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I don’t know why I waited so long to play Minecraft with mods

I will never play vanilla Minecraft again

A beautiful kitchen made using a Minecraft mod Image: Mojang/FTB Team via Polygon

I have seen the heavenly light and it is Minecraft with over a hundred mods packed into it.

My friends and I get into Minecraft several times a year. We normally pester somebody to host a server on their computer and play basic, vanilla Minecraft for about a week before we get bored. We’ve never played with heavy mods before, outside of Pixelmon, just due to the complexity involved with setting up and self-hosting a modded server. After watching a pack of streamers play with the Feed the Beast Revelation modpack, we wanted in.

Feed the Beast modpacks are bundles of mods, typically with a theme. There’s a “Skyfactory” modpack for high tech and automation, an “Academy” modpack for beginners, and things like that. Revelation is a huge, unthemed modpack that hosts a whole ton of mods.

Unfortunately Feed the Beast Revelation was pretty hard on some of our PCs, so we had to go with a smaller and older pack, Infinity Evolved. After testing the waters with server hosting, we decided to suck it up and do the adult thing: buy a dedicated Minecraft server. (I understand that a group of adults in their mid-20s should be able to chuck in a few bucks to pay for a dedicated Minecraft server, but for some reason we all just refused to until now. We are a lazy group of degenerates, I know.)

Several portals, chests, and a large forge in Minecraft Image: Mojang/FTB Team via Polygon

I was immediately overwhelmed. My friend had gotten a head start and built a huge, green, unfamiliar portal and a large stone forge at our spawn. This felt so far from the basic Minecraft we all knew and loved, but that was the exciting part. I didn’t know what to expect.

After learning that the menacing green portal went to the Mining Biome — a dimension free of any monsters — I built my house in that safe zone and immediately started collecting resources. My friend ended up beckoning me back from my quiet biome to his ominous forge to teach me how to make some specialized tools, including my new favorite thing: the hammer.

Let me tell you, folks: I will no longer play Minecraft if it doesn’t have this hammer. When you use this hammer on a block, it breaks the eight surrounding blocks too, making it an extremely fast tool to mine with. Now if you hand me a basic pickaxe in vanilla Minecraft, my fingers will crumble into dust immediately. I cannot live without this hammer, or any of its sister tools that do similar things — like an axe that cuts down an entire tree when you hit one block — ever again.

A gif of a Minecraft hammer breaking down several stone blocks at once Image: Mojang/FTB Team via Polygon

And there’s so much more in the modpack. There’s furniture to make beautiful homes, as if I’m playing The Sims. There are more farming and crop options. One buddy started growing hemp as a joke, but it turned into a resourceful way to farm string. A different friend has learned how to program a turtle to get it to mine diamonds for him.

Even exploring is made super easy, thanks to a handy map that’s always sitting in the corner of the screen. You can also place waypoints around the map to keep note of certain areas you want to return to. There’s nothing like zooming through the map, cutting down trees with one swing of your modded axe, without having to deal with the fear of getting permanently lost in the sprawling Minecraft wildlands.

From the smallest quality-of-life changes to new creatures and materials, there’s so much to do in Minecraft now beyond building a house and taking out the Ender Dragon. And there are still so many mods in the pack for me to get into, like witchcraft and botany. But for now I’ll just be out exploring the map with no fear of what I might run into.

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