Final Fantasy is a series most people who know anything about games are aware of. While there have been two MMORPGs in the Final Fantasy Universe, FFXI and FFXIV, I am currently a part of the latter.
While hardly the first game to implement this system, FFXIV has something called In-Game Housing.
What Is Final Fantasy XIV’s In-Game Housing?
It’s exactly as it sounds. A system that allows you to purchase a home for your In-Game Avatar.
While this system has oodles of nooks and crannies I could write for hours describing, I think I’ll leave that to the FFXIV wiki.
My focus here is to pinpoint ideas behind the importance of In-Game housing and how we can expand it to create a whole new layer of gaming.
For many purchasing a home in-game is a difficult and time consuming task If it’s not hidden timers and lack of availability, it’s the sheer cost of the land and housing permits before you even think of the costs of furnishing it.
The psychology of ownership within games is fascinating, especially when you realize it’s driving entire business models in the gaming industry.
Keeping in mind this psychology, I think it’s safe to say that In-Game Housing can actually be a very big deal for both gamers and game-makers.
In the case of FFXIV, I truly believe there is a lot of solid groundwork to build on for a brighter future for this game concept.
How Can We Expand This Already Complex System?
I’d like to address an issue that has already been debated heavily in the community. Instanced Housing.
Currently housing plots are available in neighborhoods, creating a competitive environment for purchasing land plots(especially larger plots).
Instanced housing would imply that each game house has it’s own instance in the game server, allowing for a less competitive system that could generate instances for each specific player.
Before you shake your head and hit the back button, hear me out.
As an avid Minecraft player I see far more opportunity for additions to the housing system in general through instanced housing.
How do you feel about spawning monsters on your lawn? Maybe add a cave behind your house with daily gathering nodes?
What if we could refurbish that cave into a miniature dungeon your friends can adventure in?
Piqued your interest yet? I was hoping so.
Spawning Monsters On The Homestead
Obviously, combat is a large part of any Final Fantasy Game. What if we could make it part of the experience of visiting a friend’s house?
SquareEnix is no stranger to pet based systems, and it wouldn’t be much different.
Fight a monster, get an egg to drop either through a specific ability or just random chance, use that egg to spawn the monster on your land.
This could also be applied to rarer monsters like hunts, fates, and even raid bosses.
I don’t know about you but I know plenty of people who would love to make you fight through a Primal before entering their mansion.
Let’s not forget about Minions.
Showing Off Your Minions On Your Pet Ranch
There are plenty of people who would love to show off their minion collection.
If you can spawn every minion from every player at the Limsa Lominsa Aetheryte, you can devise a furnishing not unlike the Chocobo Stable to show off your top ten minions.
Why not add mini games to play with your minions? Something simple like board games with minions as the pieces.
I know Square loves making mini-games, so why not make a few more minion based ones for on the lawn? Games like lawn darts, croquet, cornhole and so on.
Create A Dungeon For Your Friends
This idea is a far cry considering how much work it may really take to implement.
However, you can use the vast majority of systems used in Deep Dungeons to allow players to create their own dungeons in an instanced housing situation.
Creating a dungeon filled with some of your favorite monsters in the game absolutely speaks to what’s important to you in the game.
You never know what monsters people will attach their emotions to.
I for one happen to love Orobon for the sole reason they waddle around in such a derpy fashion while I’m fishing.
Wouldn’t it be fun to have a copy of the boss that took you and a group of friends weeks to defeat on your own land?
Obviously, the bosses won’t be raid level difficulty, but going out and wailing on the pixel jerk that caused too many 3AM work nights can be incredibly cathartic.
Especially when you can keep it in a shed behind the house to beat on when you’re feeling froggy.
Daily Gathering Nodes In Your Own Backyard
I know that gardening already exists in the current housing system. However, I think it would be interesting to have a system where wild plants, fish, and minerals can be found each day and used as a currency to purchase normal gathered crafting ingredients.
Each resource would only be able to turn in for materials that class can gather. So a Botanist can only trade daily herbs in for Botany obtained items. Fishing and Mining would do the same for their respective skills.
Instanced Housing Opens Up Potential For More Exotic Home Locations
This is perhaps my favorite idea, and I know many others will be on board with this.
What if you weren’t stuck to the major cities in buying a home? Aren’t there far more exotic places for a seasoned adventurer to settle down?
That’s right. What if we had instanced housing in environments based on In-Game areas?
An Allagan Tech powered home atop a magical airship created by a long lost civilization? Yes I want to build a house in Azys La!
How about a home nestled in a forgotten corner of Saint Mociannes Arboretum surrounded by exotic plants and marble architecture?
Maybe erect a Water Dome and build underneath the waves in the Ruby Sea?
Considering it’s a fantasy based game, I’d say the only limitation here is how many people Square can devote to the project itself.
Players And SquareEnix Have Everything To Gain From Instanced Housing
On the off chance someone at SquareEnix happens to read this post, I would like to show you the benefit on your end to implementing such a system.
As I mentioned before, there are business models built around this sort of thing.
Microtransactions. There. I said it.
Before you get your torch and pitchfork, let me remind you that of all the places Microtransactions belong in its game systems that do not impact the overall experience for other players.
I understand hating microtransactions that let someone who just picked up the game, but has disposable income to power to the highest levels despite not knowing what they’re doing.
I’ve played many games with those kinds of people. They absolutely ruin things.
If someone buys their way to a big house plot in an instanced system I don’t have to compete in with all the latest and most expensive furnishings, I really don’t care.
It’s purely an expression of self, even if that self is a perception of wealth. This does not ruin my game experience at all.
SquareEnix has everything to gain from people like this and they are definitely more common than one might think.
That being said, Microtransactions do not have to be the only way that instanced housing is obtainable.
Even if you make Gil prices steep to require more in-game work to obtain, there are plenty of us who will gladly accept those terms over paying real money.
There’s something to working towards the things you want that makes them more valuable.
We all know there are plenty of people who will buy that one piece they want since it’s only a couple dollars.
There are plenty of people, myself included, who would be happy to buy a furnishing with real money from time to time just to support the company who makes the game we enjoy each month.
Expanding your potential market for Microtransactions will no doubt expand your bottom line as a business, and Instanced Housing could be a gold mine.
Having instanced housing does not mean we have to get rid of neighborhood housing either. I think we absolutely should keep the neighborhood system to promote more social activity.
I also think that we shouldn’t make owning a home in a game to be as much of a pipe-dream as owning a home in real life.
My generation genuinely deals with struggling to purchase our own home. There are no doubt plenty of people out there who have never thought about it that way specifically but are still very much affected by that idea.
I know Square likes being more on the hardcore side of gaming, but I truly think they’re missing a massive opportunity in front of them.