Tag Archives: Minecraft Mods

Mekanism: A Minecraft Mod Review


What is Mekanism? Well, as usual, let me start with a story. Hey, give me a break. I’m a frustrated writer who has hasn’t been able to write, except for this web page. Give me this simple outlet. I can’t promise you it will be worth your time, but I will promise to try to make it quick. Deal?

Is that the banker I hear calling?

My favorite mods were utility like a mini map and an inventory mod. To be honest, the mini map is the one thing I miss on the XBox One. Okay, I said I’d make this quick. Well, I soon moved onto visual mods like Thaumcraft and Mekanism. Those were my two favorites and I played through a world on both of them.

Between the two mods, I was virtually indestructible. I had a jet pack, magic armor, plus extra health and armor. I could breathe underwater and convert unwanted items into magical essence. It was fun for awhile. However, the curse of omnipotence is very real, my friends. Soon, I grew bored of being a Minecraft god. Then, my computer took a dump and I lost the world anyway.

A Return to Mekanism

We’ve gotten a new computer. Of course, Minecraft was one of the first things installed. However, I took a second job working nights and there was no time to play. Fast forward to March and the Covid-10 crisis and now I have all the time in the world. There’s only one problem. The XBox One is downstairs and the computer is up in Aiden’s bedroom. Long story, that. Not really, but I said I’d keep this short.

Okay, moving on. Jeez, you are pushy! When I planned Minecraft, I knew I’d do an article about mods. I’ve already talked about Thaumcraft in the past. However, you just can’t have a Minecraft week without talking about mods. So, I did some research to see the status of my old mods. Thaumcraft appears to have been abandoned, but Mekanism was just recently updated. Huzzah! Off we go.

The Great

Ore Processing – The mod introduces new ways to process your ores. As you increase your efficiency with new machines, you are able to take one ore and break it down into “more refined” materials. From one ore, you can conceivably get 5 ingots. Granted, there aren’t many ores in Minecraft that are truly rare, but this still makes for a massive surplus in a lot of cases.

The set up is pretty crazy, though.

Jet Packs! – I’m a big fan of jet packs. Often, when I taught engineering, I used jet packs as a solution to getting from one side of the river to the other. Mekanism gives you the ability to fly using jet packs. It is quite possibly the coolest item I’ve ever crafted in all of Minecraft. Just thinking about it now makes me want to go up and start the process.

The Good

Electricity – Sure, Redstone allows for some circuitry in Minecraft and is a sort of pseudo electricity. However, Mekanism gives you real honest to goodness generators and processors that run on electricity. You even have to craft and run wires in some cases to make it work. Sure, it seems like a small thing and maybe not a distinction worth mentioning. However, it’s one that I found interesting.

New Ores – I have to be honest. I almost put this one in “The Great” section. Then again, I’m the kind of guy who still gets excited every time I run across coal while I’m mining. If you give me new materials that are necessary to build new stuff, that just means there’s more to hunt for when I’m out mining!

Plus, I just like saying Osmium.

The Decent

Not a Full Reskin – The mod isn’t sold as a full reskin and I wasn’t expecting one. It just introduces some new materials and craftables. With all of that being said, I think something like Pixelmon or Parzi’s Star Wars Mod are a lot more fun than something like Mekanism. The main problem there is that those mods are usually too quickly abandoned. Probably because they’re a ton of work to design, develop, and update.

No In-Game Tutorial – I’m going to be honest again. This is really the only thing that bothers me about the mod. I just added the full reskin so that I could have my requisite 2 items in each section. Sure, there is an extensive tutorial online. Also, people have made their own. However, one of the things that I liked so much about Thaumcraft was that you could learn on the go and not have to alt-tab to figure things out. Granted, it’s a small inconvenience, but it is inconvenient.

We need a Mekanomicon. That sounds too much like Necronomicon. I will work on the name.

The Verdict

While Thaumcraft was probably my favorite mod for Minecraft, Mekanism was always a close second. Unfortunately, Thaumcraft hasn’t been updated in a few years. As I remember, it was pretty fully functional, so that isn’t a huge deal. Nevertheless, that means that Mekanism has moved into first place. There is such a variety of tasks to keep you busy. Definitely check it out if you have the chance.

Thaumcraft Check-In (Yer a Wizard, Noob!)

