For hours, I have quite literally stared at a wall. I know what I want this wall to do, but I can’t seem to make it cooperate. In my head, the plan to take said wall from location A to location B seems simple, but Final Fantasy 14’s housing editor is anything but that. To many Eorzeans, housing is part of the “true end game,” the bits of content that are all for show after you’ve beaten its hardest content. It’s a beloved pastime for Warriors of Light that hosts an incredible community of interior designers constantly finding ways to break the housing editor into doing something new—and it’s that last bit that has really become a bit of a personal sore spot. I love housing in FF14, but it only shines when you break it.
Yes, I do mean break it, like, stepping outside of what the game is built to help you do and rigging it to behave another way. I force the housing editor to let me move items into spaces that it typically forbids. I use rugs to make ornate ceilings; I float windows in the air, and I shove ten items into a small rectangle to make them all look like a fancy door. After learning you could glitch furniture to move in places FF14 usually dubbed out of bounds, I could never enjoy abiding by the system's usual rules. It all looked so plain, but when you start glitching things… it’s an entirely new world.
Clipping, floating, lofting—you may have heard these terms when the more hardcore designers speak about their designs. Prior to my own adventures in glitching, I placed furniture only where FF14 would let me. Rooms that I created in my Mist house felt strange. I was bothered by glaring distractions like needlessly tall ceilings, bulky staircases, and boring furniture choices. When it comes to decorating in Eorzea, playing by the rules is limiting, so I spent months learning how to break those restrictions from how-to videos. I slowly figured out how to use two items to force another into the air, a process that can take me hours if I’m floating a room full of rugs to use as a ceiling. Typically, these rugs snap to the floor immediately and won’t budge, but if you’ve got a lot of patience, you can force them up.
That means if I want to cover the ugly grand staircase in my Free Company’s house, I have to spend hours carefully floating walls and rugs to cover it up. If I want a design in my ceiling, I drop whatever items the plan calls for on the floor and slowly float them up, too. Tedious is an understatement, but that Shirogane mansion only looks good when you’ve hidden all of the structure’s basic guts and replaced them with your own.
The clipping, lofting, whatever you wish to call it, isn’t really the most irritating part of the process, either. While forcing furniture into the air, FF14 will, on occasion, give you the middle finger and snap the item back to where it thinks it should be. One wrong move and that partition you’ve been floating up to the second floor from the basement will launch itself in the wrong direction—wasting your time and ruining your design. After a few of these screw ups, I aggressively click that log out button.
I’ve developed this frustrating love-hate relationship with housing as a result. In my spare time, I love browsing creations from other players and admiring how long it must have taken them to replace a home’s default door with partitions, windows, and other trinkets to make an entryway more ornate. When you think about it, that labor of love is what makes a lot of these designs so cozy, but I can’t help but wish things worked a little differently. I want a housing editor that doesn’t need me to strongarm it to achieve my goals.
In a game that’s close to a decade old, spread out over multiple generations and platforms, I realize snapping your fingers and making the system less cumbersome probably isn’t an easy task. Perhaps it’s even an impossible venture. The pride in figuring out glitches and using them in striking new ways has become a big part of the community, too. It’s an element that even director and producer Naoki Yoshida has praised in the past. But there’s still that longing I have for a housing editor that lets me easily drag a piece of furniture into any location and then drop it. I want that simplistic process that still allows me all of the limitless creativity without spending three hours trying to make a new door.