Final Fantasy XIV is a tale of redemption rarely seen in gaming circles. Originally released in 2010 it was a huge critical and commercial flop.
Indeed it was so bad the whole thing was shuttered and re-released in 2012 with the tag “a realm reborn”.
Since then the game has become an MMO behemoth capable of taking on the big boys like World of Warcraft.
However, no game is perfect so I’ve compiled a list of mods to make your FFXIV experience even better.
If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, you can buy it here.
So Why Mod FFXIV?
FFXIV is a great game but at this point, it’ll soon be celebrating its tenth birthday. Unsurprisingly this age is starting to show, despite regular hefty updates.
You can easily sink hundreds of hours into games like FFXIV. When you’re putting this kind of time into a game, janky graphics can start to be a real pain in the butt.
This is why I’ve compiled a list of the top FFXIV mods available into 2021. They’re all free and they all help refresh a game that can feel a little dated at times.
Before we begin- a warning.
- Firstly, FFXIV is an MMO which means all the FFXIV mods on this list are cosmetic only. This isn’t GTA V people.
- Secondly, you install these mods at your own risk. Since they’re only cosmetic mods that are installed on your side you should be ok. But just keep in mind when it comes to MMO’s the devs tend to frown upon modding of any kind.
- Finally, be warned if you go hunting for FFXIV mods on your own a lot of them are NSFW. I’ve kept this list nice and clean.
20. Touch of Real
Our first mod focuses on facial textures. Out with the old dated ones, in with the new.
Your characters won’t look like they’ve come from a AAA title from 2021 but they will look a hell of a lot better. You’ll probably want to combine this with some other mods to make your characters pop.
This is two mods, one for male textures and one for female but I’ve combined them into one entry on this list.
Download them here
19. The Newness HD
One of the downsides of graphical upgrades is that they often tank your performance.
This mod is a Reshade preset that enhances lighting and shadows. It also adds more vivid colors and in-depth shading.
This mod makes your game look quite a bit prettier without hitting your FPS where it hurts. This is a great FFXIV mod if your gaming rig is getting a little long in the tooth.
18. Chat Grey Box Remover
Sometimes a graphical mod isn’t about making things pretty. Sometimes they’re about making things less annoying.
You’ll spend a lot of time looking at the chatbox and this mod replaces the boring grey original with a transparent option or you can remove the overlay altogether!
17. HD Hrothgar Faces
Final Fantasy games are full of weird and wonderful creatures and FFXIV is no exception. Unfortunately, not all the races get the same level of detail.
So this is another face texture mod. We’re taking the original low-res Hrothgar textures and replacing them with pretty high-res ones. Just look at that beautiful cat-man!
Interested? Download it
16. Beautiful Eorzeans
This is another popular mod designed to make faces in the game more…. Beautiful.
The creator has gone to great lengths to replace every facial model for every character of every race. NPC or PC this creator hasn’t discriminated.
The old face textures have been replaced with higher-res, more detailed ones.
Get it here!
15. Alive Gshade Preset
This is one of the more heavy-duty FFXIV mods on the list. The aim here is to make the world of FFXIV feel more alive.
The latest version of the mod offers five different presets. However the more detailed and advanced the preset, the higher the performance tax.
The simplest preset is Performance. It’ll rebalance the game’s colors and get rid of the annoying green haze. It should only cost you about 1% performance.
Fantasy Ultra on the other hand will cost you upwards of 20% performance.
This mod can have a huge effect on your day-to-day experience but maybe skip this one if you’re playing on a potato.
14. HD Summons
One of the defining characteristics of any Final Fantasy game is its summons. Summons date back to the earliest entries in the series. I can remember being blown away as a child by the summon cutscenes in FF7.
This mod gives the summons in FFXIV the love they deserve. Like so many mods on this list, this is mainly a texture upgrade.
Replacing the original summons with HD versions.
13. Viera Refined
Much like the above Hrothgar mod, this FFXIV mod is aimed at cleaning up one of the races.
Each Viera’s face has been cleaned up and upscaled to 1k resolution which is pretty significant.
I promised to keep this list clean but this mod comes with a caveat. For best results, the creator suggests downloading extra skin files. Some of these are NSFW so be warned.
