Today’s 4.1 update to Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood introduced new player housing in the scenic, Far Eastern-themed district of Shirogane. Servers went online at 6AM, putting 720 new housing plots on the market. The choicest locations were gone before many players could even clear the login queue.
In order to acquire one of the new housing plots, players had to be fast. Grabbing one involves making their way as quickly as possibly to the area their preferred plot is located in and staking a claim before anyone else. One helpful tip circulating for players hoping to score a home this morning involves setting their character to busy, so other players can’t attempt to interrupt the purchase by opening a trade window. It’s a cutthroat game that’s over in a flash.
The login queues did not help. The launch of a new update is a busy time for any popular MMO, and the 4.1 “The Legend Returns” update is pretty huge. According to reports gathered in game and in the Final Fantasy XIV forums, many players who had prepared for today’s land rush found them stuck in login queues, their hopes of a new home ticking away with each passing minute.
Final Fantasy XIV’s housing system is notoriously bad. Where other games allow players to carve out a private space for themselves or their guild as they see fit, Square Enix’s MMO keeps available housing limited. Up until today’s patch there were three housing areas in each server. Each housing area features 12 wards, with 60 plots of varying sizes in each. That’s 2,160 spots for players and free companies (guilds). Taking into account players who like to horde housing or free companies attempting to buy up plots en masse, that’s not a lot of space.
It’s a rough system, to be sure. It’s been rough for years. When housing was introduced in Final Fantasy XIV back in 2011, I was excited at the idea of owning my own little home and decorating it with all sorts of virtual FF items. Then I saw the exorbitant prices for player homes and the relatively slim chance of actually getting one, and I gave up. I am a bold adventurer. I have conquered gods, demons and kings and averted world-ending catastrophe on several occasions. My home is wherever my sword or fishing rod takes me.
Seriously though, please fix this, Square Enix. I am fine with anything. Build us a Final Fantasy-flavored slum and I will live under a box, as long as I don’t have to fight for it.
Update October 12, 11:45 AM: This morning game producer Naoki Yoshida addressed the housing problem in a post on the official forums. Yoshida apologized for failing to prepare sufficient land plots in the Shirogane region, along with the server stress that resulted in players not being able to log during the land rush.
According to Yoshida, plans are now underway to strengthen the game servers to facilitate the introduction of new plots in all game areas with patch 4.2. The team is also considering changing the way wards are sold.
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.
Frustration over Final Fantasy XIV’s housing shortage has come to a head after two players angered a lot of others by buying up 28 homes in the land-strapped massively multiplayer online game. Now, players are questioning whether virtual housing is an equal right or a privilege meant for the rich and over-dedicated.
The two players bought their homes in a formerly vacant corner of the game, a server called Mateus, where they could pursue dual ambitions of opulence and privacy. Their critics say they’ve hoarded land from dozens of FFXIV citizens, who feel they deserve a chance at housing. That criticism has gotten ugly as players hotly debate whether their elitism—or desire for mass amounts of property—has any place in a game where everybody pays the same fee.
“Given we both came to Mateus for the quiet, it’s distinctly uncomfortable to have others come in and insult us,” one of the bulk home-owners, a player who goes by the name Martyr Igeyorhm, told me during a tour of their two-occupant neighborhood today. “We’ve had to report people for harassment a few times.” Her housing partner Seraph Altima agreed, adding, “I think it’s wrong that people ignore the work and just see themselves being deprived.”
FFXIV has had housing drama as long as it’s had houses. When producer Naoki Yoshida introduced housing to FFXIV in 2011, he emphasized fair land distribution. But in the intervening years, housing has become a contentious topic in the game as speculators and thick-pocketed players monopolized property on big servers. Other times, players didn’t even use the houses they buy; it’s just a status symbol.
