The Direction of Minecraft

Recently Mojang, the company behind the ever so popular open world Voxel based game Minecraft, has been cranking out game updates like there's no tomorrow. Less than a month after the last update, version 1.7, was released, version 1.8 was not only rumored but also confirmed and had a developer made change log. Although it may seem like additions and patching to a game is always good, a lot of the changes seem to be completely unnecessary and end up being more of an annoyance to players than a nice expansion.

Too Many Updates

It seems like every few months, there's a new update that dramatically changes the game. However, the updates lose their worth when there are so many. Back in the beginning of the game, every 6 months or so a new feature packed update would come out that would add amazing new features, like a new adventure mode for special maps and game types, or new options for map generation, or even a new world type. The updates not only had a theme, but also a specific purpose and reason for the update. In the most recent updates, it seems as if the developers are just trying to come up with “filler” features to update the game with that don’t really propel the game along. There were many rumors in the past of a development API and a complete rewrite of the game, and these would be updates that would truly be game-changing (no pun intended.) However, most of the recent updates have contained small changes, such as new types of flowers, instead of amazing feature packed new changes. By releasing updates this quickly, a lot of bugs are created. Without sufficient testing time between each update, there are many glitches in each update that are potentially game-breaking. If the developers at Mojang were to take their time on Minecraft’s updates, maybe some of these bugs would be sorted out and it would lead to a better gameplay experience. However, most of these bugs are sorted out by the next update, even though by then they have already been used and exploited for a bit.

Useless Blocks

In the older updates, all of the new blocks were game-changing and were useful in all different ways. For example, the addition of hoppers allowed automation of transferring items which led to amazing machines, such as automatic smelters, automatic sorters, and automatic shops. This is an example of an update that really propelled the game forward, and was far from a useless filler block. In Minecraft 1.8, the most recent update being developed at this time, the developers are adding new types of stone to the game. The new stone types are nothing but re-textured copies of the old stone types, and does not fit in with the color scheme of many other blocks in the game. The stone can not be used to craft new, amazing items, and is practically useless. This is an example of a useless filler block because it does nothing that wasn’t available before the update, it’s nothing but copy and pasted blocks with new textures. Even though some blocks in the updates can be useful, such as the addition of stained, colored clay, many blocks and updates have no use and are just seen as unnecessary updates to the game that cause new chunks to be loaded, making server owners erase their old maps, which will be discussed next.

World Resetting

In Minecraft, the world files are built off of randomly generated “chunks” of land, and are assigned “biomes,” which are types of land in the game. For example, a forest biome will have trees, a mountain biome will have snow capped mountains and many hills, et cetera. When new biomes are developed, the map doesn’t automatically change the biomes of the map to include these new types of land, and therefore the maps must be reset and wiped for the server to include the new types of land in generation. Because players want to play around with the newest biomes, server owners are forced to wipe their maps in order to keep up with the development cycle. Because Minecraft updates every two to four months, this means players have a short amount of time to build things before they get wiped. The only way players can avoid this is playing single-player, which is a viable option, but multiplayer is usually the preferred option because of the social aspect and modding capability. This wouldn’t be an issue if there were great updates to the generation, like in the Minecraft 1.7 update when Mesa, Red Sand, and Roofed Forest biomes were added, but many updates include 1 or 2 small changes in generation that cause the map to need a reset. For example, in Minecraft 1.8, the new types of stone discussed earlier are the only new natural generation. Therefore, the map will need a reset just because a few meaningless blocks are added to the game. This is absurd because so many players will lose their progress on servers just because of a few new blocks that don’t add anything to the game.

Loss of Player Choice and Automation

Mojang has also took it upon themselves to attempt to remove some automation from the game. In the most recent update, gold and iron farms can no longer be automatic because of a change that makes Iron Golems (the creature that drops iron) and Zombie Pigmen (the creature that drops gold pieces) only drop items when killed by a player instead of an automated machine. Mojang did this in order to “nerf” or balance the output of these large farms, but in reality these types of farms are very resource heavy and are only built in the “end game” stage, where the player has tons of resources already. This leads to loss of player choice of how they want to play, since players who don’t like automation can just not build these farms and find no difference in their game, while players who like automation and have gathered all the resources necessary to build these farms can reap the benefits of their hard work.

Games | Sandbox Adventure | Minecraft

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