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My new least favorite game: Minecraft

LincLinc Community InstigatorDetroit, MI Icrontian
edited Feb 2012 in Minecraft
Icrontic has had a very active Minecraft server for ages. I love Legos to death, and I'm a developer - I love building things by imagining them in my head and then using a computer to create them. Sounds like a perfect match right?

Finally, I went to buy the game. It took me a half hour and 2 accounts on the minecraft.net site to accomplish this feat. For some reason, my primary credit card (which I've used many times a day for the last 4 years) wouldn't work. After a second attempt, it banned me from using credit cards. Then it somehow sniffed me out on my new account in a separate browser and banned me from a different card. So, I finally resorted to PayPal and paid the surcharge. Screw that website.

So now I'm irritated and I start up Minecraft. I select single player and start a new world. Sweet, here I am. The game gives me 1 tip: Press 'E' for inventory. I get an achievement for doing this. Now what? My inventory tells me nothing and is empty.

I start wandering around, and end up with some saplings and some flowers. I stick them in the craft slots. Nothing happens. I find the "Achievements" menu for guidance. It says to punch a tree until it gives you wood. I start clicking on a tree repeatedly, and nothing happens. Click click click click click click click click click click... nothing. Three minutes of this and Brian gets pissed off at the sound of me clicking at my trackpad. What the hell is the matter with this game? Finally Brian says: "Can you just hold it down?" Bam bam... wood. OK fine.

Suddenly the screen goes dark. Two minutes later, I'm dead. Then I respawn. Something explodes and I'm wounded. I can't see a goddamn thing. Another minute passes and I'm getting shot. I just stand there because I can't even figure out how to restart without creating a whole new world. Dead. Respawn next to the shooter guy. Dead again. And again. And again. I start a new world.

So I get some wood. The next achievement is "use 4 planks of wood to create a workbench" or some such. So I figure out how to turn wood into planks, and stick 4 in the crafting window. Nothing. I finally deduce how to split them up, and after putting them perfectly 1 piece in each pane of the crafting window, tada, a bench. Great. A fucking OCD computer game.

Next achievement: Use sticks and planks to make a pickaxe. Sticks? I have saplings, do they mean that? Nope. I keep rearranging shit and figure out how to make a stick by accident.

I quickly make myself a 2x3 little wood plank hut just as it turns to night and sit staring out my tiny window, not wanting to die again. OK, I can use this time to craft something, right?

I'll be damned if I ever figured out how to make a pickaxe. I spent well over a fucking hour on this, no joke. I left the game and Googled. Guess what? Every goddamn result referenced a non-existent 3x3 crafting grid. I tried every configuration of sticks and planks in different quantities and positions that I could think of. Hell, I tried throwing in the workbench a few times. Nothing.

It's daylight again. I run around a little, then back to my hut. I'm sitting in a game that's supposed to be fun, and it's the most stressful, asinine thing I've done all day, and I've been doing customer support for work. 2.5 hours from the time I went to the website and I don't even have a pickaxe.

Brian asks, "Does it make you angry that little kids can figure this out and you can't?"

I say, "No, because kids have time to waste fiddling with this shit. I'm done."
Creeperbane2ardichoke
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Comments

  • WinfreyWinfrey waddafuh Missouri Icrontian
    I giggled a little.

    My first few minutes in Minecraft wasn't all that different but then I went to the minecraft wikipedia page and figured out how to do all the things and it was good.
  • CannonFodderCannonFodder Detroit, MI Icrontian
    The wiki is pretty much the key to all the things.

  • ErrorNullTurnipErrorNullTurnip Illinois Icrontian
    http://www.minecraftwiki.net/wiki/Crafting
    That should get you started. There is a bit of a learning curve and I agree, it could use a tutorial of sorts for new players. Just give it some more time (if you dare).
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit, MI Icrontian
    Definition of failed game design: Requires wiki to play.
  • MrTRiotMrTRiot Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    It says to punch a tree until it gives you wood. I start clicking on a tree repeatedly, and nothing happens. Click click click click click click click click click click... nothing. Three minutes of this and Brian gets pissed off at the sound of me clicking at my trackpad. What the hell is the matter with this game? Finally Brian says: "Can you just hold it down?" Bam bam... wood. OK fine.
    Wayyy tooo funny!

    edit: Might as well take the link to the wiki out since someone else put it up. You might want to put the game on peaceful until you figure out the mechanics...
  • primesuspectprimesuspect HumanGarbageDisposal Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    I'm torn between lolz at poor Matt's expense and seeing his point at bad game design. Requiring a wiki to explain how to play is lame as hell.

