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Minecraft Needs More Life

Minecraft Needs More Life

I’ve been playing Minecraft since October 2010. I don’t play it very often any more. What I enjoyed most about the game is gone, due to both Mojang and third-party server operators. Before I get into what has changed for the worse, let me first explain what I liked about the game.

When I started playing, Minecraft was a very simple game. You collect resources, built tools, and then use those tools to collect better resources. You could build structures much as you can now, but creative mode wasn’t an option and so you had to gather all of your materials. If you wanted to build a grand citadel made entirely of obsidian, gold, and diamond, then you would need to spend several weeks down in the bowels of the earth. There were also several mechanisms available, like mine carts, mine cart tracks, and redstone dust. Powered rails, pistons, and redstone repeaters—core components for modern Minecraft mechanisms—did not exist. It was this simplicity that I enjoyed the most about Minecraft.

The serenity of the world is what initially drew me in, though. Exploring a vast yet barren world, roaming the rolling hills, and diving into caves was bliss. An empty world ripe for the taking! Finding caves on the surface and harvesting coal and iron was fun. Crafting a set of iron tools and armor before heading out to find deeper caves was fun. Arranging my gathered resources into shapes and actively crafting new items was fun; discovering new items independently was just as much of an adventure as exploring the world.

My many adventures to find caves would expose a certain beauty that can only be found in Minecraft. You can see the hills rolling off into the distance, the deserts and the tundra, and you can’t help but be taken back by it all. The valleys, the waterfalls, and the overhanging cliffs all have a natural sense of beauty. When exploring a cave, you would find this organic maze, twisting and turning upon itself as it snakes its way down to bedrock. When you reach the depths of the cave, you’d find great lakes of magma with flows coming down from above. There was something to fall in love with anywhere in the game.

Minecraft Needs More Life

The deep caves offered something of their own to the world, too. Diamond and gold ores would glisten in the darkness. I would see them and my heart would pound; a rare and precious resource! Then a shadow would cross in front, and excitement shifted into fear. I’d have to fight through spiders, zombies, and skeletons to get my prize. Worse, I’d be fighting in the darkness on uncertain footing. Lighting the area and fending off the monsters at the same time didn’t always pose a challenge, but it was certainly fun. There was a risk factor associated with all of it, too: do I return to my base and deposit the hard-earned loot I’ve already collected and come back later, or do I fight for the diamonds now and reap the rewards sooner.

If you weren’t in the darkness when you spied the resources, then you’d be in a magma cavern. Wandering mobs could push you into the magma, if you didn’t fall in on your own anyway. You’d lose everything to the magma with no chance of recovery. Worse, the diamonds or gold you worked your way toward could fall into the magma and be incinerated! There was a lot of risk associated with the collection of resources and that made it far more rewarding when you walked away unscathed. Of course, there was nothing preventing you from finding another dark cavern on your way out beginning the cycle anew.

So what went wrong with Minecraft?

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3 comments

  1. Hullo,

    Your manner is too aggressive and contentious, I am afraid it makes you sound juvenile more than anything else. It is not the controversial manner which is the problem but your phrasing and the substance of your argument. In particular, it conjures the image of a very typical sort of child, a stereotype that you must be aware of, who wallows in elitism and violently stubborn opinions, but only out of a simplistic emulation.

    You must understand that it is an incredibly ugly personality, and one that I ask you not to keep.

    Now, you start out with a the general position that Minecraft has worsened, and explain that this is so because of the addition of content. You then give a handful of examples, but they are all very inconsistent. I think this can only be the effect of a too briefly considered opinion, but I do not so mind that as I take offence to your overall contention that Minecraft’s basic survival mode is what makes it fun.

    I cannot know if that is really your opinion, or if it is only an imitation of another’s own elitism, but it is wrong. Minecraft singleplayer survival is tedious, and though it manages to entertain for some time, it is soon found boring after the first few builds. Such is how these poorly considered sandbox games must go. That said, the time they do entertain for is comparable to other more linear titles, so you might choose to think it a good game, anyway.

    I agree that further updates have been largely ineffectual in solving its issues, but they have barely affected the original experience. Indeed, they could be, and would be, largely ignored by those who didn’t insist on communicating with the community against their better judgement.

    I’ve only one last complaint, and this is about your problem with the creeper. The creeper is a horrible idea, and can only cause empty grief. I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. But you cannot contradict yourself and praise underground lava lakes, killing you for the same lapse in attention that causes a problem with the creeper, or the utter boredom that is gathering materials to build one more skull fort or the serenity that involves dealing with some of the very stupidest AI and enduring the most obnoxious rain sound loop when you aren’t looking into the wiki for the best way to mitigate your self inflicted grind.

    Jeez.

    • I don’t really know what to make of you taking offense to what I find enjoyable. It almost looks like you think what I find fun is horribly wrong; that because you don’t like it no one else is allowed to like it. To denounce the preferences of another in favor of your own, is that not elitism?

      My opinion is that Minecraft was best when everything came together in a harmonious way. It’s a game that is built around the concept of navigating an impermeable environment. You can get lost in the wilderness if you’re not paying attention, or you can traverse it many times relying only on your spacial memory; same thing goes for the caves. The day/night cycle fit in naturally with that: The mobs (zombies, skeletons) hide in the darkness because the light harms them; thus, you see mobs when you go exploring in the caves. This makes the surface a safe place for the player, and the caves a natural, albeit dangerous, mystery to be explored. From the level generator to the day/night cycle and everything in between, it all resonated with everything else, amplifying their place in the world; it all came together in a way that was logical and looked natural, if not visually stunning. It was like the world could exist without you. This is what made it very easy to load up Minecraft, intending to play for only 15 minutes, and end up getting lost in both the game world and the act of playing. The siren song of “go, build” was a simple but alluring tune.

      Almost everything that came later was… pointless, to put it simply. They aren’t bad additions per se, they’re just completely incongruous, dissonant, even. These additions were often brought into the game incomplete, sometimes with promise that a later update will make them better. Villagers (and villages) were added almost a year ago, yet the only interesting way to interact with them was to kill them; it wasn’t until 3 months ago that players could trade with villagers!

      It’s not contradictory for me to praise the beauty and risk that lava pools possess. You can see the lava pool, you can work around it. You can stay away from it and be completely safe. You can deposit your items into a chest nearby so that, if you do dip your toes in, your losses are not so permanent. Contrast that to creepers: Creepers were silent, their explosions highly damaging and super-destructive, and their fuses were shorter; you’d have less than a second to react to a creeper, and the damage done was far greater than slipping into lava. A creeper would destroy a hefty portion of any items you dropped from dying, and obliterate any chests (and their contents) you might have placed. Creepers were disproportionately dangerous compared to any other hazard in the game.

  2. CEpicStar /

    No offence intended but I find some of the elements pointed out here stupid. Creepers. It made players have to think to somehow keep the Creepers out. Yes, they produce a large risk, but that is what makes it fun! I also found strongholds, mines, etc, very intersting. It adds a mysterious tone to the game.(Not the villages though) Like who was here first? Herobrine?(Yes he’s real.) It made me shiver every time I went I went exploring a mine. And mobs spawning in night. I think that it poses the same threat as caves do to more spac to spawn and longer view allowing them to surrond you encouraging the player to get creative! So I think your article is your opinion and might make people feel bad about Minecraft. It seems like your a little kid wanting to take his anger out on something.

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