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Is Minecraft Too Complicated?

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avatar Jetra
Level 28 : Expert Archer
899
After months of struggle, years of anticipation, a lifetime of waiting for the perfect opportunity....unfortunately I'm still waiting for that. In the meantime, I have a topic that might be of some interest to others as it breaks down what makes a game "fun" and "interesting" against many other titles of similar nature. Along the way, I hope this gives insight as to what you prefer in your experience, worlds with lots to explore or a test to prove you're above the scramble down below.

Before we begin, there will be topics that are decisively split and I kindly ask that you respect the opinions I present here. I'm no more right than the person who believes that Minecraft is the Dark Souls of crafting games (which is debateable), these are just to better present the points that I want to make. You're more than welcome to disagree and share your thoughts.


I am the Alpha and the Beta

To start, I'm going to assume that most people reading this are late-comers to the party having never experienced the game in its glory days of long ago. You can still play them yet being there and experiencing it are two very different adventures. Anyway, it was a simple time of diggy holes and creeper explosions. A time where the greatest fear of being out in the open at night. Friends helped each other, communities formed, friendships blossomed.

Back then you did not have all the fancy items that you do now; beds, potions, enchantments, villages, or even ravines. You had pretty much two options when it came to gathering resources - find a cave or stair-casing and strip mining. Many chose the former while the latter was reserved to the more efficiency minded.

You had only a handful of materials to work with. Leather into Iron into Diamond, often saving your gold either for a clock or decorating the walls of your mansion that took you the better part of a month to build made of stone and logs, sometimes stone slabs if you were creative enough. With no hunger and regenerating health, pure skill of mechanics were the things that kept you alive as you plunged deeper into the earth.


Beds and Hunger: Simple Solutions?

Around the time of Mid-to-Late Beta came what I consider as the start of the Decline of the game in general especially to players such as myself that enjoyed exploring the world. Three wool and three wooden planks gave you a tool that let you skip the night and all the terrors it came with. No longer did you have to wait it out in a hole underground or a cave you ducked in. Creepers, Skeletons, and Spiders suddenly became almost irrelevant to the point that you might as well set it to Peaceful Difficulty.

Enter Hunger, a resource that constantly needs attention. Adding "realism" to the game and a reason for farming, many welcomed the change while others questioned its necessity. Over time people began to realize how cumbersome it is when creating maps often requiring stuffing chests with enough food for participants. On the flip side of this, you had to manage your traversing by taking care to bring enough supplies to tide you over lest you get stuck deep in the mines about to starve.

Setting the game to a harder difficulty made it a greater challenge yet let's be real: who plays anything higher than Normal? Although I have been playing it on Hard and know many who set it to Hardcore, we will get back to this later. For now, know that here begins the journey of turning a simple game of blocks into almost a management simulation experience.


Potions, Enchanting, the End of Adventure!

Coming into 1.0 came what split the community from one into two and two into four. Some liked the overhaul this Update made while others lost even more interest for many reasons. New items were added that offered players many new ways to play while also watering down the overall difficulty of the game once more. Diamond swords no longer were the OP weapon of old, killing everything in two or three swings. Now you required Sharpness, Strength, and possibly a God Apple to survive the depths of the unknown.

What many fail to realize was that this is the first Unofficial Combat Update that did not market itself as such. Player vs Environment and Player vs Player was no longer the same. Duels of Skill became Duels of Attrition which turned over and done fights into slog fests of whose armor would break first.

In addition to these changes came the most underwhelming Dimension that still lacks any weight to this day despite End Cities and Elytras. A boss fight against a regenerating Dragon, slendy bois that teleport around, there's no denying that it did add some depth to the lacking game of move forward, smack, back up, repeat until thing is dead. However, we begin to see that the previous changes alongside this is starting to put pressure on the world if not just the player.

There was also a change to terrain here, but that's for later. Trust me, I'm going somewhere with this, just bear with me for a bit.


