Eik’s Minecraft Server: How To Play

Every couple of years I get pulled back into Minecraft. This time, I was bitten by the core gameplay loop of early Atlas, an early-access “survival” pirate game that’s more of a mess than it lets on. It’s still fun, but you will spend dozens of hours flailing (and dying) hopelessly before you get much more than a raft under your command.

Meanwhile, you’ll be doing a lot of resource gathering. Well, if I’m going to be doing that, I might as well go back to the source and play Minecraft!

Minecraft, by itself, is alright. Modded Minecraft, though, now there’s a thing. These hacky, weirdly complicated mods add years of depth to a game that is already deeper than most. Airships, magic, alternate dimensions, computer programming, automation; the list of systems mods add are infinite and ridiculous.

Even more ridiculous are the “modpacks” that are out there, publishing whole gobs of existing mods together into a whole; the current leader of these types of setups is Feed the Beast, named for… something, I’m sure. Documentation on modded Minecraft is pretty sparse. I’m sure a defunct blogspot website somewhere has the information.

Anyways, FTB has about a dozen or so actively maintained Modpacks, each catering to various playstyles. A lot of the current and former ones focus on “expert” play, where it tortures the core of Minecraft to the point of nihilism and turns it into more of a puzzle game for masochists.

I don’t have time for that.

What I do have time for, however, is a huge sandbox where I can waste time on enormous flights of fancy. FTB has a Modpack called FTB: Revelation, a very dramatic name for a Modpack that’s basically “everything but the kitchen sink”. Magic systems, beekeeping, about a dozen power generation systems (including nuclear reactor design), gardening, cooking, alternate dimensions, machine design and automation…. it’s a big list of 190-some mods, big and small, somehow shoehorned into a single, mildly complicated installation.

I was originally going to spend a few days learning the ins and outs of AWS to set one of these puppies up, but it turns out tutorials for doing this are poorly written and/or incomplete and/or ancient, and even if I were to go through the many steps to provision resources for the server, it’s still going to cost as much as it would be if I just went with a company that specializes in Minecraft servers.

So, last night, I bought one. To justify that purchase, I’d like other people to join in on it too. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just running Minecraft and connecting to a server.

So here are the steps to connect and have fun.

  1. Minimum Requirements: You’re gonna need a minimum of 6gb of RAM to give to Minecraft to run. You’re gonna need the 64-bit edition of Java 8 installed and ideally all other versions of Java uninstalled. You’re gonna need a copy of Minecraft: Java Edition installed (with a valid Minecraft account) and ran at least once. And you’re gonna need the Twitch.tv desktop app. With a valid Twitch.tv account. Yes, I know, it’s a lot.
  2. Assuming all of the above is installed and set up, go ahead and open the Twitch desktop app.
  3. Click the Mods tab.
  4. Click Minecraft to load up the Minecraft mods page.
  5. Click “Browse FTB Modpacks” and wait about 10 seconds for the mods to load.
  6. Click the search bar inside the page (not the one on the top of the app!) and type “Revelation”. Click on the result. You are taken to the FTB Revelation page.
  7. Click the purple Install button on the upper left of the screen.
  8. Once it’s done, click the Mods button again at the top of the Twitch app.
  9. Click Minecraft again.
  10. Click the new Revelation icon.
  11. In the upper right hand corner of the Revelation profile page, click the purple “…” button.
  12. Select Profile Options.
  13. Under Memory Settings, drag the slider to a bare minimum of 4096 MB. More is better. Way more is way better.
  14. Click the purple Okay button.
  15. Click Play. Wait a sec.
  16. The Minecraft Launcher window will appear. Click the green arrow to the right of the big green “PLAY” button. Select “FTB Revelation”.
  17. Click the “PLAY” button this time.
  18. Go get a coffee or smoke a cigarette or something. Unfortunately because this modpack is a behemoth, it takes several minutes to load.
  19. Once it loads up, click Multiplayer.
  20. Click “Add Server”
  21. Name it whatever you want, and in the server address put “eikenberry.serverminer.com” without quotes in the box.
  22. Click Done. You’ll be taken back to the Server browser, and the server should appear with the FTB logo and “eik’s minecraft server” listed. Double click on it.
  23. And that’s it! You’re in.