    But also torn because this proves, once again, that good design doesn't mean shit when it comes to making money. Besides, Notch can make all the bad games he wants; he's a gazillionaire and now he can fund awesome games like Psychonauts 2. Carry on.
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit, MI Icrontian
    this proves, once again, that good design doesn't mean shit when it comes to making money.
    You're assuming it wouldn't make gobs more money if the UI didn't completely blow.
  • RahnalH102RahnalH102 the Green Devout New Mexico Icrontian
    This is indeed the major flaw of Minecraft: Getting Started. I bought it a few weeks ago and only caught on on my first try cause I happened to watch a tutorial while it was downloading. So I tinkered around with the single player mode on easy for a few hours. Got the hang of things, so I decided to go join the Icrontic server. All fine and dandy. Except now I'm seeing what all the more experienced players are doing. It's not bad or anything, it's just suddenly I learn there is still way of an effort I need to put in to learn about this game. Not what I was wanting really, so things have been pretty slow for me.
  • pigflipperpigflipper The Forgotten Coast Icrontian
    @Lincoln Thank you for this post.
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx The Dean of Computer Graphics Redwood City, CA Icrontian
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Austin, TX Icrontian
    Some people find Minecraft intuitive, some don't. Sorry it wasn't for you, Matt. :/
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands Icrontian
    If it makes you feel better, the original point of the game wasn't "go to a wiki and learn all the recipes," it was "try to make things with the materials you find in the world." The basic recipes are all moderately intuitive (make something that looks sort of like a pickaxe to make a pickaxe, make something with sticks and a string to make a bow, etc). It could possibly use a little bit more prodding for some of the super-basic stuff ("Now put down your workbench and put one block of wood on there to get sticks, and put a stick and a piece of coal to make a torch"), but the point of the game was exploration and discovery, not "read this dictionary before you start."
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    @Lincoln - I have tried Minecraft too and its appeal completely evades me. I don't understand what people see in it. I'm happy it's doing well, nothing against it, just not my cup of tea.
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    You aren't alone. The held my interest for all of 30 minutes.
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    But we saved you space and named a road after you :bawl:
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ @TheButterflyman Icrontian
    I find Minecraft is not compelling to play alone. I couldn't figure out what was so fun about it until I got on Skype with a few of my friends, and we started building things together.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Dallas Icrontian
    I agree that the first few minutes is pretty terrible in terms of explaining the basics. I wish they would incorporate the wiki directly into the game, evading the alt-tabbing to figure out some obscure crafting "recipe".
  • quake101quake101 Ohio Member
    This is why I haven't bought minecraft yet. I tried playing on a friend's account for about 1 hour before giving up. I really want to get into the game but I just can't seem too. :(
  • ZanthianZanthian Mitey Worrier Milford, OH Icrontian
    I had a better first experience by logging in and playing on the Icrontic server. Everyone there is helpful and willing to show you the ropes.
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit, MI Icrontian
    the original point of the game wasn't "go to a wiki and learn all the recipes," it was "try to make things with the materials you find in the world."
    But the game doesn't even TRY to point you in that direction. No "it matters what order you place items in", no "hey, hit this button to place something". It's just "Stand here. You have an inventory! Now die by creepers."
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit, MI Icrontian
    It's like sitting down to play Settlers of Catan with someone for the first time and they tell you "Here, put these on the board and roll the dice" and they stop talking to you after that. Guess who's never playing Settlers again?
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    It doesn't matter what order you place items in, just where they are on the grid in relation to each other.

    For instance, to make a wood shovel, you place this:

    [ ] [p] [ ]
    [ ] [s] [ ]
    [ ] [s] [ ]

    (where p = plank and s = stick)

    It doesn't matter what you put down first, in fact, it shouldn't even matter if it's in the middle or if it's like this:

    [p] [ ] [ ]
    [s] [ ] [ ]
    [s] [ ] [ ]

    as long as you have a plank above two sticks.

