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.
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.
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.
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.
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.