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Why I can’t quit Minecraft

02 Dec

I’m a roleplayer, I enjoy experiencing and influencing other worlds, especially fantasy. Minecraft is exactly about that, and with each update it has more and more of what I want in it.

Some of you might say “isn’t that the game about the uniform yard-long blocks?” But that’s just one of the basic aspects of the game, and there are many other not-so-basic aspects. Sure, the landscape is made of blocks, but it’s procedurally generated to be similar to reality, but much more extreme and exciting. There’s jungles, deserts, snow-capped mountains and (sometimes) floating islands.

The world is filled with animals, monsters, plants and resources. Some of the monsters are classic, some are unique but most of them can pose a challenge to even experienced players. The first day in a new worlds is a rush to construct ample defenses to weather the first night, when the beasts come out to play.

And the adventure! Oh, the adventure, with giant cave systems, ravines, long forgotten ancient ruins and even NPC villages. And if you want a real challenge, enter the Nether, or as we like to call it: Hell.

So you have to understand, building things is not the only thing you can do in this game. You can mine for ores like iron, coal and gold (better equipment is faster and more durable). You can explore over or under the land. You can make a farm with vegetables, fruit and even animals and have easy access to those resources (you have to eat to regenerate health). There is magic in the world; you can brew potions and enchant equipment for magical effects. Or you can pursue the ultimate goal of the game: go to an alternate dimension and slay a dragon!

All these things are interconnected to give a very rounded experience. You don’t have to farm, you can just kill cows and pigs that you come across, but a farm is more convenient. You can (for the most part) use stone tools, but iron armor can be a godsend. It’s an interesting parallel how this game’s meat-and-potatoes is considered the end-game of Dungeons & Dragons. But some of these objectives might be a bit overly codependent and that takes some of the fun out for me.

For example, I mentioned brewing potions. I never did it. I’ll tell you why, if you don’t know: to brew you need a Brewing Stand, for which you need a Blaze Rod. A Blaze is a powerful creature that lives in the Nether, and it drops rods when it dies. So you have to go to Hell, and have great enough equipment to conquer such a creature. A Nether Portal consists of Obsidian, (counter-intuitively) the hardest material in the game; it needs a diamond pickaxe to mine (3 diamonds) but you don’t have to mine it, you can also cast it with a bucket (3 iron). And of course you need ingredients once you have a Brewing Stand, like Melon Slices, Spider Eyes and the like. So you can’t just try this brewing thing from the comfort of your home.

Enchanting weapons, armor and tools is similar. For the Enchantment Table you need Obsidian (3 diamond for a pickaxe, no workaround this time) and 2 diamonds (and you need 3 iron to construct the pick to gather them, they’re picky about that). That means spending hours underground looking for ores without ever seeing the sun; if you’re lucky you’ll find some interesting stuff like a ravine or an abandoned mine. But to unlock the potential of the Table you need to surround it with Bookcases to enhance it’s power. 15 Bookcases is the maximum; each takes 3 books and some wood. Each book takes a piece of leather (sometimes dropped by cows) and 3 pieces of paper; you get paper from Sugar Kane. Sugar Kane grows to 3 high, but if you harvest the base it will not grow again; so you need 3 Sugar Kanes harvested to get 2 books’ worth of paper. So after all that farming and breeding you can cast level 30 magic, but what does it cost? It costs levels that you gather by mining, smelting, breeding but mostly fighting monsters.┬áSo if you want a peaceful game of exploring but you want boots of feather falling and a helmet of underwater breathing to ease your travels, I have bad news for you.

So what does your roleplaying game entail? Because this week I’ve been to Hell and zombie pigmen stabbed me to death with golden swords. Top that.

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Posted by on 2012/12/02 in Uncategorized

 

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