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Thaumcraft: Restarting. Tekkit: Rekindled. FTL: Reunited

For a fellow who has no spouse or kids, the weekend is nothing particularly sacred, and so I spend it at work.  Monday is my Saturday, Friday is my Monday, and I am temporally reinforced in my definition of a weirdo.  The other consequence is that blogging today (Monday) means I'm actually reflecting on what happened before everybody elses' weekend came and I found myself with virtually no time to do anything at all after work.

Surprise: I mostly played Minecraft.  I played two kinds of Minecraft, in fact.  The first mod mix being the tekkit pack from Technic.  The second mod back being my "Everything Tekkit Isn't" custom mix that included the likes of Thaumcraft, Tinkers' Construct, Mystcraft, and Minecraft Comes Alive.
In one particular run to earn some experience points for enchanting my equipment, I attracted a positively ludicrous amount of zombies.
Virtual life with a heavy Thaumcraft focus has one rather large difference from most Minecraft mods.  Usually, the challenge is in getting the resources to build new tools and blocks and (much more challenging) then figure out how you're supposed to use them.  In Thaumcraft, you first need to perform a major research activity to unlock the cool new tools and blocks.  It's a good idea, a very balance to counter how technically these cool new tools and blocks are increasing your capability over what you can normally do in Minecraft.... but it essentially adds a whole additional hurdle to overcome before you get to do cool things.

Despite this precaution, I managed to break the balance almost immediately.

This is primarily due to my choice to use the Enchanting Plus mod, which adds an advanced enchantment table that allows players to choose the exact enchantment they want to invest their hard-earned levels in.   (As it turns out, Thaumic Tinkerer added an Osmotic Enchanter that already does this, but with a lot more Thaumcraft-appropriate balance to it.)  Thus empowered, I made a full suit made out of thaumium and invested 40 levels worth of enchantments into each piece.  Thaumcraft introduces, among other enchantments, a "repair" enchantment, and so my perfectly enchanted armor could now last forever.

Suddenly, I was the male equivalent of an immortal Valkyrie!  My armor included enchantments that caused me to fall slowly and jump very high, which meant that I could essentially launch myself into the air and glide across great expanses at a high speed.  This was also useful in combat: not only could I sweep across the enemy ranks and whack them all with my sword, but I could also use the knockback effect of their attacks against them to propel me to safety when it was time to eat and heal up.  Even on the ground, the "haste" enchantment on my boots permitted me to dart where I wanted to be on the battlefield.  Suddenly, those zombie pigmen that caused me such trouble before were no longer able to gang up on me when it mattered.

This was not my only balance mistake: my choice to add mix Tinkers' Construct with Thaumcraft turned out to be redundant in several ways:
  • With the inclusion of the "repair" enchantment in Thaumcraft, it's possible to enhance a weapon or tool via the enchantment system in roughly every way Tinkers' Construct does, and you don't need to worry about them going away so long as you don't use them to depletion before they self-repair.  
  • Tinkers' Construct tools such as excavators and hammers do the same thing that the much-harder-to-obtain artifice tools do in Thaumcraft.   There are a few unique things Tinkers' Construct tools and weapons can do, but not enough to justify adding a whole separate crafting system.
  • Thaumcraft 4.1+ provides ore processing in the form of ore clusters and this is redundant with the Tinkers' Construct's smeltery doubling ores.
If I had to to take another run at this mod mix, it's clear I've a few mods here that did not mix particularly well.  For that matter, perhaps I would risk a corrupted saved game by using Millenaire again instead of Minecraft Comes Alive.  Minecraft Comes Alive is mostly just playing house with Minecraft villagers, and there's not necessarily anything wrong with that, but I desire more gameplay ramifications to my villager interactions.

I am mostly thinking in terms of the economic balance: Millenaire villagers have a need to buy materials from the player (to build their houses and to meet basic needs), and sell things the player might actually be interested in.  Minecraft Comes Alive villagers don't eat, don't build houses, and only do the basic Minecraft 1.6.4 villager trades that are only rarely of any benefit to the player.

I was not completely off with my mod mix, though.  It seems Bibliocraft and Better Storage mix with Thaumcraft quite well, possessing not only aspect support, but also bonus Thaumcraft tools and blocks!  I have not yet used Mystcraft enough to assess its compatibility with Thaumcraft, although I can confirm that the symbols have no aspect support.
One nice thing about trusting the Tekkit crew to do their mod mix for me: the frequency of my restarts is not nearly as pronounced.  In fact, I'm still using the same Tekkit world I had in early march, including this storage room.
On the other hand, Tekkit is just fine, and adds all sorts of potential fun.  I'm happy to report that the latest versions of Tekkit even seem to include more recent versions of Galacticraft, which means you can actually go to Mars.  (At least, I assume so, as the Not Enough Items readout shows Desh and tier 2 martian dungeon resources.)

It seems to me that Tekkit is quite reasonably balanced, after all.  The Modular Powersuits turned out to be less overpowered than the Mekanism obsidian armor when I investigated it.  They're more expensive to make with the Thermal Expansion formulas, and harder to keep powered with the means of power generation found in Tekkit.

In fact, the only limitless power generators I've found in Tekkit are the solar panels from Galacticraft.  I'm not entirely sure that they can be routed into the Redstone Flux used by most of the machine blocks in the game.  Yet, I would have a hard time complaining if they could, as I know how to create limitless energy by simply routing automated tree farms to a furnace... still, it feels a little more like I'm earning my energy when I have to grow it on a farm, instead of just plucking it from the air or sun.

For the time being, of the two mod mixes, I'm more interested in playing with Tekkit right now.  After all, I sort of broke my Thaumcraft-focused game balance by capsizing it with Enchantment Plus and Tinkers' Construct.  If you're going to go Thaumcraft, you really need to go all the way, otherwise there's no need to bother with the whole research rigamarole because there's other mods that will give you functional alternatives immediately.

I also gave the newly-released FTL Advanced Edition a spin, and can say that does indeed breath new life into a game I had formerly exhausted all of the unique events and ship upgrades.  Some of my favorite improvements include:
  • Vulcan lasers and flak cannons - These weapons really put out a lot of hurt, which is both empowering when you have them and spooky when you're up against an enemy ship equipped with them.
  • More crew stations - It often bothered me how half of my up-to-eight-person crew were little more than freeloaders who might occasionally repair damage or repel borders.  With the inclusion of a crew station in the doors and sensor rooms, I can put another couple of them to work.
  • The clone bay - This is an option to replace the medical bay, and resurrects any dead crew members with a hit to their acquired skill points.  Though you get some passive healing with every jump, you cannot heal your crew members without a medical bay, so it's a pretty important choice whether you'd rather have your crew members resurrected on death or have available healing.  I like important choices in my games.
I'd probably play more FTL, but it takes about 3 hours to complete a run in this game.  That's such a hefty time investment that I actually don't have enough time to play a single game after work.  I suppose I could opt to save the game, mid-completion, but it would be too tempting to stay up too late and finish it off, and I owe my job more than showing up a wreck.

Overall, I guess I have something to play.  I am a little spooked about how exclusive I am about my game playing experiences, though.  Honestly, why not play Don't Starve?  I own it, I've dabbled with it, and I know it certainly possesses much of the challenge and balance I gripe about not being in my various Minecraft mod mixes.  There must be something specific to Minecraft that keeps me coming back, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

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