I now own a house in Final Fantasy 14, and that makes me better than you

Cat cheering because she has a house
(Image credit: Future)

I’ve faced many challenges in Square Enix’s MMORPG Final Fantasy 14. I’ve fought demi-gods, gone back in time to the formation of the world, and even traveled the multiverse. However, there was one ultimate challenge I had yet to surmount: home ownership. 

Every so often, Final Fantasy 14’s empty house plots will be up for grabs in a Housing Lottery. Many enter, but only one lucky winner will walk away with a home of their own. At long last, after years of trying, I was that winner. Located in the beautiful Empyreum district atop the frozen fortress city of Ishguard, my personal slice of Square Enix’s persistent world overlooks a beautiful snowy vista. 

At first glance, I had acquired nothing more than a sparse plot of land covered in sad-looking grass. However, with a little bit of love and care, I knew I could create something wonderful.   

Immediately, I set to work, scouring the market board – Final Fantasy 14’s player-driven market system – for the correct furnishings. As my wallet became emptier and emptier, my house became more and more fleshed out until, where once there had been a featureless plot of land, a cozy, yet classy house now stood, filled to the brim with luxurious chairs, books, and ornate fireplaces.  

The atrium

(Image credit: Future)

Final Fantasy 14’s housing districts are havens of creativity and expression. These persistent zones are tangible fixtures in the game work and are open for all to explore The bars, art galleries, and mansions which line the streets are the envy of the player base at large. In a game brimming with opportunities for players to express themselves, fully customizable houses are something of a holy grail. I’ve been to palatial three-story mansions, cutesy tea houses, and neon-lit nightclubs.

However, the fact that even a modest plot of land is so wildly sought after betrays the lopsided nature of Final Fantasy 14’s housing system. It is strange that in a game so welcoming and friendly, there are only so many houses to go around. Even in the friendly streets of Eorzea’s housing districts, the real estate market is terrible.

The lottery system has ushered in an improvement. In the before-times, you would have to camp out at individual plots, waiting for them to become available and swooping in to claim them like a pack of competing vultures. It was notoriously grueling and sometimes required you to stay up all night for a chance to get on the property ladder. The new lottery system is fairer and requires far less suffering from potential homeowners. However, it doesn’t solve the scarcity problem that comes with houses being part of the finite, persistent world

Home improvement

The lounge

(Image credit: Future)

Final Fantasy 14’s houses are so customizable that they give The Sims a run for its money. In addition to a range of tasteful, default options, the player economy is full of furnishings and decor to satisfy even the most fashion-conscious home developer.

The game’s different crafting classes can produce all sorts of different household objects, ranging from stylish mundanities like chairs and tables, to esoteric wonders like indoor waterfalls and vampire coffins. Much of what’s on offer can be colored using Final Fantasy 14’s dye system. Objects can be positioned with surprising ease, especially if you choose to use the “snap-to-grid” feature. 

Final Fantasy 14’s houses are a chance to design something almost autobiographical

Questlines will often yield their own unique housing rewards, including portraits of stirring scenes and beloved characters. Certain endgame bosses also yield unique trophies and wall hangings. The ominously glowing purple monolith in the backroom isn’t just for show, but celebrates my raid team’s victory over a tough boss from the previous expansion. Thanks to these sorts of options, Final Fantasy 14’s houses aren’t just chances to design an aesthetically pleasing space, but also offer players the chance to design something almost autobiographical.

Full House

Downstairs view

(Image credit: Future)

Unfortunately, the generous house customization system and the avenues for self-expression it offers are not available to most players, thanks to the limited housing areas on offer in Final Fantasy 14’s districts. Homeownership is inextricably tied to the game’s community-building aspects. Having a place to kick back with friends after a big raid makes all the difference in the world. 

Having a place to kick back after a big raid makes all the difference in the world

Square Enix could solve the problems of scarcity by introducing instanced housing, where every player had access to their own bespoke plot of land, set apart from the persistent game world. To an extent, Island Sanctuaries already provide this, by offering every player their own instance of a luxurious tropical island to develop, not unlike the islands in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Admittedly, I’m torn, because something would be lost by removing housing from the game world and making it instanced. I would miss walking down the streets of Eorzea’s housing district and admiring the creativity of my fellow players. But perhaps I’m now driven to defend the status quo because I am now a homeowner myself, and can watch the envious onlookers walk past my literal ivory tower.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.