Shane's been gaming for nearly 40 years and loves a broad array of games in addition to being one-quarter of the Assorted Meeples group.
The Best Mods Stardew Valley Community Has to Offer
Stardew Valley is an incredible game with a remarkable shelf life. There are also few games that have embraced the modding community so thoroughly. Created in 2014, Stardew Valley started as an homage to the original Harvest Moon farm-sim games. These games had a small but devout following of gamers who loved these titles and remembered them fondly. However, Stardew Valley not only re-started the fire for cozy casual games like these, but they took them to an entirely different level.
This was a labor of love that created a stunning pixel art game that not only captured the old fun but set a standard no one's been able to topple, even before the major updates that followed over the next eight years.
But for the many, many of us who have spent over 1,000 hours on this game, sometimes you wish there was a little more. A small quality of life change, a different look during a changing season, a new NPC popping up out of nowhere.
The best Stardew mods can offer all of those things and much, much more. Here's a short list of some of the best and most popular stable mods freely available to transform your next game.
The Expanded World Mod
You can tell instantly if a Stardew Valley mod list is legit or not by whether or not this is the top mod on the list. The expanded world mod by FlashShifter is a labor of love that has continued to grow and improve from years of development, and it continues to grow.
The expanded world mod is just that. This makes the base game in the world drastically and dramatically larger.
While it's constantly being upgraded even more, as of 2022, it already provided:
- 27 new characters (nearly doubling the number in the original game)
- 50 new locations
- Over 250 new character events
- New upgrades, improvements, fish, and farm maps
- New world map of the expanded world
- New quests
- New crops & cooking recipes
- New festivals
- Interactions with many popular graphics and quality of life Stardew Valley mods
In other words, the world of Stardew Valley just continues to grow with this mod, and the creator of this game, Eric Barone, has even commented that the mod does a great job of working to keep that original Stardew aesthetic while drastically expanding the world for players who already have hundreds if not thousands of hours in the game.
This mod is one fan's love letter to the game, and it is an outstanding way to breathe new life into an already beloved game.
The Famous Tractor Mod
The top quality of life mod of them all, the tractor fits into the farming theme of Stardew perfectly. It allows the player to buy a tractor that allows them to mass clear, hoe, plant, and water crops.
This can be done quickly, which makes growing insane masses of crops not only possible, but means you won't spend the first two days of each season desperately trying to get those last spaces watered by 2 a.m. to keep everything growing evenly.
The tractor mod is a great quality of life feature that acts like a bought improvement and fits so well into the game when I first saw it on a YouTube video I assumed it was an updated vs mod until corrected by the YouTuber.
A definite must have on the shortlist of Stardew Valley mods.
This is a bit of a cheat since it includes several potential mods in one heading, but as beautiful the digital pixel art on Stardew Valley is, if you've spent hundreds or even thousands of hours, sometimes you want to see something different.
There are many, many recoloring mods out there but here are the four top recoloring mods for Stardew Valley that get the most downloads and see the most use.
- Earthy Recolour by DaisyNiko
- Nari's Rusty Recolor Mod
- Vibrant Pastoral Recolor Mod
- Starblue Valley Recolor Mod (no, that's not a typo, that's the name of this interesting recoloring mod)
All of them are frankly amazing, and the pictures below are of the Earthy Recolour mod which is generally my favorite of all of them, not the least because of the British spelling, but depending on the mood sometimes one of the other examples is the one that just hits home.
There are plenty of options so if you'd like to see other players' reimagining of what the game could look like could look like, these are the mods for you.
Examples of One Popular Recoloring Mod
NPC Map Locations
Would you be surprised if I told you the most common queries for Stardew Valley in Google on a monthly basis are all pretty much "Where is (character name)?" If you've played the game and rushed to find an NPC to complete a commission before time ran out and all the house doors locked, you know this pain.
The NPC Map Locations mod does just that. Whenever you open the map you not only see all the locations, but little faces of every single NPC and where they are at. No more guessing if Leah is on her lake walk, where Demetrius has wandered off to, or where Marnie is (because it won't be her store).
You'll know at a glance where they are and be able to run them down and find them!
Bonus: This mod has been worked on and improved so it even works with the additional characters and NPCs that are added with the Stardew Valley Expanded Mod!
This is one of those mods that makes so much sense that I expect it will be a feature of future farm-sim cozy life games, and Coral Island has already gone this route where if you have met the NPC, their face shows on the map.
Canon-Friendly Dialogue Expansion Mod
I love so many of the NPCs in Stardew Valley...and love to hate on some of the others. But after so many years of in-game play you've heard all there is to say. This is where the Canon-Friendly Dialogue Expansion Mod comes in.
This Mod adds dozens to hundreds of lines of dialogue to all the NPCs in Stardew Valley, making sure that all added dialogue falls in Canon with what's known about each character and what's known about their story both in-game and out of game.
That means you not only get dozens or hundreds of new fresh lines of dialogue from characters in the game, but the messages actually relate to the character's story and background or interests, which is great for immersion.
Important: This mod does require the "Content Patcher" mod for Stardew Valley first in order to function properly.
Better Junimos Mod
Ah, the hopes so many of us had for the effective efficient Junimos helping us out. As with the original Harvest Moon games and the seemingly drunken gnome helpers who would water the same spot...while it was raining...disappointment soon followed.
Better Juminos takes the Junimo Hut, which is a decent if not spectacular upgrade, and adds additional abilities to the Junimos that makes them much more useful. Instead of only being able to harvest mature crops they can also:
- Plant crops
- Fertilize tilled soil
- Water crops
- Clear out dead crops
That's a drastically improved Juminos Mod that most Stardew Valley players will love!
The Improved UI Suite Mod
The are multiple improved UI Suite mods, my personal favorite is the UI Info Suite Mod by user Cdaragorn because it gives more control over what information you want at a glance like tomorrow's weather, active quests, or my personal favorite: a symbol for when the traveling cart is open.
The number of times I meant to buy rare seeds or check for red cabbage seeds and missed the cart completely is nothing short of infuriating. This UI Info Suite Mod has a checklist in the settings for the game so you can see a lot of information at once, or just the specific little things that matter to you as a player.
Stardew Valley The Board Game
Stardew Valley: Still a Living, Growing Game
There's just something about Stardew Valley that hits all the right buttons and makes this as close to a timeless game as you can get. For players who still love the game after many hundreds of hours sometimes a mod adding something a little different makes a big difference.
The incredibly active modding community around Stardew has created so many options for long-time players that even the most devoted fans can put in a combination of mods that creates a fresh twist on a classic and beloved game.
Great Stardew Valley Mod Resources
- Get Starting Modding Guide
Do you want to play Stardew Valley with mods? This guide is for you and will walk you through how to do it!
- Stardew Valley Nexus - Mods and community
Nexus Mods is the top place to go for reliable, stable, and tested mods that work with Stardew Valley.
- 11 Best Mods for Stardew Valley – Assorted Meeples
Best resource I've found putting all these in one place. Aside from their 11 there are 5-8 "bonus" mods mentioned as alternative to their picks for the most popular ones, and 1-2 dozen honorable mentions near the end. Great resource.
© 2022 Shane Dayton