gaming October 8, 2012 Jack 24 comments

On Why Tekkit isn’t as good as vanilla Minecraft

I was, admittedly, late to the game on picking up Minecraft, and only started with 1.2.5, but it doesn’t take very long for you to “get” it and see that it’s a very persuasive game. It’s simple in mechanics, yet deep in possibility. You harvest various things to make tools, to make buildings, to defend yourself from the native mobs and other players (if that’s how you play). As this very well known Penny Arcade comic (and it’s follow up) suggests, it’s a concept that will immediately click with a large subsection of gamers. It’s a game that takes a very minimal amount of training to pick up and play, but will reward those that learn a bit more. It’s even something I can play with (or just around) my six year old daughter and not have to worry about it showing up negatively in her subconscious years later too – a major bonus for a gamer dad used to the fare of killing demons with increasingly powerful weaponry or headshotting virtual human beings.

However, being an engineer, when I see some sort of technical complexity – like Minecraft’s brilliant crafting system – I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to take it to the next level.

Enter Tekkit, a collection of mods designed around adding a huge amount of technical complexity to Minecraft by integrating a huge number of machines and components, new concepts and recipes. From simple electric circuits, improved redstone, to computer blocks and nuclear reactors.

Where tekkit succeeds

When I first got going with Tekkit, I thought I was in nirvana. There are so many conveniences. The macerator to grind up ore and get double the ingots from a block. The electric appliances powered by wind or solar or geothermal devices connected with wires. The lovely amount of complexity of the electrical systems. The improved redstone. The automation potentials. This basic improvement in minecraft life is great and addicting. New ore and gems to tantalize you when you’re deep in the earth. New plants, new crops. New gadgets like automatic miners and jetpacks. New weapons and armor. There isn’t a single area of vanilla that isn’t expanded on.

Where tekkit fails

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for you to reach a point where the resources you’re going to need for your planned projects are going to be insanely vast. For example, my first goal was going to be to setup a force field to defend my little area. The recipe to create a force field doesn’t look too bad but its energy requirements are steep (as you would expect) when you’re protecting a large area. So, instead of tackling the complexity, or following a blueprint for a nuclear plant, I decided I’d just craft a HV (high voltage) solar array which would power my force field and charge a battery to keep the power up at night. Simple enough, this was all based on theorycrafting.

However, to create a single HV array would require 512 (8x8x8) solar panels. Each solar panel requires a generator, two circuits and some other easier to get components. Each circuit require copper wire, iron, and redstone. Copper wires require rubber. Generators require batteries, furnaces, and machine blocks (8 iron). The recipes aren’t hard, but for a single HV solar array I’d need something like 5000 iron and 3000 copper, 1500 rubber. These are rough, the tekkit wiki probably has real numbers, but the point is that it was clear from the get-go I wasn’t going to be harvesting these myself. To get 5000 iron I’d probably spend days of play time in mines.

And so I discovered the Equivalent Exchange (EE) part of Tekkit. It’s mod that, at its core, lets you echange many lesser valued items for one higher valued item. It’s a great concept because it means that all of that extra garbage you get from mining you can convert, losslessly, into another type of item. I can’t tell you how many stacks of cobblestone I’ve had from mining that just sit in a large chest waiting for me to use them because I can’t bare to let them go. With EE I’d be able to convert them into something I actually need. Sounds fair. After all, it’s in the title: equivalent exchange.

But EE also comes with energy collectors that are able to absorb EMC (the “currency” of items) from sunlight. It becomes clear that when you can absorb enough EMC to basically replicate an iron ingot in a couple of seconds that this is probably the best way to get 5000 iron ingots without strip mining the planet.

So it seems all right then. Sure you’ve got uber expensive items, but you’ve also got a way to convert time spent doing anything into items. Just be patient and you’ll have enough EMC to pay for your ingredients. Problem solved, right? Sure, but at what cost? What reason do you now have to play the game if resources are meaningless with a little effort?

Why explore? Why face danger? Why delve into the caverns and discover underground strongholds and dungeons if you will never return with anything that you couldn’t have replicated? Why spend more than two minutes in the nether if you only have to get one glowstone dust forever?

You know what the most efficient strategy for playing Tekkit is, after you’ve got an energy collector and a condenser up to a certain efficiency? Go do something else and leave your character to idle nearby. Zero effort, guaranteed reward. I generated more diamonds in my sleep this way than I would’ve ever mined in days of gameplay otherwise.