    Similarly, to make sticks, you need to have two planks, one above the other. It doesn't matter if you do this on a crafting table or your inventory crafting box, nor does it matter where on the crafting area you have the items, as long as you have plank above plank (or stack of plank above stack of plank).
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    The part he didn't know is that he had to make the table first :)
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ @TheButterflyman Icrontian
    I think it's the result of a game developed by democracy. putting in a tutorial is low priority because (a) it's not fun to make a tutorial and (b) the people who frequent the boards and ask for things don't care about a tutorial. They want more features and they want bug fixes (in that order), so that's what gets done.
  • colacola part legend, part devil... all man Right behind you Icrontian
    It's like sitting down to play Settlers of Catan with someone for the first time and they tell you "Here, put these on the board and roll the dice" and they stop talking to you after that. Guess who's never playing Settlers again?
    I had a wonderful time the first time I sat down to play Settlers, but that was at EPIC so that's kind of a given. If you ever decide to hop on again, try hitting up the minecraft room in Vent, you won't regret it :P
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    To look at your Settlers argument another way... what you're saying is akin to someone sitting down to play Settlers of Catan, not reading the instructions (the wiki) then giving up and saying the game is stupid and they're never going to play it again because they can't figure it out.

    Here's your instructions: http://www.minecraftwiki.net/wiki/Tutorials/Beginner's_guide

    Give it one more chance?
  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! SoCal Icrontian
    The part he didn't know is that he had to make the table first :)
    Sounds like he was able to make the table. Looks like he didn't place it to get to his 3x3 grid.

    Some people just aren't going to like it. If that is true for you Matt I am sorry to hear it. As others have said, playing with others along for the ride is a completely different game. I only ask that you give it another chance on our server. Hop on with Ryder or Rob or Canti or Spence (I wish I could offer my time but will be out of town until Sunday) and have them show you around. I hope what we have on our server can inspire you to join us once in a while. If after you give it a shot playing on the server, the game is still not for you, then at least you gave it a shot.

    -Digi
  • GargoyleGargoyle Illinois Icrontian
    What other video games these days require reading of instructions? I can't think of anything that doesn't explain all the core activities in-game. The closest thing I can think of is Civilization, but that's why the Civilopedia is so easy to access. Just seems like if the wiki is so critical, implement it in-game.
  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! SoCal Icrontian
    What other video games these days require reading of instructions? I can't think of anything that doesn't explain all the core activities in-game. The closest thing I can think of is Civilization, but that's why the Civilopedia is so easy to access. Just seems like if the wiki is so critical, implement it in-game.
    I was lost as hell playing LOL and HON.

    -Digi

  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    What other video games these days require reading of instructions? I can't think of anything that doesn't explain all the core activities in-game. The closest thing I can think of is Civilization, but that's why the Civilopedia is so easy to access. Just seems like if the wiki is so critical, implement it in-game.


    I was lost as hell playing LOL and HON.

    -Digi

    Too true... also, Dwarf F*CKING Fortress.

    Why implement the wiki in-game? The game isn't even full screen! Why reinvent the wheel when you don't have to?
  • MrTRiotMrTRiot Icrontian
    Dwarf fortress?! lol...nearly impossible to play without the wiki and dwarf therapist...
  • AnnesAnnes Tripped Up by Libidos and Hubris Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    To look at your Settlers argument another way... what you're saying is akin to someone sitting down to play Settlers of Catan, not reading the instructions (the wiki) then giving up and saying the game is stupid and they're never going to play it again because they can't figure it out.
    Not quite right. Settlers of Catan COMES with instructions. You see them when you first open the box. Does Minecraft give you any sort of direction to the wiki? A link? Anything? Or do you just have to know that there's a wiki that has a beginners guide?

    Matt, I toally agree with you. Reminds me of my first time playing. Then I got onto the IC server and Jimmy, RyanFodder, and Eli pretty much told me exactly what to do.
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    To look at your Settlers argument another way... what you're saying is akin to someone sitting down to play Settlers of Catan, not reading the instructions (the wiki) then giving up and saying the game is stupid and they're never going to play it again because they can't figure it out.


    Not quite right. Settlers of Catan COMES with instructions. You see them when you first open the box. Does Minecraft give you any sort of direction to the wiki? A link? Anything? Or do you just have to know that there's a wiki that has a beginners guide?
    Yup, there's multiple links to the minecraft wiki in the "Help" section on the Minecraft site, most specifically: http://help.mojang.com/customer/portal/articles/325961-how-do-i-play-minecraft-

  • GargoyleGargoyle Illinois Icrontian
    What are the chances that we're letting Mojang get away with game design that we'd never let EA or Valve get away with?
  • AnnesAnnes Tripped Up by Libidos and Hubris Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    So nothing in-game. Got it.
  • ardichokeardichoke Buttes Master B Lansing, MI Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    Personally, if EA or Valve made Minecraft, I'd let them get away with the same game design. It's an open-ended sandbox game. I don't expect it to be spoon fed to me. I expect to have to look things up if I can't figure them out.