About 2,500 houses are available for each of FFXIV’s servers, which on average host over twice that amount of players. Houses aren’t a necessity in FFXIV, but owning one means having your own space to invite new raiding friends, host parties and, most importantly, decorate. Players paste ornate wallpaper to their walls, fill rooms with carved wood chests and candles and decorate with garlands and gold trimming. They cost several million FFXIV gil, unfurnished. Fur rugs, wall-to-wall bookshelves, portraits and hot tubs garnish the homes of more thick-pocketed players who choose to sink their resources in home decor. Smaller apartments remain available too, but without the grandeur of a garden or street entrance (and on some servers, houses are still available.)
Out of this design frenzy, an FFXIV adaptation of Cribs has even emerged. A year ago, it featured the player Seraph Altima and her “sanctuary,” complete with a lush garden, an attended full bar and stone partitions.
Altima had carved out sanctuaries on two of FFXIV’s most populous servers. There, not even apartments, the less sought-after housing option, remain on the market. Publisher Square Enix has been adding more plots to keep up with demand, and will add more in the future, but right now, there’s not enough to go around. Over e-mail, a Square Enix representative told Kotaku that players are only able to purchase one house per character. But because both individual players and Free Companies—FFXIV’s guilds—can own property, players break that mandate a lot.
Last year, Altima fled the game’s more populous servers and established her new home on the quaint Mateus. At that point, it was one of the only servers with a wealth of land. She and Igeyorhm claimed 28 plots and thought they’d have that space to themselves. Likely, their land avarice wouldn’t have become a problem if thousands of refugees hadn’t recently fled booked-up servers searching for fresh housing frontiers.
Square Enix started offering free server transfers prior to FFXIV’s June Stormblood expansion, so players who wanted to avoid the influx of returning fans could game in peace. Mateus, which was unofficially designated a new role-playing server and was still a pristine (and cheap) housing frontier, was quickly full of home-scouters. Eventually, the housing options in that server filled up, too. When incoming transfers realized that they could no longer purchase plots on Mateus, of all places, and noticed that two players owned a plush 28 plots, accusations of greed and unfeeling avarice spread. Over Facebook and Reddit, hundreds of players had angry words for the alleged gentrifiers who felt “entitled” to own all that property when so many recent transfers (and players still saving up) never had a chance to carve out a home on Mateus.
Altima estimates that their 28 homes, the majority of an entire ward, cost around 150 million gil. If they had bought that gil, it’d have cost $375. On FFXIV this morning, Igeyorhm described themselves as “omnicrafters,” or players who “make all of our own items and sell other items for profit.” (To save a few bucks, most of their decor was made using FFXIV’s crafting system, too.) It took a lot of time. And she doesn’t feel sorry for players who put in less effort, or got to Mateus later along with the crowds. On a now-viral Tumblr post in response to public outcry, Altima wrote, “Many people feel entitled to own a house. They feel that even knowing there are only 2,160 plots (soon to be 2,880) on any given server, they can and should be allowed to go at their own pace and have free access to any content they like, including housing. They want a house of their own, but they don’t want to accept that lots of other people want it badly enough to work harder for it than they did.”
“Good lord,” a Redditor wrote. “People who aren’t rich enough to afford houses just aren’t TRYING hard enough? Not wanting neighbors putting up ‘ugly’ Paissa houses in ‘MY neighborhood?’ It’s like the most stereotypical rich snob attitude I’ve ever seen, except it’s apparently REAL (other than being in a video game).” Another described their actions as “selfishness because this person wanted to make a bastion of single-player content in a multiplayer game.”
I met Altima and Igeyorhm at the entrance of Goblet Ward 12 on FFXIV’s Mateus server. There, they fielded my questions while we toured through their saccharine two-floor cake shop, picture-perfect schoolyard, somber church to the FFXIV deity Zodiark and many, many gardens. Igeyorhm excitedly pointed out ice crystal formations and bubbling fountains between dives into hand-designed underground libraries and the like. I asked whether home construction was something she pursued in other games.
