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I heard a lot about Minecraft and I'm quite curious to know what can be achieved in this game and what's its goal.

What mechanism keeps the game going?

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Related, if not duplicate. They keep changing the different versions of Minecraft. Nevertheless: What is the objective in Minecraft Classic? –  Grace Note May 4 '11 at 13:05
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What can be acieved? Anything you want. –  Arkive May 4 '11 at 14:32
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What sold me on getting it was actually the list of questions on this site and the activeness of the community.. Lots going on and all of it fun :) –  James May 4 '11 at 16:02
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I don't know... to me it seems a very stupid and pointless game with an unpleasant graphic (and graphics is the last of my criteria to chose a game, but I mean, not even my C64 was that bad) and no point in even spending 5 minutes trying it out. But that's just my opinion... –  Stefano Borini May 5 '11 at 1:50
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It's amazing how little the answer has changed between classic and alpha, although the game has changed considerably in the meantime. –  badp May 5 '11 at 9:24
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8 Answers

up vote 63 down vote accepted

The thing about Minecraft is, unlike most games you set your own goals. Here's a list of common (and uncommon!) things people have done with Minecraft:

The mechanism that keeps the game going is your own desire to complete the goals you've set yourself, and pure, red-hot addiction.

Edit

Some additional stuff people have done:

Minecraft 1.9+

In Minecraft 1.9 and beyond, there are villages, strongholds, abandoned mineshafts and nether ruins to explore. In particular, strongholds will contain portals to The End, in which players can fight The Ender Dragon, a 'boss fights'. The second 'boss fight' has also been added, The Wither. This makes exploration a key part of the game, as well as combat. 'Hardcore Mode' (world deletion upon death) is also an option if you're after a challenge.

A creative mode has also been added that allows players complete freedom in constructing large structures, compartmentalizing that aspect of gameplay.

This answer has been blogified!

For a slightly prettier summary have a read on gaming.blogoverflow.com.

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+1. You left out walking towards dawn in order to witness the sheer splendour of the world. (That is the site that sold me on Minecraft.) –  SevenSidedDie May 4 '11 at 16:04
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@fredley Thank you for those links; because of you, I have discovered E.S. Posthumus and my life has grown a little richer. –  Uticensis May 4 '11 at 16:55
    
@fredley Are there any other truly epic buildings like that Colosseum? Stuff is hard to find on Youtube if you don't know what you're looking for... –  Uticensis May 4 '11 at 22:08
    
@Billare Search for "minecraft megaproject". –  SevenSidedDie May 5 '11 at 2:56
    
@Billare Just try for some structures: Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal etc. It was the PC Gamer Minecraft Experiment that got me into it. How could anyone resist after reading that? –  fredley May 5 '11 at 10:44
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Minecraft doesn't HAVE point really. You just do, well, anything! You can play creative or survival, which ever you prefer!

Creative- Un-limited supply or blocks and flying. Flying makes it easier to build sense you can reach anywhere. And Mobs still spawn but, can't hurt you. Which I love! Survival- Gathering resources to help you survive your world. I like to pretend the world is having a zombie apocalypse! As for mobs, they spawn and can hurt you.

And those are an overview of the two game modes!

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While some people are starting to find vanilla Minecraft boring, there are mods, as well as modpacks, such as Feed The Beast and Technic/Tekkit which enhance the gaming experience. Some mods add computers, which feature actual programming languages, others include more functionality with redstone for the logical thinkers. Essentially, anything can be made into a mod and implemented, altering the experience. Some people like it incredibly challenging, so they get a mod like GregTech Intergalactical, which makes things incredibly hard to craft. Some people like the concept of bees, and there is Forestry for that. The goal and what is achievable is totally up to you and whatever you make of the world. You could make an incredible structure, or you can make an industrial type city, which makes everything easier. You could capture mobs and make fun ways to kill them. It's all up to you.

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The shortest answer I can think of is: sense of achievement. Think about other games with linear story lines for a moment. While these games define clear goals for you to obtain in order to reach completion (e.g. "Beat the final boss", "Reach destination x", ...) all of these things could be accomplished just the same if the game had no clearly defined ending. So Minecraft isn't really much different from other games. It doesn't define one single ultimate purpose, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the interaction with your environment like you would in linear games.

Perhaps Minecraft still isn't a game for you. I'm a pretty big fan of linearity in games myself so Minecraft is an unconventional experience for me as well. I'm just saying the way it seems most people are enjoying Minecraft is by seeing any conceivable task as a goal rather than a means.

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Yes. "Woah, lookit that! Imma gonna climb that mountain!" seems to be plenty of goal/achievement for many people. Iterate "do the next cool thing" enough and eventually you're planning megaprojects. –  SevenSidedDie May 5 '11 at 15:34
    
I get more of a sense of accomplishment from minecraft than from most games that end with me having zero, zero impact on anything or anything to prove that I've created/changed anything at the end of the game. –  Kzqai Jun 20 '11 at 1:58
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Multi-player is now just about identical to single player, and there is a real draw in an absolutely free multi-player system with a persistant world.

