Minecraft 2, Part 4: The Crafting

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    (This originally appeared on the Minecraft Forum here)

    Minecraft 2, Part 4



    One thing that has always annoyed me about Minecraft is just how short the progression is. You punch a log, make a crafting table, make some tools and a furnace, and then it’s pretty much just get some diamonds and make an enchanting table. The anvil is pointless, brewing is largely ignored, and even the furnace is never is improved as the player progresses. The game tries to pad the gameplay by making a lot of grinding involved in “beating” the game, but this largely just encourages the use of farms and abusing the generation to get good equipment early. I personally feel that’s not how the game is supposed to be played.

    My goal for Minecraft 2 is to make a long base game while resorting to artificial padding as little as possible. One way I plan to accomplish this is to lengthen and improve the various crafting systems of the game. I always did like how Minecraft crafting was unique, and I don’t plan to change that, but some of the more advanced systems could use a bit of an overhaul.

    Crafting Your Equipment the Way You Want

    All the crafting systems from Minecraft return in this sequel, but several of them are overhauled to make them more useful. At first, your only method of crafting is the 2×2 grid in your inventory, but you’ll quickly unlock more ways to build your equipment.

    One thing to note is that while most recipes can be crafted from the start as long as you have the station and the materials, some recipes are locked and require the player to obtain a blueprint (attempting to craft these recipes will show a silhouette of the product with a question mark over it to let you know this makes something, but you don’t have the knowledge to do so). This will encourage exploration and tackling different scenarios to unlock all the recipes.

    The Crafting Tables

    Something that always irked me about crafting tables was that they were so cheap. Literally all you need is one unit of one of the easiest blocks to obtain in the game and then you suddenly have access to 99% of the game’s recipes. What’s the point of even making advanced crafting require a block in that case?

    To fix this, I plan to make the crafting table a bit more expensive, though not very much, and once you have access to your first crafting table you should be established enough that it shouldn’t be difficult to make more of them. The new recipe is as follows:

    W F
    L W

    W=Wood, F=Flint, L=Leather. Note that anywhere you can get wood you should also be able to get these other two materials, albeit they are more difficult to obtain.

    Requiring flint and leather now requires the player to do a bit of exploring and adds some additional challenge to getting established. To reduce the annoyance of getting flint from gravel, the first gravel block a player breaks is guaranteed to drop flint. The player can also get leather from a larger variety of animals, including pigs and sheep.

    The crafting GUI is the same as it is now, giving a 3×3 crafting grid and having a recipe book icon. This is used to craft basic recipes that should require some investment to make rather than the simple recipes of the 2×2 crafting grid. Later in the game, you can also unlock a 4×4 Enhanced Crafting Table, made by surrounding a crafting table with iron blocks, and late game you can make a 5×5 Advanced Crafting Table using some expensive resources from one of the new dimensions. Having larger crafting grids allows for more complex and expensive recipes and discourages carrying a whole base in your pocket.

    The Furnace

    The furnace is one of the most useful blocks in Minecraft, as it lets the player cook food and smelt ore. However, while you are given the option of different types of fuel to use, one almost always chooses coal (or charcoal early game) due to how cheap it is and how long it burns. I plan to have Minecraft 2 include more fuels than its predecessor, and plan to make them more unique by giving them all three values rather than just one:

    Burn Time: This is the time in seconds the fuel burns for. This is the same as the current value.
    Smelt Speed: All smeltable items have their own “Smelt Time” stat (for example, a steak takes less time to cook than some ore). A fuel’s smelt speed stat is a modifier that reduces this time. A smelt speed of 2 means that this fuel smelts items twice as fast.
    Quality: Higher quality fuels yield more product per smelting operation. A fuel with a quality of 2 will provide twice as much product than a fuel with a quality of 1. Quality only affects smelting ore; cooking food will always yield only as much as you put in.

    For example:

    Wood is cheap and is terrible in all respects.
    Coal has a long burn time but a slow smelt speed and a low quality. Charcoal is a bit faster and has a slightly better quality.
    Blaze rods burn out quick, but smelt quickly and have slightly above-average quality.
    Lava burns for quite a while, but also smelts slowly, and its quality is terrible.

