The purpose of this post is to invite discussion on the appropriate default difficulty of the normal survival mode.
Now before you go saying "but Galiantus! You can already choose the difficulty of survival mode" hear me out. All the different difficulty modes do is change the strength of mobs and some game rules. The experience doesn't change much other than getting hit by mobs hurts a lot worse and there are more mobs to hit you. But there are other ways to make the game difficult without relying on hostile mobs.
Here are some general examples of other ways the experience of the game could be changed and made more difficult:
- Make mining viable only after exploring naturally formed caves.
- Make structures (especially villages) harder to find.
- Create more threats to the player while mining.
- Increase the time it takes to farm.
These obviously don't cover all the options we have available, but hopefully you still get the gist of what I'm saying. Difficulty can mean a lot of different things. There is no one-size-fits-all way to look at it.
Saying Minecraft is a survival game at this point seems kind of ridiculous. Assuming you don't find a village, the only time you are really worried about dying is the first night. After that, mining is relatively safe. Food is plentiful beyond reason. Once you have iron armor, overworld mobs are a piece of cake to fight. You don't have to spend much time in the Nether, and you don't have to fight the Wither. You also don't have to go to an ocean monument if you don't want to. That leaves the Ender dragon as the only boss you need to fight (for access to End cities), and thus the only considerable survival situation you must encounter to complete the game.
With all that in mind, I must ask: Is "Survival" really about survival?
Perhaps we need a new gamemode for the younger generation of minecrafters. The current game is not about survivial. It's more like an RPG in a sandbox game. I for one would like a survival mode that can actually be called survival.
For those of you interested in an actual survival game, I want to know how you think we can achieve that. I have some specific ideas I've suggested in their own topics, but I am interested in what ideas other people have. First I would like to discuss some general principles I think need to be followed:
There is already sort of a progression from one area of the game to the next, but it is laid out really poorly. You start in the overworld above ground, then you go mining, then you go to the Nether, then you go to the End. The problem is the amount of effort and time required to go from one phase to another isn't consistent or particularly interesting. There are also very few phases between start and finish, which again, decreases the engagement. Here's an example of progression that would be way more interesting:
- Overworld(surface) >> Caves(upper) >> Jungle >> Ocean >> Ocean Monument >> Caves(lower) >> Nether >> Wither Fight >> Woodland Mansion >> Stronghold >> Ender Dragon >> End
This is just an example that is totally open to debate. Notice I haven't suggested any exact implementation, but the principle of breaking up player progression into smaller parts serves to engage the player. The player must explore the world more fully. Progress means more. Ocean monuments, the Wither, and woodland mansion are included in the adventure.
Within whatever progressive structure exists, each phase needs to have its own "first night" feel. When I enter a cave for the first time, it should feel like the first night all over again. Same goes for the Nether, diving into the ocean, and stepping into a woodland mansion. The player should come in feeling slightly unprepared, yet prepared enough to stand a good chance. Going deeper anywhere (underground/underwater/into the nether) should be substantially more dangerous than staying away. Yet going deeper should always be the only way to progress.
With that, I look forward to any discussion on this topic. What types of difficulty are appropriate? What does it mean for this to be a survival game? There are no wrong answers, I am genuinely curious.
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