You're not just building this heap of neat buildings, but then other people are walking through them and adding onto them.

I have 4-6 really active players on my world and some of the stuff we've built--I look back and it boggles the mind.

My brother built most of the train system. It involves a LOT of electronics in order to make it simple to use. you walk in, a cart is sitting there. You get into the cart, press one of 5 buttons on the wall and you are sent off to your destination.

Your cart is replaced from a parking lot so there is one ready to go for the next person. A parking system recovers your cart when you return.

One player has built a massive citadel he calls "Cloudkeep" that has covered an entire mountain at this point.

One lady is extremely artistic, the stuff she does just boggles my mind, I walk through her area every now and then just gazing at the beauty. It's amazing what can be done with 1m square blocks and the right attitude.

We have a "Fixer" who tends to run around and beef up lighting (He's great at counting exactly how close torches need to be to avoid monsters spawning) and security in our walled town and in peoples areas. He also helps with the railroad and has made a museum that shows off many redstone circuits for reference.

Oh and one guy has create a massive 3-level tree farm that he regularly goes out and cuts down to keep a double-chest in town completely full of wood. it's a great service and he claims to find it relaxing.

I keep the town walls safe, help out on projects, have a massive glass factory going (I've actually covered over a huge sand peninsula and converted the entire thing to a giant empty cave that has become a big remote train station and food farm.

Get together with friends and give it a try. Remember it's an infinite world (virtually), you don't have to step on each others feet at all--just travel out and find a location that inspires you, then build something.

It seems that there is always something new to try.

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+1. For many, it's the social aspect of multiplayer that sells minecraft. –  SevenSidedDie May 5 '11 at 3:02
    
The fact that it's free doesn't hurt. I had one friend tell me that it touched the same internal switches as WOW does. –  Bill K May 5 '11 at 21:25
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Well, free to play, as in there's no subscription. The game does cost though. –  SevenSidedDie May 5 '11 at 21:43
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The really cool thing about this game is that it lets you create your own goals. Right now my goal is to grow a giant floating tree fortress.

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Watch out for the lightning! –  fredley May 4 '11 at 13:54
    
I like how you said 'grow' and not 'build' :D Are you setting down trees, waiting for them to grow, then pruning them into the required shapes? –  Alex May 4 '11 at 15:52
    
That's what I was going to say~~! –  Garet Claborn May 4 '11 at 20:58
    
@Alex That's currently the only way of doing it in Beta. Since you can't place leaf blocks, you have to generate them the old-fashioned way! –  SevenSidedDie May 5 '11 at 2:59
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@Alex I started from a floating island and built a dirt tower with branches protruding randomly. I planted saplings everywhere and waited for them to grow. Then I climbed up the leaf blocks, placed more dirt on top of the growing trees and more saplings, removing the old dirt tower as I go. I haven't pruned a thing because I wanted the wood and leaves to form a natural ladder to my bed at the top. The idea was to make a super tree out of tree's. It looks natural and amazing ... especially from a distance. –  Christopher May 10 '11 at 14:32
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At the moment (with beta 1.5) there is no goal beyond surviving, earning a few achievements and what goals the user sets themselves.

These might be building a creeper proof house, finding all the gold on the map, exploring the entire world etc.

What keeps the game going? Whether the user has met their self imposed goals or not.

I have heard that there is meant to be a goal built into the game, but I haven't got a link to it at hand. From my point of view I'm quite happy with the goallessness of the game.

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It's not really goallessnes anymore. You can try doing all the achievements. –  Sir Ksilem May 4 '11 at 13:36
    
@Sir - updated answer –  ChrisF May 4 '11 at 13:38
    
Isn't finding all the gold on the map literally impossible because it keeps generating more map? –  Nick T May 4 '11 at 14:56
    
@Nick T - it wasn't necessarily meant to be a serious goal. You can't explore the entire world either ;) –  ChrisF May 4 '11 at 15:22
    
@ChrisF - since the map area is limited, you could, but it would take you several lifetimes (it takes weeks of walking just to reach the edge of the map!) –  fredley May 4 '11 at 15:31
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It's a sandbox - there is no strict goal other than to play around and survive. You can even keep dying all the time if you like, you always respawn, you just lose what you were carrying, so even that is optional!

It just provides a set of gameplay mechanics (mining and crafting, not surprisingly) that let you muck about, build stuff, discover things, defend yourself, etc.

I thought it sounded pointless until I bought it because I was bored and was surprised to find that it's worryingly addictive ;)

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"Worryingly addictive" is damn correct. –  JonnyP May 4 '11 at 13:41
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"One more block" indeed –  soulBit May 4 '11 at 14:13
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It should also be noted that it's possible to get your things back when you die. –  Keaanu May 4 '11 at 14:20
    
"If the government learns about Minecraft, they'd ban it" addictive. –  Amazed May 4 '11 at 17:35
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Multiplayer examples: defend your castle and destroy the opponent's with TNT, crossbow fights, lead creepers into the opponent's house, etc… :) –  rightfold May 4 '11 at 18:33
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