“Not really,” she said. “A lot of people like to ask us, ‘Why not play the Sims?’ Because we do so much other stuff!” Igyorhm said that, after her husband died, she hasn’t decorated much in real life. A few months later, she met Altima, and together they’ve spent an estimated thousand hours curating their 28 plots.
Neither thinks they’re unfairly eating up FFXIV’s limited housing resources. They blame Square Enix for not accommodating players’ passion for home-ownership—at least with houses. Although more cramped apartments are available on some servers and more housing will be added soon, the problem is more of philosophy than accessibility: Are players entitled to property in FFXIV—any more than they’re entitled to raiding mounts or veteran rewards? Is it the richer players, or the ones with more free time to grind out crafting exp, who are more entitled to take up space?
I asked Altima and Igeyorhm whether they’d give up any one of their plots for a new transfer desperate for a home. They paused. “These are our memories. Our precious time spent together,” Igeyorhm said.
Of course, some players still think they should be able to get those houses. “Not everyone needs everything in-game,” counters Altima. She argues that she’s not depriving anyone of housing; the plots were empty for years before they took them. “For example, not everyone deserves the Savage raiding mounts if they don’t do Alexander.”
The folks over at 4Gamer posted a two-minute gameplay clip of NieR: Automata showcasing one of its many gameplay features.
Specifically, the video introduces “Auto-Chips” which are a set of “Plug-In Chips” that gives players the freedom to customize their abilities to overall change up their play-style as they see fit. These include:
Auto Weapon Switch
Utilising Auto-Chips will allow players to perform certain actions automatically. They’re designed to execute optimum actions depending on the situation as opposed to repeating the same behaviour. They can also be toggled on or off seamlessly by hitting the PlayStation 4’s L2 button. Auto-Chips overall offers an easier experience to players and makes the combat pleasant to watch.
4Gamer claims the components were developed for those that wishes to play the game in Easy Mode and especially for players that may find Easy Mode as “difficult”.
Check out the video below to view the Auto-Chips in action:
NieR: Automata is due out for PlayStation 4 in Japan on February 23, in North America on March 7 and Europe on March 10. A PC version for Steam is also in development for release some time this year.
Square Enix and Sony Interactive Entertainment American have opened digital pre-orders for Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX, due out for PlayStation 4 on March 28. Those who pick up the game from the PlayStation Store can download an exclusive stained glass PS4 theme after checkout.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX includes the following major Kingdom Hearts titles on a single disc:
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (Movie)
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (Movie)
Fans can pick up this collection starting March 9 in Japan, March 28 in North America and March 31 in Europe. A Limited Edition is also being made available exclusively at the Square Enix online store.
Final Fantasy XV‘s first round of downloadable content is set to drop on December 22, Square Enix revealed today. Two types of content will be available with the Holiday Pack and Holiday Pack Plus – the latter available exclusively for Season Pass holders.
In addition to the Holiday Pack, fans can download a new update adding New Game Plus, and a photo frame feature for social media uploads. Both Holiday Packs will be distributed at the same time as these free updates.
New Game Plus will allow you to bring your clear data over to a new game. SNS photo framing will allow fans to attach photo frames when posting to social networks.
The Holiday Pack includes a number of optional items including accessories that make it easier to obtain items, items that eliminate stamina cost and tickets for a carnival set for late January. The Carnival Style outfit will also be available in January.
Holiday Pack Plus
A bunch of accessories helpful for playing FFXV and a pack of carnival tickets for the January event.
Command Booster (Only for Noctis)
Phantom Booster (Only for Noctis)
Instant Kill Victory Song
Battle Skill Victory Song
Key of Fortune
Stamina Anchor (Only for Noctis)
Carnival Style (Only for Noctis)
Photo Frame (Holiday Pack Limited Edition)
Limited Time Carnival Tickets+
Note the carnival tickets are the same ones includes with the free pack. Those who pick up the Plus pack will also be eligible for the Holiday Pack free version as well.
