As a companion to the Exploring ArcheAge livestream series, we’d also like to introduce ArcheAge Feature Guides that dive into the topics covered on the livestream in higher detail. In this week’s Feature Guide, we take a closer look at the ins and outs of the land ownership and housing system, including how land is claimed, how farms and houses can be used, and how it’s kept.
Player Housing and Farms
In ArcheAge, players have the opportunity to actually own property located out in the game world. Houses and farms are not instanced, meaning they are visible to anyone passing by; they have a real location, like “across the road from Windshade Village” or “on the south coast of Villanelle”. Choosing where to live involves weighing your access to conveniences, climates, pleasing environments, and availability of land. Keep reading to hear what you can expect out of land ownership in the game.
Types of Property
There are two sizes of farm: 8×8 meters and 16×16 meters. These come from a set of farming quests offered very early in the game by the Blue Salt Brotherhood.
Once placed, farms have a single step of construction where you provide wood for the scarecrow in the center. This step is an important one! When a farm is first placed, the land is claimed by your character, but anyone can still plant or harvest from it. Building the scarecrow is what allows you to lock the farm’s access to you.
A more advanced type of farm is the Aquafarm. This is a 16×16 farm that can only be placed underwater in specified areas, usually near the coastline. Aquafarms have a central air supply rather than a scarecrow, which allows you to refill your breath and stay underwater longer. This type of farm allows for the cultivation of corals, kelps, and shells that you can’t otherwise grow.
Houses come in a variety of pre-made designs that fit into the following categories:
• Small: 16×16 meters
• Farmhouse: 24×24 meters (a small house on a medium plot of land)
• Medium: 24×24 meters
• Large: 28×28 meters
• Mansion: 44×44 meters
These dimensions refer to the actual footprint of land around the house, which is protected and can be used to grow plants and livestock just like a farm. The house sitting in that footprint may have more or less interior space, even within the same size category!
Houses are bought as deeds on Mirage Isle where one can take a tour through life-sized demo houses for each layout, see mini models of the different color and material options available for each type of house, and see deed details like the amount and type of resources needed to actually build the house once placed.
A variety of appearance options for the same house type displayed for purchase on Mirage Isle.
Claiming Land, aka Placing Property
The act of claiming a piece of land is often referred to as “placing” a house or farm.
Throughout all of the lands of ArcheAge, there are designated areas where housing and farms can be placed. These housing areas may have restrictions on the size or type of property that can go there, such as only small farms or only medium or larger homes, aka Luxury Housing. You’ll see some of these indicated by icons on the map, but just as many are unmarked, to be found by enterprising explorers.
A player housing area with houses both complete and in-progress.
There are many factors that determine how desirable a particular housing area is, and different players will have different priorities!
• Housing areas are available in protected zones, zones that have occasional wartime periods, and open PvP lands.
• Some housing areas have a small “community center” with some combination of water well, farming seed vendors, basic crafting stations, auctioneers, mail and warehouse NPCs, or Mirage Island portals.
• Regional Specialties, the crafts used in trade routes, can only be made at specified crafting stations. There are typically two of these per zone, located at different housing areas.
• Ocean access is often a priority for loading merchant ships.
• A zone’s climate (temperate, tropical, arid, etc) impacts growth of different crops; plants have a preferred climate.
• Naturally appearing resources vary widely between zones.
• Visual appeal. Many people have a preference in what they want the area around their land to look like.
• In a nutshell: location, location, location!
A patio with a view.
Once you’ve found the perfect spot, right clicking the deed in your inventory puts you into placement mode. At your cursor will be a full size representation of the completed property and the borders of its footprint, which will highlight as red until you’ve fit it into a valid placement location. In this mode you will also see vertical posts that designate the border of a housing area. There’s a grid system that determines the facing of the square property footprint, but once you’ve clicked to select the location of the property, you can rotate the house or scarecrow within that square however you wish.
Left: House placement blocked. Right: House placement allowed!
Of course, having an “address” means the tax system can find you! As soon as you place a property, you’ll owe the first and second week’s taxes. More on those later.