12. Flicker Optimization and V-Sync Stutter Fix
Rather than making your game look better, this FFXIV mod is all about making your game run smoother.
Helpfully the mod comes with 5 presets depending on how beefy your system is. Each one should smooth out your FPS a little and help eliminate annoying graphical glitches.
11. Blue UI
A good MMO like FFXIV can take up a lot of your time. This means you spend a lot of time looking at the same windows day in and day out.
Blue UI is a nice little FFXIV mod that simply colors the UI blue. That’s it. But it looks nice! If you’re tired of looking at the same old UI every day this is the mod for you.
10. Moogle Maps
This is a case of a relatively simple mod with huge benefits. Even though it’s disappointing there are no actual Moogles involved.
All it does is replace the textures of the original maps. This may sound simple but it provides some cheeky gameplay benefits. Namely, these news skins make looking for treasure wayyy easier.
Normally a mod like this would set alarm bells ringing. But since it’s just a basic reskinning, it should put you at no more risk than any of the other mods on this list.
Download it here.
9. NPC Defined
This is another simple graphical upgrade. It takes the original designs for NPC character faces and enhances the detail by four.
What I like about this mod is it’s a noticeable upscale. A lot of mods play around with the actual designs (for better and worse).
I would suggest this mod if you love the original designs but you’re just after some extra detail.
Download it here.
8. Cel-Shaded Gshade
This FFXIV mod provides a pretty major change and you’ll either love it or hate it.
This mod makes the graphics cel-shaded similar to those of the Borderlands games. It’s a pretty major overhaul and it isn’t perfect. For example, the creators note problems with long-distance weather outlines.
However, after dozens of hours grinding away at FFXIV I personally find the change refreshing. The performance hit for such a major change is surprisingly small to boot.
Download it here
7. Combo VFX-SFX Removal
This is another FFXIV mod aimed at getting rid of minor annoyances.
The mod removes SFX or SFX and VFX effects associated with performing combos. These effects can start to feel pretty obnoxious the more you play.
It’s a minor change but one that you’ll be thankful for once you experience the difference.
Get it here
6. Ludite 4 FFXIV
Ludite is a pretty huge graphical upgrade that makes a lot of changes.
It improves the color palette and gives the game a nice Cyan-tint. The creator has tried to replicate FFXV in the visuals.
It also plays around quite a bit with lighting and contrast. Importantly, whilst it makes the lighting better, it still ensures you’ll get all the visual information you need during dungeons and raids.
Finally, it features Ray Traced Global Illumination. Of course, right now Ray tracing is all the rage so this is a big one. If you have the hardware to support it this could potentially be a huge graphical upgrade.
If you have a good enough rig Ludite could be for you. It’s a pretty major graphical upgrade but unsurprisingly it can come at a pretty hefty performance cost.
That performance cost is the only thing stopping it from being higher on the list.
Download it here.
5. Fr4nsson’s FFXIV Config
There are very few FFXIV mods that have a real effect on gameplay. Anything too major and you’ll find yourself kicked from the servers and banned.
However this isn’t a mod, it’s a config. That means you’re not adding any files that the server might sense. It’s just playing around with what’s already there.
This config is all about simplifying the HUD and general gameplay experience. The vanilla HUD can be a little busy so this HUD clears it all up.
This config aims to show you all the information you might need, but only when you need it.
It also comes with a tonne of convenient key bindings so that every skill or spell you might need is only a tap away.
This Config, once you get used to it, can make life a lot easier when playing FFXIV.
Even better there are no performance drawbacks at all besides the occasional bug. The good news is the creator is hard at work squashing these bugs.
Download it here
4. Alex’s FFXIV Reshade Preset
This is my top pick for FFXIV Reshades. But why?
It feels like it hits the sweet spot. It looks great, but you should only experience a 10-15% performance hit. There are better-looking Reshades for sure, but they require some crazy hardware specs.
The creator says they aimed to make FFXIV look like a newer title and they’ve succeeded. The lighting is great and everything looks and feels much sharper.
Download it here
3. Face Defined
You’ll spend a lot of time looking at characters’ faces in FFXIV so it should be no surprise that one of our top picks is another face mod.
