It can be hard to know which Minecraft you should buy, and the Minecraft website advertises four different games! Which Minecraft is the "right" one to buy?
The Minecraft franchise has grown with time, from the original to Minecraft Dungeons, Education Edition, and Minecraft Earth right there for you to pick when you're about to make your purchase.
The game that is called just Minecraft is the original Minecraft that you may be used to, also being the most popular one. You can take a little look at it at classic.minecraft.net, the website has a free-to-play classic version of the game, which is not how the latest version looks like but can give you some idea of which Minecraft we are talking about.
The Classic will allow you to invite up to 9 friends if you're hosting, but remember, that is an old Minecraft! You only can do little there.
The original is the most recommended version to buy, it is where the fame of the game originates with endless possibilities, with tons of servers to play the game in different ways, the game also keeps on updating so new content is always coming out, for being so popular we can always expect it to evolve further and keep on giving us more adventures!
There is more than one version of the original game, and these are the Java and the Windows or Microsoft edition. You probably want Minecraft Java as it is more popular, has more servers, and it's the one that your old school Minecraft friends will be playing.
Minecraft Dungeons is a Dungeon Crawler game, and it's very different than Minecraft, so you should be sure that it is what you're going for, even being different, it is not a bad game. Dungeons is not for everyone, it has a chill atmosphere with its style and music, with a simple gameplay to follow it, definitely something to check out at but not to be mistaken with Minecraft!
So far, we talked about Minecraft(Java and Microsoft version) and Minecraft Dungeons, two great titles! But what about the Education Edition and Minecraft Earth?
Minecraft: Education Edition, in short terms, is basically what the name suggests, a Minecraft focused on being a learning platform to be used by educators to create an engaging learning experience. If you are just casually browsing around and have no idea of what it is, it is probably not for you, Minecraft Java edition is what you probably are looking for.
Is Minecraft Java the best edition?
Minecraft Java is the widely recommended edition, the big freedom that custom servers have makes the community just feels bigger, this is not only more players able to play with you but also a universe of different experiences and mods to try out. You should get the Java edition if you're able to, and of course, there are exceptions, as maybe you want Minecraft Bedrock(the Windows Store edition) for a particular reason or preference.
The Bedrock edition will allow cross-play, which means that if you have it on your Windows 10 desktop, a friend of yours has it on mobile and someone else has the game on console, you all can play the game together.
The Java Edition only allows cross-play on Desktop devices, like Windows, macOS, and Linux playing together on the same server, this can look like a big deal breaker at a first glance, why not just get the Bedrock Edition then? Well, these two editions have more than just a few differences.
Reasons to pick Minecraft: Java Edition
- Servers will offer you a wide range of features.
- Friends who play for a very long time probably own this version.
- Tons of community-created mods to try out.
- Better graphics, this edition doesn't have to support mobile so it is not locked on graphics capability.
- Community-created shaders that look more real than GTA V.
- Bedrock can be a problem if you are interested in Redstone machines, Java allows for more advanced Redstone contraptions.
- Wider cross-platform is still reachable through plugins
Reasons to pick Minecraft: Bedrock Edition (also called Windows or Microsoft edition)
- Bedrock is logically faster, it is coded in C++, a programming language that allows excellent performance, this isn't the main reason that it is faster though, the code for it is new, rather than the old Java version code created way back then. Another reason for better performance is that it has to support mobile so no fancy stuff can be done.
- The cross-play is wider, mobile, desktop, and consoles all playing together
- Almost identical to the Java Edition, gameplay-wise.
- Easy to play on someone's else world
- More easy-going server-wise, due to limitations
- You want to play not only on desktop but on mobile or consoles.
What about Minecraft Earth?
Minecraft Earth already reached its end and probably there will be no new updates to it. The game was an augmented reality game, like Pokemon GO released in 2019, the game was about building, resources, and exploration, where you would collaborate with other builders in your area.