Under Construction: Building Your Dream Home
Farms have a very simple construction phase: a few boards for the small one, a single pack of lumber for the large. Houses get more complex, with different materials required in a specific order and multiple construction stages.
Building materials are measured in “packs”, which is a backpack of 100 refined materials (lumber from logs, stone bricks from raw stone, ingots from iron ore, etc.). A player can carry a single backpack at any given time, and the act of carrying one restricts your movement speed and ability to teleport or glide. In the case of larger house build projects, you might want to bring some friends! Anyone can bring a pack to a home under construction and add to the progress if they so choose.
House building UI showing the order and type of resource packs required for construction.
This house requires 10 stone packs, 5 iron ingot packs, and 5 lumber packs.
Check the deed for the specific floorplan-which can be moused over on Mirage Isle-to see the materials required for that house. Even within the same floorplan, individual deeds will require the same total number of packs, but might have different amounts of each type based on the materials used for the home’s exterior; the mostly-wood version of a house will require more wood and less stone, but the mostly-stone version is opposite.
While the deed to the house or farm is returned to you in the event that you demolish the structure or fail to pay taxes for two weeks, the materials used in construction are not.
The Cost of Ownership
Property taxes are due weekly and are paid in advance. The bill is received and paid through the in-game mail system, so you can pay your balance from almost anywhere!
Taxes start out fairly small, but increase exponentially with larger house sizes and ownership of more than three properties. Medium and larger homes really are “luxury” housing; you’d best make sure you can afford the upkeep if you want to build one!
Should you fail to pay your taxes for a week, you’ll owe a late payment penalty but your property will remain safe. If you fail to pay them for 2 weeks in a row, the house will go unprotected and eventually disappear, perhaps quite rapidly with a little “help” from someone looking to take over the location!
If you’re looking to get rid of a property in a more profitable manner, ArcheAge offers a secure house sale system. You set the price and whether the sale is intended for a specific buyer (as in a pre-arranged sale) or offered to anyone passing by.
Furnishings and Features
A wide variety of furnishings can be used to decorate or customize your space. Some are placed outdoors, like planters or fences. Other items, like chairs or bookshelves, can only be placed inside of a house. Furniture, art pieces, lighting, decorative plants… there’s a lot to choose from!
Player-arranged furnishings in a house.
Furniture can be crafted and sold among players, or bought from the demo homes on Mirage Isle. Some decorative items are found as random drops in the world. Farms and houses both have a limit on the number of decorative items they can hold based on the size of the property.
A house can contain a maximum of two storage chests. Chests come in different sizes (number of storage slots) and can also be crafted or purchased.
Regal Workstations are crafting stations required for higher-level recipes. These can be purchased and placed in your home. Some additional furnishings provide a bonus to specific crafting skills when they’re placed in a house and you use a crafting workstation there.
A home’s fireplace is not just decorative; when lit, it can be used as a cooking workstation, or entered into a player’s list of teleport locations for easy return trips.
Houses and farms offer a few different access levels. They default to private, owner-only access, but through the house information menu you can set this to members of your family, members of your guild, or the general public. This allows them to plant, tend, and harvest crops, open doors and windows, and use crafting stations or other general installations. Only the owner can pick up furnishings at any access level.
For those players living in more remote housing areas, Mirage Isle sells plans for player-built and owned versions of several basic crafting stations. These are placed in housing areas and owned by an individual, just like other properties, though the footprint is smaller and the taxes lower.
Marine Housing makes the ocean your back yard… literally!
An update to ArcheAge brought a new type of house; Marine Housing. These tropics-themed homes are placed in marine housing areas of relatively shallow water, and combine easy access to ocean-based content along with the benefit of aquafarming at the base of the house’s stilts. They also make great vacation homes!
What will you build in the world of ArcheAge? Will you search for peaceful forest farmland, join the bustle at the edge of a large city, or seek out lonely islands where you might not see anyone pass your house for days? Build a beach house in the tropics or a mansion in the hills? We hope you’ve enjoyed this look into Houses and Farms, and look forward to bringing you more Feature Guides on other ArcheAge systems in the future!