Housing is such a key point of most major MMO's out there. People obsess over the right look, location, and more. Final Fantasy XIV is no different, except it takes a slightly different approach when it comes to housing in the Japanese-developed MMORPG.
While some like Elder Scrolls Online or Garrisons in World of Warcraft have instanced housing where everyone's houses are basically in the same location as each other's and you can only have limited access through invitations or guilds, Final Fantasy XIV has opted for non-instanced housing.
This is contrary to Final Fantasy XIV's rather instance-filled content, but it makes for a more glamorous housing experience. In the few housing areas available, you can visit any of the 12 wards and see everyone's estates on your server, be it individual or a free company (think guilds).
The most recent update 4.1 that launched today added the fourth housing area to the game. This is the first new area for housing since December 2013. Because of that, gamers flocked to Final Fantasy XIV, many subscribing again for the first time since Stormblood in hopes of getting an Asian-themed house in the new city of Kugane.
I was one of the hopefuls wanting to purchase land for everyone to see in the new city. With only 12 wards composed of 60 houses each in Final Fantasy XIV, there were only going to 720 new houses per server added. That may sound like a lot, but when there are thousands of players that still haven't been able to purchase a house like myself, it becomes increasingly difficult.
Months ago when the second expansion Stormblood launched, I scoped out the new housing area for a place to finally call home. I quickly laid eyes upon plot 29, a modest land on a hill overlooking the rest of the estates. It also had a hidden hot springs just behind it that I could use as a nice party location for FC mates and the like.
It was the perfect spot for me and my still limited budget, so I've been waiting patiently for the day Square Enix would allow me to finally buy it in Final Fantasy XIV. That moment came last night with patch 4.1. Ahead of time, I knew the patch would drop at exactly three in the morning my time so I needed to be ready.
With that ungodly hour inching closer and closer, I began preparations. I finished crafting items and making as much money as I could before logging out in the right spot to teleport to my future Final Fantasy XIV house. Not wanting to stay up all night, I had to set two alarms. The first to wake up 30 minutes ahead so I could download the patch in time.
The second right before 3:00 a.m. so I would be ready to login before anyone else and sprint to plot 29, of which only 12 existed throughout all of the new wards. My hands were shaking as I watched the final seconds pass on the clock. The second it said 3:00 a.m., I logged in... only to immediately face an error.
I had to close out of Final Fantasy XIV entirely and login again. I was anxious and worried that those precious few seconds would be all it took for me to miss out. Soon enough, I was able to select my character and login to my world only to find a second obstacle: the dreaded server queue. There were 368 other people ahead of me that had the chance to buy out more than half of the available houses.
When I finally got in, it took a good 20 seconds before I could even move due to the stress and congestion on the server. Once I was able to move, I glanced at the 12 wards and saw more than half of each of them were already taken up. But I wasn't looking for just any; I wanted plot 29.
Starting from the 12th ward in hopes of getting it, I went through the list of wards and saw all of them taken, except one surprisingly in the third ward. I teleported to the nearest point and jumped over the cliff just to see someone else standing right in front of my soon-to-be purchased land, already going through the process of buying or transferring to it.
I had no choice but to pray to RNGesus and hope that I still had time to beat them to it. I went through the few required menus, took a deep breath, and selected the "buy" option. I waited for what seemed like eternity until a message popped up that I had successfully purchased plot 29 of the third ward.
I sighed deeply, but the best part hadn't even happened yet. Several of my new neighbors came over and congratulated me, welcoming me to the area. Though it was an intense blood bath to get there, I sighed with great relief. Not only did I feel like I picked the absolute best spot in Final Fantasy XIV, but I had the best neighbors to boot.
Though Final Fantasy XIV's non-instanced housing created a tense and, for some, heartbreaking experience due to its limited nature, I am grateful for it. Now, I am able to proudly show off my shiny new estate to anyone that walks by and build lasting relationships with my new neighbors. It was stressful, but it was so rewarding in a way that no other MMO has been for me before now.