Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Minecraft

I think I might be addicted to Minecraft.
I watch it on YouTube every day and watching YouTube has almost completely replaced regular TV for me (in conjunction with Netflix).
I often play it on the weekend, spending entire days doing the most inane things and enjoying it thoroughly.
I play modded, there’s no going back to Vanilla once you’ve tried mods. I play a lot of the packs that are available through the FTB launcher. Straight up mod packs or questing worlds, it doesn’t matter, anything to keep my attention focused on those blocks.
Allow me to tell you how this all began:
In 2010 Minecraft was in Alpha and it cost €10. In those days some work friends and I used to do a regular game night on a Wednesday. I think we decided to buy Minecraft as a game we could play together. €10 didn’t seem like too much money as Minecraft showed a lot of promise in the early days and for a €10 purchase you would get all of the updates for free.
In this year and the year that followed servers were set up and torn down at a moments notice. More and more friends were buying the game and joining the servers. Giant towers were erected, slime farms were built and there was the famous fire which wiped out an entire forest.
*Pro tip: don’t try to light a pig on fire to get cooked pork chops when you’re in a forest.* There was lots of mining to be had and we certainly had it all!
After a while we got bored of Minecraft and stopped playing as regularly as we did before. We had mined all we could and while some of my friends moved on to creative mode it just wasn’t for me. I played less and less until I just couldn’t play it any more. I was done with Minecraft.

Direwolf20 Mod Pack
Moving forward to 2012 when I had been going through a bit of a hard time. I had recently found solace on /r/Gaymers and seeing game chat and stories from other people like myself really helped.
One day I noticed a thread where someone was asking if people wanted to join a Minecraft server and play with some people. I thought it would be fun after having had a huge break from the game so I enquired within.
As it turned out they were playing on a modded server and I had to download something called FTB (Feed The Beast). I can’t remember which pack we were playing on but I remember the mods blowing my mind. Power armour, a computer where you could store all of your items in one place and access it wirelessly. I was overwhelmed.
The guys I played with were really nice and helped me to learn some of the new things in the pack. I was still completely lost for where to start.
Shortly after we started playing the other players decided to reset the world so that I could contribute a little more.
It was at this point that they gave me the best Minecraft advice I ever received: “If you want to learn more about the mods you can watch Direwolf20 on YouTube.”
I did. A lot.

Direwolf20 Mod Pack
This was the opening to the Minecraft rabbit hole and I fell in head first.
I was only able to play on that server for a short while. Personal events kept getting in the way of me being a regular player so I mostly gave up out of guilt.
I have fond memories of playing on the server and of the guys I played with. It was a really nice, positive experience and it fueled my renewed love of Minecraft.

Agrarian Skies
I’ve had countless worlds in many different mod packs throughout different versions of the game but the most innovative thing I’ve seen so far is the Hardcore Questing Mode Mod.
It’s deceptively simple and yet it is one of the most powerful tools for mod pack creators. It allows you to take on quests through a quest book. The quests aren’t fixed, the modpack creator has to create them for the player to experience.
This allows modpacks such as Agrarian Skies, Crash Landing, Material Energy 4, and many others to exist. They give guidance and direction to the player on how to build and survive as well as provide instructions and tips on how to use the mods.
All of these questing mod packs include a custom world to play in and a ton of mods.

Hardcore Questing Mode
Agrarian Skies is what is known as a sky block. You are on an island in the sky and you have to survive. There are a number of mods that help you to do this but some of the recipes you know have changed, so things are more difficult to make. To make the game more difficult hardcore questing mode is enabled. This means that you have a number of lives available to you and when you die you lose a life. Once you’ve run out of lives you are either banned from the server or your singleplayer world deletes itself.
You can gain lives through quests so it’s not all doom and gloom.

Agrarian Skies
Crash Landing is very similar except the theme is that you have crash landed on a planet and have limited resources. Food and water are both scarce and you need both to survive.
Not only do you need to eat food in this pack but you also need to drink fresh water to stay alive! This is a very difficult map and is certainly not for beginners. To ramp up the difficulty even more the pack features more difficult monsters that spawn at night and you only ever have one life. There is a way to die and keep playing but it requires quite a lot of power which isn’t readily available in the early stages of the game.

Crash Landing
Material Energy 4 is slightly easier as you have unlimited lives. Although the caveat of this is that it’s hard enough without requiring you to have hardcore mode enabled.
The mobs in the pack are incredibly hard hitting and since playing it I’ve died more times than I can count.
It is incredibly fun and it uses the Applied Energistics dimensional storage which isn’t often used by players.
There are many other packs available in this format but these are the ones I’ve played the most. For so many hours.
The only time I ever stay up until 3am on my own anymore is when I’m playing Minecraft. I do it by accident - I lose track of the time so easily and there is always the situation of “Just. One. More. Block.”
This is why I only play on the weekends. During the week I limit myself to watching people play Minecraft on YouTube. Usually.

Material Energy 4
My favourite YouTube channel by far is Direwolf20 who does Let’s Plays of modded Minecraft and even has his own mod pack on the FTB launcher.
He focuses on technical builds and automation, which I find fascinating, along with featuring new mods and giving little how to’s on how to use them.
I do also like other channels like the many people who make up the Yogscast. Being a large media company with an army of YouTube channels there is room for collaborations.
I’ve really been enjoying the Cornerstone series which takes about 4 groups of people who are meant to collaborate and build a world together. Although recently it’s all been going wrong with all of the groups making secret bases and creating secret alliances.
I find that Direwolf20 is more factual and learning based whereas the Yogscast are more about providing entertainment.

Material Energy 4
I know that I enjoy the game too much and it frustrates me that I don’t have anyone to play with or to talk to about it.
I can’t bring myself to give it up though. It’s too innovative to give up on.
There are more and more mods created all the time that do such different things or do the same things in a completely different way.
It’s a game that is always there, is easily accessible, and always satisfies my lust for progression.
There is always something new to learn and do within the world - and that is what I love.
I think I might be addicted to Minecraft.

2 comments:

  1. You need to set up a Geek Mash server, I'd join you for a game or two :D

    ReplyDelete

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