1.6, 1.8 and the Despised 1.9

Now we are getting to the point where older content is starting to lose its need and use to newer stuff that does a better job. Starting off with 1.6, we are finally introduced the Horses - a tameable mob that acted like a Minecart with a Chest. There were other changes that came with this and again are only going to focus on a couple points, namely how one mob gave reason for some while trashing about half a dozen more.

Horses are a noble breed, these ones are no exception. Finding them in plains, befriending them with an apple, finally those saddles gain more usefulness than being a fun time on a pig. To add to that was the necessity of apples, tree farms, and even spiders to craft leads. Not the most consistent of traveling, it was above running everywhere wasting precious hunger.

Unfortunately, this plus side came with many down sides. Iron, often used for minecarts, minecart tracks, powered minecarts, and even powered rails became much less valued. There was no need to create elaborate railways to move about, these steeds provided much better transportation albeit if slightly random. The only use for the silvery metal was for armor if even that. Compasses became unnecessary with the addition of beds as they set your spawn point.

Then we have 1.8, the Bountiful Update. Sweeping additions across the world and oceans brought new life into what was a pretty empty landscape of trees and grass. New stones, new blocks, new structures, and a new mini-boss, what more could you ever want from an update? However, this hype was not long to last as this would bear a much heavier burden since it began to push even more older content out of relevancy.

Stone, often used for Tier 2 tools, became crowded with andesite, diorite, and granite which provided no real useful crafting. To add to this were changes to other recipes such as Mossy Cobblestone, only found in Dungeons prior, made an already almost forgotten structure into nothingness save for need of a spawner if you were desperate for EXP. To add on to this were previous changes that made rare items less rare by being traded with villagers, found in the new mineshafts and ravines, and overall changing the dynamics of Mining.

Lastly, let's talk about the most hated Update to ever graced our Christian servers: The Combat Update. The addition of a second hand and shields, Minecraft would never be the same come this change. However, most would come to remember how PvP was completely ruined by one major flaw in the perfect system...a cooldown to swinging my sword, can I swing my sword sword?

...okay I'll stop.

Anyway, at the time I was among the many, many, many outraged people who thought that this was the worst to have ever happened. Now that I'm slightly older and slightly less mature, I honestly thing that this wasn't that bad of a change. From a gaming perspective, this is nice as it spiced up fighting monsters that were nothing more than a nuisance in the dark. While I do understand that not everyone likes this, you have to agree that it adds a bit of complexity for the average SSP that journeys alone.


Futurecreep of "Changes"

As we move closer into 1.14, I think back to the last few Updates and how much they've put on the table. This is both good and bad depending on whether your a hardcore player that plays vanilla survival or the creative god designing structures that tower over everything. Concrete, new textures, overhaul to the Oceans, and the upcoming Crafting changes with the grindstone and all the other blocks on top of new villagers.

If you hadn't noticed from the previous sections, every major overhaul to the game has pushed out some things into the shadows, almost never seeing the light of day. Decided to leave my Alpha 1.2.4 world to venture into the wildlands of the new to see what I can find. Let me tell you that there is a lot where I'm almost tripping on something. Whether it be a ravine (which seems to be everywhere) to villages that are over every hill, the strain of all these additions can definitely be felt when you move from A to Z.

Frankly, I think the game has too much going on in the Overworld if you're doing the Default generation. No more is it a simple game of survival, it is a chest of mechanics that would even put professional StarCraft players in confusion. The world is lively yet at the same time lifeless. Dungeons, the one structure that held a Golden Apple of Notch now stands as a relic amidst the dust, pushed aside by armor that makes you invincible and weapons that instakills.

This is not accounting for the fact that many rare items now hold the value of stone in many respects due not only to their availability, but also their farmibility. You do not even need to go below the surface if you are smart enough, the complexities of the game to add difficulty and challenge instead create an environment of safety and security. Phantoms, a dreaded mob that should have made the fear of not using beds is nigh-irrelevant even as of release save only for repairing Elytras.


Complexity: A Double-Edged Sword

As the game gets older and people learn how to play, gettin' gud and making dem eSports bit coins, you cannot blame Mojang for trying to turn the tables to keep the waning interest of players. Whereas many companies are pulling out mechanics to appeal to a broader audience, Minecraft is trying to shove as many in and, in the process, making everything both good and bad, it depends on what you enjoy from your playthrough.

