is the premiere daily MMOG newsletter, only from Ten
Ton Hammer!

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Today’s column looks
at Minecraft,
the 3D construction game turned gaming phenomenon. Why has a one-man
game project with Perestroika-era graphics and incredibly simplistic
gameplay succeeded in generating buzz where mega-budget games like style="font-style: italic;">APB
failed miserably? Read our take in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/loading/2010/oct/8">Loading…
Minecraft, Mindcrime.

cellspacing="0" width="100%">


You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
is the Ten Ton Pulse ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/thepulse/">What
is The Pulse?).

top 5 Pulse results:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow">World
    of Warcraft
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">EverQuest 2 
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/99">Lord
    of the Rings Online (UP 1)
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/88">Warhammer
    Online: Age of Reckoning (down 1)
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/43">EVE
    Online  href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/115">


movers today

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/38">EverQuest

    - UP 3
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/starcraft2">StarCraft

    - UP 2
    style="text-decoration: underline;">
  3. style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/860">Champions

    - down 2
size="-1">Recent Releases
  • size="-1">7/27
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/starcraft2" target="_blank">StarCraft
    II: Wings of Liberty
  • size="-1">8/17
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/140">City
    of Heroes: Going Rogue (release)
  • size="-1">8/18
    - href="http://everquest2.com/free_to_play">EverQuest
    II Extended (release)
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/7
    - size="-1"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aion">Aion:
    Assault on Balaurea (free
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/29
    - Everquest
    2 Extended

  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/30
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ffxiv">Final
    Fantasy XIV (release)


  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">October
    26, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/170">LEGO
    Universe (release)
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">October,
    - Champions
    Online: Demonflame
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">November, 2010
    - EVE
    Online: Incursion

  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">December
    7, 2010
    - World
    of Warcraft: Cataclysm


  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">Early 2011
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1407">DC
    Universe Online (release)


  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/5 -
    10/8 - href="http://www.gdconline.com/">GDC
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/8 -
    10/10 - href="http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/">New
    York Comic Con
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
    10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y" target="_blank">BlizzCon
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;"> 3/24
    3/26 (2011) - href="http://fanfest.eveonline.com/" target="_blank">CCP
style="font-weight: bold;">Rift
- Ask the Devs!

Have you got a question about style="font-style: italic;">Rift:
Planes of Telera?
Well, you have a chance to ask the devs at Trion Worlds directly. Just
submit your questions href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=53660">in
our forums.
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/playerscore/scoreboards"> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 249px;"
alt="World of Warcraft PlayerScore"

your PlayerScore?
World of
Warcraft players, find out at href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/playerscore">playerscore.com.

Loading... wanted in 12 star

Somewhere, at some time, a triple-A game developer (probably an
ex-Realtime Worlds dev) has shed tears over href="http://www.minecraft.net/"> style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft,
the 3D construction game become something of a gamer phenomenon. The
game builds on the geekdom love affair with all things 8-bit, but
isn’t explained by it.  Sure, retro jollies give the
game a pass on its laughably dated graphics, which make the original style="font-style: italic;">Doom
look next-gen by comparison.

To be fair, style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft
is technically still in alpha, but graphics aside, the game lacks
tutorials, quests, even tooltips or an infobox to tell you what an item
is or what it can be used for.  The core of the game is
crafting and acquisition, but there are only a few dozen craftable
items in the game. And despite ambitious plans, multiplayer to-date has
largely consisted of progression games – saved games passed
around on bulletin boards.

So by just about any reviewer’s category-driven yardstick,
this is not a very good game. So why have gamers flocked to style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft
in droves? Why has it gotten decent airtime in the latest issues of PC
Gamer and href="http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/9/17/">Penny
Arcade, and why can’t
half the contacts on my IM list stop talking about it?

To try and answer these questions, I paid the $12 initiation fee and
joined the cult of style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft.
I was by no means a willing convert, though, and thought the game
beyond pointless for my first few playsessions. Why I didn’t
quit, I’m not sure, but it has a lot to do with word of
mouth.  All the style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft
devotees talk with reverence about that “ style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft
moment,” that magical mystical moment of clarity at which you
understand. I was beginning to think that moment had passed me by when,
in a bout of frustration over not finding coal (to make torches, to
keep me safe at night), I dug and kept on digging.

The game’s soundtrack, some strangely soothing new age-y
piano music that in itself seemed to bid me to wait for “the
moment” abruptly ended when I crashed through into a
subterranean cavern. Monsters live and spawn in the dark, and their
ominous grunts and scampering had me instantly clawing for a way out.
Suddenly, for some inexplicable reason, I not only cared about my
character, I was drawn into the world of style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft
in a way I haven’t been drawn into an RPG in a while.

