Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on Dec 29th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Indie, pc

In 2010, one of the fastest rising games in terms of popularity on the planet was Minecraft. Ten years later and one of the biggest games on Earth is... still Minecraft. An insane number of people have bought and played this game since its days in early alpha, and now its had well over a decade of continuous development. Minecraft continues to get some major updates long after its official 1.0 release that brought it out of its beta. So, what are some of the changes that have come over the years? And how have these updates and continuous development kept both a large number of long time players interested, and continued to bring in new players?

I have recently gotten back into Minecraft as it's gotten a new wave of popularity. I was swept up into it and after years of not playing, I am once again hooked on this game. The amount of new (for me) blocks, mechanics, events, monsters, biomes, and structures with treasures have made Minecraft's Survival game mode feel like a much more fleshed out game. There is much more to simply progressing in the game than finding some diamonds for tools, weapons, and armor. Many elements of the game have simply been expanded upon so much more than they were a good five or more years ago. A player can spend their time just hunting for treasure, looking for a few diamonds to build tools without ever setting foot underground. Long ago, players could not even sleep in beds to get through the perilous nights, as they did not exist. Now a player can arguably be punished for not sleeping for three days, as they'll be attacked by phantoms outside. However, like everything in Minecraft they also drop useful materials.

Just the last few major updates to the game have changed the old formula immensely. The most recent update of Buzzy Bees was a little small in terms of added content, only really adding bees, bee nests, beehives, bottles of honey, and honey blocks, but the developers did a good job of letting players know that it was primarily an update centered around getting some mechanical parity between the two main versions of Minecraft, Java and Bedrock. Bedrock is the version made for consoles, and PC players can play that version of it as well, and Java is the classic Minecraft release. On top of getting more balance between the two versions this update was focused on bug fixing and optimizations. I'm sure old players that have not played in years remember how hard the game lagged when you exploded a lot of TNT, and that lag was finally fixed in this update.

The previous two updates, The Aquatic Update and Village and Pillage completely revamped oceans and villages respectively. Aquatic also added underwater ruins, shipwrecks, and new oceanic biomes. Now players can build their own reef aquariums in their own world by finding a nice warm ocean filled with coral and tropical fish. Village and Pillage re-balanced the villager trading economy, added pillagers and their outposts, and raids to the game. Both of these were major changes to the game and gave players an insane amount of exploration options with plenty of opportunities to find treasures. The next major update is The Nether Update, which is finally going to revamp the nether by adding a few new biomes to the realm as well as some new blocks and mobs. Over the years all these updates have helped the overall worlds designed in Minecraft to feel more populated and a little more realistic. It is still strange to see things like a frozen ocean sandwiched in between two hot, sandy deserts, but some strange oddities like that could get ironed out in the future.

Honey is already an interesting, and sticky mechanic.

Graphically, the game is the same as it ever was, but the fan's development of resource packs is much more advanced than the early ones were. Coupled with shaders and the game can be made to look quite good, albeit at the expense of performance. On top of these graphical mods there is an insane amount of content mods. Minecraft can be whatever type of game the player wants it to be. Minecraft's greatest strength has always been its customization, being able to completely rebuild the world into a desired style. The Java edition's ability to play old releases can even be used to play around with the game as it was when last played, and then upgraded to the newest version to see all the changes that have taken place. Some previously rare structures like villages have become much more common, given how important villager trading has become to get certain rare items.

One of the game's biggest rabbit holes is the redstone system. Its Minecraft's version of electricity, and the different bits and pieces related to redstone can be used to make all kinds of pieces of machinery. Over the years more additions related to redstone have been added to the game as functional stand ins for pieces of circuitry. All of these can be played with and put together in a way to build some fairly fascinating doodads that were either not possible or not discovered years ago. Item sorters, clocks, automatic doors, light systems, signal communications, all kinds of basic functionalities can be played with to build a larger circuit that can help players get more things done in less time. Even having a few simple automated structures can help the player feel like they are truly conquering their world, and its nice to come back to base after a long mining session to find a bunch of resources that are just ready to grab. Eventually, the player can keep themselves focused on more bigger picture activities while their machines collect and process their resources. Its a satisfying system to play around with and provides a great feeling of satisfaction once the overall machine works properly.

Minecraft is in a good place going into 2020, and its future still looks bright. Its a great time to jump back into the game to see everything that's changed, and with all the extra blocks it is now much easier to build a dream structure. Pixel art is even easier now than it was so long ago, as the terracotta blocks that spawn in the badlands biome are a much better alternative than dyed wool, which used to be the only option to make your 8-bit Marios, Links, and Pokemon. Not only that, but the survival mode is much more satisfying than it used to be with all the extra challenges, events, and bosses. There are so many hostile structures to raid and explore that they provide a great test of game knowledge, and each one still has multiple avenues of conquest. All of these extra options extend into the game's creative mode too, and this mode still provides the best way to test out features, builds, and redstone machinery. If you purchased it for a much cheaper price way back in the day, don't be afraid to jump back in and get lost in your randomly generated world all over again.

The grand entrance to my base.

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Bee keeping, huh? Looks like they're still taking ideas from long-standing mods, which means you could experience the future of Minecraft by playing the latest Feed the Beast modpack. I'd highly recommend them to those that eventually get bored with vanilla Minecraft.

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