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03 June 2015 @ 09:43 pm
Minecraft environmentalism  
I just finished watching this video about how Minecraft's encourages the ever-increasing looting of the earth in the pursuit of the player's goals:



And watching that, I realized that I think that's the main reason I prefer magical mods to tech mods. The mods that add a bunch of wires and pipes and power stations and so on eventually end up with Minecraft looking the same as the real world, with power lines strung everywhere, open pit mines, power plants spewing pollution into the surrounding terrain, oil spills, and all the rest. There's really no way around it without enormous amounts of inconvenience. A lot of the tech mods I've seen require mind-boggling amounts of raw materials to get set up, and if they allow automation, they don't allow it without scouring the earth down to the bedrock.

While there's nothing requiring that the player act to preserve the natural world with a magical modpack, it certainly makes it easier. Thaumcraft requires some raw materials, but the main progression is accomplished through going out into the world and analyzing various materials and then discovering formulae in your research base. Witchery actively requires a profusion of plant life near the player's altar, and Botania is entirely focused on magical flora. The culmination of all this is probably the Regrowth and Hubris modpacks. The first requires you to bring life to a lifeless wasteland, and the second is about surviving in a landscape corrupted by the arrogance of old wizards. Healing the land, not exploiting it.

I greatly prefer that kind of play. I tend to look for natural cave entrances when I'm looking for resources, and I usually build tree farms instead of chopping down pre-existing forests. In softlykarou's and my long-running game that we had to abandon due to server lag, our base looked like this:



We built our stronghold inside the tree and under the ground and lit it with fireflies, and the only sign that anyone lived there at all was a small fence around the door at the tree's base and lights burning in its boughs, plus a few nearby torches to ward off the night. That's my favorite way to play Minecraft.


Postscript: Iin fairness, I should say that one person who liked tech mods but didn't like ruining the world created a mod that adds a mining dimension that you can ruin instead. Whether that's actually philosophically different at all, I leave as an exercise for the reader.
 
 
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