Game On: Minecraft ‘mob vote’ brings out the mob mentality in its players

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if anyone had told me in 2010 that Minecraft would become a cultural phenomenon producing an inescapable quantity of merchandise ranging from action figures, clothes, LEGOs and even cereal, I wouldn’t have believed them. It was just a cute little indie game with loads of potential.

There’s no need to argue about whether Minecraft has lived up to that potential – it absolutely has, and then some. The game has been endlessly expanded upon since its inception in 2009, only momentarily slowing down when Microsoft acquired the property in 2014 for $2.5 billion.

Even more so than most other games, Minecraft lives and dies by its community. Developer Mojang has hosted several in-person and livestreamed “MineCon” events over the years, and one staple of these events is the so-called “mob vote,” wherein three potential new creatures are showcased. Gamers then vote on which they’d most like to see added to the game, and a few months later Mojang does just that.

While I love the idea, it has a habit of bringing out the worst in an otherwise-wholesome community. The problem is that the losers of the vote are seemingly shelved forever – the earliest mob vote was held in 2017, and the losing creatures haven’t resurfaced in any way since. That’s troublesome in a game like Minecraft, where more variety is almost always welcome.

This year, the vote is between the rascal, sniffer and tuff golem. All three are fully realized concepts with artwork and thorough explanations of their in-game mechanics, should they be implemented. It’s no surprise that people are already up in arms about the inevitable conclusion that two of them will disappear forever.

If added, the hunched-back rascal will appear deep underground, where it will play hide-and-seek with players and award them with an item upon being found a third time. The sniffer is an ancient, six-legged dinosaur-like creature that would be hatched from eggs found in underwater ruins. Once hatched, it would be able to find ancient seeds for the player, which can be used to grow new varieties of plants.

Lastly, the tuff golem would be built by the player. It would act as a statue that can hold any item and periodically “wake up” to walk about and display it. Additionally, it can be equipped with any color of cloak corresponding to the various shades of wool in the game. Votes will be cast today via in-game menus and online Minecraft.net. Last year over a million votes were cast, with the allay handily defeating the glare and copper golem.

The levels of tribalism and pettiness I have witnessed online related to the 2022 Minecraft mob vote rival that of the impending November election. While Minecraft does offer competitive modes, it’s predominantly a relaxed, cooperative game, so the toxicity is shocking and off-putting. Implementing community input is typically a welcome idea in online games, but I’m not so sure it’s worth it in this case.

I believe Mojang revisiting some of the older, shelved creatures would help smooth things over significantly moving forward. Then, gamers could know that even if their preferred mob loses, there’s a high chance it will eventually be added to the game. The current status quo seems like a massive waste of development resources, frankly.

As for the results? I’ve been keeping an eye on various forums and communities online, and if I had to put money on it, I’d guess the sniffer will take the win, with the tuff golem behind it. The rascal seems even less popular than last year’s glare creature, which received a pitiable 11.2% of votes.

Personally, my first choice would be the tuff golem – I’d like more friendly critters in my base – but the sniffer is a close second for its unique appearance and straightforward utility. While I love Minecraft for exactly what it is, the game’s mechanics are somewhat dated and clunky and I highly doubt interactions with the rascal would be anything other than janky and frustrating.

Whatever the result, I can’t wait for the aptly-titled mob vote to be over – I’d like to see the Minecraft community go back to its usual friendliness.



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