Minecraft is almost perfect. Minecraft with mods: well, it’s even better. Nearly six years since Minecraft’s first public release, it might be starting to feel a little built same-y. If you feel that way, it’s time to fall head over heels in love all over again. Here's a list of the thirty most creative, time-saving, and useful mods for Minecraft.
When it comes to installing mods, always check out your options. Some mods come with auto-installers, which make them very easy to handle, but many don't, so it's best to follow the instructions in the links provided very closely.
If you do a lot of swapping mods around then you might find Magic Launcher a useful tool - it makes the whole process much simpler and easier.
Finally, it goes without saying that if you've got a Minecraft world that you're incredibly attached to, then back it up before you fiddle around with mods too much. It's unlikely, but just like taking your first diamond pickaxe through a nether portal, there's always a risk that something terrible might happen.
Despite Minecraft's rudimentary looks it can still prove taxing on older computers. Optifine adds many more options to make the game run both faster and prettier. On slow machines, gains of 20fps or more are common, and on more modern equipment you get support for antialiasing, random mob textures, better grass and snow, HD textures and fonts, among other things. It even adds a configurable autosave interval. Probably the best mod on this list.
Minecraft's small stable of creatures is pretty good, but if you want to populate your world with a bit more ecological diversity then this is the mod for you. Mo'Creatures adds a long list of new animals, from turkeys, bunnies and snails to elephants, wyverns and werewolves. Be careful, though - many of the creatures are aggressive. Some can even destroy blocks.
Complex is one of the best puzzle maps available for Minecraft. It puts you in a three-dimensional maze, and you're tasked with finding "the answer" without breaking any blocks. There are many different paths to take, and it should take most players at least a few hours to complete. There's also an experimental two-player edition if you've got a friend to co-op with.
Five million people can't be wrong, can they? That's how many people have downloaded SkyBlock - a map where you wake up on a tiny island in the sky, with just a tree and a chest for company. From there, it's up to you to build as much as you can - a bed! A house! A pumpkin farm! A scale model of the Starship Enterprise! Starting with almost nothing really makes you value every single block.
There’s a huge amount of technology-themed Minecraft mods out there, but connecting pipes, plugging in wires, and doing the maths gets quite tedious. Botania from Vazkii allows you to perform technological wizardry through the use of magic plants.
Yes, through the use of flowers that spread mana through streams to other blocks, you can create all kinds of magical machines. By scraping any kind of numbers system, Botania is all about immersing yourself in planting magic flowers in the right places to achieve the best results, rather than lots of minmax fiddling.
You'll never be lost again with Rei's Minimap. Unlike the in-game maps, Rei's edition is active from the moment you start the game, doesn't require a hotbar slot and - even though it's not wholly within the spirit of Minecraft - will even map caves for you, place waypoints, and let you spot creatures if you like. Tremendously useful. You'll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Sure, the twelve biomes in Vanilla Minecraft are great and all, but wouldn't you like 70 more? Alps, badlands, bamboo forest, dead swamps, dunes, fen, mangrove, mesas, moors, prairie, steppe, volcano, and wasteland are among the inclusions that'll make your world a far more interesting place to be. Go exploring, and chart your new world.
Perhaps you're not really very interested in the natural world. Perhaps you want to subjugate nature beneath your industrial boot. ComputerCraft lets you build machines that'll automate mining and tree-felling, password doors, play games (Mineception!), generate cobblestone and control TNT cannons. The only catch is that you'll need to learn a bit of programming to put them together.
Alternatively, there's Millenaire. It's an attempt to fill up the "emptiness" of Minecraft worlds with a bit more civilisation - 11th century Norman, Japanese and Mayan villages, populated with men, women and children who'll trade, build buildings, grow crops, and craft tools and amulets. By helping towns grow, you'll be rewarded with special items. One day, they might even build you a house of your own there.
On a simpler note, Inventory Tweaks delivers just that - a series of little adjustments to Minecraft's inventory system that make it much easier to keep track of your stuff - automatically replacing tools as they break, adding shortcuts to move things around and customising how your inventory is sorted. Like Rei's Minimap, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.
You're going to want to start carrying around a chest in your inventory with this mod. When you do, if you die, it'll put as many of the items in your inventory as possible in a chest at the point that you died. No more hunting around in poorly-lit caves trying to see if you picked up all your things, and no losing them down big dark holes.
Enthusiastic spelunkers will know how much of a pain it is to run out of torches half-way through the exploration of an enormous cave. Instead, how about a Flashlight mod? This simple addition lets you turn glowstone and redstone into a lamp, and then turn that lamp into a torch that you can carry around to illuminate your world. Of course, you can't hold a sword and a torch at the same time...
The default world generator does a pretty good job, but there's always room for improvement. Enter the Better World Generation mod, which lets you opt for larger biomes, huge floating islands and even isolated desert isles with dramatically limited resources. It also lets you access older versions of the normal terrain generator.
Vanilla Minecraft's rain and storms are atmospheric but have little real effect on the game. Weather & Tornadoes changes that, extending the storm system to five stages of increasing intensity with naturally spawning waterspouts, terrifying tornadoes and hurricanes that tear up the terrain and toss it around, along with craftable tornado sirens to give you some warning that they're coming. It also adds particles for leaves, waterfalls and adds waves to water, making the world that little bit more alive. Highly recommended - the tornadoes are utterly terrifying.
Buildcraft is one of the better-known Minecraft mods, and with good reason. It adds pipes, auto-crafting, quarries, engines, lasers, pumps and all sorts to the game, allowing you to automatically sort and move objects between chests and containers. There's no better option if you want to pursue the creation of huge automatic factories.
