The Minecolonies Mod Attempts To Tackle Minecraft’s Inherent Loneliness
Minecraft can at times feel like a pretty lonely game, if you’re not on a server anyway. The only other people or creatures you’ll encounter tend to be pretty undesirable. Squidward villagers, farm animals, monsters… apart from pet wolves you don’t really have anyone in Minecraft to keep you company.
Minecolonies is a mod that attempts to repair this issue, and it does so with some pretty excellent mechanics that are a lot of fun to mess around with. In Minecolonies, you’ll create hamlets, towns, and even full-blown cities, bustling with activity from friendly NPC civilians anxious to serve their liege-lord. That’s you, by the way.
What do these civilians do all day, you ask? Well, a bit of everything, really. They’ll mine, chop down trees, farm, go fishing, bake bread, stock and organize a decently-sized storehouse, construct buildings, and guard your colony from interloping baddies. And all they ask in return is for you to keep them safe and fed.
Minecolonies: A Mod About Making Life Easier For You By Making Life Harder For You
Of course, getting these civilians to work isn’t as easy as throwing around a few bossy commands. You’ll need to be pretty hands-on with your colony if you hope to see it grow. If you expect to kick back in a lawn chair, sipping a lemonade while you “supervise” your fledgling colony, then perhaps this isn’t the mod for you.
You’ll first be tasked with constructing either a supply ship or a supply camp (don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than it sounds). These require either a large body of water for the ship, or a ton of flat-landing to clear out space for the camp. This will provide you with a town hall and a builder’s wand, which you can use to start plotting out your colony.
Right from the start, you’ll be pretty blown away by the awesome schematic-placing system Minecolonies implements. Buildings are shown in the world, and can be rotated, elevated, and shifted around with a surprising level of ease. You can also click through the various upgrades of each building, so you can see what it will look like — and more importantly, how much space it will gobble up — down the road.
The buildings in Minecolonies look surprisingly good for having been built entirely from vanilla parts. And more impressive is that the mod features several alternatives for all of their buildings. Many of them can be built from wood, stone, sandstone, or mesa clay, and they all look pretty good.
A seemingly neat feature I haven’t played with yet: importing schematics. I can’t comment on this feature’s quality however, apart from noting that including it shows that the Minecolonies team wants to see this mod grow, and that’s a good thing.
Once you’ve finished placing your town hall, you’ll need to build at least one Builder. Builders will run around constructing the various structures of your colony. Homes, warehouses, guard towers, decorations, builders will do it all. But you better keep them well-stocked with supplies, or you’re in for what I’ve taken to calling “builder spam,” which we’ll get to… well… now.
A Few Suggestions
This is becoming a trend in these reviews, but I do have a handful of suggestions I’d like to offer to the Minecolonies team, should they ever actually see this article that is. And chief amongst those suggestions? Ending builder spam.
So, you’ve asked your builder to construct a barn. That builder uses the resources at their disposal, but then needs blocks of hay. You’re not farming wheat yet, so you need to plant seeds and harvest them, which can take a bit of time. And all the while, your builder will be spamming text chat, telling you she needs hay blocks.
It’s not really annoying in small colonies. But when you get a bigger colony with 20+ citizens, you’ll at times feel like all you’re doing is fulfilling those sorts of orders. Builders, miners, farmers, lumberjacks, they all need a steady stream of supplies. And while you can hire deliverymen to dart around hauling said supplies, you’ll still be left crafting most of them by hand.
I’d love to see a blacksmith and a carpenter who can craft these supplies on-demand from resources in the colony’s warehouses. When your miner needs slabs, your carpenter could whip them up. When your lumberjack needs a new ax, your blacksmith can craft it. This will make village life a little less hectic and leave you with more time to do your own list of activities in Minecraft. AS it stands, managing a large colony is a full-time job in survival mode.
The good news? It appears the team behind Minecolonies is already planning to add at least one of these features. There’s already a smith in Minecolonies, though as of now it’s unusable. Hopefully they’ll expand on these features soon.
I’d also like to see cottages, which can be occupied by two NPCs who get married. Maybe the player could officiate the wedding? They could have kids, who also live in the cottage, and grow up into adults whenever there’s a free slot in a cottage or a town house. And if those kids shared traits from their parents, that would be a pretty cool little bonus.
Another neat feature for some distant future version of the mod: a temple, ideally based on a fictional, lore-friendly religion so that players don’t end up insulted that their own faith isn’t represented in-game. The temple could serve as a congregation point for idle builders and unemployed citizens, who would gain happiness if the temple is staffed and supplied with some sort of raw material; maybe torches in lieu of candles?
I’m not just saying that because I created a Minecraft religion on the Waywardcraft server called “Temple of the Undying Torch.” And if I am, you can’t prove it!
All told, Minecolonies is a very original mod that breathes all sorts of life into Minecraft. The mod is well-made, has a small footprint on system resources, and looks impressive to boot. It’s rare that a Minecraft mod checks every box for me, but Minecolonies does precisely that.
Waywardcraft is still a young site. I’m the only person who writes for it. But someday, I’d like to dish out annual awards of some sort for the Forge modding community. And if and when that day comes, you can expect to see Minecolonies scoring a nomination in whatever NPC-related category I come up with. If your’e in the market for a mod like this, I strongly recommend it. And if you’re one of the mod’s developers: keep up the good work!