As Minecraft continues to explode in popularity, more and more gamers are finding their own personal niche in the sandbox. From the Mad Scientist to the Sheriff, Minecraft has something to offer players of all colors. So... which archetype are you?
Architects are people who bought Minecraft, fooled around with it for a while, and then happily went rummaging for their massive cache of graphing paper. They meet their friends for sushi and ambush them with massive drawings incorporating several taped-together sheets with a thousand pencil lines drawn on them (true story). They ask us for any extra glass we may have—no more than two or three hundred stacks. Yes—architects are at home in Minecraft. You may recognize their territory on your server either by a) one or two implausibly massive structures with impeccable lighting or b) a thousand abandoned projects forgotten just as soon as the next idea filled up a sheet of graphing paper. We thank them for inspiring us in our own work, and for giving us giant proportionally-exact replicas of famous cathedrals.
Most kids have fond memories of Legos. For engineers, the real action was with toys like K’Nex. These were the same kids in daycare that spent hours building plastic Rube-Goldberg machines, rickety child-size constructions held together with bubble gum and boogers--all so they could race marbles by themselves, while the rest of us were stomping goombas. Then they grew up and discovered Minecraft, the power of the cactus randomizer, and forgot they had families for a while. These are the people we have to thank for mods that push the envelope. Where the rest of us are saying, “I’m going to build a huge tower!” they are saying, “I’m going to create a working scale model of the D.C. Subway System!” What would the Minecraft community be like without them? Of all the fruits brought forth by their unique proclivities, we are humble recipients.
You can usually tell a storyteller from the signs posted outside their caverns and buildings. You won’t have to wonder who you’re dealing with when you walk up to a nondescript cave in a tundra biome and see a sign that says, “Icy Deep: Lair of the Iceworm.” The storyteller may simply live out their tales by crafting a continent that satisfies their imaginations, or they may actually seek out the like-minded for a little server roleplaying action. This begs the question, and the sub-category: if people who live-action roleplay are called LARPers, what do we call people who build dungeons and go adventuring in Minecraft? Though more rare than your traditional creative or SMP freeplay server, several roleplay communities have sprung up to accommodate the crafter with a penchant for story. We’re grateful to the storytellers among us for making our Minecraft worlds more believable, livable places for us to explore.
The Social Butterfly
Your server may have its own forum, in which case the Social Butterfly will be the poster with a thousand posts, many of which will be titled with variations of “OMG Come See My Garden!” They build structures for the pleasure of showing them off, and live to clutter up chat with comments both insightful and inane. Those less inclined to talk will do well to remember that, for the Social Butterfly, blocks just aren’t as important as other players. Indulge them with a few well-placed replies, and you’ll have earned yourself a tireless partner in your own constructions. Just be prepared to pay for those extra stacks of iron with a little conversation. Social Butterflies will usually be the ones on your server to suggest community events. We’re grateful for the way they work tirelessly to bring the community together.
If you’ve ever wandered off in a random direction away from your multiplayer city, found a cave twenty minutes walk from its walls, and discovered a mess of torches, signs, and hollowed out holes where iron used to be, you’ve been hot on the trail of an Explorer. These are crafters who thrill in discovering that next dungeon, whose chests are riddled with saddles and buckets from past conquests, and who become fanatically obsessed with the dynamics of torchlight. These players can be counted on to provide kits of ladder, pick, and torch, and don’t leave home without them. They like to tell other players about the things they’ve seen, and populate forums with pictures of lava lakes and big holes. So the next time you go digging, ask your Explorer friend along--because they live for the discovery, they’ll probably let you keep the diamonds.
You know when you’ve dropped into a server occupied by a Sheriff—right at the outset, you’ll find a dozen signs explaining “what’s what around these parts.” Don’t be surprised if you walk for ten minutes through streets with clean homes, complete with addresses: “9934 Creeper Lane. Astynax’s House.” Some people revel in systems, and these are Sheriffs who might be fronting the money for that public server sandbox everyone calls home. They’re interested in improving the experience for everyone, and find themselves at the top of the moderator hierarchy, keeping a sharp eye out for griefers, or mods that improve their fellow players’ quality-of-craft. A Sheriff can be a terrific resource for a community, doing what they do without needing much praise. Just be sure to go out of your way to thank them for their hard work from time to time.
The Mad Scientist
It isn’t possible to miss a Mad Scientist. Whereas most of us are off building castles in the clouds, they’re busy working on their monster trap. Look into their chests, and you find an odd mixture of ladders, redstone, and gunpowder. These sorts of Crafters do the community a service by exploring every nuance of Notch’s latest updates, dreaming of ways to incorporate everything from switches to slow sand into their off-color repertoire of benign yet puzzling inventions. While similar to their cousin the Engineer, Mad Scientists differentiate themselves by working on projects that make more casual players scratch their heads. They think outside the box, improving the community by suggesting new and better ways of accomplishing tasks.
“What’s that cold spire emerging from the fog? Surely no one’s been this far out before.” Oh no, my friend--you’ve just stumbled upon the territory of a Loner. These crafters are content to build their works apart from the din of the city. They rarely make comments in chat or on the forums, and they couldn’t care less if their creations ever earn a spot in the community tour. These are people who thought Superman had it all figured out with the fortress of solitude, and prefer that you not put their works on the warp speed dial. You may make the mistake of thinking that they don’t want a voice in how the community operates, but solicit their response when making server-wide decisions, and you’ll find they care a great deal. But Loners are people of few words, so don’t be surprised when their response to whether or not to turn damage on for the server takes a rudimentary form-- :-P
When not playing Minecraft, the Geek can be found drawing pictures of things he or she would like to see in Minecraft. They will show these to you, if you go over to their house for dinner, and the expected and recommended response is to nod in amazement at the shading on that dragon’s upper lip. The Geek likes nothing better than to dream, and Minecraft offers the Geek a blank canvas of wonder upon which to imagine. If a Geek has scripting skills, you’ll find that the opportunity to bring their creations to life is, for them, akin to Nirvana. They tend to see the world in possibilities, and relish exercising their creative muscles for the good of the community. And since Geek is chic these days, they’re usually well respected for their fertile minds. Just remember that Geeks take their dreams seriously and personally, and try to offer any criticism or advice in a way that supports them.
Which one are you? Seen any more Crafter types in your travels? Post them in the comments below!