Welcome to the fifth installment of Game Design Spotlight, a weekly piece where yours truly examines the design elements of various parts of an MMO, such as how leveling zones become beloved by many and new features to make players stand out. Last week, we went back in time to discuss Final Fantasy XI’s combat system and its interesting learning curves, and today, we’re heading back to Final Fantasy XIV to talk about its clunky house decorating feature.
Since its inception, the housing system has been a heated squabble for plots that have only magnified as the game ascended the MMORPG ladder. While most attention is directed at the system as a whole, I wanted to put my lens on the decorating features for placing housing appliances that are long overdue for some love.
Players have found ways to work around its limitations to craft some of the most beautiful homes and apartments in-game. However, only through watching/reading guides to glitch the feature are FFXIV players able to painstakingly follow these workarounds when instead it should be free-form, highly accessible, and fun to use.
Beware Interior Decorators
After buying an estate or apartment in one of the five residential districts in FFXIV, those hoping to style up their place will soon find out just how demanding interior decorating can be. The sheer magnitude of furniture necessary to make anything remotely like the coffee shop you imagined will cost you. For every lavish and modernized home you see on fan sites like XIV Living or Housing Snap, some real effort went into it over days or months of collecting and saving.
All of that sounds pretty daunting (which it is) and gets worse by the glitching necessary to make it all work. Do you want to make a custom door? Buy ten wooden staircases and get ready to clip them precisely on top of each other to your liking. This is just the tip of the iceberg, with the worst (in my opinion) being staircases and walls. Also, there are limitations on how much furniture you can place depending on your home. Now, let the frustration sink in.
Granted, you could skip the clipping/glitching challenge of decorating your magnum opus of a home the exact way you imagined. However, what's the fun of making rooms as the developers intended? Just like the foundational roots of glamouring and inventory space, issues over data and how much a server can maintain are holding back house decorating in FFXIV. Despite the complications, housing enthusiasts are making the best of what is there.
Welcome To Glitch My House
As mentioned before, guides are necessary for housing connoisseurs to make gorgeous rooms. And for the newbies on the scene, you will get familiar with terms like "floating" and learn about the ups and downs of decorating. There are written guides but, thankfully, the community has videos on YouTube for newcomers and veterans to gain some guidance.
While advice on how to do one thing or another is helpful, it's still a lot for anyone hoping to commit. Nice-looking rooms are achieved by covering up the ugly walls and ceiling with furniture but at the expense of using a basic toolset. And that supports my point: the process of making your home come together over hours of work is not terrible, but rather it's the system that limits creativity.
Long Overdue Evolution Within The Next Decade
Square Enix has already made some great leaps to improve early-era systems and content, such as trusts for starting dungeons and revamping trials that have outgrown the quality of the game today. The devs have done a great job keeping the gameplay elements streamlined and accessible to many players, but housing has been less than stellar over the years.
While solving buying plots and the lottery system are big problems that will take time, house decorating should receive some improvements within FFXIV's next decade. Many players are ecstatic about styling their homes to represent their tastes, making a dope base of operations for their FC, and creating a place to throw a crazy in-game party. Giving it some love here and there will go a long way to repairing housing's notorious reputation and injecting positivity.
That brings us to the end of another Game Design Spotlight. If you own a place and have decorated it, what are some improvements you would like to see in the upcoming years? And should there be something already implemented that needs to be removed? Let us know below! Also, thanks for reading yet another Game Design Spotlight on the site, be sure to comment on any games or features you’d like to see me cover.
About the Author
Anthony Jones is a gaming journalist and late 90s kid in love with retro games and the evolution of modern gaming. He started at Mega Visions as a news reporter covering the latest announcements, rumors, and fan-made projects. FFXIV has his heart in the MMORPGs scene, but he's always excited to analyze and lose hours to ambitious and ambiguous MMOs that gamers follow.
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