    The furnace GUI consists of three main parts: the fuel slot on the left, the ore slot(s) in the middle, and the output slot on the right. There’s also a meter for each slot. The fuel meter tells how long the current fuel will remain burning. It’s a brighter yellow for higher-quality fuels, and the brightness of the meter pulses, with slower pulses meaning longer burn time. Each ore slot has a meter under it, saying how long it will continue to smelt before a unit of the ore is depleted. The output meter displays how long until one ingot is produced.

    There are three types of furnaces. The Basic Furnace is crafted like the current furnace and has one ore slot. The Enhanced Furnace is crafted with 12 bricks in a square on an Enhanced Crafting Table and has two ore slots, as well as burns 50% longer. The Advanced Furnace requires some of the new materials from one of the new dimensions and an Advanced Crafting Table. It has four ore slots, burns 50% longer than a Basic Furnace, and has a 25% quality rating bonus for fuels.

    To begin smelting, place an ore in an available ore slot and a fuel in the fuel slot. Once the smelting process begins, one unit of each of the ores will be moved out of the corrosponding ore slot and into the smelting indicator below each slot. The output meter will begin to fill up, and when it does, you will get an ingot, or ingots, depending on what you put in. If you use the same ore, you can smelt a lot faster and efficiently. If you use different ores, you can get special alloys that will be more powerful than the sum of its parts. However, invalid combinations will result in you just getting the weakest ingot, so be careful.

    The Anvil

    I personally have always found anvils to be annoying. They are one of the most expensive crafting stations in the game, requiring a ridiculous amount of iron to obtain, and yet, unlike every other crafting station in the game, they can break, and the rate at which this will happen is determined solely by luck, meaning they can break in as little as three uses. These mechanics, along with their repair mechanic being rendered largely obsolete with the addition of mending, means that I have found anvils to be mostly pointless in my playthroughs.

    I plan to fix this by requiring anvils to be used to make weapons and armor. You can still craft “rudimentary” wooden and stone equipment as well as leather armor at a crafting table, but equipment of iron tier and above now require some investment to make. Anvils look similar to what they currently do, are still effected by gravity, and have the same recipe, but never break.

    The anvil GUI has been significantly changed:

    You can place up to two types of materials in most recipes: one type for red slots, and another for blue slots. The exception is armor, which can only be made from one material. This gives you some customizability, for example, have a gold hilt with an iron blade. As you can see, this makes equipment more expensive, but also adds in more customizability, and with the quality modifier of furnaces it won’t take much longer to get what you need.

    The third tab consists of two slots and is used to upgrade, repair, rename, and apply enchantment gems to weapons and armor.

    To help compensate for the hike in cost, your equipment doesn’t permanently break anymore. Once something reaches 50% of durability, it starts being less effective. Tools take longer to break blocks, armor provides fewer armor points, and weapons do less damage. When an item breaks, a broken version of the item replaces it, and it can no longer be used until it is repaired. To repair something, simply put the item on the anvil and add more of the item’s base (slot 1) material in the second slot. This will also cost 1-5 levels, depending on how many times the player has repaired that item already.

    You can also use anvils to upgrade a currently existing item. Each tier has its own unique trait, and thus instead of crafting a new item out of a more powerful tier, you may want to upgrade an item of an older tier to keep its trait. To do that, simply take the item you want and place 8 units of the material of the desired tier in the second slot. The item will become “gilded” with the upgraded tier, increasing its stats, but mantaining its traits. Note that while cheaper than creating a whole new item, upgrading an item is no replacement for crafting one. The durability is not increased, and they don’t get any additional enchantment sockets.

    You can rename any item by putting it in the anvil and typing a name into the textbox. Doing so costs one experience level.

    There will also be a red recipe book, which you can use to see what each part does and the different material traits that you have discovered.

    Anvils are also required to apply enchantment gems to items, which I’ll detail in the next section.

    The Enchanting Table

    A couple of diamonds, some obsidian, and a book are still all that is required to make this classic. However, enchanting has been changed significantly. I never liked the randomness of the enchanting system, as this was one of many things that encouraged grinding. The recent change to their mechanics was a welcome addition, at least for me, but I still feel there’s too much luck involved. Instead, I propose changing enchanting to a system of sockets and enchanted gems.

