With Minecraft Live 2022 having just taken place, there has been a lot of talk about the Mob Vote. For those unaware, the Mob Vote is an opportunity for the community to vote on one of three mobs to be added to Minecraft in a future update. In contrast to previous years’ mob votes taking place exclusively on Twitter, this year the voting took place in both the Minecraft launcher and in-game on Bedrock Edition. Another change from previous years was the length of the voting period. In the past voting would take place only during the livestream. This year, the voting took place during the 24 hours leading up to the stream.
So, understanding what the mob vote is, you probably see the issue. Unless one mob is leading by a huge amount, a sizeable portion of the community will inevitably be left disappointed when their favorite of the three mobs isn’t added to Minecraft. Don’t misunderstand, the Mob Vote is a very cool concept and is a great opportunity to help the community feel more involved in the direction of Minecraft’s development. Unfortunately, it’s just hard to tell if the positives outweigh the negatives.
Even going back to the first Mob Vote’s winner, the Phantom, there have been issues. At Minecon Earth 2017, the Phantom was picked to be added to Minecraft. Unfortunately, not much detail was given on the options and now the Phantom is one of the most hated monsters in the game. And while the issue of too little information has been resolved since then, that solution has introduced its own problem.
The nice thing about not getting much detail about the potential new monsters is that most people won’t get too attached to them. Once you introduce a bunch of exciting features and mechanics along with just the base designs, people start to get excited. And when people are excited it, they start to get competitive. That competition can lead to fighting amongst community members and, in 2020, even lead to accusations of the vote being rigged.
As previously mentioned, in 2020 there was debate about the community votes being rigged. One of the biggest Minecraft content creators of the past several years is Dream. For the sake of everyone, I’ll avoid commenting on any of those controversies and just explain the situation. Dream and some other popular Minecraft creators had a few exchanges on Twitter debating on which mob to vote for. This all culminated in Dream offering to follow anyone who proved they voted for the Glow Squid, that being his mob of choice.
I believe this was all done in good fun and there were no bad intentions. However, it did reveal another issue with the mob vote: Twitter. With Twitter being such a huge and public platform, it’s very easy to make extra accounts just for voting. It also allows for people who don’t even own Minecraft to vote.
It isn’t just big names in the community that cause the commotion surround the Mob Vote. Reading replies to the official Minecraft Twitter account and browsing various related hashtags, you can see the discontent. People rallying for their favorites and mocking the other mobs isn’t an uncommon sight. Even now, browsing the Mob Vote hashtag on twitter, you can see people upset that the Sniffer won.
The biggest issue with the mob vote has to be the disappointment that follows it. Because despite what some tweets may lead you to believe, each option in the mob vote is usually a very cool concept. Yes, some may seem more useful than others, but that is entirely subjective. The Sniffer bringing more flowers is great for a builder, whereas the Rascal giving you tools is great for survival.
The fact that there is so much division and so many arguments about what to vote for does show something important. The Mob Vote allows the community to feel like it’s making an impact. Something that is extremely important for games that get regular content updates is community feedback. Players love to see when their concerns are addressed.
Making an Impact
Looking at Terraria, a game that has often been compared to Minecraft, you can see a great example of developers who listen to their community. After the supposed “final update” of 1.4, Re-Logic recently released the 1.4.4 update. The latest update was in response to the game winning Steam’s Labor of Love award in 2021. This update, as with most others, was received incredibly well by the Terraria community. The reception was certainly helped by the update’s focus on community feedback.
I bring up Terraria to illustrate a good alternative to the Mob Vote. Mojang couldn’t do it exactly like Re-Logic, due to Minecraft’s size, but there are ways it could be done. There is already an official suggestion box! But, looking at the page, the list of accepted ideas is short and almost half of the ideas were relegated to voting during Minecraft Live.
Another advantage of the Mob Vote is the opportunity it gives the developers. Rather than creating new mobs from scratch and hoping they’re received well, the voting helps the developers see what the community wants in a mob. These insights could also potentially be useful in seeing the general direction the game should go in the next update. If an aquatic mob wins, players likely want more to do underwater and that should be noted.
In addition to hearing from the community, it’s also an opportunity to get extra concepts out into the world. I’m sure that even if a mob loses the vote, the response to it is still kept in mind. I think it’s important to remember that a mob winning is a guarantee it will get into the game, but a mob losing isn’t a guarantee that it’s gone forever.
Getting attention on Minecraft and Minecraft Live is certainly a big factor in the Mob Vote’s existence. As much negativity as it may bring in the community, it’s hard to point a finger at Minecraft. If the community fights over something meant to be fun, that isn’t the game’s fault. Plus, it gets the word out there remarkably well.
Mojang is a company and at the end of the day they want to make money. If the Mob Vote isn’t hurting them directly and it’s helping them get profits up, they’ll likely keep it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be tweaked. Compared to 2017’s mob vote, 2022’s was vastly different in both presentation and voting.
Can We Fix It?
With all that said, can we keep the core idea of the Mob Vote while making it a more positive experience? I think we can do it. I have two ideas that I don’t think change too much.
The Loser’s Bracket Method
This method is the one that would be least effective, I fell, but also changes the least. The mobs would all be designed by Mojang and then revealed to be voted on. This time, however, the losing mobs would come back the next year with just one new mob. To prevent a mob that is disliked by the majority from returning, there could be a poll for removing a mob. If the majority of votes are for yes, let’s say 70%, that mob would not return the next year. There still leaves room for disappointment, but to a much smaller degree.
The Community Vote Method
Going back to the feedback page from earlier, what if the mobs were based on highly rated community feedback? The top three rated mobs would move on to voting. This would also remove the need for a “not returning” poll. The mobs would have to be wanted enough to make it to the Mob Vote in the first place.
I think this could potentially be an adjacent event to the traditional Mob Vote. The Mob Vote could be as I previously described and this, the Community Vote, could be an additional poll. Maybe it could even extend beyond just mobs and just be new features in general. So, you could be voting between a new mob, biome or ore.
Though the mob vote isn’t perfect, it’s still an exciting part of Minecraft Live. Some people might take the competition too far or be too harsh. At the end of the day, there’s one important thing to remember. At least someone is excited about every mob that is announced and that’s valid. You can vote for your favorite mob without insulting others for their decision. And, hey, maybe the real Tuff Golem was the friends we made along the way.