by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 14th June, 2019
Minecraft turned 10 earlier this year and in order to celebrate its birthday, we decided to gather the best mods of the game for millions of people who play it.
Despite the fact that it's now technically more than 10 years old (Minecraft originally released on 17th May 2009) Minecraft is more popular than ever. Literally hundreds of millions of gamers enjoy Minecraft and many of those are on PC.
While not the best version when it comes to mobility (Minecraft can be played on iOS and Android devices as well as on the Nintendo Switch) or ease of use (like the version of Minecraft for PS4 and Xbox One) it does have one major advantage compared to all other versions.
The said benefit is a huge collection of mods varying from humble UI enhancements to visual mods capable of turning Minecraft into a truly next-gen looking game.
Sure, the number of mods isn't even close to what Skyrim, Fallout 4, or GTA V have but there are enough quality ones to make playing Minecraft much more enjoyable.
As it is with most user-generated content installing Minecraft mods isn't as easy as simply downloading and copying files, or just installing mods you want. The procedure is a bit complex but can be learned in less than half an hour.
It's definitely worth learning how to install mods because they make Minecraft much, much better than the vanilla version. So, before diving into our list of best Minecraft mods for 2019 let us talk a bit about installing them.
Before going with this it's worth noting that mods work only on the PC version of the game so not, you cannot install mods on the PS4, Xbox One, mobile and Switch versions of Minecraft.
So, if you have the PC version of the game, read on.
The best source for Minecraft mods is sites such as Planet Minecraft, 9minecraft, or Minecraft Curse Forge. They host a huge selection of mods which can be searched by popularity, number of downloads, average rating, etc.
Download mods from trusted sources (such as Planet Minecraft or Minecraft Curse Forge, which have thousands of mods) because shady sites could infect your PC with all kinds of nasty viruses. We linked all sources for mods featured on this list so you shouldn't worry about finding them online. But in case you try adding new ones stick to trusted sources.
Before downloading any mods you should grab an incredibly handy tool called Minecraft Forge. It streamlines the whole mod installation process and allows users to easily add, suspend, or delete mods. Once you install the app locate the Minecraft game folder and backup all files so you can have a clean installation in case some mod breaks your game.
Minecraft Forge Mods folder is located on your system drive under AppData folder, inside Minecraft folder (Forge creates mods folder once installed and run, so make sure to run the app at least once before searching for mods folder).
Since the folder is hidden by default you can access it easily simply by the opening Run window by pressing Windows key + R. Just type %AppData%, press enter and Windows Explorer will open App Data folder for you to see it. Do this every time you need to access Minecraft Mods folder since it is the easiest way to access it.
Most mods require for users to simply copy files to the Mods folder but others ask for a specific installation process. In case a mod asks for a specific installation it should be explained on its source page.
Anyway, once copied to Minecraft Forge mods folder mods should be found in Minecraft Forge and from there you can activate and deactivate them. Further, similar to the case when a mod asks for a specific installation process, its home page should contain any info regarding its compatibility with other mods.
Always check if a mod you want to install works with other mods you have in your game. And finally, specific mods work with specific versions of the game. Before downloading and installing a mod always check which version of Minecraft you need for a mod for work.
Now that you know the process let's talk about actual mods.
SEUS shaders are one of the many shader mods that can turn Minecraft into photorealistic beauty. SEUS mod adds custom shaders and radically improves lighting in the game. All of the fancy effects (like bloom, dynamic lighting, ambient occlusion, etc.) are here, they look beautiful and aren't too taxing on the hardware.
The mod's creator is also working on an updated version of the mod called SEUS Renewed, which aims to add ray-traced lighting to the game. Alpha versions are already out and they create unbelievable lighting effects that look as stunning as RTX features found in Battlefield 5, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, or Metro Exodus.
While the basic version is free to download (installation instructions, as well as the mod itself, can be found on SEUS home page), the experimental ray traced shaders are available only for Patreon backers.
SEUS is the top of the line shader mod for Minecraft that adds lots of experimental features. That makes it relatively unstable and prone to cause bugs while playing the game.
