I assumed Final Fantasy 14 glamour hunters — the players who devote hundreds of hours to collecting pieces of gear and in-game wardrobe pieces in Square Enix’s MMORPG — were an unapproachable group of players. From the outside, they seem capable of clearing any and all raids, no matter the difficulty level. They are lone ranger hunters out for blood, and extremely focused on grinding for their goals. They have the patience of great white sharks stalking their prey (which, in this case, would be a shirt or pair of pants — known in the game as “glamour”). I was wrong.
When I reached out to a handful of glamour hunters on Discord, Reddit, and Twitter, expecting pushback, I was greeted with excitement. When I asked for the highlights of their glamour hunts, expecting to hear something akin to an ESPN anchor play-by-play, I discovered “sport” wasn’t even the right metaphor for glam hunting. For players in deep, the hunt is something closer to language.
This makes sense if you think of glam hunting as a true part of the fashion conversation — these players are right there with sneakerheads, Vivienne Westwood acolytes, or dedicated Fragrantica reviewers. Because lurking on Grailed or Depop for limited edition items, the equivalent of leaping into difficult raids like Savages, is only part of the experience. “Being into fashion” is also about chatting about why you’re into Ann Demeulemeester or exchanging tips on what to wear with a gorgeous top or platform boots. The same goes for glam hunting; despite taking place within the realm of FF14, the style-forward hobby has more to do with the aftermath than the hunt. What I discovered about the art of glam hunting is that the goal is all about the glam hunters themselves: not just assembling great outfits, but sharing them with a robust community of fashionistas and finding folks who speak the same language.
The nature of FF14 being a MMORPG, one that launched in 2010, re-launched in 2013, and has received four expansions over the years, means there’s a sprawling platter of activities and various ways to play the game. If a player is just into crafting, they can focus most of their time on leveling up Disciples of the Hand skills like leatherworking and blacksmithing. If they’re just partial to mahjong and minigames, the in-game amusement park The Gold Saucer has everything they need. Then there’s glamour hunting.
The devs behind FF14 take great care in making glamours immersive. Often on quests in the main storyline, players get an outfit related to the story or region. Endwalker, the fourth expansion pack that concludes the yearslong story arc between Zodiark and Hydaelyn, rewards players with a black Sophist’s robe in Elpis, a research facility set way back in the Unsundered world. Players can glamour the black robe over their armor in order to blend in among the Ancients. Player Monsoon (short for Monsoon-in-a-mug), a regular on the FF14 glamour subreddit, told me she often switches out to glams that match the environment when traveling along the main story. “It’s funny because at one point in the main story they send you somewhere cold. Like they go on and on about how cold it is there,” Monsoon said. “They even go out of their way to provide you with a coat and everything. How can you not lean into that?”
Glams are threaded into other parts of the game. You don’t necessarily need to “hunt” for glamours if it’s not your focus. If you follow along the Main Scenario Quests, gear will automatically drop, and obtaining pieces just to do the next dungeon or raid along the MSQ isn’t difficult. It’s only a hunt if you rifle through the Beast Tribe inventories, sort through items retainers bring you, and commit to running the same dungeon multiple times to get a specific piece.
There are a lot of reasons why players get into glam hunting. Some told me they like putting together outfits in real life, so why not do that in FF14 too? Another told me point-blank that he didn’t even enjoy glam hunting, but he glam hunts anyway because it’s a means to an end for pieces. (Fair.) Monsoon said she started glamour hunting because it supplied a focus point among the dizzying and overwhelming amount of pursuits in the game.
Many players also said glamour hunting got them to try fights they wouldn’t have approached otherwise — especially Savages.
Savages are the hardest raids in FF14 and entirely optional. You don’t need to complete them to progress in the main story quest, but they offer a challenge to those looking for more extreme combat experiences.
It’s hard to describe the level of dead-on-the-ground-always you’d be when trying a Savage for the very first time. Succeeding requires a clear sense of your job’s optimal rotation and spending a hefty amount of time with your raid group for a clear. It’s like a regular date night with seven other people, but instead of something romantic, players are slaying an in-game god.
FF14 player Iggy said his most memorable glam-hunting experience was running his first Savage. “I got smacked,” he said. But he added that he didn’t regret all the time spent looking up guides, practicing rotations, and asking his Free Company (the in-game guilds run by players), because it made him a better player.
