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As awards season looms, don’t forget the Minecraft Mob vote fiasco

A Minecraft grass block engulfed in flames

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

For years, Minecraft has stood the test of time and remained a game that is deeply beloved by people of all ages. Over the past several months, however, the company making Minecraft has come under fire from fans on various platforms, especially Tik Tok.

With the Game Awards just around the corner, now might be just the time to take a look back at the infamous Minecraft mob vote fiasco and consider what it says about the relationship between game developers and the community that forms around games.

In the past few years, Mojang studios, the game’s main development head, has been using an innovative and interactive voting system to decide what new creatures, or “mobs,” should be implemented into the game.

The mob vote system was first adopted at the 2017 MINECON Earth event, where it was initially conducted via a Twitter poll. Essentially, players were able to vote for one of several mobs, and Mojang would add the winning option into the game.

In the beginning, this system was met with enthusiasm, and many fans thought it might be a step towards a much stronger player-developer relationship. However, just three years after the first Mob Vote, that enthusiasm quickly soured, eventually leading to a boycott of both the vote and the developers themselves.

Much of the issues fans had with the developer started when certain eagle-eyed viewers started asking questions about how the company handles content updates.

Content updates, like the recent Wild Update have implemented numerous features, including one of the mobs from a previous mob vote. This left many fans asking: Why can’t Mojang simply implement ALL the mobs from the mob vote into the game, albeit at a slower pace?

Mojang has been in the gaming business since 2009 and is now funded by the much bigger company Microsoft after having been acquired by them in 2014. Suffice to say that Mojang has more than enough money to implement new features en masse. 

As an attempt to address fan concerns, Mojang stated recently that the losers of the vote might be implemented later. This was likely referencing a situation where frogs lost the mob vote in 2018 but were still implemented earlier this year in the aforementioned “Wild Update.” 

This claim still does nothing to assuage the hurt felt by many when several of their favorite mobs still have yet to be implemented after several years. The situation gets even messier with some recent allegations of vote-rigging. 

Some players have suggested that certain biomes or mobs were set to win before the votes were even tallied. Much of this speculation surrounded the fact that they lined up conveniently with the proposed next update.

While much of this is just speculation, it’s hard to ignore how certain updates seem to hinge on one option in particular winning the vote. For example, consider the case of the Mountain biome winning just prior to the Caves and Cliffs update, which would have been fundamentally different without that biome. 

One prominent YouTuber, MatPat of Game Theory, proposed the idea that the 2022 vote was held with two intentionally horrible options and one great one. According to this idea, The Tuff Golem and the Rascal were meant to be obvious losers whereas Sniffer seemed the only real option, turning out 55.1% of the vote.

The Tuff Golem and Rascal would have provided minor changes to gameplay, with no real new additions. The Sniffer, however, allowed players to attain ancient seeds by digging them up. This added some mystique to the game as well as playing into an “extinct creature brought back to life” role.

But going back to allegations of the vote being rigged, this new mob seemed eerily convenient at points, considering the next planned update ended up being entirely centered around hidden treasures and archeology.

With allegations of planned winners and a lack of new features despite Mojang proving time and time again that it can implement new features easily, fan’s frustrations started to build against the beloved game developer.

Whether the claims are true or not, it would seem that that for far too many, the dedicated development team at Mojang has dropped the ball. Some fans have outright called for a boycott of the mob vote, but it remains to be seen how much fans will remember this anger as we head into awards season.

Whether these concerns are due to complacency or another underlying issue, transparency with fans is needed if Mojang wants to keep the reputation they’ve built over the years. Minecraft has endured for this long, but a dire change may be needed to prolong the beloved game’s lifespan.

Jaden Smith is a journalism freshman who can be reached at
[email protected]

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