The game is shutting down on June 20th, as per the official Google Play description of Minecraft Earth, unfortunately, the game has a lot of negative reviews claiming that the game isn't as good and has some glitches, no matter what it was a great attempt into bringing Minecraft to augmented reality.
If you want to still take a look at it out of curiosity, do it before the shutdown as it is more likely that you won't be able to play Minecraft Earth anymore.
Should I buy Minecraft Dungeons?
Minecraft Dungeons has amazing reviews, if you enjoy Minecraft and dungeon crawlers it definitely will be your cup of tea, the gameplay is known to be very simple, however, that turns out to become a positive aspect of the game as it is very easy to learn and to get into.
The game can bring hours of fun and it has multiplayer support for up to four players, with the difficulty and loop adapting to the number of players playing together, to keep the experience fun and rewarding. The multiplayer is cross-play, so you can play with friends either on Windows or consoles.
The fights you will encounter on Minecraft Dungeons will put great importance on your gear, your abilities are determined by what you're equipping at the moment, something simple but at the same very entertaining, providing an action-packed experience.
But if you were thinking that the game was somewhat a Minecraft sequel or something related, it is not! It's another product, which although different, is a great purchase as well, but not to be mistaken with Minecraft.
Why Minecraft Java edition has better community servers?
The Java Edition has different server software to choose from, like Bukkit or Paper(fork of Bukkit). And this allows server owners to easily add community-made plugins to their server, enhancing the player experience or changing the game in any way they like.
There are tons of server plugins to choose from, be them to prevent cheating on the game, help to edit the map, or expand the gameplay, providing the players a unique experience in every server they play on. Some servers will further extend the game, adding several mini-games, rather than just the survival Minecraft gameplay, these are very fun and engaging, and they often reward the players with some kind of currency shared between the server. Of course, there are limits of what can be done with server plugins, but they aren't very limiting at all, some servers will revolve around specific plugins just due to the amount of customization that a single plugin is making in the game.
Preventing cheating and sometimes allowing players to be safe in certain regions of the game is something that has become almost a must in survival games, or competitive PvP mini-games, although there are still cheaters on the server, it can be greatly reduced when the server owner use the right plugins. Plugins aren't just a quality of life benefit to a server, they can play an essential role in giving the server managers something to work on and innovate their server to make it unique or to make an idea they visualize real.
If you play only with a few friends, plugins aren't needed, neither a different server software. Still, being able to change how the game works in several ways remains a great option, a basic griefing protection system can be good once more people join your server or a basic plugin that adds more commands.
From a player's point of view, think about the endless different servers that you're able to play at, knowing that they have such big freedom related to how the game works. Some plugins that change gameplay have their community around them, like SkyBlock(as a plugin), SkyWars, Factions, and so on.
What about game modifications?
Mods are often mentioned when your game is being altered to play, rather than the server changing something, for example, if you want to add a new dragon in the game, that would be possible using a mod, assuming that you want a completely new entity. Although it would be possible in a server plugin, it wouldn't be as complete as a mod would make it be, mods have as few limits as possible on changing the game.
With the capability of turning the game into a completely new one, mods are often played without multiplayer, although it is possible to play them with friends. The Java edition has more mods available, but it doesn't mean that the Bedrock edition won't have mods(it has add-ons), but it may fall short if you want a specific mod that you saw online, it's most likely for Java.
Bedrock has purchasable add-ons, while the Java edition has tons of mods available online which mostly will have no cost. The only way to make a Java mod playable on Bedrock Edition is by completely recreating the mod!
RLCraft for example is a mod pack with a totally unique premise that makes you feel like you're playing a completely new game, it makes the game harder in several aspects and turns it into a nightmare, including skill mods, unique tools, enhanced fishing, temperature, environmental changes, new items, recipes, dungeons, advanced health system and so on. RLCraft has around 120 mods to create a hard to survive Minecraft experience that is definitely worth checking out!
This shows how modifications are a great enhancement for the game, and unfortunately, the Bedrock Edition will have more paywalls when it comes to these modifications, the good old Java Edition will be more gentle to your wallet if you're a player interested in mods.