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Minecraft Legends is more about the crafting than the mining

After previewing Minecraft Legends' gameplay, it is clear the game is focused more on the joy of building than the mining grind of actual Minecraft

Minecraft Legends gameplay: A screenshot from the Minecraft Legends gameplay trailer

Minecraft Legends marks the second big experimentation project with the immensely popular series after the release of Minecraft Dungeons in 2020. But, whereas Dungeons focused more on combat, Legends is far closer to the traditional Minecraft experience with building, crafting, community features, and more. But, it is aiming to allow you to do all of that on a much grander scale, while not making you slog and grind like actual Minecraft.

Speaking to The Loadout at Gamescom, Magnus Nedfors, creative director at Mojang Studios on the project, explains what the main goal of Minecraft Legends is and what the core pillars that make up the experience are.

Nedfors says that “we have a saying that we are not thinking block by block, but thought by thought” when it comes to building and creating outposts, defences, and more.

As you try to save the Overworld you will need resources to build up your army or plan attacks on the invading Piglin forces. And those resources are not gathered by having you, the hero, chop away at the procedurally-generated landscape block-by-block. Instead you can use your villagers to collect resources in large numbers or place down an item on the ground that mines the landscape around it, harvesting resources for you.

Building works much the same way, as you can choose to build an archer’s tower or a set of defensive structures, but you just aren’t constructing them in a time-consuming manner with individual blocks.

While breaking down each block in Minecraft works, with Minecraft Legends being a more action-focused experience, and set in a grander world, making individual structures piece-by-piece just wouldn’t be fun, which Nedfors says is a “key focus for the studio, as a person playing has to have fun for their playthrough for the game to be watchable or enjoyable for others.”

After getting a look at the game, it’s true that trying to craft a tower bit-by-bit in the middle of a fight with dozens of Piglins on screen would inhibit a lot of the enjoyment.

From our presentation it seems like the meat on the bones of Minecraft Legends comes from being the Hero in the story. Guiding your troops of villagers and fighters, directing them to where they should go, and controlling the overall flow of a battle against a fortress or Piglin outpost.

It isn’t about building for your own enjoyment. Minecraft Legends is more focused on letting you have fun by giving you the control over the world, creatures, and characters in the Overworld, which makes sense when you look at why building has been made less grindy.

As such, Legends appears to be offering a different kind of experience compared to what has been done with Minecraft before. But all of this management and strategy still looked easy to understand and simple to get a grip of, avoiding the kind of complexity you would find in Age of Empires or other more traditional strategy games.