As a gamer I have witnessed many remarkable things happen in gaming history, from daydreaming about online RPGs where I could live in a virtual fantasy world where the NPCs were instead players to then playing my first MMORPG. It’s a great feeling when something you dream about becomes a reality, and that was definitely the case for me with Minecraft.
The concept is so simple, give people a world where they can freely build and create whatever they can dream up – I know I am not the only one who thought about games like this, but it wasn’t until one developer was persistent enough to make it happen that it would become a reality. Now we’re all aware of the insane phenomenon that is Minecraft.
But who would of thought that such a game, which allowed small groups of players to get together and build would one day become a sandbox MMO. Not at the hands of the developers either, no this was a feat made possible by the extremely dedicated modding community that thrives within the game, enhancing the experience in more ways than one.
Giving server owners the ability to not only take online worlds and fill them with hundreds of players, they can now connect several seperate worlds and servers together to create one giant online kingdom. Players can even plug their own personal worlds in to a network of other worlds – how’s that for player owned towns and housing? And that’s just the start.
With the ability to seperate worlds in to seperate servers, but allowing players to still travel between them with only a loading screen, Minecraft is able to provide the expansive sandbox worlds we love in MMOs. Include the fact that the entire world – unless restricted by admins – can be changed and shaped by the players themselves, and that’s a feature list many have been begging for. Able to hold several hundred players per server, some worlds can support up to thousands of inhabitants spread across the connected worlds.
A large sandbox environment is a huge step forward, but it still doesn’t add the RPG in MMORPG, luckily modders have that covered too. Some servers are running McMMO, implementing classes, skills, and character progression much like you would expect in a proper MMORPG. Players will skill up with different actions, and add true meaning to that XP bar outside of enchanting – as a player progresses they become more efficient at their role.
There’s no point in having skills and magic if you don’t have a reason to use them, and that’s why some have even begun implementing NPCs to hand out quests, rewards for killing mobs, and a full PvE experience for those who don’t want to spend their time purely crafting and building. It ticks of another box in the required MMO feature list.
Some people have done great wonders for the PvE experience, even wrapping it in roleplaying environments for those looking for more focused gameplay. Others may want a more chaotic environment however, a place where you take what you want through force and only the strongest survive – PvP servers, where there’s no shortage of war and fighting.
From battleground-style arenas in which players can fight to open warfare, the sandbox environment of Minecraft has lent itself perfectly to PvP. Many introducing empires and factions in to their servers have given players the opportunity to start a faction, claim land and defend it. It puts an interesting twist on the traditional survival experience.
As players grow their faction they can claim more land, but the need for resources and ideal building spots often means that players will be fighting for every block. With such a simple feature, Minecraft now offers siege warfare, political systems, and a full working economy.
It’s not all fights for territorial dominance and open PvP warfare, some servers prefer to simulate a city or town environment, allowing players to buy plots and live amongst neighbours with fitting jobs, an economy, and political systems to match. In these environments, it’s not a fight for military dominance, but instead a race for industrial strength. Towns are pitted against each other to become the most efficient and wealthy.
Whether you just want to live in a living online community or want to forge your own kingdom in open warfare, it’s hard to deny that Minecraft offers a lot of features you just don’t see in many sandbox MMORPGs. The best part is that it’s constantly evolving, the experience only gets better. If you haven’t been able to satisfy your hunger for a true sandbox MMO, maybe it’s time to give Minecraft a try. Visit the official site for more.