Is Minecraft Really That Great? [Opinion]
Minecraft is quite possibly the most viral and addictive indie game that we’ve ever come to see. Who knew that a concept as elementary as playing with toy blocks could become such a sensation? I play it, you or your friends probably play it, and more than 20 million people worldwide have legally purchased an account. Are we overrating this game though? Is Minecraft getting a little too much credit?
In this article, I’ll be questioning you, me, Mojang, and the Minecraft community in general. Minecraft hasn’t lost any momentum since its “official” (I’ll get into that later) release, and probably won’t any time soon. Now, let’s see if that is deserving.
The Game Itself
Vanilla Minecraft is incredibly simple. You brainlessly mine, craft, and build for whatever reason you find an excuse for. The actual objective and “end” of the game is when you reach The End and slay the Ender Dragon (which is ridiculously easy, you can do it in no time). As a reward for your efforts, you get a long and exhausting storyline ending.
In short, there is no reasonable purpose of end-game victory in Minecraft if you are intending to play it as a single-player game or if your intent is to play on a vanilla server. You kind of have to create a purpose on your own. That’s a little disheartening to true “hardcore” gamers. To put it bluntly, I would never have started playing the game if it were not for plugins like Factions and mcMMO. Plugins like these really take the game (in Survival, at least) and shape it into something with more of a purpose.
Minecraft has been long suspected as a complete ripoff of Infiniminer. Eventually, Notch even came out in his own blog to confess that the idea was mostly taken from this game. Now, while we’ve got to admit that the idea of stacking blocks and creating buildings isn’t such a unique one, why Minecraft? Why has this game taken off so nicely?
Simulation games (like The Sims) are always quite popular, but why was Sim City never a big hit? I suppose it’s no use griping when games like FortessCraft turn around and pull the same stunt, even more blatantly.
Minecraft, at the core, is not very unique or special. It is the user contributions, in the form of unique server ideas, server and client mods and plugins, and more, that make it such a dynamic experience. Minecraft did a great job of making the game very open and free to customization.
1.0 was the official release of Minecraft. When you officially release a product, it should be finished. The end user should be receiving something that is not broken, is complete, and is playable and enjoyable in a way that won’t need countless patches later on. Well, not Minecraft.
Let’s divulge a few of the broken promises of their out-of-beta release:
- Guys, maybe we can get some attack animations when mobs hit us?
- No mob pathfinding? Are those mobs really stuck behind a single block?
- Fully-functional NPC AI was promised. It wasn’t delivered. Villagers just wander around and serve no purpose.
- Wool does not grow on sheep. Sure, this was fixed in 1.1, but that wasn’t the release. 1.0 was.
- CTF mode was announced on Notch’s blog months before the release. Where is it?
- Dual-wielding would be nice.
- There is still no way to obtain sponges.
These are just a few. Notch, Jeb, and the team as a whole have broken a ton of promises. You think a few million dollars would be enough to motivate these guys. How hard can it really be to code a way to naturally obtain a sponge? Come on.
What Are You Getting Excited For?
Fanboyism is always going to make your game or community a target of very harsh criticism. There’s nothing you can do about it, but hey, any attention is good attention. It’s paid off for Notch in the end. However, some people just plain and simply overdo it.
Jeb’s tweets are endlessly upvoted to the top of Reddit and chattered about for days. Even when it is something as simple as being able to place an upside-down block. Guys. Come on. There is more out there in the world of than getting hyped up over being able to place a block in another direction, or being able to stack one block with another.
Why are developers like Jeb focusing on small and ridiculous aspects of the gameplay like this, rather than really advancing it, or fixing the countless bugs that exist? Well, because everyone buys into it and makes a scene over the smallest, 5-minute tweaks.
With people running around in Minecraft Creeper t-shirts and conventions like MineCon, it probably won’t be getting any better. The Minecraft team has deprived and conditioned you guys so much that you get your feathers ruffled over an update that will allow you to place one block atop another. How much work really went into that? Calm yourselves!
All About The Dollar
Minecraft has a solid business model. I’d estimate that just about everyone playing the game has purchased it with the intent of going online and playing with others. There are no official servers though, and Minecraft makes it incredibly hard for server owners (like myself) to keep up with their “advancements.” They don’t care though, they are the ones getting paid, right?
For some reason, there is no legacy server/client support in Minecraft. That means, come every new version, not only do you have to rely on an amazing team like Bukkit to capitalize on Minecraft’s server administration failures, but then every single plugin needs updated as well. There is no support. Online server administrators are the game’s lifeblood, but they make it as difficult as possible to stay current.
Minecraft, please invest some time and money into making your game a better player and server owner experience?
That ought to conclude my rant. The sad part is, I’ll probably go back to playing Minecraft sometime today. It’s a great game, but we deserve more.
Have a look at some of our other Minecraft articles, too:
- 6 Reasons To Go Back To Playing Minecraft
- Use ModLoader To Make Installing New Minecraft Mods Very Easy
- How To Find & Play On A Minecraft Multiplayer Server
Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments section.
Image credits: gamesStrike.com, PC Gamer
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