Minecraft Manifesto: Death By Dragon

A minecraft enderdragon.
A minecraft enderdragon.

This is part two of a three part series. Please read part one first.

Even through my rose tinted blocky Minecraft sunglasses I do wonder what on earth has been happening in the last few Minecraft updates in which potions, enchantments and a dragon boss fight have suddenly been thrown into the mix. It's as if Minecraft were a beautiful little baby I've been watching grow up for the past year or so that has suddenly grown an extra head.

Don't get me wrong, potions and dragons and all that sort of thing are great, but if I want a dragon boss fight, I’ll play Skyrim. If I want potions and enchantments, I could play any one of the myriad of RPG style games out there, but I'll probably still go with Skyrim.

A great many players won't appreciate this article at all. They like the new potions and enchantments and they like the dragon boss fight. But I don't think that the game will stick with anyone the way it could have done if only Mojang had continued down the road that made Minecraft successful in the first place – in adding new ways to create the world. As it stands, the creation and crafting parts of the game haven't changed a whole lot since Beta. Whilst the Mojangles have been beavering away creating brewing stands and cauldrons, we are still limited to coal, iron, gold, diamond, redstone and lapus lazuli. Iron bars and glass panes were the last interesting additions to the game in terms of materials to create with, and they were pretty underwhelming.

But before I settle in to 'whine', here's some of the bright spots. Credit where credit is due and all that sort of thing.

  • Pistons are perhaps the most advanced gadget in the game, but getting them to work with redstone is something of a nightmare for many players and since their introduction and the early flurry of people making retractable bridges and hidden doors, I haven't seen anything new. That's because they are limited in their uses and they exist as pretty much the only mechanical device in the world aside from dispensers and there's no real interaction between these two devices. Minecraft has a massive potential for creating complex mechanical systems, and at this stage, its totally untapped.
  • The redstone system is admirable and in my opinion, one direction in which Minecraft could have gone further to differentiate itself from the never ending dreck of RPG style games that clog the market like hair in the shower drain. But because it's never really been fine tuned, most players have little to no idea how to use it and quickly lose interest after minimal experimentation.
  • The biome system was a great addition to the game, giving players an actual reason to go from one place to another. The same goes for the new world generating engine, which creates the wonderful ravines and rivers and continents and oceans.
  • Persistent animals that don't despawn and the ability to breed animals are also great additions to the game. They allow for the sort of factory farming my black heart desires.
  • New game modes, splitting Survival and Creative mode, and adding the extra 'sudden death' Hardcore mode that forces you to delete your game world when you die were great ideas.

This series ends on a whimsical, yet nasally whiny note in part three, What Could Have Been.

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