See? Only…. 2 dozen steps. Easy. Fortunately most of this stuff you don’t have to touch again, and can just launch Minecraft from the app.

Let’s have fun!

Unregulated Wish Fulfillment – Total War: Warhammer 2

Emperor Karl Franz was having a bad day.

His army, once ten thousand strong, is now scarcely more than a hundred across a dozen companies. His men have fought almost to the last three battles in a row, fighting the absurdly evil Von Carstein family of vampires that are trying to take over the Empire of Man. He has retreated to avoid conflict, only to be chased, ever closer, to a mountain range. He cannot retreat any further. He has to fight.

He’s already injured, his army is….. thin… he’s covered in the blood of over a thousand zombies and werewolves and enormous freaking bats.

Yet here he is again, fighting again, against the vampires again.

Outnumbered 3 to 1, he let the remnants of his crossbows and spearmen take out the vast majority of the enemy forces, stumbling into a tired melee with the rest.

Then the big bad Von Carstein gets up to the battle line and starts trashing everyone. Franz is too hurt to hurl himself into the fight, yet…..

Finally Von Carstein has been poked and prodded enough by Karl’s regular soldiers to let Karl get a few words in, horse-wise. He charges into him several dozen times, and barely, BARELY, survives.

He gains 3 levels and a bunch of boons for murdering a whole buncha vampires.

This game, man.

I basically spent my teens and early college years playing all of the Total War games, from the first Shogun onward. Medieval always held a special place in my heart, mostly because the Arabian factions were accidentally broken (and thus their city militia were unstoppable against nearly anything), and I loved conquering Europe and ruining history.

The Total War series always had a flaw, though; it tried too hard to straddle the line between “realism” (see their weird partnership with the history channel using the Rome: Total War engine to show how battles were won) and arcadey nonsense (where a max-stat unit of men can wipe out several armies without batting an eye). Aside from this leading to some questionable design decisions in the name of “realism” (a forced Roman civil war between vaguely historical houses? A political system in a game known for huge Lord of the Rings-style battles? Get out of here). This also leads to lots of tedious arguments on the internet about how realistic the game really is, and endless mods to make it “super real”.

Total War: Warhammer 2 removes all reason for being “realistic” and goes straight for design decisions and making the game cool. It makes the reptilian bits of my brain very happy.

Emperor Karl Franz? He’s a regular human king…. except he rides a flying armored Pegasus into battle, has half a dozen extremely rare magical pieces of kit on his body, and wields a hammer about the size of his torso. He has at least 7,000 hit points. He can wipe out dozens of men at once with his regular attack. No big deal, really.

And he’s not even the best hero unit.

I have fought goblins, orcs, zombies, giant freaking bats, werewolves, angry goatmen, sentient trees, and other humans. I’m pals with dwarves and elves. And I haven’t even seen a fifth of the map (I’m playing the Mortal Empires campaign which combines both Total Warhammer games into one, boy howdy).

I just built some sort of fancy college for BATTLE WIZARDS, which means I can recruit the FANCIEST battle wizard, so he can do stuff like call lightning from the sky, hurl meteors, or play with the wind.

And this is just the human faction. There’s like 20 others and they all play differently. Wanna be a Necromancer? Play as the Von Carsteins and raise skeletons from the ground during battle, then eat the captives after you win. Wanna play defensively and build huge cities? Dwarves are your guys. Want huge hordes of angry green dudes? Orcs to the max.

None of this is part of any history, of course. I can’t tell if you’re supposed to take Warhammer seriously or not, but its “grimdark grr grr ” world is too delightfully ridiculous for me to care much. We’re all fighting over a gigantic magical typhoon that’s keeping literal Hell at bay? And I can recruit units the size of a city block? And I can have Gatling guns AND fireball-throwing wizards? Oh. okay. This is straight, one hundred percent pure teenage nerd fantasy injected straight into my brain stem.

Warhammer has been around long enough that each unit, hero, country, and territory has about 40 books worth of text written about it all. I’m sure it’s very fascinating, and a rabbit hole I’m bound to go down eventually, but at the moment I’m having too much fun conquering spooky Vampire Transylvania to bother.