With Minecraft Dungeons crawling its way around the gaming world, many are enjoying it’s unique approach to the ARPG genre. As we discussed in our review of the game, many concessions have been made to game depth in favor of a more approachable game for a younger audience. This is not to say that improvements couldn’t still be made without forsaking this goal. I ran into a number of issues that I think may have been introduced to help streamline the game, but could be tweaked in favor of a better experience without sacrificing the game’s younger focus. Here are five things that I think would improve Minecraft Dungeons without making the game more complex.
1. Upgradable Gear
Similar to other loot-based games like Borderlands 3 or Anthem before it, progression of loot gear happens at random. If you find a Level 5 Curved Blade, the only way to increase your damage is to then find a Level 6 Curved Blade. Most commonly there is no visual difference between the two, no difference in lore, animation, or any piece of the experience at all. For all intents and purposes the weapon is the same, albeit with better stats. This leads to the act of finding that upgrade feeling extremely shallow.
Instead, why not allow players to find that piece of gear that they love and upgrade it with Emeralds as they go? The argument could be made that this would shorten the loot game of Dungeons, but don’t forget that every Curved Blade is still different in their Enchantments. There’s also the rarity of the item to consider which allows for more enchantments. The odds of finding the “perfect” Curved Blade are still remarkably low. If I do happen to find this one item that is exactly what I want, let me keep it. Don’t let it become obsolete.
2. Better Vendors
There are two vendors available to the player in their hub world: The Blacksmith and The Wandering Trader. These two vendors provide random gear or artifacts in return for chunks of Emeralds found during your adventuring. But that’s the thing: it’s all random. The player has zero agency in what they receive outside of which vendor they want to interact with. This makes spending Emeralds, one of the very few currencies in the game, feel very wasteful as you can throw hundreds down the drain and still not have what you want.
Even breaking each vendor down by one degree would be useful. Allow players interacting with the Blacksmith to determine if they want a weapon or armor. Even allow players to determine if they want offensive or support artifacts from the Wandering Trader (this one’s a stretch, I know). Any degree of choice that can be added would be a welcome improvement.
3. More Dynamic Environments
In our review, we praised the fact that Minecraft Dungeons was a step ahead of many other ARPGs with environments that can fight back. Swinging blades, pools of lava, walls that will smash you to pieces, these are all great obstacles to consider during chaotic fights. One issue with these traps, however, is that they don’t really appear until late in the game. The first 5-6 levels all feel very similar outside of their color scheme and this seems like a wasted opportunity. Unique challenges provided by the environment are a great way to differentiate the limited number of levels and help players enjoy their time in the unique aesthetic more completely.
4. Make Arrows More Dependable
Arrows. My love and my hate during my time with Minecraft Dungeons. Using arrows to keep your distance from enemies and using the wider positioning allows players to be much more tactical with how they approach sticky situations. The problem arises when there are no more arrows to be found. Unlike other ARPGs and unlike the player’s melee weapon, arrows are finite. They are a resource that needs to be filled and there is no dependable way to keep your stock high outside of the rare “Resupply Boxes”.
This becomes especially tedious in the final level when players are put up against multiple enemies that constantly push you backwards, making melee abilities nearly obsolete. There’s very little players can do if they can’t melee reliably and they’re out of arrows. One way that this could be remedied without sullying the current system, would be arrow pickup. When players fire arrows, they stick. You can see them sticking out of walls, out of enemies, they don’t immediately disappear. I think that if players kill an enemy with an arrow or take the time to pull the arrow from the wall, that arrow should be refunded. This also makes sense, logically, as arrows in the real world don’t magically disappear when an enemy is killed.
5. Enchantment On Artifacts
This one’s a stretch, but an important one. In Minecraft Dungeons as it stands today, players can enchant their armor and their weapons with special passive abilities. Anything from elemental damage, to healing, increased Emerald pickups can be infused into this gear. Artifacts, however, are static. They are one and done. This seems like a wasted opportunity for far greater expansion of potential builds. I’m surprised that a player can’t take the Firework Arrow, for example, and choose if they want a single big explosion, or if they want it to go off like the 4th of July with a wider sweep of smaller explosions.
This accomplishes two things. It gives players the choice of how they want to interact with the game on a deeper level without adding a system that they wouldn’t already be familiar with. It also greatly enhances the pursuit of artifacts in the endgame since players would need multiple copies of a given artifact to fill their collection.
How are you liking Minecraft Dungeons? Is there anything you would change? Comment below with your thoughts!