One argument that's always hit a sour note is "if you don't like some part of the game, just don't use it" because some elements of a game are reliant on a certain aspect. You can't go through a door in a Zelda game without a key, you can't progress in a Metroidvania without a particular item, and you certainly can't Achievement Hunter Minecraft without using a bed.

There are many ways to make a game difficult, one of them is by adding in Levels of Progression that many RPGs use and it's clear to see they are trying to add depth by making the line from A to B from five inches to five miles, there's no denying that what was a pick up and go title has turned into a study of maths and tables to tire out even the most diehard fan.1.14 draws ever closer, one can begin to see how it has affected every new world that's loaded up.

When done correctly, it can create a much more difficult experience for those seeking. However, as we have begun to see, it has taken a toll on the player by turning a once-hostile unknown into an almost joy ride that has bumps along the way. A survival player may find the game too easy while the creative may find the game too hard, quite a difference from the days of when everything was just play rough.


Well, that was a long read and I feel like I may have gone off-road a bit, but hopefully stayed true to the point that the game has become a mess of mostly unnecessary things that have turned a sandbox survival world into a maze with keys that don't fit any door.

If you want to know more, here's an EC that should smooth out what I was trying to say.


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"To start, I'm going to assume that most people reading this are late-comers to the party having never experienced the game in its glory days of long ago."

Oh it's gonna be one of these nostalgia driven rants about how the game used to be the shit, isn't it.
  • Jetra
  • Level 28
  • Expert Archer
  • December 10, 2018, 3:21 am

Can't deny that nostalgia played a little bit, but I mostly needed a starting point to go from "the only fun part was the digging hole and finding dugeons" to "now you have four dozen colorful blocks, eight ways to store items, and four thousand ways to kill or be killed."

Besides that, I was really basing off the notion that veteran players rarely use this site anymore which gives me the freedom of writing something like this. There's not much to talk about with this game anymore and it's not often that I get to tear apart a game that I (used to) enjoy. I'm not the type to rant "OMG, ALPHA SO GODLIKE!" because that's my (obviously unpopular) opinion.

It can't be denied that the game is better now than before especially after these past few updates. However, because so much is added, things are becoming more crowded like a toybox you're trying to shove in even though it's overflowed. I wasn't posting this as "I want the game to be simpler," I just watned to write an interesting and thought-provoking blog which has apparently gone over every person's head which I'm going to guess being my fault as I don't think I state that clearly.

I don't think I'd refer to myself as a "veteran player", but by the community's standards, I'd say I am one, and I wholeheartidly disagree.

It sounds like you might need to find a different community, to be honest. If you look around on r/Minecraft, there's a whole bunch of people who still enjoy the game to great depths.
Minecraft isn't just a game as much as it's a platform for creativity, and it don't think it's lost that charm by adding more types of colourful blocks or more dangerous mobs.
  • Jetra
  • Level 28
  • Expert Archer
  • December 11, 2018, 8:37 am
I refuse to be anywhere near Reddit and its hive mind.

This isn't about whether the game is good or not or enjoyable or not, this was me making an article on how much has been added to the game whilst adding my personal thoughts as a basis rather than the standard. If there is no foundation, there is no discussion as we are having now which is quickly turning into an attack that seems as though I don't like the current game as it is now.

Let me be clear: I like the current game, I just wanted to write a blog. That is all.
I used to think the way you did, and although the servers back then were fantastic and I had some great memories there, it doesn't mean you can't create some new ones. As a creative game, the updates have been great. Adding more blocks and objects for people to further flesh out their creations. Which is a good thing. Survival has a lot more creatures, biomes, and structures, and the recent underwater overhaul is great. I think nostalgia often clouds our perception of the past. From my perspective, although I enjoyed the good old days of 1.2.5, I think Minecraft has just gotten better with time.
Honestly, I think the wish for simplicity is just nostalgia and burnout. I have great memories of playing in Pocket Edition 0.8, before it had infinite and superflat worlds, generated structures, caves, the nether, or even a daylight cycle in creative. But then, I also tend to forget all the boredom and times I wished I had that more complicated stuff. We remember all the great times and forget the bad. But hey, that's nostalgia.

