This thread title is a bit far reaching but the particular topic that has lead me to write this post is actually the current housing situation, so if you feel you’ve heard enough about that issue already I apologize.
This post will also be rather long, so for that I also apologize but I’ll drop a TLDR at the bottom.
I recently caught up with the E3 Live Letter and the Q&A session with Yoshida, where he gave answers to various topics brought up by the FFXIV community. In particular his response about players selling housing plots sounded fair, however within just a few minutes both the official forums and reddit were filled with various posters condoning witch hunts on players advertising housing sales in the PF without what seemed to me at least, fully understanding the context of his answer and the implications of their actions.
Let me explain:
It’s no news to anyone paying attention that the current housing availability system is far from ideal however the simple truth is that the availability of plots (not private rooms) on large population servers simply do not meet the demand of players who wish to carve out a space of Eorzea of their own. This is an issue that is further compounded with the continued addition of content that is gated behind housing acquisition (see: Gardening, Chocobo stables, Airships) which I imagine many players wish to take part in.
The obvious demand is to add more housing plots, something they have done multiple times but with each attempt are still unable to meet the rising tide of players who wish to own virtual property. I won’t really touch on this as the issue is still being addressed and we’ll have to see how the apartment system that is planned for 3.4 release is going to play out.
The issue I’d like to speak about is the community demands for GM and developer action to be taken against players.
There are threads and posts up on this forum right now calling for players to report people advertising plot sales in the PF and to even go so far as to report players looking to buy a house.
To my understanding Yoshida’s comment was that players were not to sell houses for what should be considered exorbitant amounts, as in amounts that are far in excess of that which the buyer payed for the plot initially. Additionally if i recall correctly the majority of issues GMs have run into and stated for selling plots to be against ToS are twofold.
The first being that since plots aren’t actually “sell-able” and as such that they have no way to monitor /facilitate the trades and resolve players disputes should they occur, and the second being that buying plots just to list them for massive amounts is considered griefing other players. However keep in mind neither of those points have been made as “official” statements and only the latter was somewhat touched upon by Yoshida recently.
These two points lead to one larger problem:
There is no in-game way to reliably sell a housing plot.
I said the thread title is a bit far reaching because this often happens when players are upset with “x” content or “y” feature in-game, they often come onto the forums and ask for the wrong solution or in the worst case no solution and just shout at the GMs and Devs to go after other players as opposed finding working alternatives.
This isn’t to say that nobody has been making these suggestions at all because there are many posters that certainly have but the overwhelming occurrence is often anger at others for working with the limited systems we have in place.
In regards to housing specifically: preventing players from selling plots will not magically open up more plots In fact it will leave less for other players in general, as many of the players who bought multiple plots aren’t part of the army of the dark lord who will feel they were felled by the forum warriors of light and will just drop their toys and go home.
In reality they will do one of two things:
A) Find a means outside of the game to sell their plots.
B) Keep the plots permanently and find alternative ways to recoup their investment (gardening).
Mass reports only punish players who are able to actually come up with the excess ffxiv gil to afford a plot from someone reselling a plot (provided it’s a reasonable amount).
Should a player be able to sell a small plot that was 5mil initially for 75mil after the wards are full?
Of course not.
Should a player be able to sell that same plot for 10-15mil? That sounds a bit more reasonable if there were some in-game land deed item and a function that allowed players to transfer ownership with some sort of market cap or fixed value.
To me this seems like a solution that works for everyone, however the way the situation is currently being handled it’s likely many players who do have the gil for housing are going to have a much harder time getting their hands on a plot because the current climate around it has gotten so hostile.
Asking for bad solutions or witch hunting players while in anger in response to current game problems is more likely to ruin it for the entire player-base and not just those you feel are taking advantage, this goes for everything from difficulty adjustments to game features and the housing market is the best example of this currently.
However I can imagine this will discourage other players from selling plots using in-game means which in turn will actually make it more difficult for players who do have the gil and want to buy a plot to do so.
The players who have bought houses specifically for profit (many of whom have multiple plots per account) are not likely to go:
“well I guess that’s it boys, lets pack it up and sell off these plots at break even values, the jig is up!”
Instead I imagine many of them will either just sit on the plots they currently own just to keep them, or they will start seeking methods outside of the game to sell the plot if they really want the profit (many already do this).
Either way it makes it harder for plots to change hands for the player who may have the ffxiv gil saved up but just not the knowledge of getting in contact with one of these sellers outside of the game instead of an in-game function (like the party finder).
The reality is that punishing selling for profit shouldn’t be the key focus, the focus should be making a system so that plots can be sold for reasonable profit to encourage the changing of hands. And to that end reporting the players who are selling plots will accomplish nothing positive in the long run for the people who feel slighted by plot sellers.
It hurts everyone really.