Better Breeding tweaks a little-appreciated aspect of Vanilla Minecraft - animal husbandry. It gives animals stats that can be improved over time by selectively breeding them with other animals with good stats, allowing you to boost an animal's drop rate and even the amount of health or hunger that their food heals. Create a master-race of all-powerful pigs, then unleash them on your world for the best bacon you've ever had.
Another simple one. With Treecapitator installed, you only need to chop out one block from a treetrunk for the whole lot to fall to the ground, leaves and all, in a deeply-satisfying cascade of logs. Much easier on your axe, your mouse and your finger. Your orthopedic surgeon can thank us later.
This is a slightly more unusual mod - The Dropper 2 is a puzzle map that drops you. In a variety of interesting and creative ways. In pursuit of crystals. In most cases, however, your goal is simply to survive to the bottom. The presentation is phenomenal, as is the construction - packed with optical illusions and interesting architecture. A fantastic example of the creativity of Minecraft's mod community.
Matmos is another mod that attempts to address the "emptiness" of Vanilla Minecraft. It looks at your surroundings and generates natural soundscapes based on them - birds tweeting in a forest, wind gusts on a mountaintop and rumbling near lava lakes. It's a little heavy-handed occasionally, but mostly it fits inconspicuously in the background, making the game feel a little less lonely.
Finally, it wouldn't be a list of amazing mods without a mention of the remarkable Technic Platform - a pack of mods that work perfectly together, including many of those mentioned above. It's also incredibly simple to use, and comes with its own launcher. If you can't be bothered to fiddle around too much with things, and just want to try something new, then the Technic Platform gives you the best experience for the least effort.
A key component of the popular Feed The Beast mod pack, IndustrialCraft is essential if you want to take your Minecraft world to the next, absurdly complicated level. It’s a mod that will allow you to create an automated mining facility; extracting ore from the ground with drills and lasers, and refining it into highly usable products.
Beyond that, nuclear reactors, geothermal power, and terraformers are all advanced-level machines to get involved in. But even if your technical expertise doesn’t stretch that far, IndustrialCraft’s basic furnaces and macerators will revolutionise your Minecraft game.
Minecraft has a look all of its own, and many graphics mods ruin its blocky charm by attempting to go too far into the HD future and aping realism as much as they can. Shaders manages to add distinct beauty to Minecraft’s biomes, whilst preserving the game’s character. Leaves and plants shudder in the wind, and shadows realistically fall on surfaces. It adds a special sheen to the world, although this will heavily tax slower and older PCs.
If you’re out on a survival adventure, the last thing you want to be doing is looting a temple only to find out there’s not enough space in your inventory to take the booty with you. Eydamos’ Backpacks mod provides you with a great selection of small-to-massive inventory bags to make sure you never have to leave a diamond behind. You can even create a magical Ender bag, which shares all its contents with an Ender chest.
For many the joy of discovering what items to smash together to make something new is the real attraction of Minecraft. For others though that’s just a layer of frustration separating them from having some real fun. If you fall into the latter group, then you need Uristqwerty’s CraftGuide: an in-game crafting guide that explains how to build everything in the game. It even provides help for the mods you’ve got installed. With this the days of alt+tabbing out to a Wiki are gone for good.
You can draw parallels between Minecraft and The Sims, but impressive as your mega mansion is, in vanilla Minecraft you can’t furnish the place with ornate lamps, fancy tables, cookie jars, armour stands, and a printing press. Not unless you have Nuchaz’s Bibliocraft mod installed. As the name suggests, Bibliocraft has a book angle, so if you find yourself using books a lot during your adventures this mod’s Typesetting table, Printing Press, and and Reading Glasses are invaluable.
The beauty of Minecraft is that it can be whatever you want it to be, even if that’s Kerbal Space Program. Micdoodle8’s Galacticraft is one of the most ambitious Minecraft mods we’ve seen. Leaving the distinctly square planet earth behind, you’ll be able to blast off and explore the solar system, taking rovers to Mars and having a jump around in the low gravity of the Moon’s surface. Before you get that far you’ll need a spaceship though, and building one is a major project itself.
A Minecraft world is really big. You may think it’s a long walk down to the shops from your house, but that’s just peanuts in Minecraft. And without the luxuries of cars or planes, getting around can be a bit of a hassle. Telepads solve this conundrum. If you’re ever in a place that you want to return to, just build a telepad. You can then instantly teleport to it from another pad. Build several across the world, and you’ve created your very own quick-travel system.
For a bit of instant Minecraft excitement, MC Helicopter mod allows you to swing through the skies of your world in a variety of brilliantly recreated aircraft. From helicopter gunships to VTOL planes, these aircraft come with a destructive variety of weapons and have custom HUDs to make you feel like you’re really inside some serious military hardware.
Azanor’s Thaumcraft is a steampunk-ish magic mod that allows you to draw the magic from everyday objects and reshape them into miraculous forms. You’ll have to craft a wand to get going, but with one in hand you’ll be able to perform magical staples such as transmutation, enchant weapons, produce golems to be your minions, and brew potions. Be careful of the taint though; a dark force spreading through the world, turning creatures against you.
Another mod for the advanced Minecrafter, Steve’s Factory Manager is an inventory sorting system that helps out with automation projects. The system is programmable using a nifty flowchart system, and will manage the distribution of items between machines and storage spaces. If you’re looking at setting up an automated mining system, Factory Manager is essential.
No empire gets off the ground without good public transport, so you’re going to need an exceptional railway system in your Minecraft world. Enter Railcraft, a mod that allows you to set up a steam-powered rail network with such complexities as signaling, elevator sections, junctions, and loading systems to fill trains with industrial products. It even comes with its very own tech tree, adding an element of reward to investing in rail.