On the other side of the line, we have Sildur's Shaders mod for Minecraft that also makes the game prettier by modifying its lighting system but it does so without top of the line eye candy effects and unstable features.
Even though Sildur's Shaders aren't as visually impressive as the latest, ray tracing-based version of SEUS, the mod is visually stunning with all effects turned on.
This version called vibrant shaders looks stunning but is also graphically taxing. Luckily Sildur's Shaders mod comes in two other versions, each for different tiers of PC hardware.
Enhanced default pack comes with a plethora of effects (pretty much everything except volumetric lighting effects) but is much less demanding and Basic Shaders adds a couple of simple tweaks that give Minecraft noticeable improvements without adding to its humble hardware requirements.
Chroma Hills texture pack ups the ante on the texture resolution along with creating its own style. This pack adds its own flavor to Minecraft and its world map. The author calls the style "cartoonish" and it really is, in the most positive way possible. Chroma Hills features saturated, colorful textures that look sharp and improve overall looks of the game.
Purists probably won't like the changes Chroma Hills introduces, altering the game's signature blocky style but if you want the best-looking texture pack that is super stable and that replaces all textures this one should be your primary pick.
Another plus is that Chroma Hills is the official texture pack for the SEUS shader mod, adding extra texture effects (bump mapping and specular effects) when combined with SEUS, making the game even prettier.
In order to install texture packs, you have to download MCPatcher and let the app know your Minecraft install location. Many texture packs come with HD images and MCPatcher allows Minecraft to work with those enabled.
Improved lighting mods work best with HD texture mods that, when combined, take Minecraft to the next level, at least when it comes to the game's visuals. The most popular (and most stable) HD texture mod is called Hyper Realism texture mod for Minecraft and it drastically improves quality of textures (which is pretty low in the vanilla game).
This texture pack doesn't change the overall look and feel of the game, it only takes vanilla textures and makes them sharper and the result is surprisingly good, especially when combined with a shader mod.
We all want as many animals in Minecraft as possible and JurassiCraft delivers with its selection of dinosaurs. And who doesn't like dinos? There are 12 land creatures along with 1 that resides in the sea and they look excellent.
Dino models are detailed enough to combine the mod with some HD texture pack without noticing the difference in quality between animals and new, sharp textures. And to add to the immersion, JurassiCraft also comes with a wide selection of prehistoric plant species, creating a lush and colorful world of Jurrasic Park on your PC.
And yes, you can have your own dinosaur pets. They require the player to locate fossil ore, extract DNA from it, and then you craft your own dinosaur egg. And once it hatches the dino is yours to keep! In addition to animals and plants, JurassiCraft mod for Minecraft also comes with vehicles, machinery (needed for the whole egg hatching process), decorations and more!
If JurassiCraft isn't enough for you try installing LotsOMobs. This mod adds not only dinosaurs to your Minecraft world (they don't look as nearly as pretty as in JurassiCraft though), it fills the world with all kinds of other animals.
In addition to introducing a diverse animal ecosystem to the game, LotsOMobs features different biomes where different animals live. You have prehistoric forests with dinos, deserts with camels, the Arctic region where penguins and polar bears roam, etc.
And some of the animals are mountable meaning you can tame and ride a huge pterodactyl, sweeping across skies and reaching any point on the map in a matter of seconds. Also, you get some agro cavemen who roam the map in the prehistoric forests as well as Eskimos who can be found in the mod's arctic region.
Animals can be hunted, of course, and they drop unique resource that can later be used to craft cool equipment and armor.
Overall, while not the prettiest around LotsOMobs makes the world of Minecraft alive and teeming with all kinds of mobs while at the same time adding lots of features to the vanilla experience. Hunting T-Rex has to be super cool.
This texture pack goes above and beyond every other texture pack available for Minecraft. It literally transforms Minecraft into a completely different game. It doesn't just sharpen the default textures or slightly alter their looks while making them high definition.
Texture resolution goes to 2048x2048, which is insane when taking into account that Chroma Hills features 128x64 texture resolution.
The downside is that firstly, the mod is far from finished (but it receives regular updates that add new textures) and secondly, the entry ticket is $8 per month Patreon tier (which only opens 512 and 1024 textures, for the full experience of 2048 you have to subscribe to the $12 Patreon tier).
