The big question with Final Fantasy XIV right now is: how do we resolve the housing dilemma?
Compared with the number of people who play the game, the amount of housing is… absolutely lackluster. At first we were promised that player housing would be separate (and cheaper) than Free Company housing–and then players were allowed to buy the same exact plot spaces. There are now four housing zones with twelve wards within each. Two subdivisions per ward, and thirty houses per ward. That leaves a grand total of 2,880 different houses of static sizes on an entire server, with many servers having a larger population than that.
“Just get an apartment or a personal chamber!” is hardly a solution. Anyone with a house can have literally both of those things as well, and neither provide the same full benefits. So how could the developers look into resolving this matter? There are certainly a few schools of thought.
“More”. Okay… where exactly is SE going to get these boundless resources from? You’re usually struggling for resources in the game dev world as it is, with the people making the decisions rarely wanting to spend money at all. Especially in an old, traditional Japanese company like SquareEnix. We’ve seen examples of one method in dynamic loading/unloading, which is why we can’t stay inside the house when we log out. Or at least–that’s what we’re told about it anyway. It might be possible for an unused instance to be unloaded much like a dungeon, but what about those that always have that one AFK person within? They’ll take up space forever, and that’s hard to get an investor to understand I’d imagine.
SE could also handle dynamic instances in the sense of a new ward opens as the previous is fully purchased, but again we’re faced with the space issue. Imagine running a ton of programs on your computer. It’s going to slow down drastically and start having issues, right? The same thing happens with servers and instances, eventually. “Just add more servers” is a difficult answer, because those are crazy expensive and there needs to be a proper return on investment (ROI) to merit their worth. If FFXIV ends up crashing before a proper profit is gained on them, or the housing isn’t popular enough to need them, the developers would never get those who write the checks to agree to let them get new servers.
Laundry is done and you need to fit all of your towels into the drawers. Shoot–they don’t fit! So what do you do? You fold them. This is the same premise behind “smaller houses”–looking into ways that the data needed to save, load, and run housing is stored and handled. The more efficient the better, and the smaller the better. This way SE can give us more houses with the least amount of load burden on the servers. Unfortunately this is going to be a slow and steady process. Imagine like trying to shove all of your belongings into a single U-Haul truck as you move. How will it fit? You’ll make it fit–one step at a time.
Of course, SE could also place restrictions on housing acquisition. The unfortunate case here is that with enough time, money, and/or resources players will always be able to circumvent them. One house per Free Company? It’s easy enough to make extra Free Companies. One house per account? People can make additional accounts. One house per IP? Proxies exist. Out of any of these, how would SE mete out punishment for offenders? A different IP might come from a necessity on a work computer or something. Extra Free Companies would be a huge mess of drama to unfold under investigation–especially when they went through all the same efforts other Free Companies did. And extra accounts make SE money, so that works well for them.
If anyone has any doubts that people would do this, check out XHFL on Excalibur. Or those people on another server who bought out an entire housing ward for themselves. Or certainly countless other clear examples. As long as it isn’t stopped and forbidden by the company, then it falls down to moral principle. And as it turns out, “I’m getting my way” tends to become the standard for morality for a lot of people. And unfortunately, it’d be a mountain of work to ensure there are no false positives in a check to see who is abusing the system.
In Other News…
My FC mates have been talking for a long time about building a carbuncle wall set for the FC mansion. Yes–we’re fortunate enough to have a mansion in the Goblet. It’s situated right by the waterfall with a great view of it as it feeds the waters of the pool below. However, all we’ve done for ages is talk. The house remains at less than 200 slots filled of the 400 we can handle, and while we’re always hanging in and around it something just seemed to be missing about any enthusiasm.
Eventually, Zuv decided he was going to start farming the materials for building it. This lit the fire under my bum and, well… great things happen when I put my mind to something and am unhindered by having to second guess myself or anything. Two days after I started we were finishing up the materials as Nikki gathered the folklore logs–and there we have it! Our new home.
Happy adventuring, and good luck in 4.2 with the addition of new housing!