After a few weeks of not logging into any MMOs, I’m back on the Final Fantasy XIV train. I took a break when I realized that all I was doing was logging in to grind out some currency that I could convert into extremely small upgrades for my character, and I’m back now because they released some new story content and a new raid – which is a lot more fun than just watching numbers get slightly larger.
Naturally, I jumped in to some older content to knock the rust off before doing anything too strenuous. It went about as well as you’d expect.
After that very quick warm-up, I decided that I would jump in to the new raid, which is the first of a planned three-part series of 24-man raids based on Nier: Automata, which was one of my favorite games of 2017.
Short summary: It’s really fun, and they did a better job of integrating the two universes than I expected. The raid available at this point more-or-less follows the story of the Nier: Automata introduction, then throws in a heck of a twist and a cliffhanger just at the point where you expect it to end. The next raid in the series probably won’t be available for at least six months, and it’s going to be a rough six months.
There’s gear, of course, but the real money prize is a set of cosmetic armor that lets the lucky winner dress up like everyone’s favorite android. Only three sets of this drop on any given raid, so actually getting your hands on it means beating out some pretty stiff competition. Some of my guildmates have run the new raid upwards of ten times without being favored by the RNG.
I should feel bad about getting it on my first run.
That actually wasn’t the most surprising achievement of choosing today to return to FFXIV. The BIG achievement was buying an in-game house, which may take some explaining if you are used to sensible MMOs which provide an unlimited supply of instanced housing.
FFXIV is not sensible. There are four housing districts, each one with 18 wards, and each ward has 60 houses available for sale. If all housing plots are sold, you simply can’t buy a house. The only way to get a plot is to wait for a house owner to go 45 days between logins, at which point their house is demolished and the plot is made available for sale.
…well, let me expand on that, because that doesn’t quite cover it. After 45 days, the plot enters a state where it WILL be available for sale at some random point in the next 24 hours. It isn’t immediately buyable, and there’s no way to know when it will become purchasable.
I play on Tonberry, which is a very old and heavily-populated server. Any housing plot that comes up for sale usually has a small crowd of people gathered out front, all of them repeatedly clicking on the “for sale” sign in the hopes that, when the house does tip over from “not available for purchase”, their mouse click will be the first one to hit the “Buy now” button.
It’s one of the worst aspects of an otherwise pretty decent MMO.
In the same patch as the new raid, they added three extra wards per district. Houses in these new wards aren’t immediately available for purchase by new homeowners, however. They are intended for guilds who don’t yet have a guild house, but are also available to current homeowners that want to relocate.
People who relocate help the housing crunch in the original 18 wards out a bit, since moving dumps their old plot back into the market, albeit with a random timer on when it can actually be purchased.
The plots that are available after this, of course, are usually in the less-desirable housing districts. Yes, Final Fantasy XIV has desirable and undesirable neighborhoods to live in, and I recognize this is ridiculous, but let’s move on.
I logged in earlier today and realized that there were quite a few plots available in the lousy neighborhoods, and none of them had anyone standing at the for sale signs waiting to buy them. There were also a few available in nicer parts of Eorzea, but those were seeing a lot of competition.
I tried a few “for sale” signs, but even here most of them gave me the “this plot of land is not yet available for purchase” message. One did NOT, and the game quite happily took a huge sum of virtual money from my character and welcomed me to the ranks of the landed gentry.
I then trotted off to one of the NICE plots in the new housing wards and told the game that I would like to relocate my living quarters, at which point it charged me a second huge sum of virtual money and suddenly I realized that I was now tied to never unsubscribing for more than 45 days ever.
I spent roughly six million gil to own this house. That is about 60% of all the in-game money I have earned in my character’s lifetime. It gives me no benefits other than the vaguely warm feeling of having a personal space.
So, with the raid down, I should get on to the new story content. Then… well, I guess I’ll be waiting for the next content drop. Maybe I’ll spend the next few months trying out different wallpapers and rugs.