Last week brought us patch 5.5 in FFXIV, which is the last major patch before Endwalker rolls out this fall. I feel a little bad for being slow on the uptake with it, but well, I haven’t been on my computer nearly as much as normal in the wake of the new Story of Seasons game!
Now that I’ve had a chance to get into it, though, I’ve been discovering all the cool new stuff that’s come out—including new stuff to tie into the official end of the Ishgard Restoration project.
One of those things was a new full-house exterior based on the winning crafter class, the blacksmith.
Meet the forge’s walls.
Now, I don’t know for sure that it was based on the winning crafter class from the Ishgard Restoration. All the patch notes said was that there was a new recipe added to FC workshops! I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch, though, given that they just unveiled the blacksmith-themed statue in the Firmament and all blacksmith gear ever has “forge” in the name.
Though I haven’t been keen on previous designs based on a crafting class (I couldn’t stand the furnace fence on the smithy’s walls), I actually really like this design. Yes, it’s really heavily themed after a crafting class, so there are tools and furnaces all over the place. But it also reminds me rather a lot of the Burrow, the somewhat top-heavy home of the Weasleys in the Harry Potter stories.
It’s also really tall for a house exterior, possibly even rivaling the Shirogane castle walls.
The style of it seems to continue the theme started with the half-timbered walls, which makes me think of quaint European towns. It has the same sort of solid walls with exterior wood beams, but all over instead of on half the house.
Most of the textures are really high-quality too, which is something that FFXIV has been getting progressively better at through Shadowbringers. My favourite example of this is the brick on the fence and front steps; it’s incredibly detailed!
On the flip side, though, there is an exception to this in the cobblestone around the base of the house. It’s not a major detail, but I see its blurry little self every time I go near the front door and it drives me crazy.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the windows. They definitely fit the overall design of the exterior, but after the gorgeous French doors and big, paned windows of the half-timbered house walls that also grace the interior, let’s just say I don’t feel so bad for covering them all up inside the house!
And for those of you who like to paint your house, the dye locations are a tad weird; it only appears to change the roof and two brown columns on either side of the front door.
The major innovation with this exterior, and the reason it caught my eye, is that it completely transforms your usable yard space. I’ve only tested it out on my medium house so far, and it looks like it actually hollowed out the space where the stairs to the second floor would be and transformed that space into an outdoor blacksmith’s shop that you can walk around in.
It’s an interesting change to see, and definitely reinforces the idea that the inside of your house is a totally different map from the outside, since it doesn’t affect the inside at all.
Unfortunately, I did learn that you can’t place furnishings or anything in that space or on any of the patio-type spaces, really, but I’m not even mad. It’s neat to have that much extra space in the yard without it affecting the interior layout!
I also feel like it’s made yard design easier in a way. Yards have always been my weak spot in FFXIV because they basically just feel like two large pieces plopped down on either side of the door. All I end up doing with them is sticking furniture around the walls and hoping for the best!
This new design does take up more of the yard with patios that you can’t build over, but I also find that they give me more of an organic starting point for my own designs.