Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hardcore Minecraft: Day 3

It began as a slow evening on the Hardcore server. Erik and I were talking about supply runs and how to expand our holdings. We decided that, as a (soon-to-be) lawyer, he needed a richly appointed office. There's no mahogany wood in Minecraft, so we were thinking about alternatives when we hear an explosion outside.

Not really sure what's going on, we have a look around and don't know if someone detonated some TNT nearby or a creeper went off, both of which would be impossible without an interloper. Erik says that he thought he saw someone lurking outside. I go to check, and narrowly manage to run back inside as someone named "ilikecheese" hits me with arrows and rushes at our front door.

We manage to seal ourselves safely back in the castle, safe from someone who seemed very prepared to kill. He tries to goad us out of our bastion, but eventually loses interest and logs off.

Now, I'm not very combative in Minecraft. I see it as a building game, and even a "hardcore PVP server" can't improve on the game's, shall we say, rudimentary combat and controls. I'm here for the challenge of building the most interesting things I can in a world that is very ready to kill me and keep me from playing for three full days. So needless to say, I want to avoid that.

But I also want to build something out of snow, and that means that it's time for adventure!

I'm not as awesome as Finn or Jake, though, and the nearest snow is several hundred meters away. That's a fair distance in Minecraft, ok? I'm not that lazy. To avoid the roving monsters above ground (and any unwanted player attention), I dig a tunnel due west from our base. Erik then points out that the snow is to the east, so I fill in the tunnel and never speak of it again.

The snow I saw turns out to be a tundra, which unfortunately means no birch trees. Birch logs look great in construction, so I'm disappointed. I make sure to remember where the tunnel entrance is and begin to explore the snowy plain.

It is, appropriately, very plain, and I soon reach the northern edge. Here, I'm met with a rather stunning sight: three biomes intersecting at a trio of dramatic mountains!

Minecraft, despite forming its world entirely out of low-resolution cubes, has its own peculiar beauty. Though it looks raw, it's very evocative of the kind of wondrous terrain you don't see much in the Midwest. That sandstone butte goes on for quite a ways, off into the foggy distance.

Ain't it a butte?

I peer over the edge into the basin where the three titans meet. It's a dark area, still clad in snow, but I realize that I'm not the first one here. Someone has carved a Space Invader-style pictograph in the snow.

Space Invaders! From space!

With fall damage in its current buggy state, climbing these mountains would be exceedingly dangerous. Plus, I want birch trees! I'm not going to find those on a sandstone mountain, so I head back into the tundra as night falls.

I'm well enough equipped that the monsters aren't a huge threat unless I get mobbed, so I keep moving. In the distance, I see the faint glow of torchlight.

I approach cautiously, though I don't see any other players around. It's just a small snow hut, and there isn't even a warning on the sign out front. Whoever's land this is, they seem to be logged off for the night.

A hovel.
Passing by, the server tells me that I'm entering the territory of "TheFace" faction. Weirdly, they don't show up on the server's Dynamic Map. I'm not sure why, perhaps they're too small of a group? In any case, they've done nothing to me, so I pass by, still looking for some damned trees.

I reach a frozen river, one of my favorite terrains in Minecraft. You can see through the ice, and sometimes there are squid underneath. This time, though, I find something much stranger: a doorway with light coming out.

Now, I don't seem to be in anyone's territory, so I could just break through the ice and swim in. There's no door or anything. However, you run out of air pretty fast while swimming on this server, so I just mark the location for another time. Besides, I've spotted some nearby trees! They're just plain old oak, like we have in the tree farm, but we're always in need of more timber.

While climbing the trees and chopping down some of their broad branches, the sun rises and I get a better view of the area. I spy a strange depression next to a frozen lake, sitting on the hill above the river. Investigating, it turns out to be a staircase!

Sword drawn and watching for the telltale nameplate of another player, I descend the narrow stairs. Whoever built this was either a dwarf or had no concern for headroom; the whole place is barely tall enough to stand in. Following the twists and turns of the passage, I finally come to a door.

I still haven't seen anyone and I'm not in any faction's territory, so I go in. It's a small bunker, though well lit and with a few banks of furnaces. No coal in them, though. There's wheat growing in a hydroponics bay as well as a bed, crafting table, and chest, but little else.

The abandoned lair.
There are passages leading away that either dead-end or lead into natural caverns. There hasn't been much construction, and this is unclaimed land. On this server, that means it's open season. I don't want to steal from some newbie, but there's almost nothing here. The furnaces are empty and the lone chest is pretty barren.

There's no food and no real equipment; whoever lived here must have abandoned the claim or moved on long ago. I take the valuables - saplings, iron, and nine random mine cart tracks. There might be an abandoned mine near here, which would be good to return to. I leave the torches and the wheat intact - if this was some loner's house, I don't want him to starve. Feeling oddly guilty for taking virtual goods that ostensibly belong to no one, I prepare to leave. Before I do, I poke around the hydroponics bay, which it turns out is irrigated by the underwater door I spotted earlier. Here's the view from under the ice:

Then I return home and deposit my vaguely ill-gotten goods in the safety of our chests. I still need some snow, so I turn on a podcast and go about shoveling hundreds of snowballs into my backpack, where I later turn them into snow blocks. Soon, soon I will build a snow fort!

As I scoop up the snow, I notice that the barren areas are quite visible on the minimap. I don't want my area of operation to be too obvious to other players, so I clear several areas of their snow. Hopefully they won't find my tunnel back to the base; though it's locked securely once it passes into our territory, I'd rather keep the route as clandestine as possible.

Also, I get a little bored, and the visible snow-removal on the minimap gives me an idea. I could write my name in the snow, so to speak, or...

Hi Victor!

1 comment:

SupremeLord said...

Learning experience, the third: On the dynamic map, what is popping up is an indicator for where the faction has set their home. It is not actually showing you where the faction has claimed land, it just so happens that most factions see the obvious utility of setting their home inside their fortified base, as your home is the only place you can teleport to.

In other words, a faction can claim a chunk on the map without it appearing on the dynamic map, because they have not set their home. But, in this instance, if they are killed, or get lost, or get separated from base, or whatever, then they will have to walk back to their base.

HCFactions giveth, and HCFactions taketh away.