Introduction (Time is Arbitrary)

What is Thaumcraft? Thaumcraft is a Minecraft mod that I played pretty extensively last year. It introduces magic into Minecraft. You could craft wands (since taken out for some reason) and cast various spells. When I played it last year, I became more or less immortal. I lost that save game, so back to the drawing board. Download Thaumcraft here.

I know. Minecraft May is infringing upon June. That’s okay, though, since time is relative and ultimately arbitrary. I mean, time itself isn’t arbitrary. It marches inexorably on into the oblivion of our own deaths and the inevitable heat death of the universe.

However, as entropy has deemed us lucky enough to live in a time and place in the universe where the motions are more or less predictable, we have chosen to use that arbitrary predictability to base our measurements of time. So, May, June, whatever, I want to play and write about some Minecraft.

After all, I once heard Minecraft as “you mine stuff and then craft things” early in it’s life cycle and that’s exactly it.

A Note on this Thaumcraft review

I wanted to play through the mod before posing this article. And, if you’re a regular reader of the web page or a someone who appreciates irony, you will know that this is where I admit that I didn’t play. That’s only partially true. I set up Thaumcraft a few days ago and did play twice today.

After consulting the internet (I know, dangerous) for a brief introduction to the mod, I loaded up a game. I knew that in order to be successful, I had to find some crystals and sleep one night. That unlocks the spell book that guides you through the rest of the magic. I’m not sure if there’s any way to “discover” the crystal/sleep method other than with the pop up that you get when you do mine some of the crystals, but I wanted to get into the mod in order to review any changes.

Well, best laid plans and all of that. The first time I played, I found crystals, but was unable to craft a bed before getting blown up by a creeper. The second time, I was able to craft my bed, but no crystals are near my spawn point. Therefore, the review is based on my experience from last year.

The Good (Thaumcraft is polished)

Thaumcraft is not a mod that is a full reskin of Minecraft. To be honest, I’m not sure how popular those are. I remember back in my DOOM days, people would completely redesign the game from the ground up and create an all new game. I’ve seen a few Minecraft mods like that, but they must be an enormous undertaking as they are few and far between and don’t seem to last very long before being abandoned.

Thaumcraft is also not a mod that just adds a few new items to the game. I’ve also seen those types. Like the old Sims 2 packs that my wife and I would download, these mods give you a couch or a lounge chair or a bathroom set or all of those things. I’m not interested at all in minor cosmetic changes to a game. Well, except The Sims.

Thaumcraft is that rare in between mod that changes the game just enough to make it interesting…more interesting. I love Minecraft by itself. I can’t count the days that I spent staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning exploring a mine that I dug 8 hours earlier. But, it is fun to see what the community thinks the game needs. Magic and technology are the two big factors that I always wanted. Thaumcraft gave me that and in a very polished way.

Plus, there’s this neat puzzle that allows you to discover new spells and interactions.

The Bad (Thaumcraft isn’t always user friendly)

Despite being a mod that mostly just works, it isn’t always obvious what you’re supposed to do. I get that Minecraft is supposed to be about exploring, but if you happen to get dropped in an area with no crystals, then you have no idea how you are supposed to proceed and the mod might just feel completely broken from the beginning. I don’t know how likely that is, but it happened one out of two times for me, so it’s somewhat likely.

Also, when playing last year, I had to cheat a bit to find the silverwood tree to make a wand that was necessary for something or another. Wands are no longer in the game, so this might not be an issue anymore. I don’t know because I couldn’t advance in the game. This is a small thing and might stink of millenial whining, but it is something that I don’t exactly love about the game.

I have seen the trees in both of my worlds, so I’ve gotten luckier or the spawn rate is increased

The Ugly (Thaumcraft is no longer supported)

I understand that people move on and that it can be time consuming to work on these projects. I also understand that the internet is an unfriendly place at times and people don’t always speak with their best voice. But, it bums me out that the developer isn’t working on Thaumcraft anymore. I’m glad that it is still out there in case anyone else wants to work on it. I also am happy that it more or less works. Who knows? Maybe I’ll work to develop it more.

Okay, okay, I get it.

The Verdict (Thaumcraft is still one of the best)

It is no longer being developed. For some reason, you don’t need wands anymore. It isn’t the most user friendly experience. In spite of all that, I’m still excited to get back into the mod and build my immortal armor again. Look for my video series, starting tomorrow, as I become the most powerful being in the Minecraft universe. Well, in my Minecraft universe.

Hopefully I am able to craft a larger living space than this guy had.