As one of the largest and most popular video game properties in the world, Minecraft obviously needs to introduction, but having conquered the world of mining and building, it’s now moving into uncharted territory. With Minecraft Dungeons, Mojang are taking a crack at the Diablo-esque isometric action RPG genre, and we’re actually quite curious to see how it turns out, as we’re sure many of you are as well. In this feature, as we build up to its imminent launch, we’ll be taking a look at fifteen vital pieces of information you should know about the game. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Minecraft is going to be light on story, and clearly, the narrative isn’t something it’s putting too much emphasis on- but it will have a story. The amusingly named Arch-Illager – who was a villager who was bullied and shunned by other villagers – chances upon an artifact that grants him great powers. And with these newfound powers, he decides to exact vengeance from all those who wronged him, kicking off a campaign of conquest that sees him and his minions taking over other villages. Your goal, as you may have guessed, is to stop the Arch-Illager.
Though Minecraft Dungeons will have some overworld and hub locations to visit, you’ll be spending the bulk of your time in dungeons (as the name suggests). These dungeon will be procedurally generated- though the individual parts themselves have been handcrafted by the developers, how those parts are cobbled together will be random. Expect everything from the dungeons’ layouts to what enemies will spawn in them to what loot you will have access and more to be procedurally generated.
Unlike most loot-driven action RPGs, Minecraft Dungeons doesn’t have any character classes. Instead, the game is going for a system that should theoretically be much more flexible and allow players to have plenty of build variety. What kind of a build you have will depend entirely on your gear and enchantments- and we’ll be going over both of these things next.
What sort of gear you have equipped will play a vital role in deciding what abilities you’ll have- more specifically, armour types are going to be crucial. Not only will your armour determine several stats like defence and speed, it will also grant several bonuses, while which type of armour you’ve got equipped will also determine what kind of weapons you’re proficient with. So heavy armour, for instance, will let you be a frontlines-focused tank, while light armour will allow you to hang back and deal ranged attacks.
Every item and piece of gear you pick up in Minecraft Dungeons will also have randomized enchantments attached to it, and these will play a more long-term role as far as progression is concerned. Enchantments will provide bonuses to items, such as elemental bonuses or extra damage output, and to make them more potent and powerful, you’ll have to level them up with experience points, thus making those enchantments – and in turn, the items – stronger.
You will also come across special items in Minecraft Dungeons called artifacts, and these will come in very handy in combat. Artifacts will allow you to use special abilities – such as extra powerful attacks – at the cost of certain resources. For harder enemies or fight against larger mobs of enemies, these attacks should be pretty effective. Artifacts, like other items, can also be further customized with enchantments.
Speaking of enemies- what sort of enemies exactly will players run into in Minecraft Dungeons? If you’ve played Minecraft, you can expect to see some familiar faces. The likes of skeletons, zombies, and creepers will be rearing their heads once more. Meanwhile, some new enemy types have also been confirmed. There are Wraiths, who are proficient with elemental attacks, and Necromancers, who, as the name implies, can spawn entire mods of enemies to fight by their side.
NO MINING OR BUILDING
There’s a very particular kind of gameplay loop that people associate with Minecraft, but even though Minecraft Dungeons spawns from it, it won’t have many of its most crucial mechanics. More specifically, you shouldn’t expect to be doing any sort of mining or building in the game. This is a loot driven action RPG, and it places all of its emphasis on dungeon crawling- so don’t go in expecting a game that adheres to the typical Minecraft playbook.
Obviously, co-op is going to be an important part of the experience in Minecraft Dungeons, but how exactly is it going to function? The game features four player drop-in and drop-out co-op, both locally and online. Everything from the difficulty to the loot to the number of enemies you’ll be facing will scale depending on how many players are playing together. The developers have also confirmed that at launch, you won’t be able to do local and online co-op simultaneously.
Replayability and longevity are crucial in ay dungeon crawling action RPG, and that’s what Minecraft Dungeons claims to be- so what can we expect from its endgame and how that’s structured? Well, so far, not too much has been revealed. All we know is that once you’ve beaten the story, you unlock higher difficulties and can replay missions. Hopefully, more endgame content will be added to the game post-launch.
Cross-play, thankfully, has started becoming quite common in games across all platforms now, and with Minecraft Dungeons being a co-op-focused title, it’s obviously a game that would benefit from it as well. However, at launch, the game will not have cross-play. That said, the developers have said that they plan on adding cross-platform multiplayer to the game after release as a free update.
This is something that obviously only applies to those who will be playing on PC- but will the game support modding, especially given how huge the modding scene for the original Minecraft is? Well, not- at least not initially. Mojang have stated that they are exploring the possibility of allowing user-created dungeons after release, but there’s no guarantees that that will ever happen- and it definitely won’t be in the game at launch.
Loot-driven action RPGs tend to have high barriers of entry at times, but Minecraft Dungeons, being a game in one of the most widely know and kid-friendly properties in the industry, is going for a different approach. According to the developers, their emphasis while developing the game has been on making sure that it is accessible and – most importantly – that it is fun rather than ensuring that it is perfectly balanced and as a result challenges players.
The state of the industry has brought us to a point where we don’t even bat an eye if a game has microtransactions anymore- and loot-driven RPGs tend be perfectly ripe for in-game monetization. Thankfully, however, Minecraft Dungeons has no loot boxes or microtransactions whatsoever. Every piece of gear you earn and every bit of money you acquire, you will get through gameplay and nothing else.
XBOX ONE X AND PS4 PRO ENHANCEMENTS
Top-notch visuals aren’t exactly the first thing one thinks of when thinking of Minecraft, but if that’s something that you will care about in Minecraft Dungeons, there’s some good news for you. The game will feature enhancements on both, the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. The exact details haven’t been revealed, but the developers are promising 4K resolution and improved performance.