Also, I am definitely happy with how the game is now, but that's mainly because I build a lot, and don't play survival. It seems like the developers have been favoring creative players and exploration, so I can understand why I would be satisfied with the game but other's wouldn't.
  • Jetra
  • Level 28
  • Expert Archer
  • December 8, 2018, 4:41 pm
I'm not saying I wish the game was simpler, I was pointing out how the game has changed so much that it's starting to conflict with each other.

For creative people, it's great. For the survival players, it may be more of a chore than it should be. Complexity is sort of a mechanic that goes from being interesting to a nuisance depending on who's holding the wrench.
  • Makaneek
  • Level 4
  • Apprentice Ranger
  • December 6, 2018, 7:34 am
maybe, but is that a bad thing?
  • Jetra
  • Level 28
  • Expert Archer
  • December 6, 2018, 7:57 am
Depends on your preference. I personally like it because more to see and do which is always a plus in my book.
  • DinowCookie
  • Event Host
  • Level 40
  • Master Dinosaur
  • December 6, 2018, 3:30 am
I think the game used to be more complicated, tricky to play, than it is now.

Whereas in the early days you couldn't see crafting recipes in your menu, and you didn't have creative mode to build with, you'd have to go trial-on-error, browse through Wiki pages and use item codes to get the blocks you wanted to build with. Commands weren't listed for you when you needed one. And most importantly, the limited amount of resources and possibilities the game offered required for the player to use much more of their own ingenuity and creativity in order to enjoy the game.

Same for the building, skin making, texturing community. In the early days there were no skin editors, texture packs had one resource file and it was up to you to figure out which block was where in the template. No WorldEdit, plug-ins and so forth. Overall it was a very challenging game in many ways.

With the many new updates and possibilities, more in-game resources and support, guides, supporting programs, mods and plug-ins and a much broader amount of items, mobs and blocks, the game (and in big part the community too) now facilitates a lot of which we used to have to figure out for ourselves. Which is great in some ways, it makes the game accessible and fun for a broader audience. But it IS a very different and in my opinion a much easier experience to play Minecraft and be part of the community.

Might also have to do with me growing older, understanding things more easily.. A bit of both probably.

Just my 2 cents.
  • Jetra
  • Level 28
  • Expert Archer
  • December 6, 2018, 3:52 am
Growing older def does that.

I'm the last person to say "Game's easy, u just need to git gud" as I'm probably the only sane person to plink a Golem in Witcher for almost an hour plinking it for 1 hp per hit. Hindsight realized my mistake, at the time I never made the connection because stupid me died to it BUT Minecraft of old being hard was not of the fault of the game itself moreso lack of any knowledge of it.

However, blindness does not mean a game is complex nor does it mean complexity is reliant on user ignorance. As well as that, creating your own fun doesn't necessarily make a game that much harder. Doing things took effort, there's no denying that, yet the fact remains that it was pretty much a Dig Hole, Survive Night game when you compare to things like StarCraft where you have to micromanage several armies at once plus four bases (if you're that lucky)

There's a definitive line between complexity and difficulty. Minecraft was hard because of what you said but at the end of the day pretty straight forward. Now you have all these options, biomes, etc. that one could be overwhelmed by even more possibilities on the player especially if they're even the tiniest bit creative.

Still, good input.
  • conflicttFTW
  • Level 39
  • Artisan Sweetheart
  • December 5, 2018, 7:14 pm
Most features are designed to be fiddleable. A totally scientific word trust me- basically, a lot of features have weird quirks added to let players come up with weird uses for them on top of their normal purpose. The more pieces that are added, the more complex the surface level gets but under that the depth also deepens because the more creative or technical minded find ways to use these weird new features to create crazy things.

I am concerned about the crafting things in 1.14, but for the most part I am pretty happy with the game.

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