Mild Disappointment

I suppose it might be a little too soon to complain about the next Minecraft update, but that won’t stop me.

The Minecraft team announced late last September that the next version of the Java Edition (1.14, Village and Pillage) would be released “early in the new year”, but no more announcements since. All we have seen is brief blurbs on some of the new features, but much of that is not really new information for me.

Here we are in late January, just a week from February, and by now I was expecting at least some announcement on the projected release date. Truth be told, I was really hoping for early to mid-January for it to be available, but…

So far, I have yet to try any of the 1.14 snapshots as I did with the 1.13 Aquatic Update. I’m thinking I may try the latest one sometime in the next few days while I wait.

To offset some of the disappointment with Minecraft, February 14 is rapidly approaching. That is the announced date for the release of the Civ VI second major expansion, Gathering Storm.

Over the last several weeks since they announced the date, they have gradually introduced some of the new civs that will be included. More are yet to come. (Their marketing team knows how to build the enthusiasm!)

Meanwhile, after taking a couple of months off, I have been playing the Rise and Fall version to get re-acquainted with the intricacies of the game so I can focus on learning all the new things when Gathering Storm is released.

I’m pretty sure they will not offer any discounts between now and then for the new expansion, but I still am likely to wait until the release date to buy it, just in case.

Minecraft

The first time I played Minecraft, one grandson had me play on their laptop using another person’s login. He coached me on how to do various things including how to get through the first day and night in survival mode. Soon the other grandson asked to open the game up to the LAN and he joined the game. As a result, I learned quickly how the game can become a multiplayer game almost instantly. From that simple beginning I was hooked, and immediately downloaded, installed and bought my own Minecraft login. (Mojang, the creator of Minecraft, establishes a permanent login after you purchase the game. You can then download the game and install it on as many computers as you wish.)

Not long after that first experience, the older of the two grandsons established his own server using MCHosting as the platform for it. That meant all three of us could play online together no matter where we were. I don’t recall the exact timing, but probably within a year I decided to use the same hosting service and created my own server so I could learn more about that aspect of gaming and technology.

I, in turn, introduced Minecraft to my son and his daughter and they quickly decided they wanted it as well, so they both got their own login accounts and off we went. I now had two households in different states to play Minecraft with and several times all five of us were playing on one or another of our servers from three different states hundreds of miles apart.

My son tried a different hosting service when he set up his server (GGServers) and it had quite a bit lower monthly fee, so I decided to add a second server for myself and explore the two hosting services to see which one I liked best never intending to keep more than one server for very long. Eventually I settled on keeping the MCHosting because it was a little better overall and generally had less lag. I attributed that to my server location being at their Chicago hub while the GGServers server was in Montreal, much farther away.

As the grandsons have grown – one in second year of college, the other a high school senior – we have done less gaming together, but I still have some fun gaming with my son and granddaughter, who is in middle school and continues to enjoy several games. She, of course, does most of her gaming with her friends, which is appropriate.

As a result of the lower demand for it, I have discontinued having my own server. We now mostly play when we are in the same location and LAN works just fine.

I, on the other hand, continue to thoroughly enjoy playing Minecraft in single player mode, trying out new things and building new structures. Each major Minecraft update adds more features to explore and the latest version, officially called Update Aquatic (1.13.1), is no exception, with all the water features and creatures.

 

Gaming Overview

Several years ago, my grandsons introduced me to more sophisticated computer gaming than the simple free stuff like Solitaire. The first game they showed me in detail and had me try was Minecraft. It remains one of my favorite games and I highly recommend it for all sorts of reasons, not the least being how open-ended it is leaving virtually all of what happens to the player. It is a terrific tool for developing creativity.

Before long we also were playing World of Warships (shortly after it first became available). The grandsons had already been playing World of Tanks and wanted to try the Warships. After learning how to play World of Warships and enjoying it, especially with the grandsons, I decided to add and learn World of Tanks so I could play that with them also. Both games are free and can be easily downloaded and installed.

About the time Civilization V was released in its final expansion (2015), younger grandson talked me into buying it so he and I could play it in multiplayer mode. I did so and quickly became a fan of the game. We eventually convinced older grandson to get the game too. We’ve had a lot of fun playing together, using the audio only of Skype to be able to talk with each other while playing. Very recently we have used Discord instead of Skype, because of its better-quality audio experience while gaming.

Installing Civ V introduced me to Steam, a digital game distribution platform, and over time I have added various other games they distribute – Cities: Skylines, Rocket League, Stellaris – and more recently Europa Universalis IV and Civilization VI – again mostly because the grandsons were playing them and it was great fun keeping up a long-distance relationship with them via gaming.

I’ve always enjoyed playing various board games since I was a kid, so the transition to complex computer games was not difficult. One board game that I have enjoyed in its electronic version is Settlers of Catan. Microsoft games owns the rights of the electronic version, and one has to buy a license for the game to play it on a computer, but that is another game well worth the price.

I expect to continue gaming, especially having just invested in a replacement gaming laptop.