    Then again... I was always the kid that threw out the Lego instructions and said "lets see what I can build on my own."

    @Annes: You didn't say "in game," since you have to go to the site to purchase the game, you're aware of the sites existence. It's not hard to see the "Help" link right at the top.
  • RahnalH102RahnalH102 the Green Devout New Mexico Icrontian
    I didn't think I would ever say "Here's Egoraptor for some relevancy." but ... here's Egoraptor for some actual flipping relevancy. (Ha still didn't say it!) At least in the "Good Intros and Tutorials of Game Design" aspect of this.

    Other then that I'll reiterate. Biggest flaw of Minecraft. If you're willing to work past it, then you'll know whether this game is truly for you or not.
    I find Minecraft is not compelling to play alone.
    Very true.

  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! SoCal Icrontian
    Splash screen has a link to the Main page if not the Wiki itself. You guys are having the same conversation that everyone has been having for the last few years. What will eventually happen is you will boil it down to the fact that ti is an unfinished game that got way bigger than its britches faster than the developer has been able to keep up.

    What we DO have is an amazing way to be creative with your friends, adventure with your friends, or make up your own challenge.

    @Lincoln My first experience with Minecraft was Very similar to yours. Heck, anyone that boots up Minecraft with none of the background is going to do that. I'm still learning things about it and I run the community. Some rage quit, some take it as a challenge. Can't make it through the first night now? Get better and try to kill the dragon in one life. Speaking of which, it would be awesome to have you come slay the dragon with us in a couple weeks ;)

    -Digi
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    what you're saying is akin to someone sitting down to play Settlers of Catan, not reading the instructions (the wiki) then giving up and saying the game is stupid and they're never going to play it again because they can't figure it out.
    No, it's like them NOT INCLUDING ANY INSTRUCTIONS and then being gently told I'm an idiot for not realizing I need to Google them and figure out what order to read them in. There isn't even a bloody Help menu in the game.

    //edit: Anne beat me to it. There is no mention of a 'wiki' anywhere in the game. I ended up in a void of various wikis and YouTube videos by 8 year olds.
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    ok... so are you going to dwell on the fact that playing single sucks are are you going to join the server and have fun with us? ;D
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    I was always the kid that threw out the Lego instructions and said "lets see what I can build on my own."
    So was I. The difference is Legos are simple and self-evident. They snap together. Rinse and repeat. It's amazing design. You don't have to figure out you put together 2 blue bricks and a red square to magically make a fucking window piece.
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit, MI Icrontian
    I'm not trying to have an epic single player adventure, I just wanted to show up to the server with enough background to not accidentally someone's building because I have no idea what the controls are or what the various blocks do.
  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! SoCal Icrontian
    I'm not trying to have an epic single player adventure, I just wanted to show up to the server with enough background to not accidentally someone's building because I have no idea what the controls are or what the various blocks do.
    You wouldn't be the first and I guarantee you will not be the last. It's part of the game, that's why I have Matrix type power to undo anything that gets accidentallyed.

    -Digi
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    I don't expect it to be spoon fed to me.
    No one's talking about spoon feeding here. Explaining to me HOW TO CRAFT ANYTHING AT ALL is not spoon feeding, it's having minimal regard for your user and the experience you're creating for them. If you think mashing the keyboard to figure out what button does the thing you're trying to do is fun, you live in a different realm than most people.
  • colacola part legend, part devil... all man Right behind you Icrontian
    And heck, if you become a problem Linc, we can always send you to the moon XD
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ @TheButterflyman Icrontian
  • quake101quake101 Ohio Member
    *holds on to his $27 for now*
  • BasilBasil Nubcaek IREEELAND Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    Minecraft has managed to escape criticism for it's unhelpful, unintuitive interface as it has inherited so much of its player base from alpha/beta builds where the complete lack of any instruction was tolerated.

    Veteran players no longer care about the confusing start and new players seem to be referred by existing ones so often get the help they need outside of the game.
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