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Vanilla Minecraft, Mod Or Not?

Updated on July 27, 2011
Ah, cobblestone and wood planks, the hallmarks of any vanilla construction.
Ah, cobblestone and wood planks, the hallmarks of any vanilla construction.

Vanilla Minecraft is a term used for playing Minecaft without any mods, and usually, without any texture packs either. Some people still consider texture packs 'vanilla' if they come in the default 16x resolution and don't need a patcher to make them work. I review and play a great many Minecraft mods, and although I enjoy most of them (certainly the ones I bother to post about,) there is something about playing the original and unadulterated game and I frequently find myself uninstalling mods in favor of the basic Minecraft experience. So should you stick to vanilla Minecraft or is there nothing wrong with a mod or two?

Pros:

There's a certain something about playing a game the way the creator intended it to be played. Some Minecraft players feel that modding Minecraft is somewhat akin to taking their favorite novel and scribbling new passages in it.

Vanilla Minecraft is actually fairly well balanced. Some mods can tend to unbalance a game to the point where it feels fairly pointless almost immediately.

Some players feel a distinct sense of achievement in having built something especially impressive in vanilla. Anyone can build a hundred kilometer long sky bridge using MCEdit and INVedit, but not everybody has the tenacity to mine all that cobblestone.

Cons:

Vanilla Minecraft can be 'beaten' in an hour or so, if that. Once you have a rudimentary shelter and some wood and coal, you're pretty much golden. A great many people who play vanilla Minecraft don't do so for very long. They tend to drift away from the game when it becomes tiresomely boring and return for new updates.

There's a great deal of creative capacity in Minecraft, but many players' desire to make massive megastructures and other impressive builds is strongly tempered by the fact that mining is only fun for about five minutes and in order to gather resources for large structures, you could be looking at five hundred hours of mining. Mods enable the player to take short cuts through 'boring' parts of the game. Let's face it, once you've mined one cobblestone, you've mined them all.

Mods can provide additional reasons to explore your world. Most Minecraft resources can be found within a 64 block radius of your initial spawn point, which makes travel and exploration somewhat pointless, but some mods, like the upcoming Artifacts mod, take steps to change that.

Conclusion

At the time of writing, the game is still pre-release, the 1.8 Adventure Update, an update designed to fix many of the issues that sit in the 'cons' section has yet to come out. Though it is fairly obvious that mods will always be part of the Minecraft experience, and that the modding community has certainly expanded the game and made it popular far beyond its humble origins, the vanilla experience is sure to become increasingly fulfilling as time goes on.

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