Another player, Lizzie, had a similar story for their entry point into raiding. “What really got me into raiding was bugging my FC to join me for the Omega Savage raids to get the tops for my white mage and dancer,” said Lizzie. “They’re not too tough to complete these days, but you do still have to put in some effort.”
FF14 player Cassie, on the other hand, gave raid-finder a first try because they wanted “chestpieces from basically all the Nier raid[s].” (To no surprise, the glams from the Nier Automata collaboration with FF14 were a massive hit.)
Raids and dungeons are the main places players obtain glams, and most players I talked to focused on getting glams from those arenas. But Monsoon is one such player who likes poking around for glams in unlikely places.
She pointed out that there aren’t a lot of off-the-beaten-path quest rewards in FF14, but they do exist. Rhalgr’s Reach in Stormblood has one such side quest, called “Ant Juice,” and it gives players a blindfold. It’s a rather short quest, and the player just needs to sprinkle a powder to attract a monster, defeat it, and go back to the NPC Ranulf for the reward. Monsoon’s personal favorite lesser-known glam item was obtained through a Kugane quest called “The New King on the Block.” After obtaining scales from a defeated wyvern-looking monster called Rathalos, players can turn them into merchants for armor that — as you’d expect — looks very wyvern-y. It’s easy to miss, said Monsoon, since the game doesn’t especially flag it.
“Most of the ones that are off the beaten track are things that have sort of been forgotten about. Several of the Beast tribes reward rep with an armor set that looks like them,” Monsoon said. “You can look like a turtle man if you hang out with the Kojin for long enough!”
As to the why of all this time spent hunting digital clothing, what players brought up often was the different glamour communities they participated in and how they helped each other out — be it through exchanging advice, planning hunts together, or participating in themed challenges.
Eorzea Collection, a site that catalogs glamour and a place where anybody can upload photos of their glamour, came up in nearly every chat. Iggy is a patron of the site and participates regularly in the Eorzea Collection Discord. Every month, contributors vote on a glamour challenge and share glams related to the winning theme on the community Discord. Themes in the past include Handmade Fashion, glams made only with crafted items, and for the start of the story after Endwalker concluded, Newfound Adventure outfits.
FF14 player Wynn is part of another glamour community too, called the Krumpets. The group holds glamour competitions weekly in Gridania’s amphitheater. Wynn also participates in themed glams with other players, and was also part of a five-person glam themed around the natural elements. “I was the Avatar of Fire, and my friends were Water, Lightning, Wind, and Earth,” said Wynn.
“I have a group of friends that enjoy similar activities, and we decided to work on Elemental sets — a kind of armor with rare emissive details,” FF14 player Leon Aquitaine said. He added that they spent an enjoyable couple of weeks rampaging through Eureka together, and when they earned the pieces together, experienced a sense of elation.
For Lizzie, it’s like a kind of in-game book club. “Every time I make a new glam, I send it to my static lead, and she’ll send me hers.” Lizzie enjoys exchanging glamour advice with other players and roping her FC up into material hunts for crafted glamours, like the Chocobo Pajamas. “Most of the questions I ask in terms of glam advice are dye-related, since a lot of the gear in game doesn’t always dye well,” Lizzie said. “If someone is asking me for advice I usually start by asking what kind of vibe they’re going for with their look. Does the outfit look balanced? Do you want to mimic a classic job look? Create the most cursed outfit you’ve ever seen? It’s also a lot of helping newer players figure out where items come from, are there duplicates that are easier to obtain or dye better?”
“I think in general,” Lizzie adds, “anything that involves animal costume heads and normal outfits is 100% cursed and ominous — the frog head especially.”
Many players who regularly glam hunt don’t do it solo, and indeed, glam hunting isn’t a solo hobby. It’s a way to learn the stylistic language of other people, to get inspired by other people, or to just hold Fat Chocobo Head glam gatherings at the Gold Saucer.
Leon recounted to me the very first moment he really got into glam hunting, an activity he hadn’t paid much attention to previously.
“One day, turning some scrips around in Firmament, a kind stranger sent me a /tell saying how cool that glam was, how much they liked it, and that I should upload it to the Eorzea Collection… And the rest, as they say, is history,” said Leon. “So to you, kind glamourista stranger: Thank you so much for those words of encouragement! I’d never be here without you.”