Sheep eat grass, wolves kill sheep, and mushrooms and vines spread spontaneously. Villagers breed on their own as well, if they have enough food and habitat. However, wolves do nothing with the sheep's mutton, animals appear on the landscape out of thin air, and players face no consequences for stuffing them into cramped pens with no food. In short, living things in Minecraft are often treated as mere resources for the players to exploit, with no lives of their own.
This presents an opportunity: why not have an ecology update? This update would include the biome overhauls already announced by Mojang, and could also introduce seasons to certain biomes. More to the point, it would introduce dynamic ecology. Each plant, animal, and fungus would have a place in a food web, including producers, consumers, predators, and decomposers. Each animal would have a hunger bar just like the player, and could feed itself to replenish it, heal, and breed in certain seasons if the mob cap allows it. Mushrooms and lichens would slowly convert nearby stone into dirt. Plants would spread onto nearby dirt or grass depending on light, rain, pollination by bees, proximity to mushrooms, or season. The player could still breed animals by hand, but would need to provide ways for them to feed themselves so they don't starve when the player is gone. This would reduce incentives to factory farm, teach young players about ecology, and help the whole game feel a little more alive and a little less lonely.
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