For all the Final Fantasy 14 players who hang out in its main cities for hours, an upcoming VR mod could help make that familiar MMO pastime a little more immersive.
A fan-made Final Fantasy 14 VR mod is coming out as an alpha release "soon," according to a tweet from modding community Flat2VR.
The VR mod supports full first- and third-person movement and motion controls. One of the mod's creators, Marulu, wrote in the Flat2VR Discord server that the first-person mode is largely experimental and that the third-person mode is how you'll probably want to actually play the game. A zoomed-in view wouldn't be ideal during battle as attacks and environmental hazards happen all around you.
In the video alongside the announcement, you can see how the mod translates the busy MMO UI into VR. It overlays your grid of abilities and minimap over the third-person view of your character. In the few shots of combat, you can see how tilting your head around essentially emulates turning the camera around with a mouse. The in-game camera still works though, you can swivel it around independently of your headset.
A shaky view shouldn't be a problem for regular MMO players who don't spend a lot of time staring at their hotbars. Most of their abilities are set to keybinds and memorized, but keyboard and mouse users might struggle. The initial release won't include full keyboard and mouse support because of a misalignment with the cursor and the VR UI. You can still turn it on but you won't be able to select objects or NPCs in the world without keybinds. Gamepad users will have the advantage here. FF14 has impressive gamepad support—which is why many people use it even on PC—that lets you map a ton of stuff to the buttons with the triggers acting as modifiers like pressing Shift.
The VR mod supports motion controls via Steam VR button remapping. You can move your character around with the left stick or, in first-person, point-and-click where you want to go. The alpha release will have a profile for the Valve Index controllers. For anything else, you'll need to do the button mapping on your own.
To use it (when it's out), you'll need a pretty hefty graphics card. Marulu recommends an RTX 3070 or newer to hit a stable 90 fps (the accepted fps floor for VR in order to avoid motion sickness). You also need to install the custom FF14 launcher called FFXIV Quick Launcher and then install the XIVR plugin, which you'll be able to find in its search bar. The game's TOS doesn't technically allow both the launcher and the VR mod, so it's up to you if you want to take the risk. Many FF14 players use mods of varying levels of complexity, whether to track their DPS in a raid or to wear custom clothing, but Square Enix has yet to consistently punish anyone outside of streamers who use them. Marulu says the mod uses completely original code and is "undetectable and fully usable on live servers," but acknowledges that it could get you in trouble.
The Flat2VR community that is helping to promote the FF14 VR mod is also the home of the recent Jedi Academy VR port as well as similar mods for Left 4 Dead and Valheim. FF14, however, is an ambitious choice. It if works (and doesn't get you banned), there are plenty of beautiful locations in the game that I'd love to walk through. Drop me onto the snow-covered streets of Ishgard and let me take first-person photos as people pass in and out or let me take an immersive tour of the magical Crystal Tower. People run private servers of old MMOs for this sort of thing and it would be neat to be able to do it in the live game.