I’m sure that I can afford the reagents to make that HV solar array now, but what’s the point? There’s no achievement left in creating it except for building a machine to crank out solar panels so I don’t have to put up with the tedium of thousands of steps I’d have to take by hand to create one myself. And I understand that designing such a machine is pleasurable, but if creating the components of the machine is just a waiting game for ingredients, why not go to creative mode and design it there? Similarly, if having 1000 diamond blocks is your goal for building your mansion of unparalleled wealth, why not just skip the few days of waiting (or less, likely, if you have a better collector/relay/condenser setup) and just do it in creative mode? Because you want to be “challenged” by sitting around waiting doing anything else for long enough? Because it’s an achievement to have replicated a mansion?

In short, by forcing us to get around resource gathering by making end-game level items insanely expensive, Tekkit has obviated the whole point of playing the game in survival mode.

Perhaps I’m unfortunate in being too obsessed with efficiency. Tekkit has a lot of great additions to vanilla, but I can’t bring myself to ignore the gamebreaking ones. If I can have access to unlimited resources, I can’t help but take advantage of them and, eventually, it makes more sense to keep upgrading your replicator setup than it does doing pretty much anything else. Perhaps I can just remove the EE mod (I am running a personal server after all), but then I don’t know how I’d deal with the insane amounts of material I need to pursue my grand plans. Maybe I could just force myself to ignore collectors, and only convert “honest” items into more useful ones? I don’t know. All I know is that, right now, the simplicity of vanilla looks a lot more challenging, rewarding and, thus, appealing.

24 thoughts on “On Why Tekkit isn’t as good as vanilla Minecraft

  1. Spot on. However, I love Tekkit so much, I’d rather just ignore the insanely expensive stuff and play it with blinders on than go back to vanilla.

  2. I read most of your text, but I have to say, thats all wrong, the diamond thing is all your fault. sure EE can be overpowered, but thats only if you allow it to, play minecraft normally until you beat the game and restrict what you do, go on a server that way there is a challange of people destroying your base, such as EraCraft Tekkit, they have protection, but you can start wars, once a war starts its on. What you complain about is your own choice, dont idle your character than complain about it…

    1. So EE2 craps all over the endgame progression and the answer is for me to change my playstyle? No, thanks. If I wanted zero-effort building with no incentive to explore then I’d play creative.

      Also, I’m happy to say, EE3 appears to not be so ridiculously overpowered, eliminating the condensers and collectors.

      1. So turn off EE. If you are incapable of NOT building imba energy condensers, just turn EE off altogether, just a quick setting change. You complain that the cost for the high end items are too expensive, and too easy simultaneously. Turn off EE, but that doesn’t mean you have to mine everything by hand (but you could if you wanted to). You can design a nice buildcraft oriented factory using a quarry and pipes, which will require some cool work and design.

        The whole point of minecraft is to be a sandbox to play it how you want. Tekkit isn’t so different in that regard. The difference is, there are so many options on the table, you may not know how you want to play it till you explore all the different aspects to it. Most would agree, EE is/was broken. But so is turning on creative mode while in vanilla. Just cuz the button is there doesn’t mean it has to be pushed.

  3. If you really have a problem with EE, play on a tekkit server with EE disabled. Granted, there are still mass fabricators, but the amount of energy required to do anything meaningful with is is rather vast. HV solar arrays are awesome, but they really arent something that comes into play until quite late, and if you are someone who prefers the building, engineering and micro management portions involved, Tekkit truly has major advantages.

    For instance, I want a few HV arrays so I can have my mass fab essentially able to generate more rare resources for me. In order to get to that, i need over 15000 iron, or 7500 ore into a macerator.
    To gather that ore, after the initial manual mining, my method of choice is quarries.
    Certainly you can setup a half dozen or so quarries, and strip mine a large portion of the world, however, you still have to be able to deal with the massive amounts of resources that get spit out otherwise.
    Networks of sorting tubes, recyclers, automated item processing setups – all things that need to be dealt with before you can handle a potential influx of a half dozen blocks per second.
    Amassing, sorting resources, staving off attacks, engineering efficient solutions for sorting, dealing with power concerns, delving into nuclear power, programming your own turtles, etc. etc.

    Tekkit adds so many additional options to play with that it truly does give you the option to focus on exactly what you want to do, me it mining, combat, exploration, etc. Nearly everything can be automated with the right setups and experimentation, leaving you able to do exactly what you want.