But when you look at Minecraft with Ultimate Immersion Photorealistic texture pack and combined with ray-traced lighting, the game looks like a next-gen experience playable only on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett.
Just Enough Items is a simple mod that allows players to view items and recipes, a small addition that is of immense help. It comes with a simple UI that supports simple and advanced search, it comes with cheat support and can be installed in seconds.
A small tool with immense value and one that's highly recommended to everyone playing Minecraft.
Survival mode in Minecraft is pretty much bare bones experience that doesn't do much in bringing its level of immersion to heights set by famous survival titles such as DayZ, Subnautica, or The Forest. But with TerraFirmaCraft you will experience what hardcore survival in Minecraft looks and feels like.
The mod adds lots of various stats that make the Survival mode more believable by adding varied biomes, stone layers, and vegetation. And the world generation itself is much different than in Vanilla Minecraft, with high water level and different rock layers at different depths, which makes mining more complex but at the same time more rewarding.
The mod also supports seasonal changes in foliage as well as support for grass and trees to grow back over time.
With the mod enabled progression also changes. It consists of three main ages and each age features different technology and tools, and each new age widens the options for mining, crafting, and building. A great mod that doesn't do much visually but at the same time completely changes the whole survival experience in Minecraft.
Biomes O' Plenty is one hell of a mod that adds 90 (yes, ninety!) unique biomes to the game that can then be generated inside your Minecraft world, both in single and multiplayer sessions. You basically have it all when it comes to Earth's biomes with this mod.
The Alps, Bamboo forest, bog, bushland, Coniferous Forest, classical and cold dessert, Cherry Blossom Grove, Highland, etc. In addition to real life biomes, there are lots of fantasy ones that borrow from fantasy movies and books as well as from holidays (like Halloween).
There's every possible biome you can think of and there is an option to limit certain biomes from generating as well as tweaking the size of each biome on the map.
Tweaks are aplenty and we really like that authors allowed players to tweak every stat in this mod. You can pick the size, allow only for realistic or fantasy biomes to be generated.
There's the option to play with biomes found in previous Minecraft versions, to select biomes to change with seasons or to switch for notable holidays. Biomes O' Plenty also adds new plants, flowers, and trees as well as unique building blocks, new mobs and more.
This is an excellent mod that really pushes up the ante and makes your Minecraft adventure map as diverse as our planet, only on a much smaller scale.
There are literally thousands of things to build in Minecraft and many large projects (like constructing a whole city) can be extremely time-consuming. Those can last for weeks, months even and not everyone is ready to commit so much of their free time into constructing architectural wonders in Minecraft.
If you want to be able to erect buildings from scratch in just a couple of seconds the mod you're looking for is Instant Structures for Minecraft.
The premise is really simple; Instant Structures provides simple to use tool that can be used in-game that gives players means to select specific structures from the mod's list, place them and build them in a brink of a moment.
And while the tool for constructing buildings is extremely simple to use this mod was far from simple to create because at the moment Instant Structures comes with more than 40,000 structures in its library, which really is bonkers!
The graphic UI used for searching for structures looks neat, tidy, and is really easy to navigate. You can search for structures based on specific keywords, names, or functions.
The mod allows players to scan their own structures and upload them to the mod's library, to easily remove and reposition erected structures, and to receive crafting recipes for each structure that can be used in Survival mode.
If you like engineering and crafting machines in virtual worlds be sure to check Mekanism, an interesting mod that adds various machines to the game. It has four tiers of machines, depending on their complexity. Players can upgrade their tiers and create more complex machines over time, as they learn new recipes, gather right resources, and advance through the game.
There are factories to build, various gear to produce, automation of the mining process, and all sorts of systems that allow for the machines to function such as power sources and the whole power infrastructure. Think of it as some sorts of Satisfactory, but in Minecraft. Oh, and you get a cute robot pet called Robit, who follows you around and collect item drops.
This mode is great and it fits perfectly with the vanilla version of Minecraft because it literally doesn't change anything visually or mechanically, it only adds one extremely useful feature and that's camping.