I still don’t begin to understand the style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft
mojo, but I think the game succeeds by removing two common impediments
to fun gameplay – excessive handholding and the inability to
markedly change or impact your game environment. Somewhere in that
process the burden of creating fun is shifted back to the player. For
example, if you can’t find your way back to your fort before
night falls and the nasties come out of the shadows, you
don’t blame the developer for not adding more UI elements or
a fancy map overlay. You beat yourself up for not constructing a beacon
made of a simple tall stack of dirt blocks and a candle.

That said, Minecraft
wouldn’t work without an accepting, adaptive, creative
community, traits that many online games communities lack or, more
accurately, traits that online games have systematically discouraged in
their community;  discouraged in favor of creating a finely
tuned, on-the-rails, solo from cradle to cap experience.

It’s the same sort of sandbox vs. theme park debate
we’ve been having in the MMORPG community for years, with the
strange twist that the mainstream seems to have picked up on sandbox
gaming in a predominantly single-player game first. Given the
difficulties of persistence in a malleable online world, maybe style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft
is the only way sandbox games could make a splash among mainstream
gamers and the perfect transition to a game like href="http://www.8bit.neverdaunt.com/"> style="font-style: italic;">Neverdaunt.

Should you wish to join the style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft
cult too, I highly recommend watching Paul Soares Jr.’s
excellent href="http://www.youtube.com/user/paulsoaresjr">video
survival series (start at the
bottom and work your way up) and the href="http://www.minecraftwiki.net/wiki/Crafting">crafting
recipes page on the Minepedia
wiki. Those will give you plenty of helpful pointers and give you a
feel for the game. If your interest is piqued, it’s likely
there’s a style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft
moment waiting for you.

In any case, I have no real doubt that some reference to tree punching
will soon be on a geek t-shirt. Maybe I’ll see one at NY
Comic Con this weekend, so be sure to check back for updates all
weekend long. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on style="font-style: italic;">Minecraft?
What’s the takeaway for MMO developers? Discuss in the href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=53994">Loading…
and have a great weekend!

Epic Thread of the Day

From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=633">DC
Universe News & Articles Discussion forum

href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=53887"> style="font-weight: bold;">DC Universe Online Delayed
Until Early 2011

now we all know that href="http://tentonhammer.com/dcuo">DC Universe Online
has been delayed, and despite the fact that SOE has said they simply
need more time to polish the game, there's plenty of speculation as to
whether the timing was a...Cataclysmic (cough) decision. SOE's own DCUO
community manager, RadarX (who used to be Ten Ton Hammer's own,
although SOE refuses to give him back), has stepped into this thread in
an attempt to dispell some of the conspiracy theories. href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=53887">Join


Quotes from the Epic Thread

iconic figures in this game have been heroes for many of us since we
were kids. The DC Universe deserves as much attention and polish as we
can give it

- href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showpost.php?p=443404&postcount=10">RadarX


and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

2 new Ten Ton Hammer
features today! 25 Ten Ton
Hammer features in September! 1085 in 2010!


Just Fell Off the A'la Carte


to properly monetize a subscriptionless game truly is the million
dollar question these days. The majority of free-to-play titles survive
on cash shop sales alone, but many of those that started life as AAA
incorporate both microtransactions and monthly fees. Is this model a
way to give greater flexibility to the consumer or a means to gouge
them in disguise? Join Jason “Medawky” Bolton as he
hops up onto his
soapbox in this week’s Microcosms.


Updated Cataclysm Druid Talents & Moonkin Mechanics


guide has been updated and is now 4.0.1 compliant! Check out the full
array of new talents that the Druid class is getting as well as a full
guide to the new Moonkin mechanics.

Top 10

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/war/interviews/carrie-gouskos-skaven-10.5.10">Skaven
    Exclusives! A style="font-weight: bold;">WAR
    Q&A with Carrie Gouskos
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/cataclysm_druid_talents">4.0.1
    Updated Cataclysm
    Druid Talents & Moonkin Mechanics
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/rift/interviews/reader-submitted-questions-part1">Reader
    Submitted Rift
    Q&A, Part 1 href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/previews/lego-universe-preview"> style="font-weight: bold;">
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/classes/warlock"> style="font-weight: bold;">WoW
    Warlock Guide Updated - 4.0 href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/previews/lego-universe-preview"> style="font-weight: bold;">
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/previews/lego-universe-preview"> style="font-weight: bold;">LEGO Universe
  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/twin_peaks"> style="font-weight: bold;">WoW:
    Cataclysm - Introduction to the Twin Peaks Battleground
  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/guides/combat/elite-equipment">An
    Overview of Elite Equipment In style="font-weight: bold;">EVE
  8. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/mastery"> style="font-weight: bold;">WoW
    - Introduction to the Mastery System
  9. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/podcasts/live/22">Exclusive
    RvR Info on Ten Ton Hammer Live Episode 22
  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/microcosms/2010/oct/7">Microcosms:
    Just Fell Off the A'la Carte

for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Minecraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff's interest in online games stretches back to organizing neighborhood Unreal tournaments as a teenager, but when a college roommate introduced him to EverQuest, an interest became an obsession. Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game since.