Keeping singleplayer fresh

Five playstyles that can change your game

I read once on a picture of a sunset that magic only happens once you leave your comfort zone. Unfortunately, my comfort zone extends roughly to my apartment door and I literally just changed into this onesie, so thanks – but no thanks. Wait, it’s a metaphor?

Well, then I guess Minecraft should count, too. Because even though the Overworld is such an open-ended place, it’s easy to settle into a mundane routine – also known as a comfort zone. And we just learned that that’s a big no-no. That’s why I tried out some playstyles that other, more creative people are using to mix things up in their Minecraft journey.

Where will they lead us? A stream of lava is my guess. Or maybe in the arms of a Creeper? Nevertheless, let’s find that magic!

1. Nomad

Why bother building a boring cobblestone house when the world can be your home? As a nomad, you can only keep what you can carry. That means no base, no chests, and no picking up things because ‘ooooh, shiny!’. And once the sun rises, you need to get a move on. Maybe even pull an all-nighter once in a while – at least until the phantoms show up.

Early on, it might not seem like a big deal, but depending on what items you end up needing, you might find yourself running out of space and having to prioritize. Do you really need seven types of dye? Probably not. Do you need a backup for your backup pickaxe? Of course – but NOT TODAY.

If anything, this challenge is good exposure therapy for players with hoarding tendencies. Not me, though. Those seven chests filled with random blocks and meats will definitely come in handy one day. In any case, as long as you’re halfway decent at inventory management, this playstyle won’t pose much of a challenge – but it sure is fun. You’ll end up discovering some really cool (and sometimes creepy) places that you might not have visited if you’d settled down. Have I mentioned all the loot you’ll find? Just remember to be selective. 

So head out and see where your curiosity takes you! Chase a rabbit, climb a mountain, dig straight down! Okay, maybe not that last part. Just try not to give in to the crippling fear of death, because now it means you might lose everything you’ve ever owned. Good luck!

Rating: 10/10, would explore and risk it all again.

2. Vampire

Not a morning person? Then why not become a child of the night? It comes at a price, though: a constant thirst for blood and a strong aversion to direct sunlight. Also, you have to kill and eat at least one animal per night and consume it raw. Why? Because that’s just what you do now. 

Because I’d live in a hole forever if it meant avoiding conflict, this playstyle was the toughest on my fragile psyche. In the beginning, I gave myself a few seconds to gather enough wood for the essentials, then quickly sought refuge from the pretend-deadly UV rays. I found out the hard way that my underground shelter was home to several skeletons, so I decided to just sit and wait for nightfall so I could finally eat something. And conceal my humiliation.

Did I manage to get some meat? Yes. Did a Creeper sneak up on me before I could eat any of it? I’d rather not say. If literally fighting for survival is your thing, then this challenge might tickle you fancy. Personally, I’m ready to move on to something better suited for a… conflict-avoidant personality. Not a coward.

Rating: 6/10, because going out every night is scary and not that exciting once you reach a certain age.

3. Vegan

When I get hungry during a normal playthrough, I bonk an animal on the head and that’s that. But animals aren’t just delicious – they’re also cute as heck. Have you ever looked a sheep in the eye and listened with your heart?

So majestic, so misunderstood! Luckily, the Overworld is a very vegan-friendly place. The rules are simple: no meat, dairy, eggs, leather, or wool. And yes, ‘vintage’ items do count, so don’t go pillaging for leather armor thinking you’re being ‘ethical’. What would the cows think if they saw you wearing their cousin Freddy? Probably not much since they’re still cows, but that’s beside the point.

For once in my life, I encountered a best-case scenario and ran across a village very early on. After ‘borrowing’ every vegetable and loaf of bread I could find, it was smooth sailing. In the end, I died with a full belly at the hands of a skeleton. Laugh all you want because we’ve already established that I’m a wimp.

Long-term, you have to stay close to your farm to ensure a steady supply of food. Other than that, this whole vegan thing didn’t do much for me. Unless you’re really into farming, I’d only recommend going vegan to add a layer of challenge to other playstyles like the nomad. But that would be pushing my comfort zone a bit too far.

Rating: 5/10, because having a clean conscience is nice, but boooring. 

4. Pacifist 

If the groan of a zombie is enough to send you packing – good news! Now you can be a coward and call it a ‘playstyle’. Just kidding. Actually, running away can be a challenge in itself. There is only one rule: you can’t kill anything, even in self-defense. Got cornered? Surrounded by skeletons? Tough luck. A true pacifist doesn’t retaliate. However, hitting a Creeper once to set it off technically doesn’t count. Because they’re the worst.

Surprisingly enough given my track record, I’m not cut out for life on the run. Exploring caves and mines became a chore, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of those in my video games. I couldn’t actually enjoy any interesting places because I had to retreat at the first sign of an enemy or build elaborate tunnels to avoid them. And then I got cornered, of course. Noticing a trend here?

Rating: 3/10; noble idea, but some of these mobs are just asking for an arrow. Or several.

5. Underground

Is the blissful chirping of birds not your thing? Is the air not damp enough for you? Do you welcome the occasional surprise stream of lava? You have one day on the surface to collect supplies, and then down you go – forever!

There’s nothing like the rush of wiping out as many sheep as possible and cutting down tree after tree for one day, then diving straight into the great unknown. No matter which way you dig, you’re bound to run into something, whether it’s a cave, a mine shaft, an underground river, or just... lava, lots of lava. Seriously, where is all this lava coming from?

After adventuring for hours inside a mine shaft and gathering (but not storing, mind you) several diamonds, I took a graceful dive into a pool of lava. What will you get yourself into? Trouble? Only one way to find out. Just make sure to stock up on meat and wood. Grab a handful of coal too, unless you’re roleplaying as a mole. In that case, you do you, you little weirdo.

Rating: 10/10, it was a blast (sometimes literally).

You wouldn’t think a couple of arbitrary rules would change the game this much, but there’s something about the underground life or not being held down by worldly possessions that fuels the thirst for exploration. Don’t believe me? Just try it out for yourself, because I’m done writing. The nomadic life is calling me back.

Written By
Cristina Anderca