well intentioned players who did indeed get their house and are probably decorating them now as we speak. But there were also plenty that missed it, only to get “sniped” and beat out by someone (sometimes just mules) whom only wants to flip the house for an insane profit and has no intention of actually using it. This led to a major outcry from frustrated players on the Final Fantasy XIV official forums. There are plenty of posts all over popular FFXIV community websites, but here are some snippets to give you an idea:
“It took less than 10 minutes from when I realized that housing was available today to every single one being purchased. I’ve played this game since 1.0 and have been trying to save up for home ownership since the feature was released. I’ve crafted day in and out, busting my chops to achieve in-game wealth for well over a year only to have the ONE chance in the last year to buy a property taken in this period of time. When I checked, there were 10+ small and medium plots available in the Goblet. When I got there, every one was taken. I just don’t know what reason I have to play this game anymore. I really don’t…” via FFXIV OF
“I managed to snatch an house on Christmas day, and I’m still here writing in agreement. What we had to go through was horrible, nobody should have to spend 14 hours straight staring at a monitor waiting for the moment an house will disappear, hoping to be faster than the other people camping for the same reason, for what is essentially a fluff feature.” via FFXIV OF
“Housing is BROKEN. There will NEVER be enough plots the way it is now. Know why? Because as long as the system works the way it does now, there’s going to be a bunch of greedy twisted A-Holes buying multiple plots and controlling the housing market.” via FFXIV OF
Yeesh. It is worth noting though that some of the smaller servers aren’t experiencing these issues as severely as the larger ones are. So there’s that at least for people on those servers.
Now if this wasn’t bad enough, imagine you were on one of the three servers that had issues with housing demolition just simply not occurring at all when they were supposed to. Servers Jenova, Valefor, and Belias experienced issues where not only did people camp out for hours like the other servers, but when the time was supposed to come, nothing happened.
The housing was just simply not reset. Square Enix eventually fixed this issue, but the result of that bug was people camping out for WAY longer than other servers, just to find out it was broken. That couple day window of when the housing was supposed to reset to when it actually did left the door open longer for house flippers or just other players to “yank” housing plots from people who were had their eye on them for days. Leading to as you can imagine extreme outrage and frustration and is now being dubbed on the FFXIV Official Forums as the “Great Jenova Housing Scam of 2015.”
But wait, that’s not all. Just in case this wasn’t drama filled enough, recently what has emerged is another controversy regarding people who want to sell their plot (newly obtained or otherwise). But before we get into that, here’s a quick explanation as to how house selling usually worked in the past. Previously, when the housing market was less insane as it is now, people generally sold houses privately because if you relinquished your house willingly back into the market, you’d lose your entire investment. The interested purchaser would give the owner gil (read: money) privately to then open up the plot for the purchaser to buy. People interested in doing this would often advertise via a tool called Party Finder that lists people who are trying to find groups for content to the whole server. It is normally used by people looking to put together PvE groups, but can easily be used to just advertise whatever you want.
So enter the present day, where people are once again using the above practice but now are getting mixed messages from GMs regarding whether or not this practice breaches the Terms of Service (TOS). Some people are getting warned by GMs that they will be facing disciplinary action, while others have reached out to GMs asking and being told that it is fine to advertise selling their house. Here’s one example from Reddit user Radoph being told that it isn’t against the TOS, and another from FFXIV Official Forum user Rarecandi getting a GM response that it is against the TOS.
Another Reddit user Alukah, got a hold of a Supervising GM that told her/him that advertisement via the Party Finder was considered disruption and received this response in regards to the miscommunication from other GMs:
“We deeply apologize for any incorrect information that may have been given previously, and any confusion this may have caused. Please rest assured that we are working to ensure all Game Masters are on the same page with these policies, as we understand how frustrating it can be to receive conflicting answers to your inquiry.” via /r/ffxiv/
What. A. Dumpster Fire
So what happens now? Well, first things first, Square Enix will likely need to address whether or not advertisement of house reselling is against the TOS. After that, there isn’t much else that can be done unless Square Enix adds more land. There are plans to add a whole new housing region in Heavensward’s Ishgard region. However, we’ll likely see a similar story as we are now; people rushing the new plots to buy them up as quickly as humanely possible.
A quick fix that could help would be to offer up the same 80% refund that owners get when their house is demolished via inactivity to those that willingly relinquish their house back into the market. As it stands now if you give up your house legally you get nothing back, which is what helps feed the housing “black market.” If people can get back most if not all of their investment, then you may see more houses back on the market “legally.”
For now, though, your best bet is probably just to wait out the FFXIV housing crisis of 2015 in one of the Free Company rooms offered to anyone that enlists in a FC that has a house for a much more affordable price of 300k gil.
Do you have a Final Fantasy XIV 2015 housing crisis war story? Tell us yours in the comments and we may add it to to a future story!