When it comes to games that “define generations,” there are actually several contenders that we can pick and choose from, all of which rose to popularity (or reached the height of their popularity) in the past ten years. In the same way that Tetris or Pokemon are landmark titles for people of a certain age, Minecraft is out to define what it means to be a gamer today. It’s not all encompassing–after all, gaming is an art form and a genre, and a multi-billion dollar industry can be summed up by one game–but it does represent many current evolutions in gaming, as well as tell us what contemporary gamers want out of their experiences.
In Minecraft, you have freedom. As more and more people invest their interest in the digital spaces of video games, they are pushing at the boundaries of the worlds created for them. Look at titles like The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Grand Theft Auto, and more. Look at the massively-multiplayer online game genre. People still love exploring new and innovative ideas within video games, but more than anything else, they want the freedom to explore those game worlds in whatever way they want to.
It’s this idea that Minecraft is built upon, and the reason that the title–which has been immensely popular for more than a decade–is still played by millions of people on a daily basis. It’s the picture perfect definition of a “sandbox” game, in that it encourages players to be creative in how they approach every aspect of it, in every gameplay mode that the game comes packaged with.
Of course, it’s those modes that the game doesn’t come packaged with that have seriously extended its longevity. Perhaps more than any other game that’s being actively played by millions of gamers, mods have been responsible for keeping Minecraft kicking (in as much as the core game is responsible for inspiring such great mods, in the first place!)
In the following article, we’ll take at 10 of the best mods that you can download for the PC version of Minecraft, as well as provide links that will allow you to download them. Always double check to make sure that your version of Minecraft meets the requirements of the mods you’re downloading (following our handy links to double check.)
If you’ve been in the PC gaming arena for a while, you probably know that your success is going to be measured by the strength of your gaming rig. You’ll also know that it doesn’t take much computer muscle to overpower current-gen console game, but with enough strength, you can showcase some pretty fantastic graphics and experiences.
However, the base version of Minecraft doesn’t do a whole lot with recently-released, high-end GPUs or processors. It also tends to really chug down to a slow, crawling framerate on computers that don’t meet the specifications for the game. In dev speak, we’d call this “poorly optimized,” but the reality for Minecraft is that optimization doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the problem. It’s a sandbox game that encourages users to build and create things on a massive scale, meaning that each gamer’s experience can result in very different computing power demands.
Optifine does just what you might surmise from the context of its name–it optimizes the Minecraft experiences and takes advantage of any extra horsepower that you can throw at the game.
This may not seem like the most groundbreaking mod that you’ll find online, but it greatly helps with both your immersion and your overall game experience in Minecraft. It’s a map addon (which you might have surmised from the title) that slowly fills in your map of the game world as you explore. All major landmarks will be filled in as you go, and it can even send you notifications when you’re approaching certain areas (or being approached by enemies.)
The resulting feature is almost Zelda-esque and adds an element of exploration fun to your gameplay.
Here’s a particular favorite of mine that’s been one of the most frequently downloaded Minecraft mods for more than a year. In the true fashion of customizability, this is a mod that’s going to make your Minecraft worlds feel a whole lot more populated in a convincing way.
Millenaire adds multitudes of NPCs (non-player characters) to your game, all of which are open to trading specific items with you. In addition to that, they’ll come with their own quests that all help to make your game experience feel that much more rich.
Feeling the pressures of a cramped inventory? No roleplaying, exploration, or adventure game seems to come without that particular constraint, but Inventory Tweaks helps to alleviate a lot of it. There’s a vast amount of ways that you can modify the addon itself, but the most pleasing part of it is the way that it replenishes frequently-used items in your inventory.
Out of the many add-ons that feature exceptionally designed Minecraft content…Twilight Forest is somewhat wild. Check out the link above for instructions on how to gain access to it once you’ve downloaded Twilight Forest, but be prepared for an alternate world from your primary Minecraft gain, featuring unique creatues and environments that absolutely transcend the usual graphics limitations present in the game.
With Forestry, you’ll get a ton of new items, blocks, and features, all of them focused onthe agricultural aspects of the game. The bees are particularly fun, and the mod is popular enough that you might even have seen a Minecraft-focused meme from it. Once again, this addon isn’t focused on revolutionizing the Minecraft experience so much as it is enhancing it beyond the features that are already present.
If you’re looking for a mod that adds a ton of new content to your game without changing the core concepts, look no further!
Minecraft doesn’t exactly need more magic, but if you download this mod, you’ll wonder what you were ever doing without it. Explore customizable sorcery by using the life force of your surroundings in the game world. You’ll create new objects using unlocked blocks, and even get access to an entirely new minigame that allows you to unlock different and stronger spells.
While many Minecraft mods seek to enhance features that are already in the game, Thaumcraft feels hugely like a standalone addition that adds entirely new content. It’s absolutely worth your time; especially if you’re in the mood for something quite different.
If you feel that you’ve exhausted the many biomes that are available for you to paly in the core Minecraft game, look no further than Biomes ‘O Plenty. Last time I checked, the mod adds several dozen new biomes that you can use to change up the atmosphere of your game modes and your creations.
Each of the new biomes will add minor alterations to your tools and equipment, so that everything is thematically and aesthetically cohesive in each of them. If you’re looking to change up the aesthetic of the game, but keep the core functionality in place, then you need this addon.
If you’ve been a follower of Minecraft over the years, you’ve probably happened upon some of the truly massive, functional creations that other players have made. If you’ve been itching to get in on that scene, then EnderIO is probably a mod that you’ll want to learn the ins and outs of.
Fairly complicated, it’s mostly about resource management on large scale projects. EnderIO gets your stuff where it needs to go by way of conduit items, which can be interconnected and customized to best suit your needs. There’s a learning curve, for sure, but it’s worth your time and attention if you enjoy making large creations.
Once you’ve spent a good amount of time building structures in Minecraft, you’re probably going to want to embellish and personalize your creations even further (if you’re a perfectionist like me, anyway.) Chisel allows you to do just that, and not only adds many different types of blocks but allows you to modify and change existing ones in interesting ways.
If you’re the type of sandbox gamer that isn’t satisfied to build with what you’ve been given, this is definitely an addon you need to get ahold of.
Before using any of these mods, always double check to make sure that each is compatible with the version of the game that you’re running. You’ll also probably need to download and install the Curse Forge add-on downloader and installer. Though third-party software can sometimes feel cumbersome and intrusive, this particular tool is going to make using your mods a cinch!
Are you an avid Minecraft player? Do you have your own idea about what mods belong on our list of the 10 best add-ons that you can download for the game? Even if they differ from those gems that we’ve presented above, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. In addition to that, please consider sharing this brief guide on Facebook and Twitter!