Monday, August 19, 2013

A Cottage By The Sea : FFXIV

I mentioned FFXIV's housing yesterday but I never got round to saying much about it. Not that there is much to say. All we got to see was the equivalent of a new-build estate before anyone's moved in. There wasn't even the equivalent of a Show Home. All the doors were firmly locked. Even so, it was mightily impressive.

Where's the agent? She said she'd meet me here!
Arcanists start in Limsa Lominsa so the housing area I looked at was in Lower La Noscea, just outside Red Rooster Stead. Whether the other two starting cities also had housing areas up for testing I couldn't say. I had enough trouble getting one character up and running given the immense attention the game was getting at the end of the short open beta without trying to make one for all three cities.

I hope that's haze not smog
Nothing in the game told me where to go, which seemed odd given that the housing was supposedly there specifically to be tested, about the only that was this time round. I had to shout out asking for directions.

Shout has already established itself as the de facto general chat channel since one hasn't been provided. Players will always find some means of chatting openly in MMOs and if they can't they'll leave, saying no-one plays that game, so it's largely pointless to try and resist offering an official channel. Better to have one that can safely be closed by everyone who objects than leave channels with an actual use to be overwhelmed with arguments over whether the game is or isn't better than WoW. (Although that's an argument that's tellingly heard with less and less frequency these days).

Hit me with a flower. On second thoughts...
The community was in the typical "Me! Me! I know that one!" mode that all MMOs pass
through at the start so I only had to ask once. The map function has improved considerably from earlier in beta and I had no trouble scoping out a route. Limsa Lominsa's aggressively three-dimensional layout makes it by far the most challenging city in which to start, from a purely topographical perspective, and the hardest part was getting out of town. Other than that, travel in FFXIV seems extremely safe and easy, at least at low levels and even at level one the trip across country was uneventful.

Yes it's lovely but what does it do?
If the housing area had a name I missed it. It did have a board at the gate but like all signs in FFXIV it was in what I assume must be Eorzean, not one of my languages. It was night when I arrived and under the oddly misshapen full moon and a thick wash of stars the housing area appeared as a good-sized town.

Bring me an ice-cream!
The streets were empty. I saw maybe three other people the whole time I was there, both that night and the next day. There didn't seem to be much "testing" going on but then there didn't seem to be anything you could test.

The "town" was absolutely gorgeous. It had a magnificent sandy beach onto which soft waves continuously rolled, a wooden pier and a promenade lined with untenanted stores. A vast aqueduct dominated the aspect, complete with turning waterwheels high out of reach, while a much more accessible water feature brought fresh water down a series of shallow terraced falls through the center of the town.

I'll take it. Can I move in right away?
There seemed to be a wide range of houses, from small cottages to mansions. They all had gardens or yards and a range of furniture and plantings from wagons to palm trees suggested the decorative possibilities, although the absence of collision detection gave things a weird, ghostly feel.

That's me in the boulder
It reminded me most of Everquest's housing areas and, albeit less so, of LotRO's.  I would guess that FFXIV will follow the "fantasy decorator" model rather than the much more elaborate EQ2/Rift "fantasy architect" style. Hard to be sure because what was on view was indistinguishable in context from any other location in the game save for the complete absence of NPCs.

Whatever the mechanics turn out to be, it looks beautiful. I want to live there.

1 comment:

  1. Limsa has the best housing neighborhood imo, and haven't even seen the other two towns' yet. =P


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