Minecraft? Can I Mod That?

Posted by admin on March 7th, 2015 filed in Games

In Minecraft, you can “choose” among four types of armour: leather, gold, iron, and diamond (in order of quality). I expected that I would start with leather, and work my way up to a higher quality. Or that each type would have vastly different pros/cons. In reality, I use iron armour and tools almost exclusively.

Obviously, Minecraft character starts out owning neither leather, iron, gold, nor diamond, you have to mine and collect all materials. But I skipped the leather-armour “stage”, simply because I couldn’t find any cows. By the time I found a herd in a mountain biome, I had mined enough iron to prefer iron in 90% of situations. A long while later, I could afford a diamond tool here, or a piece of diamond armour there. Around the same time, I learned to improve my tools and armour with the help of books and libraries. And of course I apply costly enchantments only to high-durability diamond items, because I want to make the most of it, so no use for leather here either.

Similarly with tools. Gold tools mine a bit faster, and gold is cheaper to enchant, but gold is rarer and less durable. Sounds balanced, but practically, everyone enchants iron tools for everyday tasks, and sometimes diamond for special events (e.g. raiding underwater monuments, or mining obsidian). Virtually nobody uses wood or gold tools. That’s not a gameplay choice…

I would have preferred clear pros and cons, so I can play the game of choosing the best equipment for my task. Some examples of gameplay that would be more interesting:

  • “Using iron in rainy and watery biomes incurs a small malus, while using (rust-free) gold incurs a small bonus.”
  • “You receive a small bonus for wearing civilized clothing (i.e. leather) while crafting, farming, and herding, and a malus for wearing clumsy metal armour.”
  • “You must use a tool harder than the material you are mining. E.g. you cannot mine wood with bare hands, only sand and gravel, which drops flint to craft your first wood cutting tool, etc.” (*)

Let’s not go overboard with this either — players do not want to schlep 15 types of armour and tools, and change depending on weather or wind direction, obviously.

On the first game day, you have nothing and almost die because your three blades of wheat didn’t grow. And the next day, *bam*, you have a farm, and chests upon chests of loot. ;-) I’m exaggerating, of course. My point is, there is nothing to use your wealth on. I built a railroad trying to exhaust my iron, redstone, and gold reserves; I built a city with shops (bakery, carpenter, butcher, restaurant, market stalls, hardware store, tailor, etc) just for storing my loot; I build a friggin glass floor over a ravine. … Now what?

There is no exponentially cooler gameplay with these amassed goods, and hardly any new recipes. I don’t grow healthier if I eat more food; my traps don’t catch more monsters if I use more Redstone; my torches do not shine brighter because I have more coal and sticks; my fields do not need exponentially more fertilizer to remain fertile (actually, they need zero). Truth is, I have stopped harvesting altogether because I have more food than I need. At least armour and tools wear out and need to be replaced every few days.

In other words, in Minecraft, I am rich, but there is nothing to buy…

(*) The idea of enforcing a tool hierarchy is not mine, I got it from the MITE Mod (“Minecraft is too easy”). What I don’t like about MITE is, that mining is so time intensive that it becomes boring. Also there are so many monsters that it’s only survivable for fighter-types with good hand-eye-coordination. :-P But MITE is doing a lot of stuff right by forcing you to work your way up through all types of materials. In MITE it feels like progress just to be able to make flint-and-wood tools during the first (RL) day — while in Vanilla Minecraft, you skip the stone age during the first (RL) hour.

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