Minecraft Mod Examination: Lycanite's Mobs
Minecraft's original set of creatures may be fun and interesting, but they suffer from an extreme lack of variety. Most of these opponents are either extremely rare, or only appear in very specific areas, meaning that almost all of the player's battles will be against the same five monsters. Peaceful and tamable beings suffer from a similar lack of variety, with only sixteen in the entire game, and many of these spawn in almost all biomes. Moreover, most of the peaceful creatures that can be bred act almost identically, with few surprises for their owners beyond occasionally falling in holes. While there are plenty of mods that add more creatures to the game, and a few even solve all of the above issues, no other mod handles all of these problems while supplying as many options and beasts as Lycanite's Mobs.
Lycanite's Mobs adds almost seventy new entities to Minecraft's world. None of these are based on natural creatures, and only a few are taken from standard fantasy. Instead, the new monsters come from a large variety of sources, such as popular media, ancient mythology, or straight from the developer's mind, and their powers and placement are inspired by their source material. Players travelling through the mountains might be crushed by a boulder-throwing troll, disintegrated by the magical powers of a beholder, or caught and torn apart by the hooked claws of a jabberwocky. Those living in a desert will have to fight off flights of manticores, survive against swarms of crab-like gorgomites, and watch the sand under their feet for any signs of a burrowing crusk. With the sole exception of the End, every place in Minecraft has at least five new creatures, and the unique dangers that each monster adds do more than almost any other mod to make each biome feel unique.
Not all of these creatures are dangerous; in fact, each area has at least one that the player can tame and breed. These new animals share the somewhat magical theme of the rest of Lycantite's Mobs, and that power shows in their appearance, their abilities, and even their meat. Players can find giant dimetrodon-like beasts wandering through the plains, turtle-shelled slugs swimming in the oceans, and even a special breed of fish which can only survive in pools of magma. These animals provide renewable sources of certain materials such as leather, spider eyes, and even lapis lazuli, and any of their meats can be cooked and turned into special meals that enhance the player's capabilities for a short while. But as useful as the new animals are, one still needs to be careful as many of these mostly peaceful creatures have some kind of dangerous or troublesome aspect to them. Some release trails of poison behind them, others can attack when struck, and quite a few have to be tamed with some kind of treat before they can be controlled by the player.
Those treats are especially important because all of the creatures tamable through them are those that can be turned into either mounts or guardians. These can be equipped with pet armors and chests, and all of them provide some kind of unique advantage for their owners. For instance, the tall and lanky shade can jump extremely high, as well as emit a loud roar that scatters all nearby monsters for a few seconds. There are also mounts that can glide when in the air, attack the player's target, protect their owners from poison or wither, and even swallow enemies whole. Meanwhile the guardians can be made to defend an area or instructed to follow the player around, attacking anything that threatens their charge with severe debuffs or powerful magical attacks.
But there is also a more direct way for players to access a monster's ranged attacks: many of the new creatures drop charges that can be used to create certain types of magical items. On their own these charges are all one-use items that can be thrown to duplicate the monster's ability, but those who possess blaze rods can combine several of them into powerful scepters that can use an attack multiple times. Some items can also be combined with diamond swords to create magical weaponry that poisons or ignites enemies and has a chance of summoning an allied monster with every strike.
Those swords are not the only that one can summon creatures, players can also use the new monster menu to conjure forth both allies and mounts. At first the menu will have very little to it beyond a few help messages explaining that the player should create a pair of items known as soulgazers and soulstones. If one constructs a soulgazer and uses it on a creature, the bestiary subsection of the monster menu will begin showing a tiny amount of information on that beast, generally enough for the player to understand what abilities they possess and if they can be tamed or bred. In addition, if one has examined the right beasts with a soulgazer they can construct one of the five different staves of summoning and conjure forth a temporary ally. The soulgazer is also required to construct soulstones, powerful items which can bind a single tamed beast's soul to the player. Once a creature is bound in such a way, the player can use the monster menu to summon it from anywhere in any world, resurrect it if it has been slain, and bring along all equipment and items carried by that beast.
And players will need as much help as they can get to survive against Lycanite's Mobs' more dangerous encounters. All creatures, whether peaceful or aggressive, have the potential to generate as stronger, different colored subspecies. Most of the time these are simply recolored beasts with much more health than normal, but players will have to be careful as some very special subspecies have unique skills such as the ability to tear through blocks or dash forward at high speed. Even more powerful versions of the four strongest of these subspecies can be summoned by constructing special obsidian altars in the shape of the creature, placing a diamond block at the core, and activating that block with a soul key made of nether stars and diamonds. And players may want to summon or encounter such beasts, as even though they can be extremely dangerous, all of the subspecies drop many more items than the normal variety, and one even drops a unique item that is required to call forth Rahovart, a completely unique boss who is the mod's ultimate challenge.
But sometimes Lycanite's monsters are not threatening due to their power, but because of sheer numbers. Everyone once in a while, a special event can occur in which the player is swarmed by certain monsters for a short period of time. These events are usually based around an obvious theme, such as flights of birds or swarms of elementals, and can change the weather and time of day to fit that theme. All events are precluded by a rather noticeable warning message, so those who do not wish to deal with them can opt out by finding a place to hide through the encounter, and players can also disable any events they wish in the configuration files.
Those files might actually be the single greatest aspect of Lycanite's Mobs. The mod's configuration settings are split across about forty different files, with some offering over a hundred different options for the player to adjust. One can easily change how often certain creatures spawn, where they can generate, how strong they are, any abilities they have, and what items they drop. There are also settings to change the more general aspects of the mod, including whether the stronger subspecies should have a boss bar, which mob events should occur, and if any of the above should happen at all. All of the options are well labeled and documented, and most people should be able to tweak the mod in any way that they wish without fear of breaking their game.
However, that does not mean the mod is perfect. While the monsters are mostly well-animated, sometimes flying enemies will float sideways or backwards and launch attacks from unexpected parts of their bodies. The mob events are a great idea, and they function very well, but the warnings and titles for them cannot be disabled without preventing the invasions entirely, and are so gaudy that they will instantly break any sense of immersion. Additionally, the base chances for some creature to spawn is quite high, particularly monsters who dwell in lava or water, and trips to the ocean or the Nether will be downright chaotic for those who do not alter the configuration files.
But these are tiny flaws that are only important because the rest of Lycanite's Mobs is so very impressive. It has one of the most extensive monster lists out of any Minecraft mod, and each one is memorable thanks to both the difficulty they can present as enemies, and the benefits they might offer as pets. The mod's items are equally well-thought out, and give the player an excellent advantage against such powerful foes. The events and subspecies give players plenty of nasty surprises, while the summoned bosses provide a serious challenge for those seeking to test their capabilities. And the extensive configuration options mean that if anything does not appeal to the player, it can be easily adjusted or removed from their game. So whether one is looking for a new set of challenges, wishes to summon demons, or just wants to create the world's weirdest zoo, they should be more than satisfied with Lycanite's Mobs.