The mod gives players a safe harbor in the form of their own unique camp they can set up anywhere. It allows you to survive the night and to have a sort of a forward base of operations when on a resource run or when simply adventuring out in the wilds. This is another mod that simply has to find its way to every Minecraft player.
Minecraft World Map can be difficult to explore because it can be huge and players don't have a GPS to navigate the huge adventure map. This is why one clever modder created Journey Map for Minecraft.
The mod maps your exploration automatically as you travel across your Minecraft world and it can be accessed in full screen or minimap mode. It is an extremely handy tool that should find its way to every Minecraft player because it makes the experience so much better.
Journey Map for Minecraft works for single and multiplayer Minecraft maps allowing users to map their multiplayer Minecraft maps and then automatically switch to the map of their single player world once they change the game mode. As an added bonus, all your maps can be viewed in a web browser for easy access when you're not playing the game.
Another simple but extremely useful mod. VoxelMap is a minimap that realistically reflects colors around you and works both in minimap and fullscreen map modes that are viewable in-game. The mod comes with a selection of useful tools such as waypoints, mob icons, teleport system, and neither mapping. Small, stable, works great with other mods and it looks great.
Did you see how Norman Reedus had those cool auto ladders in the latest Death Stranding trailer, that can accommodate to any gap by simply growing in length? Well, Rope Bridge is like that, sort of.
The mod equips players with a tool that builds rope bridges. Just walk to a gap, launch the rope bridge tool and then cross that gap that was impossible to overcome just a second ago. Extremely useful for explorers.
Minefactory Reloaded isn't as rugged as Mekanism but is a handy tool great for players who want to have everything automatized. With Minefactory Reloaded you can automate farming, animal care, mob grinding, ore processing, enchanting and more.
There are lots of machines included in the mod and them easy to build and power (they accept energy units and Redstone Flux). Great mod for those who want to explore but at the same time want to have a whole automated industry at their home base.
Once you realize that Minefactory Reloaded isn't enough powerful and overarching for you it's maybe time to install BuildCraft. This is a complex mod with the sole purpose of allowing complete automation in Minecraft.
It has a huge selection of machines, mechanical parts and building blocks with which you can build a complete infrastructure that allows for autonomous production, transport, power production, and more.
This is a huge and quite complex mod but those with the time and knowledge (really, there are so many tools and features you really have to spend some time learning the basics and then spend even more time learning about advanced systems) will surely find countless hours filled with joy while they automate everything there is in the game. An excellent mod that isn't for everybody (most players will be satisfied with Minefactory Reloaded).
The Aether II is an expansive mod that introduces a completely new world to the game set high up the clouds. This fantasy world is filled with creatures and structures, it has its own history and folklore, and it is a complete Minecraft conversion. Players must survive in this world while learning about its stories, secrets, and ways to survive.
In Aether things work differently than in regular Minecraft thus tasking players to learn how to play the game again and to learn all its secrets while they explore the cloud kingdom. The mod is still in works and once completed it should add new content such as settlements, explorable dungeons, new quests, and challenges, as well as a completely new experience.
This is perfect for all of those who got bored with plain old Minecraft and who don't find joy anymore in installing various mods that change the game but don't offer anything new when it comes to the world and its culture. And if you can't wait for Aether II to gets finished you can always install and play its predecessor, which is also great.
You ever wanted to travel to space while playing Minecraft? Well, now you can do that with the help of Advanced Rocketry, one of the best Minecraft mods ever created. It greatly expands the world by removing that silly limit known as the sky, allowing players to reach the orbit and then go and explore new planets that are added to the world.
Players can build their own custom rockets and spaceships and then travel inside them to new planets, moons, even solar system! Once you reach your destination you can mine for resources, build new structures, and try to survive in alien environments.
Build space stations, moon bases, or simply explore the outer wilds. The mod also supports stuff like temperature and atmosphere meaning that there are hostile planets where spacesuit has to be worn but this also means you can terraform inhabitable planets, filling them with oxygen and raising the temperature until they become suitable for human life.
Sure, rocket engineering isn't as deep as in Kerbal Space Program but even without that Advanced Rocketry is fun as hell and filled with content.