After the rant below, JPH had a suggestion, forcing me to eat some humble pie. Minecraft is still addictive, and now contains a new mode to tempt those for whom building is what it’s all about. Hopefully soon I’ll have played around with it enough to discuss the new features.
For posterity, the original rant is still below:
Minecrack Beta 1.8 is out, and I had a bit of a play with it last night.
For the most part, I’ve been playing Minecraft in “Peaceful” mode, spending my time mining and building. I’ve had a great deal of fun with that, so was interested to see the changes Notch had been talking about in that area. Minecraft now has two modes, ‘Survival’ and ‘Creative’, so of course, I started a new Creative world to play.
There are two obvious changes in Creative mode: The first is that all block types and items are available at the start (and in your inventory). The second is that you can now fly to get around more easily. Truthfully, I’m not happy with either.
I can avoid the second fairly easily, by simply not trying to fly (though I do do it accidentally at times), but the first is impossible to avoid.
So why do I have issues with these changes? Mostly it’s about how I play the game, and how I get enjoyment from it. So this is going to be a very personal rant, and I’m not expecting most people to agree. I should also note that I haven’t looked very hard so far to see how to switch these things ‘off’ (if you can), so this whole rant may be invalidated by the end of the day.
The joy of building that I’ve had so far is twofold: Firstly, I’ve enjoyed the creative side of seeing what I can build with such ‘low resolution’ blocks. It’s a bit like digital LEGO, really.
The second is the fact that I have to work to get the building blocks I need. Wood, dirt, sandstone and cobblestone are all quite common. But if you want to add glass, doors, minecarts or whatever else, you have to work for it. You need to explore, to mine, to (in many cases) refine your product before you can use it. To me, that adds even more satisfaction when I add (for example) a glass sky-bridge. There’s a lot of work in there, and it feels worth it.
Of course, part of that exploring is that you have to make your way over the landscape. Over hills, into caverns and never quite knowing what’s next because you can’t see past the next hill. And you need to make sure you can get back to your home – especially if it’s nowhere near your original spawn point. So I guess a third enjoyment is that of exploration and having to solve the ‘puzzle’ of being able to find your way home.
So by being able to fly, the last element is lost. Also, by being able to fly you no longer have to work out how to build scaffolding in order to achieve some of the gravity defying structures. By having every block type available at the start, there’s no point in mining. In fact, blocks are now destroyed by one blow, apparently with whatever you’re holding. So the whole path of starting with a wood pick, using that to gather enough to make a stone pick, then an iron pick and so on, is again lost. The only thing left is the building, and while that’s still enjoyable, I’m missing the huge chunk of enjoyment that came from making something that required effort!
I’m hoping I find a way to put this back to the way it was, because suddenly my urge to play Minecraft has disappeared.