    Tl;dr – If you hate EE so much, disable it and give Tekkit a chance

  4. Try Tekkit Lite, there are brand new mods which add that new kick to tekkit. EE3 was added but it’s more balanced now and the creator is on a break. Overall if you didn’t like the concept of EE in the past, Tekkit lite is your solution

    1. I’ve actually been playing FTB / Direwolf20’s pack which has EE3 and the same major mods that Tekkit Lite has.

      I have to say it’s been quite nice and I appreciate the fact that EE has changed into something useful without being stupidly over powered. I like using the Minium Stone to turn 6x cobble into 1x basalt. It gives me a use for cobble, and doesn’t seem like cheating.

      That said, it still needs tweaking to not add cheat loops. For example, I think it’s possible to get infinite wood and infinite bone meal etc. because the EE recipes assume vanilla and doesn’t take into account that you can get more planks or more bonemeal from each wood block / bone by using machines from other mods. Fortunately though, these are a lot easier to ignore than the EE2 collectors and such were.

      1. Same here….try Tekkit Lite… problem solved.

        I tried FTB, didn’t like it… it seems too much of a performance hog, probably because they use way too many mods, I always get much lower frame rates. I find Tekkit Lite well balanced and it performs well.

  5. So right about this. I personally solved this by playing psudo creatively, that is, on survival mode but allowing myself to hack in any items as needed, and turned my focus to theory crafting and machine building.

    When you can easily sit around and generate 10000 diamond blocks, it’s not impressive at all to do so. But how about being able to set up a quarry and make all of the resources provided by it automatically processed to a point where you have a machine that builds cities for you? At that point, who cares about the city itself, but damn that machine must be cool!

    1. Gee, i hate those quarries, they are horribly slow compared to using EE items to mine, and you get much less than you would get from an energy colector

  6. If you hate the insanely expensive items try dabbling into redpower it is cheap to get started with and with all the added redstone logistics the machines/mechanismsc you can make are endless, i personally adore this mod since there are no end to the things you can create.

    1. I share your thoughts 🙂
      If tekkit classic had thermal expansion i would only use buildcraft thermal expansion and ofcourse Redpower (2/1).
      Redpower adds the possibilities to automate everything (except mining, because when you mine the block is turned into air)

  7. Try Tekkit Lite, it doesn’t have less mods, and they have fixed the EE issue, you have to gather all resources, there are no collectors, there are no energy condensers, just pure tekkit awesomeness!

    1. Also an HV solar is overkill to power a forcefield in tekkit classic, just use a redstone feeder and a few collectors, you will need a timer, a condenser, a piece of redstone, and 1 MKIII collector, 2 MK2 collectors, or 4 MK1 collectors.

  8. For your force filed you just need to work on building up your power systems. I do admit that EE is a bit over powered but it doesn’t mean you should write it off. It is a very important part in making a stable nuclear reactor that can have extremely high output. I made a video showing how to make two different designs that will make your life much easier EU wise.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPb5Er8MRU0
    And the resource problem can be easily solved by using quarries to mine vast amounts of space with very little interaction. I have a system to sort out received materials that I can record and explain if anyone is interested.

  9. The new tekkit is a whole lot better in a sence that EE3 is a lot less OP. I’m fairly mid game and I still find my self going on regular mining trips. Have a crack at the new one and you’ll see what I mean

  10. I like how on tekkit classic, you can set it up so that you can get basically anything you want, this means that i can build huge/amazing things(when i get round to them), without having to go on exhausting mining trips

    1. Anyway, isnt the whole point of minecraft to let your creativity run, and allow you to build amazingly huge things

  11. “My opinion as to why Tekkit isn’t as good as vanilla Minecraft.”

    -Fixed that for you.

    I’m sorry if Tekkit makes you lose your sense of adventure, but honestly the majority of fun I got from playing Minecraft came from making the equipment not spending hours underground. Learning how to make the new machines, and learning how to set everything up was a time consuming tedious process that when it was finished was immensely satisfying.
    If that’s not at least as good as vanilla you might be playing this game for the wrong reasons.

  12. tekkit and minecraft are really the same, just tekkit has mods you could use to expand your play style. So if you like challenges, choose tekkit. If you dont want a challenge play minecraft. it matters what you want to play.

  13. tekkit is not about being idle at all, its just about what MORE of a experience is about. Minecraft, when you beat the game, you have nothing to do after,so you stop playing. Tekkit,you could do hundreds of things without having to waste space with redstone. so tekkit is actually better in my opinion

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