Face Defined currently sits in the number three spot for FFXIV mods on Nexusmods. Some of our earlier mods changed the appearance of one or two races.
This one changes them all. The vanilla face textures for every race and gender are replaced with an upscaled version. So no installing mods race by race.
Even better this mod includes defined eye textures too. If you combine this mod with our number one pick you can cut down on the number of mods you need to install.
Download it here.
Characters in a game as old as FFXIV often look dead-eyed or vacant. Eyeworks is a mod that looks to remedy this.
It’s a set of custom HD eye textures that are designed to give your character a soul. There are 150 total options which range from HD to normal to Catchlight.
The Catchlight options especially can make a huge difference in making your characters seem alive.
Download it here!
1. Hair Defined
Hair Defined is the most downloaded FFXIV mod on Nexusmods for a reason.
It replaces the original hair, eyelash, eyebrow, and beard textures for every race and gender with upscaled versions. That’s over 1000 textures.
Even better, the creator has kept releasing regular updates to make sure everything is up to date with newer expansions.
Just be warned that all this pretty new hair can come at a performance cost. Especially in densely populated areas.
Download it here.
None of these mods are going to magically turn FFXIV into a completely new experience. But they might just breathe a little breath of fresh air into a game that at this point you’ve probably been playing for years.
But these upgrades don’t come without risk. Remember that even though the servers shouldn’t detect any of these mods you’re still technically breaking the rules.
DO NOT mention the fact you’re using mods in-game unless you want to see your account potentially banned.
FFXIV is a great game and it’s awesome to see so many modders still supporting it as it nears its tenth birthday.
Q. Are mods allowed in FF14?
We’ve already mentioned this (a lot) but it’s worth repeating. No! Mods aren’t technically allowed. Mods make it harder for publishers to sell you shiny new cosmetics and anything affecting gameplay could destroy the balance.
However, the mods on this list were chosen because the creators all assure their users that FFXIV’s servers won’t pick them up.
This is because you’re only changing your local files so it won’t affect other users’ gameplay experience.
You’re breaking the rules but nobody is getting hurt. Still, it’s best not to mention mods in-game, ever. The fact you’re not hurting anyone won’t stop moderators from banning you.
Q. What is Textools?
Textools is a Modding Framework first developed in 2016. It’s used both to create mods and install/ use them.
It’s the tool you use to install mods for FFXIV and you’ll need to install and set it up before downloading any mods. Don’t worry, it’s easy to use.
Q. Does Final Fantasy 14 have add-ons?
Final Fantasy 14 has no official add-ons. Producer Naoki Yoshida once stated that Square was considering including add-ons as long as they didn’t hurt the game. But that plan seems to have been completely shelved.
As you can see above there are plenty of mods you can download if you don’t mind breaking a few rules. BUT you do so at your own risk.
Q. How do I get more hairstyles in FFXIV?
You can unlock them through gameplay. This might be through quest rewards, dungeons, or raids. These can take a lot of work to unlock however and don’t always feel worth the effort.
Of course, if you’re feeling lazy you can also download hair mods that will provide you with a range of choices.
However, these hairstyles will only be visible to you. Everyone else will only be able to see your stock hairstyle.
Q. Is Gunbreaker fun in FFXIV?
Yes! FFXIV’s newest tank can be a blast to play. The Gunbreaker is a jack of all trades that does decent damage balanced with good defense and healing capabilities.
This jack of all trades approach means you always have something to do and you’ll never be stuck on the sidelines waiting to step in. Better yet the Gunbreaker is fun to play in solo play as well.
On top of this, it just looks cool.
Q. Where do you put Gshade?
This isn’t as difficult as it might sound.
– Download Gshade
– Run the installer
– When it asks where you should install it, click browse
– Find Final Fantasy XIV’s exe location. It will probably look something like this: C:\Program Files (x86)\SquareEnix\FINAL FANTASY XIV – A Realm Reborn\game\ffxiv_dx11.exe
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\FINAL FANTASY XIV Online\game\ffxiv_dx11.exe
– Select it and click next.
If this is all a bit scary I suggest following the official Gshade visual guide here.