    The GUI is now comprised of three slots: the lapis slot, the gem slot, and the output slot. There is also a purple recipe book icon. You make an enchantment gem by placing several of the desired gem into the gem slot and an equal amount of lapis in the lapis slot. Once you do, you’ll see an experience counter detailing how many levels it costs to enchant this gem. More powerful enchantments require more levels to create. In addition, there are three sizes of enchantment gems: small requires four gems, medium requires 16, and large requires 32 gems, but each size is significantly more powerful than the previous. However, as each size requires more experience to make than the last, you may not be able to do the enchantment right away, as enchantment tables have a cap on the amount of experience you can use in a single operation. To increase this cap, you will have to add bookshelves.

    To apply an enchantment, you will have to go put it and an item with at least one open socket on an anvil. All items crafted at an anvil have sockets, from 2-6. This will consume a number of experience levels based on the quality of the item to enchant, the number of enchantments it already has, and the enchantment being applied. This means that late game enchanting can become really expensive, costing upwards of 50 levels with end-game equipment. You can also stack the same enchantment multiple times, though an enchantment that will be stacked costs much more to apply. Note that the application of enchantments is permanent, so choose carefully.

    Enchantment gems will not have the same effect on all pieces of equipment. For example, a diamond enchantment might give weapons more damage, but give armor more durability. I’ll get more into detail when I talk about the specifics of each gem when I discuss caving.

    The purple recipe book in the enchanting GUI can be used to see what each gemstone does.

    The Brewing Stands

    I don’t know about you, but I have never once brewed a potion in Minecraft. Potions are clunky and often underpowered. To fix this, you drink potions twice as fast, are no longer slowed down by them, and they stack to 4. To balance this out, instant health and instant harming are no longer obtainable, and consuming a second potion within 30 seconds of another will give you nausea for 30 seconds. In addition, splash potions are replaced with tipped arrows, which are made by combining one arrow with a potion. Tipped arrows are heavy and don’t fly far, but will give the effect of the potion to whoever it hits. If it misses, it will break and create a splash of a weaker version of the effect at the impact point.

    There are three types of brewing stands. The Basic Brewing Stand can only brew one potion at a time, can’t brew higher-level potions, and requires fuel to use (any fuel can be used, and burn time and smelt speed are considered, but not quality). It is crafted with two iron bars and three smooth stone in an upside-down T. The Enhanced Brewing Stand is crafted by combining a now much-rarer blaze rod with the Basic Brewing Stand. It can brew two potions at a time, can brew Tier II potions, and fuel burns twice as long. The Advanced Brewing Stand is crafted with some expensive materials from one of the new dimensions (like the Advanced Crafting Table) and can brew three potions at once, can brew Tier III potions, and doesn’t need fuel to brew.

    Brewing a potion no longer requires nether wart (which is going to be more difficult to initially obtain anyway), so brewing can be made use of early on (you’ll need it!). Instead, nether wart is used to upgrade a potion from Tier I to Tier II. It is also required to combine potions. To combine potions, place both the potions into a cauldron, which will make a brown liquid. Place a number of nether warts into the cauldron equal to the sum of the tiers (two Tier I potions requires two, one Tier I and one Tier III requires four, etc.). Next, hit the cauldron with a flint and steel to start the boiling process. When the potion is ready (which can take anywhere from 30-90 seconds), it will change color. When this happens, use an empty bottle to scoop out the new combined potion. Time it well, as if you do it too early, the potion will be weakened, and if you do it too late, the potion will have a lower duration. You will get a mundane potion, which just gives you nausea, if you add too much or not enough nether wart, try to combine a potion that has already been combined, or remove the potion way too early or late. I’m also considering having certain secret effects that can only be created by combining different potions together, so experiment!

    Upgrading a potion from Tier II to Tier III requires a rare end-game ingredient.

    A blue recipe book icon on the brewing GUI will tell you what all the ingredients and effects that you have discovered do

    Minecraft 2 doesn’t include any new crafting stations, as anything I could think of was either too complicated or could just be combined into an existing station. There is clearly going to have to be some changes in balancing with the differences in resource costs, but I’ve kept these in mind when designing the other game mechanics, so hopefully nothing gets too tedious.

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