There’s something about Minecraft these days that I can’t just put my finger on. Something annoying. Something slightly tedious. This little something raised its ugly head while I was playing Minecraft with a buddy of mine. He was roaming around a field after a hard night fighting creepers and zombies, he ran into a zombie wearing a helmet. That helmet had the magical ability to stop that zombie from catching fire and keeling over.
I later discovered that there are random zombies exclusive to deserts that can survive during the day. Great, I thought, yet more reasons to never bother living in a desert area.
But later on, we realised we were seeing a lot of the same biomes over and over again. Forest. Ocean. Plains. Forest. Plains. Forest. Forest with hills. Plains with hills. Oceans. Islands. Lots and lots and lots of islands. We actually spawned on an island and desperately broke every single bit of grass looking for seeds to make food. Since we were playing in Hard mode, we needed food as soon as possible and basically lived off apples and zombie flesh for a day or so.
You see, there’s a weird thing in Minecraft, a fine line between too much content and too little content. The changes to Zombies and their AI is huge, but they are still the only real enemies aside from skeletons, spiders and creepers that one encounters, with enemies like Witches and Endermen being pretty damn rare. And Slimes. Fuck Slimes and their rare spawns and shit drop chances. There is a ton of variation in forest and plains biomes, but genuinely different biomes are a tad harder to find. Heck, my buddy and I haven’t found any particularly interesting biomes close to where we spawned, and no one wants to move multiple chests worth of stuff once they’ve already got a base. Especially when you need to kill the rather rare Endermen for their small chance to drop Enderpearls, then go to the Nether to hopefully find a Nether dungeon, to get Blaze rods to make Eyes of Ender, then spend 15 seconds a block mining Obsidian for Ender Chests. And THEN you need a pickaxe with Silk Touch on it just to RETRIEVE your damn teleporting chest. Alternatively, you can use Shulker boxes to move inventories around, which requires you to defeat the Ender Dragon in order to access the rest of the End.
There’s a reason why I tend to play as a wanderer or someone who digs endless mine shafts. So I don’t have these difficulties.
In recent updates though, I’ve noticed a push towards not new real enemies or any major changes to the End and the Nether, but a thrust towards technical aspects. There are so many Redstone items now, as well as a huge amount of documentation and features aimed at world builders rather than casual players. There’s a handful of content for players too, but the focus is all over the place.
My point is, there’s a lot of content in Minecraft, but it’s all over the place. And often shoved into later game stuff, requiring you to go to the End or the Nether or being biome specific. There’s nothing wrong with that, after all, Minecraft is about building and exploring and surviving, but it seems odd to add these things and do nothing to make places like the End and the Nether actually interesting. They’ve added new mobs over the years, like Ocelots and parrots, but generally these new mobs are too rare to even come across. Or it’s a new crafting block that comes in 16 colours (plus a default colour) which makes it feel like there is more content than you think. Then there’s new food items, all sorts of random things you can make or grow, like beetroot soup or rabbit meat – while at the same time, there’s no such thing as a sandwich and no more ‘3d’ food like cake. Even the 1.13 update, which promises to revisit and rework a lot of old textures, feels odd.
I don’t know. As I said, it’s a weird feeling, a strange mixture of both not enough content and too much content. Even with a constant stream of updates, Minecraft still feels… empty.