Holiday Pack (Free Version)
A bunch of accessories helpful for playing FFXV and a pack of carnival tickets for the January event.
Dengeki held a special one-hour livestream with Square Enix today sharing new information about NieR: Automata. They revealed several features, including the game’s enhancements on the PlayStation 4 Pro.
The base version of NieR: Automata will run at a 1600×900 resolution while the PS4 Pro version supports a native 1920×1080 picture. This is to ensure that both versions of the game run at a locked 60 frames-per-second to ensure smooth, consistent gameplay.
Other technical improvements from the Playstation 4 Pro version of NieR: Automata include:
Motion blur on character models’ movements bringing about more intense action from combat.
Sharper environmental details like sunlight scattering through the trees.
Finer technical enhancements including detailed shadows and increased foliage to further enrich the atmosphere.
Watch the whole livestream down below for new gameplay footage of NieR: Automata.
NieR: Automata is releasing on February 23 in Japan, March 7 in North America and March 10 in Europe. It will also be seeing a PC release via Steam in 2017. A demo for the game is coming on December 22.
Final Fantasy XV‘s “Judgment Disc” is now available for download exclusively in Japan. The demo is a way for fans to judge the final product before they run out and purchase a retail copy on November 29.
Spanning through the game’s first chapter, you’ll be playing for around an hour and a half if you go straight through the whole thing. Players who complete the demo will be treated with a special video at the end. Unfortunately, however, progress won’t carry over to Final Fantasy XV proper.
Judgment Disc marks the third demo available for the game pre-launch. The first demo, Episode Duscae, launched in March 2015 alongside Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and was patched at a later date. The second demo, Platinum Demo, saw its release a year later following Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV as more of a technical demonstration rather than a vertical slice indicative of the final product.
Judgment Disc clocks in at 13.4GB and can be downloaded through the following links:
Xbox Live (TBA)
Surprise! World of Final Fantasy is the latest title to join the ever-growing list of titles supporting Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro, due out today. The game, along with others, just popped up on a list of titles published by Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan.
While we’ve no concrete details on how exactly the game will be enhanced, World of Final Fantasy will be supported with the latest update.
Other Square Enix titles on the list include: Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Hitman and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
Add the ability to send moogle mail to every FC member in a mass mail.
Add permissions so that FC Masters can grant officers tha ability to mass mail their FC too.
Create a FC buletin board in-game for company announcements and information.
Add permissions to allow for different levels of access to the FC notice board, allowing read only,write access and modification/deletion of messages on the board which can be set by the FC Master.
Currently thre is no real way to communicate with all FC members unless you have a very small group who all play at the same time. Without resorting to the use of external systems, FC masters/officers cannot communicate with the entire company. Even with external systems, many players do not use such systems, and having the ability to communicate in Eorzea would resolve that.
The current message size in moogle mail is also very restrictive and I would suggest quadrupling the character limit at least.
The Company Board message in the game allows for a very short message, but it is inflexible and not very good as a means of communication due to the character limit.
An in-game FC Notice board would replace or supplement the current Company Board message which serves more as a vision or mission statement reminder in any case.
I find it incredible that with all of the things we have in FFXIV, and the emphasis on Free Companies, we still have no way as a free company to communicate in this manner. Not all players play in the same time zone, or the same time of day, so the FC chat channel is unabkle to accomplish company wide communication. Even a game as old and comparatively simple as White Knight Chronicles featured an in-game email system for Guilds to use, it also featured in-game company discussion forums.
I feel that a major overhaul of these features would aid in strengthening both Free Companies and the comunity in general because it would allow players to communicate about in-game things while in-game, whether they play at the same time as others or not. Right now, the lack of communication of this type leaves players who play at differnet times feeling isolated.
Please consider these changes, or something similar to help Free Companies develope and strengthen their memberships.