My main job in Final Fantasy 14 is the ninja. It has a satisfying rotation. I like that I can occasionally dip into ranged combat. I like that I’m slightly faster than everyone. I like that I get a little bunny on my head when I mess up. It’s good fun.
I will, however, always be sad that the job turns from a swashbuckling rogue to a discount Naruto expy at level 30. What bums me out even more is that modders have been fixing a lot of these problems, but I can’t use or recommend them. The latest mod I must observe sadly through the looking glass is Laoqian‘s “Gunner” animation replacement, which replaces all of Ninja’s animations with cyberpunk mayhem.
This mod is absolutely rad. The ninja’s daggers are swapped for dual pistols, its regular melee combos cleverly turned into gun kata sequences. It replaces several skills with an arm cannon, the ninja’s water shurikens with a killer sniper rifle killshot, and ‘Suiton’—a blast of water that makes an enemy vulnerable to a trick attack—into a straight up rocket launcher.
Also there’s a holographic display of an anime girl. Her name is Shifty and she’s in position to bombard your foes from orbit. Honestly, this barely breaks immersion—Fall Guys is about to be canon, anything’s on the table.
My favourite touch is how Laoqian handles the mudras here. For the uninitiated, Ninjas have three mudra hand signs they can combine in different orders to cast ninjutsu. For example, using Ten and Chi produces Raiton, a blast of electricity.
Laoqian’s replaced these with holographic screens, but they’ve done so in a way that allows them to layer on top of one another without looking unnatural, which is important as those hand signs come out fast. All in all, it’s really clever stuff, and I can’t use any of it.
Mods, broadly speaking, are against Final Fantasy 14’s terms of service. However, as pointed out on a blog post by Square Enix, “it is impossible for us to check what programs are installed on every player’s PC”. Mods (moderators) prioritise mods (modifications) that give players a concrete advantage, and will typically only do so if a player’s been reported for using them.
That means something like the mod above is technically undetectable unless you talk to someone about it. Despite all these caveats, the modding scene of FF14 is still very much alive and thriving. By being tolerant, Square’s set itself up in a bit of a catch 22—if they ever cut off the mod supply entirely, players would leave in droves.
While I do take a moral stance against anything that gives an unfair advantage, I personally think stuff like the gunner is demonstrably harmless. Alas, I am very much in the public eye. My name’s at the top of the article.
I shall have to look at mods like this one through the looking glass, sadly pawing at a world of John Wick-style gun sequences, orbital strikes, and anime girls I will never see. I’ll have to subsist on my usual diet of hand signs and chidori, which—to be fair, is a big part of why I like playing ninja anyway.