Thanks to Mojang‘s continued support through free updates and patches, Minecraft is a substantially different game today than it was in 2010. From minor refinements like shift-clicking support for furnaces to world-altering adjustments to procedural generation, Minecraft continues to grow in size and scope. This opens a lot of avenues for speculation as to what the game might look like in another two years. Here are eight awesome features that should make their way into Minecraft!
More Aquatic Mobs
This is an addition I’ve been eager for ever since I first played Minecraft. Back in my early days with the game, ocean biomes frequently occupied near-endless expanses of the overworld. Just attempting to cross one was a risky venture, as you could literally become stranded for days with no source of food. And what better mobs to keep you company on such a trek than squids? As if the never-ending sea wasn’t maddening enough, the squids spawned in droves. With no measurable amount of grace, they slowly and awkwardly fumbled through the water, often trying to swim through blocks. Thankfully, the size of oceans has been reduced since then, but Minecraft is still long overdue for some more variety of aquatic mobs.
There could be hostile sharks, or maybe a new type of aquatic monster that spawns at night. And I imagine whales would be rare mobs that drop a lot of meat or important new items when killed. Dolphins might also make for fun aquatic alternatives to horses. But frankly, I just want to know what Mojang would add. Anything has to be better than squids, right?
In case you couldn’t already tell, I think oceans as they currently are in Minecraft leave a lot of room for improvement. Compared to the distinct selection of biomes found on the overworld’s surface, which are the heart and soul of Minecraft’s excellent sense of adventure and discovery, oceans are drab wastelands. They deter players from further investigation rather than beckon to them with hidden riches like Minecraft should. Oceans have some serious spicing up to do if they want to be anything more than a nuisance to adventurers.
Oceans harbor great potential for their own unique biomes. Coral reefs, tropical islands, deep-sea trenches, and kelp forests would all aid in bringing oceans’ color, variety, and mystery up to par with the rest of the overworld. With additions like these, it wouldn’t be difficult for Mojang to incite players to comb the depths for unique resources and loot. There could even be rare undersea structures similar to the temples found in deserts and jungles. And let’s not forget that the sponge block still has no use outside of creative mode. This neglected block could at last find a loving home if Mojang only directs some much-needed attention towards Minecraft’s oceans.
The more additions to world generation the better, if you ask me. Even with massive, randomly-generated maps, the inherent elation of discovery can only go so far. The rarest places, such as villages, mushroom islands, and desert and jungle temples are the most exciting and rewarding to find. Volcanoes would be much deadlier, but equally as rewarding. As a precious natural source of obsidian—and plenty of lava for creating more—they would be highly sought after. Magma Cubes could be found there as well. Volcanoes would be interesting for more than just resources, too. With them, some emergent gameplay possibilities open up. Maybe the jungle you claimed as your new home happens to border a volcano, and before long, you’re forcibly evicted by a forest fire.
Technically, one village variant already exists: the desert village. Carried with it is the hope that villages will grow as diverse as the biomes they generate in. Someday I hope to see wooden village huts suspended in a jungle canopy, cave-dwelling villagers inking out a living in a hollowed mountainside, or domed igloos breaking the visual silence of the tundra. If each new breed of village comes with its own resources related to the biome it generates in, then players will have that much more incentive to continue exploring their worlds.
I won’t deny that Minecraft has its fair share of balance issues. Glowstone blocks are much less practical light sources than jack-o’-lanterns, and gold weapons and armor are relatively worthless. One such issue in particular has reared its tedious head as of late. In spite of assuming a much more important role as the only means to control a horse, saddles remain arbitrarily elusive. Without a crafting recipe, saddles can only be found as rare loot in randomly generated structures, such as abandoned mineshafts. There is one important caveat, however. Fishing rods will occasionally catch saddles, effectively killing any notion that saddles are meant to be special dungeon loot. Why should anyone bother to set out on a dangerous quest for their saddle when they can stand next to the nearest body of water, kick back and probably catch one within an hour? It’s about time Mojang let us craft our own saddles.
If there’s one thing you can be sure will come out of new Minecraft updates, it’s a deeper level of customization. Varying shades of wood that depend on what tree the wood was harvested from, dyed leather armor, and stained glass are all past indicators of this trend. Paint seems like the next logical step in this direction. It would be used for coloring wood blocks, like planks or bookshelves, or even for color-coding storage chests.
But why shouldn’t Mojang just make dyed wood blocks? Well, for players like myself who already have wooden structures in their survival worlds, replacing the wood with dyed wood of a better color wouldn’t be worth the hassle. Dyed wood also wouldn’t allow for coloring individual sides of wood blocks, a characteristic that would distinguish painted wood from dyed wool.
Animal mobs are one of my personal favorite parts of Minecraft. I adore the charming farm animals that populate the wild, and get a kick out of riding saddled pigs. Even so, I’m disappointed at the lack of dangerous animal mobs that can’t be tamed. Bears would fit neatly among the established set of mammals, and add a fresh element of danger to overworld exploration. They would come in four varieties: standard bears, cave bears, polar bears, and bear cubs. Standard bears would be neutral, but protective of their cubs. Cave bears would, of course, spawn in caves, turning hostile when you encroach on their territory. And the tundra-roaming polar bears would attack on sight. Cubs, on the other hand, would flee if attacked.
Bears need to drop something useful, right? That item could be special bear leather required for crafting a new type of item: backpacks. Any Minecraft player knows that deflated feeling that comes about when a fruitful mining expedition yields more resources than can be carried home. As a wearable item, a backpack would augment the standard inventory size by a whole row of slots, allowing players to transport greater hauls of resources.