Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Minecraft 1.9

So, the fabled "Combat Update" is finally out.  Weapons now have a cooldown, which is supposed to make combat more "strategic" by forcing you to time your strikes.  Well, they're already wrong.  A cooldown doesn't force you to time your strikes.  All a cooldown does is make you have to run around like a ninny during combat.

Anyway, I downloaded the update, made a fresh world, and hopped in.  Getting started is still the same basic sequence of "punch trees, make crafting table and wood pickaxe, mine stone, make stone pickaxe, mine more stone, make stone tools, look for coal, build shelter".

The shield is a critical part of combat in 1.9, using it properly negates basically all incoming damage.  I looked up the recipe and it's pretty simple.  6 wood planks in a Y shape, with a single iron ingot in the middle of the top row.  Then to use it to block, you hold right click.

Therein lies the problem, though.  You're telling me that my shield is absolutely no good against incoming attacks unless I'm holding right click?  Get out of here.  Blocking with the shield also slows you to a crawl, which is similarly illogical.  Oh and guess what?  It also prevents you from swinging the weapon in your other hand.  Because THAT makes sense.  Why do I have two hands if I can't do things with both of them at the same time?

Okay, so I'm caving like usual, having found iron and made a shield.  Another vein of iron later and I've got a chestpiece.  Not much interaction with the enemies thus far, so I'm feeling pretty good.  I get to the bottom of a hole in the ground and see two zombies.  Okay, let's go.  Strike the first one, wait for it... eventually the sword comes back up.  Dunno if anyone told you, Mojang, but swords, especially one-handed ones, are fast-striking weapons.  Anyway.  In the meantime, the second zombie has gotten closer.  I swing again and hit the second one.  Now the first one is closer and my attack is still recharging.  Boop!  I take damage.  I repeat this process, noting that taking damage during combat seems to be unavoidable now.  I kill one of the zombies but the other gets me during my recharge.


Thankfully, I'd had the foresight to run /gamerule keepInventory true before I started.  As far as I'm concerned, that should be a standard feature instead of a "cheat".  I don't find having to run back to where I died, pick up all my shit, and frantically sort through it while the enemy that killed me is still around and trying to kill me to be a very fun activity.

Anyway, since I didn't have to sort through all my shit, I ran back there.  Now there's two skeletons and a witch as well as the partially damaged zombie.  I take out the zombie fairly easily, and luckily one of the two skeletons shot the other while trying to shoot me, so they started fighting each other.  The witch hits me with poison straight away (I thought they were supposed to drink a speed potion and throw slowness first...), and I start smacking her with my sword as often as the recharge speed allows.  As this is happening, the poison is draining my health, and she's drinking health potions.  A quick splash potion of harming finishes me off.

I try again, and of course the witch is still alive.  A creeper and some more skeletons have shown up.  Note that I haven't made any progress in this cave beyond this point, and it's a rather enclosed area with no room to move around whatsoever.  If you infer based on the story above that I died again, you'd be correct.

This would begin a cycle of running back there, trying to make progress, and dying without making any progress, that repeated every minute or so.  Eventually I gave up trying to have fun and quit the game.

Yeah, let me reiterate: This isn't fun.  How could anyone possibly find PvE in this update to be fun?  It's just tedious, and I've already ranted about the difference between tedium and challenge.

So, bulleted list of things I've noticed about 1.9:
  • It isn't fun.
  • The early game is much, much harder for absolutely no reason.
  • If you're beset upon by more than one enemy at a time, you're fucked.
  • Wielding a shield in one hand apparently prevents me from swinging a sword in the other hand, and also makes me move ridiculously slowly.
  • Combat is only feasible in wide-open areas with room to run around.
  • Having a shield in my hand isn't enough to actually use it, even though it's in front of my player character.
  • If I get my shield up before an incoming attack hits, but not quickly enough before that attack hits, I still take damage.
  • Getting lucky and having a source of mid-to-high saturation food nearby while you're getting started is critical.  If you generate a world and don't see cows or pigs immediately, delete it and start over.
  • Dying every minute or so isn't fun.
  • It isn't fun.
So there you have it.  The last good version of Minecraft is 1.8.9.

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