One reason I like the Death With Consequences challenge in Iberia is that you can use the forced restart that comes with a death to challenge yourself in a new way each time. I’m a big fan of self-imposed challenges to make the game more fun, exciting, difficult, or just plain weird. They can change the way you play so significantly that you accomplish completely different things, learn about whole areas of the game you’ve never explored, and leave you with a totally new experience each time you play.
But that’s all just high falutin talk – let’s get down to brass tacks. I first discovered the concept of self-imposed challenges when I heard about the city construction challenge. It’s a challenge where you willingly submit to a set of rules that limits what tech you can use in the game, and to level up you have to build parts of a city, until you’ve eventually got a whole city built. As I played I realized that I had imposed challenges on myself before that, specifically not letting myself branch mine until I had diamonds. That forced me to explore caves or trade with villagers. Since then I’ve tried other challenges, like not using the F3 debug screen, turning off natural regeneration, etc.
At this point, you’ve probably noticed that some of these ideas made it into Iberia. In fact, Iberia came from me trying to take self-imposed challenges and enforce them in a realistic way through a Minecraft mod. And now that I have it, I’ve realized it not only imposes obvious challenges. Through death with consequences, it gives you a structure for experimenting over and over again with self-imposed challenges.
Each time you die, you begin a new life. And with each new life, you can play the game a completely new way. Obviously, I could have done this without Iberia, but the added structure makes it easier. And I’m tempted to find ways to encourage that more through the mod. But for now, I’m just exploring different ideas each time I die.
Currently, I’m only allowing myself a single chest for personal storage, forcing me to build dedicated structures for storage of different items. I spawned near a savanna village, so I’m building it up with a tree farm, tannery, stonecutter’s smithy, brickmaker, kitchen, etc. It’s a fun new challenge, not unlike the city construction challenge.
As I’ve done it, I’ve thought about what I might do the next time I die. If I had died relatively quickly, I probably just would have picked up the same challenge in a new location.
But other ideas have come up as well, like:
- Find a base from a previous life as quickly as possible (challenging because of the Find Your Way challenge)
- City Construction Challenge
- Tree Spirit Challenge
- Build a modern city with skyscrapers
- Create a floating city after conquering an ocean monument
- After 1 to 3 days above ground, you must play the rest of the game below ground.
Some ideas are just smaller tweaks that can be added on to other ideas, like:
- Don’t eat any meat
- Never eat the same item twice in a row
- No AFKing
- Must AFK when not actively playing, try to take advantage of it
- No sleeping through the night
- Must sleep through the night
- Cannot use chests for storage
- Not allowed to mine diamond without diamond tools
- Not allowed to use water to make obsidian
- No buckets till you’ve built a waterwheel
- No iron tools or armor until you’ve built an anvil
For many of these tweaks, the primary effect will be to lengthen the early and mid game experience. I enjoy that. For some, you may find other interesting twists to the game that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. With debug info turned off, I realized the Nether was much harder to navigate. Specifically, it was really hard to link up nether portals effectively. One trick is to build two portals in the nether 17 blocks apart in one of the four cardinal directions. Then find the relationship between them in the overworld. At that point, you can determine directions in the Nether, making exploration and nether portal linking significantly easier (though still pretty hard).
What self-imposed challenges do you like? Are there any that would make good additions to Minecraft itself?