Where’d the Diamonds Go?

There is no doubt that Minecraft 1.18 was a huge update. In addition to the new items and blocks from 1.17 the tectonic changes to the overworld have been vast with high mountain ranges and deep cavernous er, caverns. But all these changes have come at a price and that is the way in which I play Minecraft. This has involved a reassement of key goals and how best to achieve them and what has forced this change in gameplay is the redistribution of ores.

In the olden days it was a simple process of punching a tree, mine some rock, smelt some iron and before you knew it you were getting your bling on, jumping into the Nether, slaying Endermen and a Dragon before taking to the skies like a rocket man.

While tree punching is still de rigueur for your first game move, things quickly slow down as hunting for the various ores at different levels becomes time consuming and even frustrating. Without enchantments it seems like diamond pick axes just get eaten up by the DeepSlate. Add to that the longer mining time for this deep hard rock and hunting down those sparkly jewels becomes painful.

A Gameplay Paradigm Shift

Before attempting any high jinks in the Nether or relieving Endermen of their pearls (not a euphemism) I’d always suit up in full diamond armour. But progress in the diamond mining business is slow. So I’ve had to change my tack.

Iron has become my new friend and while I wait for enough cows to slaughter to make some lecterns and get those precious enchanted books I’m praying at the enchantment alter for some decent upgrades to iron equipment – mostly Efficiency and Unbreaking and praying hard for fortune.

Charcoal is my new coal. Did you know that a single lump of charcoal can burn eight logs giving eight charcoal and charcoal can be used instead or coal for torches (you still get four!) Bamboo is also becoming my new best friend – it’s quick to grow and two bamboo will give you a stick, again great for torches as well as arrows and bows and well anything you need to craft with a stick. Sticks can be used as a fuel source, but even when farming them from bamboo they burn too quickly. In time (if I ever find a slime chunk) I’ll make a carpet duper and connect that up to a super smelter.

I guess my point is I’m trying to think about what I actually need to accomplish any given task in Minecraft rather than just work towards getting diamonds (and later Netherite) and crafting tools with maximum enchantments. It means the gameplay is longer – but perhaps better for it.

A New Econmomy

I’ve been playing a lot on other SMP servers over the last couple of years and a common theme is the use of Diamonds as a currency. Individuals would set up shops and charge diamonds for bulk items from crafted blocks to rockets, wool, candles etc. It was a good way to distribute the wealth and commodities. But with diamonds becoming harder (longer) to mine and possibly rarer, is the economy about to crash? Is it time for a new currency?

With copper now probably one of the most common ores in the game but with precious little use (I mean how many lightning rods and spyglasses do you really need?) Could it form the base currency for game economics? With iron and gold and even those elusive diamonds forming the higher level currencies. I haven’t fully figured out an exchange rate yet but it needs to be able to prevent anyone with an iron farm from becoming seriously rich. First thoughts:

  • 1 Diamond = 32 Iron Blocks
  • 1 Iron Block = 16 Copper Blocks
  • 1 Diamond = 512 Copper Blocks (8 stacks)

Not sure yet if this balances out well or not. Should Diamonds be replaced by gold? Should Netherite be included? Something to ponder.

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