So, as I mentioned last week, Kiokri and I belong to a larger group of college friends that meet weekly via the internet to do some hardcore pen-and-paper RPG-ing. It’s as dorktastic as it is hilariously fun. However, as of a few weeks ago life has decided that none of our group possesses the free time the work on GMing a campaign. We can all set aside the time to play, but no one has the time to prepare and lead the weekly sessions. So where does that leave us?
Why, playing Minecraft, of course!
Kiokri and I have been tooling around in pixelated worlds ever since Minecraft started the whole early-access phenomenon. Our attention to the game has waxed and waned, as it always does, but, somehow, we always find ourselves drawn back and re-captivated. Put simply, it’s addictive as hell.
The fun part about our weekly endeavors? Aside from Kiokri, his wife, and myself, none of our group had ever played it until we started about four weeks ago. I’m sure the heftiest of a majority of our readers have at least dabbled here and there, so I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it is to teach Minecraft to new people. In fact, I’ll let Cracked explain:
So, while I laboriously attempted to establish a rudimentary shelter in order to survive that ever-feared first night, I was also explaining to my entire group how to craft axes, craft torches, and build homes. It was great to crest a hill after some lumber-jacking and see six avatars all studiously bent over crafting tables following my instructions. After some initial recipes and guidance, I let them loose on the world.
What’s truly fascinating about Minecraft is the versatility. We have been playing the latest vanilla release, and yet there is so much to do that each member of our group developed a unique play style within a couple weeks. We had some group goals, such as our week spent scrounging through the Nether and our final week wherein we defeated The End and the Wither, but we were mostly on our own with the occasional helping hand and, of course, the group chat over Mumble.
The great thing? Each of us fell into a play style which reflects how we generally enjoy playing almost anything. There are, undoubtedly, several theses’ worth of material on the different play styles and what they say about the player. Hell, a crafty person could probably work out a “Minecraft Horoscope” which fairly categorized every style of play. Maybe, someday, I will do just that. However, until then, here’s a run down of our little group.
The Grand Planner – Kiokri
The Grand Planner is never content with small, short-term goals. Thinking small is not even worth the time. After all, why play a game where everything is possible if you’re just going to set your expectations low and your sights lower. Why build a house when you can build a mansion? Why a mansion instead of a castle? Why build just a castle when you can instead create an underground metropolis complete with subway transportation?
And what do we need to accomplish this grand plan? Raw materials, and lots of them. Regardless of the eventual outcome of most of his projects, the Grand Planner is one hell of a miner. A Planner can empty the contents of a massive mountain in an hour, all the while saving every scrap of material in an intricately organized system of chests. The actual project may never get built, or even started, but the Grand Planer is definitely going into it prepared.
The Sight Seer – Hinkabear
What new and wondrous things does this world have to offer? There’s only one way to find out! The Sight Seer wants to get out there and see the world, even if that means never seeing home again. Once prepared, a Seer will pick a direction and go, taking in all the strange and fascinating things the world can deliver. So what if 90 percent of these voyages end in a horrible demise or never ending and a-directional wandering, it’s the thrill of journey that matters!
The Sight Seer is not reckless. Preparedness is key to a successful trip, so a stock of torches and gear must be made. However, even when mining for the crucial materials, the Seer can’t help but get a bit of wanderlust. Mining is less of an organized material-producing expedition and more of a scattered traipse between underground ravines, caves, and abandoned mine shafts. Sure, the mining is necessary, but there’s no reason one can’t take in a few sights while doing it.
The Fortune Finder – Kamriell
“I’m going to go find some diamonds” is the heralding call of the Fortune Finder, and it will absolutely happen. It’s difficult to determine whether it is skill or sheer luck which keeps a Fortune Finder successful, but success is fait accompli once an expedition has been launched. If something is extremely rare, a Fortune Finder likely has three already.
It’s actually pretty easy to discern the Fortune Finder from other players. First, look for an over abundance of diamonds within the first hour of playing. Second, listen carefully to the tone of “Oh, more diamonds” as the Fortune Finder is always disinterested and unsurprised. Finally, a Finder’s mining operation will have almost no sense of order to it as discovery of rare minerals requires frequent and inexplicable branching and cornering while digging tunnels. The Fortune Finder doesn’t know why the tunnel needed to branch left here, but an Ancient Fortress was discovered as a result, of course. Oh, and some more diamonds to boot.
The Student – Zophor
The Student sees the world as a rich place full of lessons to be learned, and many of those lessons are painfully delivered. Indeed, it is not unusual for a Student to have acquired more deaths than the rest of the server combined. However, each death taught a new and valuable lesson, and the Student stayed in unnaturally high spirits through each and every one. When the Student sets out for the day, it is rarely with a plan, but a sense of accomplishment always seems to follow.
The Student is not picky when it comes to the source of learning. Oftentimes, it will be another, more experienced player which mentors the wayward pupil. However, almost as frequently, the Student learns by simply venturing out and asking, “Oh, what’s that?” Yes, “that” is usually something horribly dangerous which kills the Student in seconds, but a valuable lesson was learned and only at the cost of a smattering of useful gear. Generally, guided and purposeful mining takes a back seat to the sheer joy of taking in the world’s endless lessons.
The Strip Miner – JV3r8
The Strip Miner believes in a single, powerful guiding principle: completion. The world is a game, games have winners, and the Strip Miner is going to be that winner. There is no goal beyond achievement and no concept beyond mastery for the dedicated Strip Miner, and all shall be dominated, including the very earth. If the price of conquest is resources, then the Strip Miner must have all of them.
The practices of the Strip Miner go far beyond simply making big holes in the ground, though no one is better at it. A dedicated Strip Miner will also have a massive livestock and produce farm, generally within the walls of a secured base. Further, the dark nights are not a time for hiding, but for vicious and aggressive resource acquisition. It is not unusual for a Strip miner to have several chests filled with loot from monsters, most of which were killed with a maximum-enchanted arsenal.
The Homemaker – Cassyus
Home is where the heart is, so why not invest wholeheartedly into one livable area? That’s the motto of the Homemaker, the most meticulous of players. The Homemaker spends a great deal of time fixing up and arranging the perfect home. It isn’t just a hobby, it’s a necessity. After all, why go out and gather trophies if the house is nothing but a hollowed space beneath a cliff? The Homemaker takes pride in knowing that everything has a place and it all works well together.
It’s easy to belittle a Homemaker for wasting time on such a simple task, but this would be folly. Knowing the exact materials required to get just the right look to an abode requires a knowledge base which can be staggering. Further, the Homemaker is an expert at labeling, so victory is always assured over adversity by merit of pure organizational capability. Everything has a place, and the Homemaker knows exactly where it all is, including that enchanted diamond sword hung in a frame above the mantle.
I was originally going to write a play style for myself as well, but that’s no fun. So, I’ll leave this open to my compatriots for their input. Hopefully, they’ll go easy on me.